Guard Dogs – Getting Your Puppy to Get it Right

If you’ve just brought a little puppy into your home for the first time, chances are your entire family is utterly fascinated by the little ball of fur. And of course they would be; it’s literally an adorable new addition to the family and home. Keep in mind, though, that the puppy is going to need more than fascination, food and affection to keep it happy and fulfilled. And you’re going to need more than a happy-go-lucky, wild little fur-ball if it’s to be a real member of the household. Most members of the family contribute in one way or another – for a dog, the most constructive way is for it to ‘guard.’

You see, dogs are more than just pets, they are companions and this means a certain level of socialization into your way of life. This will of a necessity involve quite a bit of training, both house-training and command training. This is essential for your pup’s gradual and complete transition into your house and will initially require a certain time commitment from you daily. How long it takes depends both on the dog’s innate intelligence and emotional stability as well as your dedication, patience and regularity. You do not need to spend hours a day trying to teach it to sit, but a few minutes daily will go a long way to making that crucial difference.

If you can take out a few minutes maybe two or three times a day and teach the dog one command each time (sit, heel, stay, fetch etc) the dog will learn to expect you and, eventually, learn what is expected. From these basics you can move onto a more complicated program for, say, guarding a tree that will graduate to guarding the house etc. Remember, dogs do not come to you as puppies with no personality, spirit or tendencies of their own. They are not ‘blank sheets’ to be filled up. You have to understand your dog’s personality, its quirks and so on and work with them, not in spite of them.

Basic commands like the ones mentioned above can be taught to any dog. The more complicated ones then depend on the breed. For instance, German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Dobermans all have greater aggressive tendencies that can be harnessed to very effective guard habits. Even Labradors can be trained to guard very well, as they are one of the most intelligent breeds, besides making great companions for the whole family. For any dog you choose, however, it is important to always establish your authority so the dog understands the need to be obedient to you as its master. You are the one that feeds it, pets it, cleans it and takes it for walks. You are the one that trains it and, as such, your word is what goes. If you cannot establish your authority right from day one, the dog may not take you seriously and will not obey your commands.

For Rottweilers especially it is a good idea to have a rather more intensive training period. This is because they are very tough dogs, physically and mentally, and need that kind of intense exercise in order to fulfill their potential. The Rottweiler also has very well developed instincts for guarding and herding which, when harnessed properly, will make for an unsurpassed guard dog. Make sure you train any dog you have kept to distinguish between family and outsiders.

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