Let’s face it, being a woman can have it’s hairy moments. Especially when you are alone at night in a less than safe neighborhood. Many of my female clients have asked me if there are things they can do to teach their house dogs to protect them against a potential attacker. Fortunately, there are, no matter what type of dog you have.
And if you don’t have a dog yet and are considering getting one, my first piece of advice is:
Get a dog that looks somewhat intimidating. Although there are ways to train a toy poodle to defend, it won’t do you any good on the street. I know the lhasa apso is cute (and matches your bag or whatever), but why not go for the multi purpose dog? I’m not saying you have to get Kujo but there are plenty of sweet dogs that can double as sweet/intimidating dogs (ie. German Shepherds, American Bulldogs, Bull Terriers etc…). Usually appearance can be all it takes to ward off a potential attacker.
Teach him to Trash-talk
If you already have a dog and he’s about as intimidating as a teletubby, don’t worry. You can still teach him to bark at suspicious men which is often times enough to prevent a violent confrontation. Here’s how: Take your dog people watching. Every time a man walks by, tap the dog lightly on his side and in a low suspicious voice say “who’s that!”. Try to almost growl it like a dog would when saying it. The goal is to arouse his suspicion. If he barks, reward with a proud; “good boy!”. Repeat this exercise for two weeks on a consistent basis. Finally, mimic a threatening scenario with a male that he doesn’t know and try to execute the command. See how he performs.
Put a muzzle on it.
I realize that this isn’t necessarily a training exercise, but I’m trying to prepare you for battle. Even if your dog looks and acts like a total goofball, once you put a leather muzzle on him, everyone assumes that he’s an unstable biter (think Hannibal Lecter). This will certainly intimidate a potential attacker. If the attacker isn’t intimidated and it appears that there will be a confrontation. Look the attacker in the eye with confidence and slowly remove the muzzle from the dog’s face. The only thing scarier than a dog with a muzzle is a dog whose muzzle is being taken off.
Don’t allow men to pet him.
Not even your father. When training attack dogs. we don’t let people pet them as puppies. I realize that you want to show off how fun loving pet to the World, but letting every Tom, Dick, and Harry pet and play with him will teach him to trust strangers. That is not the stuff bodyguards are made of.Hold him back. If you sense confrontation with a threat, hold the back of your dog’s collar or harness and pull it slightly off the ground and backward, He will likely physically resist and begin throwing his head wildly from side to side. This will give the appearance of a wild, unstable, canine who will kill the first thing he sees once released. As you are doing this, give the dog phony commands like “no bite! calm!”
Sign up for Protection classes.
If you are serious about teaching your dog to protect and your dog has the right pedigree and drive, French, Belgian, or Mondio Ring Sport are great examples of attack dog sports with practical application. Check to see if there’s a local club in your area. Breeds that often excel the most include the Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, Giant Schnauzers and Rottweilers. If you just want to sign up for private protection classes, make sure the instructor teaches muzzle fighting, a key element in training a dog to attack real life perpetrators.
Remember, most dogs over a year old have good situational awareness and will often naturally alert and sniff out a threat without any formal training.
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