Many people get a breed of dog typically thought of as a guard dog, and expect the dog to keep them safe. However, the breed of dog has a lot less to do with behavior than the training. If you get a Pit Bull and raise it like a normal pet, it may not know what to do when it needs to defend your home. This is why proper guard dog training is important if you want your dog to be more than a pet.
Training a guard dog is different from most training, because you need to teach a dog to exhibit the aggressive behaviors that we usually train them to avoid. This is why it is extremely important to start with a dog who has already gone through significant training. If your dog does not know a library of simple verbal commands like sit, come, stop, and run, start there. A guard dog must be trained to stop what it is doing at a word before it learns to attack, or it is an accident waiting to happen.
To engage in this kind of training, it is very important to wear proper protective gear. Get a large leather glove that covers your entire arm past the elbow, and that your dog can not hurt you through. This is important to teach the dog what to do without allowing it to injure you.
When you are ready to train the dog, you must first induce it to attack you. Do this by annoying the dog with the gloved arm by tapping it on the face. Do not hurt the dog, but irritate it enough to make it lash out. As soon as you get a reaction of the dog snapping at the glove, yell “attack!” Then, praise the dog and give it a small treat.
Repeat this process several times until tapping the dog’s face is no longer necessary. At this point, your dog should bite the glove simply at the word “attack!” Once your dog gets to this point, you can stop using treats, and instead just use praise. At this point, try moving across the room from your dog and shouting attack. If it still goes for you, you are ready for the next step.
Once your dog understand what attack means, you need to train it to attack what you are pointing at instead of your arm. For this step, you will need a large doll or mannequin the size and shape of a human. Point at this and shout “attack!” If the dog tries to go for you, point it at the doll and try again. When the dog attacks the doll on command, the training is complete.
By undergoing this training, you will teach your dog how to protect your home and family from attackers. Make sure to practice the attack command once a week or so to make sure your dog remembers. Then, if there is an intruder in your home, you simply need to shout “attack!” and your dog will leap to your defense.