Will Your Dog Protect You?

As the former owner of two professional dog training companies (including a South Bay K-9 Academy) and the author of nine dog training books (see: “Dogs For Preppers“) I am writing this to contest a few of the assertions made in the article “Thoughts On Dogs At Survival Retreats” that recently appeared on Jim Rawles’s Survivalblog.com.


Specifically the claim that, “[Dogs] don’t need to be attack trained/naturally protective; [and] Dogs are naturally protective of the pack, and will fight to the death to protect any and all pack members.”



Just like the guys who own a few guns and thus consider themselves experts, many people who’ve owned a few dogs consider themselves experts on canine behavior.  Veterinarians have less than 2 hours of instruction on canine behavior during their entire course of training.  A little bit of knowledge can be dangerous, and in this case in particular I wanted to set the record straight.


Ms. Tammy Turner [name changed] was a woman who contacted me after being raped by a stalker.  Her two large German Shepherd dogs lied on the floor next to her bed in a state of what we dog trainers call, “conflict” because they hadn’t been trained to attack on command.


After the incident, she switched to the Rottweiler breed and began training with a professional dog training outfit  (my company) to teach her new dogs how to attack on command.


Protection training for dogs is like gun training for us humans:  If you haven’t trained for a deadly encounter, then the probability of your dog responding the right way during a high stress conflict is low.


In addition: Most dogs do not have the genetic drive and nerves to do competent bite work.  This is why both the military (and better police departments) have a selection process: Most dogs wash out.


That being said: It’s my opinion that most people do not require a dog that can do bite work.  They need a dog that will bark and alert when somebody comes near the property.  It is the owner’s job to then get their gun and deal with the situation, not the dog’s.


As for Ms. Turner?  She ended up becoming both a Rottweiler breeder and a gun owner.
One Comment
  1. It seems that more and more preppers are jumping on the bandwagon and searching out dogs for protection when times get bleak. Personally, I don’t need a dog that is ready, willing and able to bite. I have much more powerful things for protection. Sending out a dog to bite is simply putting him in harm’s way; dogs should never be considered expendable to the savvy prepper.
    It’s a known fact that dogs like to please their owners but most dogs like having a job to do as well. The prepper should have a dog that will alert when an intruder is approaching, not one that will run out in attack mode and get blown away. Playing dead might be a cool parlor trick but it’s rather useless in real life! A dead dog is useless in protecting your property, family and stores.
    Personally, I need my dogs to work in the event we go into critical mode. It’s that simple. My dogs need to help move supplies to our bug out shelter which may or may not include transporting goods through the water and over unpleasant terrain. Dogs are a very important part of my survival strategy.
    My breed selection is the Newfoundland. They are remarkable companions, are awesome with kids, hard workers and are so large that they scare the dickens out of almost everybody! They vigorously alert when people approach their homes or people and are naturally protective of their loved ones.
    My males will knock anyone on their butts, growl, snarl, slime and bite, if they feel that I am threatened. They weren’t trained to do so and would much rather love and slobber on visitors. My females are more guarded than the boys. With strangers, they snarl first and make friends later.
    Most people say that this is not typical Newfoundland behavior but those people usually keep their Newfies in kennels and never truly let them become instrumental parts of the family. My dogs are equal members of the family. Each family member has a job and my Newfoundlands perform their tasks readily, happily and without question. What more could a prepper want?
    My Newfies can pull heavy loads on a sled or in a cart. They can carry packs and can swim with them. In the water, they can pull a watercraft to shore or rescue me, if the current is strong. I chose the Newfoundland to be my partner in prepping because of his loyalty, versatility, work ethic and ability. In my opinion, he is the best asset a prepper could ever have!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *