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perfect protective pooch

My puppy is now over two years old. I spent most of that time teaching him to be welcoming and accepting of strangers who approached our home, car or selves. He is a pit/shepherd – both breeds capable of being not good with strangers – and both capable of backing up any animosity with hurtfulness. My job was to raise this puppy into a dog that posed no threat to good people.

Numerous UPS and FedEx drivers helped, along with myriad friends and strangers. He “got it”. If my body language said they were good, They Were Good. When I told him they were good, They Were Good. He did no extraneous barking; no aggressive posturing … ever.

I diverge for a moment. As a little kid, the family dog quickly became “my dog”. I have been “a dog guy” from toddler on. They understand me. I understand them. We communicate mind-to-mind. This is the “Vulcan mind meld” in our real world.

So now I have this big, strong, peaceable dog who may or may not help me if I am threatened.

Just over two weeks ago I was seriously threatened. My guy went to the front gate to greet the aggressor looking and acting exactly like the nastiest, meanest junkyard dog you can imagine. I didn’t train him to protect. I did not order him to defend. He made the decision on his own that the guy approaching our gate was very unwelcome.

While the wacko ranted, raved and claimed to be unafraid of my dog, he did not come in through the gate. The confrontation ended without violence. I was impressed with how serious my guy looked. Only an idiot would challenge him. Sadly, that is who was at our gate. That story is not over yet.

Two weeks later I was chatting with a neighbor who is a dog trainer. She talked about the goofiness of people who try to raise a dog to be protective. “That is not something you have to teach a dog”.

I agree completely. Attuned dogs are great at discerning good people from bad people… better than we are, actually.

The bad guy at the gate was a threat. My dog explained quite clearly that he recognized the threat and would treat it accordingly. I did not have to fight a younger, stronger man who was looking for someone to beat up on.

Sadly, the wacko is not done with me yet… cruised by this evening to “case the joint”.

My friend Cliff says this guy is not the threat. He is merely the messenger from the Cosmos telling me that my defensive systems are in need of improvement.

Okay. I’ll work on it.

My dog can use some backup.

Picking the perfect puppy

Online there are many puppy behavior testing models. None are wrong.

While the environment they grow in is crucial, it cannot overcome NATURE. If you are not highly experienced in dog rearing, be very, very careful to get a puppy whose nature fits yours.

I toss out the fearful, the shy and the alpha puppies. They are not worth the EXCEPTIONAL EFFORT it takes to make them into decent dogs. Having done that with the last litter I had to choose from, one little guy in the batch of possibles came over to me and said, “Take me”.


He was right.

If you spend less than an hour selecting a puppy from a litter, you probably did not pay adequate attention. You will pay the fine for the next decade PLUS.