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"SHOCKING TRUTH: The Terrifying Rise of Protection Dogs in Average Australian Homes:

Updated: Feb 14

"There are Protection Dog - Working Line breeders in Australia and NZ who are absolutely professional, care deeply about their clients, and do NOT sell their dogs, to the wrong families or businesses."

"SHOCKING TRUTH: The Terrifying Rise of Protection Dogs in Average Homes - What You NEED to Know Before It's Too Late!" In our city and across our state, as well as in other areas, crime rates are on the rise. This surge in criminal activity is largely attributed to young individuals who lack both fear and respect for the law. Legal regulations often grant them exemption from incarceration due to their age. Consequently, this substantial increase in lawbreakers has led to a growing sense of fear within the general public. I speak to lots of people who have less faith in the legal system to protect their rights, over the rights of offenders and they've turned to acquiring protection dogs for the safety of their families and homes.

GSD working dog
Magnificent Working Line GSD - MUST have ALPHAS in the house

"SHOCKING TRUTH: The Terrifying Rise of Protection Dogs in Average Homes - What You NEED to Know Before It's Too Late!" There are some breeders who now market protection dogs to average families, and the consequences of this trend are evident in our training programs and private training sessions. In recent days and weeks, I've encountered numerous families seeking assistance because their "protection puppies" or dogs have become unmanageable some even aggressive even at the age of 12 weeks. Alarming instances include family members being bitten by very young puppies (12-16 weeks old) or older juvenile dogs. Aggressive puppies do not make good protection dogs.

Why are some breeders selling the wrong dog?

I am not necessarily placing direct blame on the breeders, but it's worth questioning why, some are selling these dogs to families who:

  • have never owned a dog before,

  • have no experience with large breeds,

  • have no experience with dogs with high prey drives,

  • are elderly or infirm,

  • and people who lack the basic skills necessary to train these dogs, to the required level of safety, for their own families. It's hard enough for some families to train a puppy, with a brilliant balance and temperament, and that have a standard or low prey drive.

Guard Dogs and some other working Dogs, as well as some working line breeds, should exclusively be designated for professional services and their authorised personnel. This includes security services, police, military, and a select few others. Professionals in these fields possess the expertise to handle and train dogs intended for high level human or property protection. These dogs must undergo proper training and handling from the moment they enter a household. In fact some Police services like the Queensland Police Service have their own breeding lines to ensure they get great puppies with ideal temperaments.

With over 50 years of dog training experience, we can immediately identify clients who will encounter challenges in teaching, managing, and working with dogs of any breed. Providing these clients with a dog possessing the traits and temperaments essential for a good protection dog may only leaves the average family overwhelmed. Yes, protection dogs don't have to be aggressive in fact we want them to be social and calm but confident.

I'm aware that clients may desire specific dogs - breeds, even if those dogs aren't suitable for their lifestyle or genuine needs. Many people select a dog for all the wrong reasons. Some breeders excel at dissuading clients from getting a puppy that wouldn't be a good fit. This aspect is a testament to obtaining a puppy from a professional breeder who has painstakingly ensured their dogs possess the necessary physical strengths and attributes for appropriate homes. These homes are capable of managing the dogs' behaviors right from the outset.

I firmly believe that protection or bite dogs sold to unsuitable individuals will eventually result in negative consequences. This is a distinct type of breeder – one who does not comprehend that most average families should not have these dogs. The fault lies neither with the dogs nor the families if a puppy or young juvenile dog ends up biting a family member.

At Bonnies dog trainers in Brisbane, we are resolutely aware that all dogs are capable of biting, and every breed can alert you to someone entering the house. Please think 3 times before you get a dog specific for the purpose of protection - unless you and your puppy are trained.

Should I get a protection dog? A Serious Decision for Home Security

When the safety of your home and loved ones is at stake, the realm of protection dogs can be both captivating and complex. However, it's essential to recognise that this is not a decision to be taken lightly. In fact, it's crucial to emphasise that protection dogs are not suitable for the vast majority of families. The commitment required for their training and upbringing should never be underestimated.

While the allure of having a vigilant guardian for your household is understandable, it's imperative to address the realities. These dogs are not a casual addition to the family; they demand a level of dedication and expertise that goes beyond the norms of pet ownership. Only a small fraction of families, approximately 20%,(Anecdotal) possess the necessary resources, knowledge, and time to properly handle and train protection dogs.

Protection dogs can undoubtedly be incredible assets, offering an additional layer of security that's hard to match. However, the road to having a well-trained and dependable protection dog is paved with extensive training, socialisation, and consistent reinforcement. This isn't a process that can be taken on lightly or sporadically.

The journey begins with selecting the right breed – one that aligns with your family's lifestyle, needs, and capabilities. From there, professional training is non-negotiable. This isn't just about basic obedience; it's about refining their protective instincts in a controlled and responsible manner. The stakes are high, as an improperly trained protection dog can potentially pose risks not only to outsiders but also to your own family.

In summary, the world of protection dogs is far from a casual venture. The decision to bring one into your home should be made with utmost seriousness and awareness. While the concept is intriguing, it's paramount to understand that protection dogs are not suitable for the vast majority of families. Their training demands, the level of commitment, and potential risks require deep consideration. It's always wise to consult experts and seriously evaluate whether you're equipped to take on this monumental responsibility.

What is the difference between a Guard Dog and a Protection Dog?

Consider that dogs, like people are trained to do a job or jobs. Whether or not their any good at them comes down to Capability, Training, understanding and desire. There is little difference to a dog. Dogs can be trained for hundreds of tasks in dozens of professions. Guard Dogs, for example are Trained to do just that - Guard. Their job is to guard property, possessions etc. Professional Guard Dog trainers, train the dog, correctly. So, the difference is that Protection dogs may not necessarily be trained for any particular role or job. A family can own a protection dog. A guard dog should be certified and utilised by professionals.

When you and your family is considering a dog that could be a good fit for your family, a "Protection Dog" should possess socialisation skills, a calm demeanor, and a strong and stable foundation in their personality traits. On the other hand, a Guard Dog is typically more solitary, as their primary role isn't centered around being friendly and gentle.

A guard dog, is trained to do certain jobs, sound an alarm if someone drives into the gate etc and don't need an owner or handler to even be on site or in view. We suggest that the protection dog is more managed by the owner or handler - they really have to be there.

Does temperament matter?

Protection dogs may possess a unique and balanced temperament that sets them apart from your typical family puppy or dog like a spoodle, golden retriever or staffy. They combine qualities like loyalty, confidence, and assertiveness and can make great family dogs. Working line breeds are not always suitable for many families.

Drive and Characteristics:

Two critical factors define a protection dog's behavior: drive and characteristics.

  1. Drive:

    • Prey Drive: This refers to a dog's instinct to chase and capture. Protection dogs with a high prey drive tend to be more focused and alert, making them great at keeping an eye on potential threats. A high prey drive can see issues in the house where the owner does not understand the needs of the dog. They don't train the dog correctly and appreciate that "It will only get harder" the longer they leave it. Your not training a guard dog. Your not training your dog to be aggressive or bite. You are training the dog because you know that is what you signed up for.

    • Defense Drive: This drive relates to a dog's willingness to protect itself and its loved ones. Dogs with a strong defense drive are naturally inclined to shield their family from danger. Yes, great but again correct training from an early age is where its at.

At Bonnies Dog Obedience and Puppy School we explain to the owners of every dog, that they need to know about the breed they have. What are they designed to do? What are they breed for?

What are the Essential Traits and Characteristics of a protection dog?

Confidence: A protection dog's self-assuredness is paramount. They need to maintain composure in diverse situations, dissuading potential intruders effectively. Confidence is one thing but aggressiveness is NOT confidence. A puppy which is clearly aggressive may be a very difficult dog to train as it may be in their breeding. Dictionary Aggressiveness - Hostile or violent behaviour.

Obedience: Though these dogs possess an independent streak, their ability to promptly and reliably follow commands is crucial. It ensures their behavior remains manageable and aligned with the safety of your household. THIS IS WHY WE START TRAINING AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE. Bonnies do not train protection Dogs per se. We train all breeds to be a good listener and a better doer for their family. Remember that unless you need to Train a Task to your dog, great obedience will be just fine. If your puppy is trained to be a great family dog then you can seek different sports like Lure coursing for your dog. As an example of this Border Collies which show clear capacity to be a herding dog we recommend that the clients go to join a herding club.

Sociability: Contrary to misconceptions, protection dogs can and must be sociable. However, this balance requires expert handling. A prime example is the Police Dog Squad, where their dogs showcase sociability while excelling at their duties. This skill demands professional expertise, and only trained specialists can truly achieve this equilibrium. The average family demands that the dog in their care must be social. Life as a family requires this.


A valuable trait in protection dogs is their high trainability. This quality ensures their protective instincts can be skillfully harnessed under your guidance. However, this training demands expertise and a deep understanding of canine behavior.

In the case of these essential characteristics, it's imperative to recognise that their proper development and balance require professional expertise and guidance. The line between sociability and protection isn't straightforward, and achieving it necessitates the insight and skill that trained professionals bring to the table. Just as a symphony conductor guides the orchestra, professionals orchestrate the behaviors of protection dogs to create harmonious security and a blanced family life too.

SO What questions should I ask the breeder"

Yes there a lot of questions you need to ask your breeder. The first one will be 'Can I train your puppies to be a protection dog"? Many breeders of suitable breeds will have heard this question before and will answer you directly.

What are suitable breeds?

Not all dogs or ALL breeds are inherently suited to become protection dogs. The key lies in the meticulous selection of the appropriate breed by the appropriate breeder. Here's a crucial distinction: when these breeds are purposefully bred for Balance, Temperament, and Disposition, they can shine as exceptional family dogs. Often, the intense Prey drive and Defense drive are deliberately tempered to create a more balanced and easygoing canine. These breeds are referred to as having "Working Lines," specifically tailored to fulfill roles like Protection, Bite Work, Surveillance, and more. When a client acquires a "Working Line Dog," it necessitates diligent effort to truly understand their Best Mate and effectively collaborate with them. This process demands patience, relaxation, and a correct approach to training. Again, If you don't have the real amount of time it takes to train a working line dog - don't get one.

  1. German Shepherd: Renowned for their loyalty and versatility, German Shepherds make exceptional protection dogs. They're intelligent, quick learners, and have a strong defense drive.

  2. Belgian Malinois: These dogs combine energy with high intelligence. Their alertness and agility make them top choices for protection roles.

  3. Rottweiler: With a powerful build and strong protective instincts, Rottweilers are natural protectors. They form strong bonds with their families.

  4. Doberman Pinscher: Known for their sleek appearance and loyalty, Dobermans are alert, quick, and have a good balance of defense and prey drives.

  5. Bullmastiff: This breed possesses a calm yet protective nature. Their imposing presence alone can deter intruders.

Training is Key:

Great Protection dogs are not born; they're made through proper training. Enlisting professional help is crucial when you are starting out and for the whole journey of training. Their training refines their natural instincts, teaching them when to protect and when to stand down. When to bark or not. When to protect and when to sit.

For the Average Family:

It's important to note that owning a protection dog requires dedication and responsibility. These dogs are not merely pets; they're skilled protectors. If you're considering one, ensure you have the time, willingness, and resources to provide proper training and care.

Director of Bonnies - Peter Bonney
Peter Bonney Senior Trainer @Bonnies

I am delighted to share that as the Director of Bonnies Dog Obedience and Puppy School and a Master Puppy Trainer, am thrilled to announce our remarkable achievement. We have earned the prestigious title of "Best Dog Obedience and Puppy School AUSTRALIA 2023," marking our sixth triumph over 10 years in both the Local, National, and International arenas. This recognition is a testament to our teams unwavering commitment to excellence in dog training and the invaluable bond between pets and their families. I invite you to celebrate this accomplishment with us by sharing this news with your friends, leaving a comment to show your support, and visiting our website where you can explore and purchase Val Bonney's insightful books on the Psychology of Dogs. Your continued support fuels our passion for nurturing strong and harmonious relationships between dogs and their owners.

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1 Comment

Aug 16, 2023

Well said, Peter, and so true. I have been involved with Bonnie’s for over 20 years now. My 3 dogs have all been trained by Bonnie’s trainers. I am still learning. What Val Bonney and Peter Bonney don’t know about dogs is hardly worth knowing. I highly recommend Bonnie’s for all your dog training needs.

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