Personal Protection Training

Q: What breeds are suitable to be trained for protection work?

A: The German Shepherd Dog, the Rottweiler, and the Doberman are the three breeds that are most suited to this work, though I have trained some wonderful protection dogs of different breeds. What's important to bear in mind is that only dogs that were bred for this purpose should be considered for this work: -- "Horses for courses" as they say in my part of the world.
Q: I have a Pit Bull; can I train him for personal protection?

A: I do not recommend you do so. Simply stated, they were not bred, or designed for this work. That is not to say they can't do it -- since I've seen many Pit Bulls do a very formidable round of protection work indeed -- but it's my opinion that there is more to be lost than gained in training these dogs for this type of work.
Q: I have a German Shepherd Dog; can I train him for personal protection?

A: It's my experience, only about 10% of the dogs, even within the breeds specifically bred for such work, have the necessary qualities to be properly trained in this work. Your dog needs to be evaluated to see if he/she is a good candidate for this training.
Q: So what are these qualities that my dog needs?

A: First, he/she needs to be of sound temperament, well socialized, and well disposed to people. Second, these dogs need to display a high degree of prey drive. Third, the dog needs to have a level of courage that enables him/her to deal with challenging and threatening situations.
Q: If my dog is trained for personal protection work; does this make him more aggressive, or more likely to inappropriately bite someone?

A: No! Quite the contrary; my experience tells me that the right dog, correctly trained, will, in fact, become an all round better and more reliable companion dog. This work takes the dog to a new level of awareness and control; makes him more discerning; more secure and confident; more fulfilled and contented -- since he is doing what he was bred to do; and less likely to make mistakes.
Q: How can I be sure that the dog I get will be capable of being trained as a personal protection dog?

A: Alas, with puppies, there is no guarantee that it will develop into the dog you need, not even with the best of handling, since many of the traits needed are innate, genetic qualities. Nevertheless, you can minimize the gamble by choosing a dog from strong working lines, e.g. Schutzhund breed lines (Schutzhund, being the German word for protection -- and the sport of Schutzhund is probably the greatest working dog sport in the world).
For more information of this topic you can visit the websites of the breeders who specialize in German Shepherd Dogs from these lines.
However, let me close on this subject by emphasizing that I am not recommending this type of training for all German Shepherd Dogs and their owners; far from it, since, once more, only a small percentage of these dogs and owners will have what it takes to train the dog to this level of proficiency.