You purchased your GSD for a reason. And it isn’t just for show. Whether you’re a single individual looking for a trusty companion, a married couple looking for extra security or even a full-fledged K-9 unit officer, it’s a good bet to bank on trained GSDs for personal protection work.
Why are GSDs a good choice as a guard dog?
Outside of law enforcement (and their heavy reliance on this great breed), it is not uncommon to find trained GSDs for family protection. Here are a list of practical reasons to keep trained GSDs for protection work.
GSDs have always been known to be a smart dog breed. They rank #3 in terms of intelligence, just behind the Poodle and Border Collie; they are able to understand and execute new commands within five (and sometimes as few as one!) repetitions.
It’s no secret that a well cared for GSD can be an intimidating presence when they grow up. They are a high-energy dog breed that boasts an impressive 238 fps (foot pounds) of biting power and can reach top speeds of up to 30 mph. Without a doubt, trained GSDs are a force not to be reckoned with.
One look at a GSD and it becomes difficult not to see why they are prime candidates for security and protection detail. GSDs are naturally very muscular and are double-coated dogs; they have a thick, protective inner layer of fur underneath their top coat, which helps them acclimate well in a lot of different environments. These are massive 80-lbs dogs whose mere presence can deter even the most hardened criminals from doing something stupid.
GSDs are a hardy dog breed that are very protective of their owners. This quality pairs well with a notable enthusiasm to learn new things, overall high levels of obedience, natural curiosity and a tendency not to immediately trust strangers.
What are the costs for trained GSD protection?
The mere cost of buying a GSD puppy can run you at least US$300, with puppies from reputable breeders selling for as much as $900. If you factor in the average annual costs of caring for your trained GSD and their life span; vet checkups, specialized protection training classes, maintenance medication, food, toys and licensing/processing fees for 7-10 years, you should expect to invest at least several thousands of dollar to keep your trained GSD.
However, with this hefty investment comes peace of mind, more responsibility, an added sense of security and a loyal, lovable addition to your family.
How much can I expect to pay for GSD protection training?
Though the prices vary widely depending on your expectations and which part of the world you live in, you can expect to pay as low as US$30 per training session for your GSD. However, if you are in the market for a committed and certified dog trainer to properly discipline and school your GSD in specialized protection or other social services, expect to pay as much as US$120 per session.
How to train my German Shepherd for personal protection
GSDs are natural born guard dogs and have been bred over the years to maintain traits deemed desirable for all practical purposes. This logic should narrow down your priorities when training your GSD at home. However, the challenging part comes with maintaining the progress your GSD has accomplished through training.
Maintain an active lifestyle
As mentioned previously, GSDs need constant engagement and thrive well in active environments. If you regularly go on walks, head to the park or are just always out and about in general, then your trained protection GSD should fit just fine and even complement your lifestyle. It is imperative to keep GSDs engaged to maintain their discipline.
In addition, having an active lifestyle covers your GSD’s need to regularly socialize with other dogs and humans. Even trained GSDs may become overly aggressive when left alone too long, so keep their mental health in check by being healthy and active yourself.
Have your GSD undergo obedience training
Much of the lessons you and your trained GSD will find useful come from obedience training. The courses help properly socialize your GSD, familiarize both you and your GSD with giving commands and learning new ones, and generally instill a good symbiotic relationship between you and your GSD. The skills learned here will be indispensable when training your GSD for guard duty.
Invest in decent sparring equipment when you train
A harness, ample cushioning and a large, open space to practice will help greatly when you commit to developing your GSD as a trained German Shepherd for protection work. While heavy duty dog leashes may suffice for guard training when your GSD is still very young, their quickly developing muscles will soon require heftier equipment to reliably guide and control their energy.
During training, it is best to have at least two individuals train with your GSD; one acting as a sparring partner, and the other acting as the dog handler. Make sure that the handler’s voice commands synergize well with the sparring partner’s actions so your GSD doesn’t get confused. In addition, let the handler differentiate his vocal tone to match commands. For example, low and loud yelling may be used when issuing an attack command, while high and calm callouts can be used to reward successfully completed actions.
When picking out sparring cushions and protective gear, you may consider buying heavier duty gear over time to accommodate your GSD’s powerful bite force.
Be mindful when administering punishment
The fine line between punishment and abuse can be hard to distinguish for GSD owners, even experienced ones. We’re human and we make mistakes as well. As a general rule, remember that excessive or needless punishment makes even the most disciplined and well-trained GSD prone to bouts of unbridled aggression. So keep yourself in check! Your GSD is only as good a guard dog as you are its handler.