Should I Train My Own Protection Dog?

One of the most common questions were receive both via email and social media is for advice on how people can train their own protection dog. Our advice will always be the same: training protection dogs requires high levels of skill and experience and should only be attempted by professionals. Amateur attempts at this kind of training can be dangerous for both dogs and humans, so are never a good idea.

It is often assumed that protection dog training is centred on a bite and release when in reality this is only a small part of our work. Before we can even consider training a dog in bitework, it must first have passed rigorous temperamental assessments, reached high levels of obedience, and been well-conditioned to a range of environments and stimuli. Without these, the value of any bitework training and capability development are at best questionable.

Protection dog training involving bitework is often dangerous, and requires a high level of skill to conduct safely. The trainer wearing a bite suit or sleeve is, perhaps surprisingly, more important in this process than the handler. Mistakes on their part can result in the undoing of months of hard work and severe injuries, both to them and a protection dog. Rather than taking chances, it is always better to leave protection dog training to experts such as ourselves.

Protection dog owners can still undertake much of their own training which would be common to any and all dogs, though. Anybody can safely conduct basic obedience training with minimal professional input, and the global pandemic has proven that this is eminently possible virtually with tools such as apps and Zoom. While there are certainly some types of training you should never undertake yourselves, there is still much that can be safely achieved.