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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I'm right now slowly searching for a dog to train for myself for service work. The work would be pretty basic- I need help getting pulled up hills, and I want some mild protection work while by myself in isolated places. Like walking river banks etc. I go car camping in state and national parks, BLM land etc by myself out of state. My last dog was put down at an old age several months ago for severe pain issues. He was naturally protective. He kept people out of my car in a pretty impressive way with no training, in fact I had to tone him down. I always felt safe when I traveled with him. I'm finding that I'm very hesitant to go some places by myself without him now.

I fully understand that a dog needs a solid ground in basic training and socialization. What I'm wondering about is what is legal and what is normal for "mild protection work" in service dogs. I would want to teach a dog to bark when someone approaches the car and I'm not in it, to bark or growl on command if someone is threatening or being "slinky" or very weird. Or to choose a protective dog and refine that. Is this a common thing? Are there liabilities with teaching a dog to do so? Would I be required to have additional insurance?

I've done some training but never thought of training for a service dog before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Do you have any specific breeds in mind before considering bloodlines and individual traits and tresholds within those.
Well, I'm sure this is sacrilege, but my ideal dog would be a black Labrador / Rottweiler mix. Had one that became a very good dog. He had good protective instincts, (in fact, too good) & looked like nothing in particular- which is a good thing. I got him at 1 YO and was able to train and socialize to be completely safe and trust-able in public. That dog would have died for me. No one would steal from my car- I watched a few people try.

What I'm wondering more about is what is legal and what is normal for "mild protection work" in service dogs. I'm noticing that all or most trainers of service dogs either train only for vets or are adamant about no protective work and no aggression whatsoever in service dogs. I'd like a dog that would stand his ground if I got attacked, would protect my car. That's it really. What happens if people see a service dog in a car that is acting agressively if someone tries to break in?
 

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You can have a service dog that does protection SPORT but the minute you make it no longer a game in prey and start introducing things like hidden sleeves & civil work, it is a bit murkier waters that may not be entirely legal as far as I know. A trained personal protection dog is a very big lifestyle change and most dogs that have that kind of drive will not also be able to be service dogs, its just a lot to ask from a dog.

I would recommend a well bred stable GSD. My dog enjoys the prey portions of PSA enough that I was able to train him to bark on command if I think that someone needs a warning, and he will sleep by the edge of my hotel room at the door and let me know if someone is close when we travel. He will light up if there is a valid threat or someone comes up to my home or car uninvited, but to actually take it a step further and encourage him to bite in those scenarios vs just controlling when he is barking would probably pass the threshold for what is legal.

Another thing to note is that it's rare to be able to create those behaviors in the scenarios I mentioned that aren't from a defensive mindset, so you need to be able to understand drives, channeling emotion in the work, and if what you are asking will confuse them in public. I know the second I call off my dog he will return to me immediately, and unless someone makes physical contact with me in a threatening manner that he would not bite, but because I have allowed him to warn me if someone comes near my car, I keep him in a crash tested kennel when in the car so that he doesn't present a danger to first responders in the event of a car crash, in the worst case scenario your dog could get shot trying to protect you if you aren't careful about the way you do this. This is not type of training to take lightly and should be done under the guidance of a professional, even if you are not training them to do anything more than put on a show.
 
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