There are many reasons people look at getting a German Shepherd Guard Dog.
German Shepherds were originally bred as a working/herding dog, and are among the most versatile breeds out there when it comes to being used in a range of working fields.
The versatility the German Shepherd is known for means they are as comfortable being good of a family dog as they are performing guard dog functions.
In this article, we will discuss this dynamic, along with what you need to consider terms of a German Shepherd as a Guard Dog, as well as Security and Protection.
It’s very important to acknowledge as a German Shepherd owner that anything you do with your dog is your liability.
If you decide to bring a dog into your life and teach them to guard, work in security, or protect, they are under your responsibility.
Note that some areas and insurance companies do not allow people to have trained guard, protection or security dogs in a private or commercial setting. Check the law and regulations in your area.
You should also always consider the well being, health and impact of protection training on the dog, you and the wider community.
(NOTE: this is a general information guide only, and is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. A qualified vet or animal expert is the only person qualified to give you expert advice in regards to your pet/s)
German Shepherd Guard Dogs: Protection, Security & Guarding Ability
Why Do People Want German Shepherd Guard, Security and Protection Dogs?
The main reasons people seek out German Shepherds that can guard, secure and protect are for personal and professional reasons, but mainly because they want:
Family Protection – privately
Personal Protection – privately, commercially and at a government level
Property, Object and Area Protection – privately, commercially and at a government level
There are professional personal protection dog training organisations out there that train K-9 and German Shepherd Guarding and Protection in the specialized areas of families, bodyguard work, women in danger, crime victims, anti-kidnapping and business or commercial related areas.
As you can see, a German Shepherd guard dog can be many things from a companion/family member, to bodyguard and even alarm system.
Difference Between German Shepherd Guard, Protection and Security Dogs
German Shepherd Guard Dog and Watch Dog
There is a German Shepherd Guard Dog, and German Shepherd Watch Dogs.
Most people when they say ‘I want A German Shepherd Guard Dog’, they actually mean a ‘German Shepherd Watch Dog’.
A German Shepherd watch dog only barks, growls and alerts others to threats, potentially bringing in assistance or scaring away/deterring the threat.
This might be a family dog for example.
A German Shepherd guard dog does these things, but also has the ability to attack and neutralize a threat.
A good example of a guard dog are the livestock dogs who protect herds and flocks from animals like wolves, fox’s etc.
These dogs are fully equipped to engage in combat with a wild animal if required.
A German Shepherd Guard dog are usually used in residential and business type settings – some homes, farms and car yards for example.
German Shepherd Security Dog
German Shepherd security dogs are very similar to Alsatian Guard dogs except they are usually primarily used in private commercial and specialised type settings.
They are usually bought primarily for work (as opposed to being primarily a pet) purposes by their owners in areas like:
– personal protection for professional security guards and their clients
– secure and protect valuable homes and areas of individuals and groups (like the dogs you see in the yards of large and valuable mansions with surveillance systems)
– used in dangerous cities, countries and areas where there are high crime rates – common in third world countries and places with political unrest
This type of dog usually does less intense work on a day to day basis than a German Shepherd protection dog – patrolling and guarding as opposed to a lot of chasing and attacking.
German Shepherd Protection Dog
German Shepherd Protection dogs usually go by the name ‘K9′ or ‘K-9’ which means ‘protection dog’ in German .
They are used by professional and government type organisations – the police, army and government protection (country special forces and president’s bodyguards for example).
German Shepherd Protection dogs usually specialize in a particular area like patrol and suspect apprehension where they are often required to attack and/or detain threats.
In German Shepherd sports like Schutzhund or K9 based competition sports, family pet type GSDs (German Shepherd Dogs) can learn protection based skills like identifying threats, barking, attacking, chasing and releasing in a safe environment.
German Shepherd Temperament – How It Relates To Guard, Security and Protection Work?
For more information on the German Shepherd temperament on the whole, read German Shepherd Temperament: 7 Most Important Things To Know.
Cesar’s Way rated the German Shepherd as a top 10 guard and protection dog breed, and the GSD is also the second most popular dog breed among dog owners including families in the US.
Families love the German Shepherd as a Watch Dog because they are naturally very loyal, calm and loving with kids, parents and families, but watchful and quick to defend them and the household territory against unfamiliar people and animals they see as threats.
Security and Protection Dog workers love the German Shepherd because of their courage, strength, agility, stamina, focus and highs levels of obedience and intelligence – they are the third smartest dog breed.
How To Train A German Shepherd Guard Dog, Watch Dog, Security Dog or Protection Dog
It is highly recommended that for any active form of guarding, security or protection like detaining, biting or chasing threats, you go to a professional training organisation.
Training any of the above disciplines yourself could mean you are acting against the law, or worse, training incorrectly which leads to dangers for you, your dog and the public.
German Shepherd Watch Dog Training
All you are really trying to train in a German Shepherd watch dog is to bark at threats, and alert assistance or scare away the threat, or both.
They are basically an alarm system with paws.
For training structure, you can try the following:
1. Teach your GSD what is a genuine threat and not. Socialising as a puppy with other dogs/animals, and young and old humans helps with this. Try to keep your dog away from negative experiences (aggressive dogs) as this can produce a defensive or fearful dog.
2. Teach your dog the basics of obedience – obedience classes help with this. An obedient dog listens to you, will allow you to teach them commands, and learns the standard of behavior that is required of them
3. Teach barking on command, and stop barking on command. To do this, you get your dog to sit in front of you, and prompt them to bark by saying ‘bark’ or ‘speak’ and making noise yourself, then quickly say ‘stop’ after a few barks. Have treats handy to reward barking and stopping.
4. Associate the barking with threats. A good trick for this is to get a family member to knock on the front door where your GSD can’t see them. Teach your GSD to give several barks when this happens, and then to immediately stop when someone familiar opens the door. You only want your dog to protect your territory at this stage which is your house.
It is safe to train passive guarding behaviors like barking, but never active behaviors like jumping on or attacking people.
It might be worth you checking out another article we wrote – How To Train A German Shepherd: 10 Expert Tips and Advice.
German Shepherd Guard Dog, Security Dog and Protection Dog Training
German Shepherd Guard, Security and Protection Dog Training should only be undertaken by professional trainers with the right qualifications and experience.
A1K9 in the UK is an example of what a professional Guard, Security and Protection Dog training organisation looks like.
You can check out their accreditations page for a good example of one.
Things you should look for specifically from a professional guard dog, security or protection dog trainer if you live in the US or another country are:
National Accreditations in dog training and animal behavior – they should have an experience and credentials page on their website for you to view
Knowledge of the legislation and regulations in your area
Positive testimonials from other previous customers
A focus on the health and well being of the dog, aswell as the needs of the owner/handler
A clear indication of the courses and course curriculum available
Offer some form of guarantee on their training
Due to the quality of the training – this training is not cheap!
Where To Find Trained German Shepherd Guard, Protection and Security Dogs For Sale?
You can buy trained guard, security and protection dogs from some training organisations.
If you do go this route, make sure they have a full bio of the dog’s history available for you to view, along with registration and health details and guarantees.
A1K9 is one such example of an organisation that offers fully trained German Shepherd Guard Dogs.
As we mentioned above, if you are just looking to train your German Shepherd to be a Watch Dog, it is best to find a puppy or dog with with a good temperament, socialize them, teach them the obedience basics, and train them as they grow.
Read more about finding German Shepherd breeders here:
Adopting a German Shepherd
If you are interested in adopting a GSD, you can check out the following guides:
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