Posts by Dee Harrison

    David Kuneman at
    Jay and Jerry Lyda at
    I can't personally vouch for any of them but you can look them up on other forums and can contact them for yourself.

    I've watched a number of videos of different types of dogs doing obedience and protection (mostly sport). The dogs in this video don't seem as animated or excited about what they're doing, even though they are compliant with all commands. Would you describe them as lacking in drive? I'm not criticizing them, especially since I like the second dog. They're both very business like without all the hype.

    Visit and read some of the articles about being a pack leader and bringing an adult dog into your home.

    One thing Dee, before you get another dog, and this is only my opinion and I am curious how you see it.

    You said that a Fila would not accept someone from outside the pack, so you had safety concerns about bringing home a new baby with your Fila. My question is, if the offspring of the pack leaders is not the ultimate pack member, who is?

    If the Wolf had not been able to recognize new born pups as belonging to the pack wouldn't they have wiped themselves out as a species long before they evolved into dog?

    I am dogless at the moment. When I had the Fila I knew absolutely nothing about training, drives, pack structure or anything remotely relevant to responsible dog ownership. I simply got a dog whose description was what I wanted ... a dog that I didn't have to teach to dislike everyone! I didn't socialize him or anything. I just wanted him to bite anything that didn't belong on the property. It was a guard dog and that is what I thought I wanted. When my daughter was born and brought home from the hospital, the dog didn't accept her and that was that. It repeatedly demonstrated aggressive behavior towards her (growling and lunging). It wasn't the dog's fault. It was the fault of the ignorant owner (me) who didn't have a clue ... I am dogless at the moment and haven't had a dog since returning the Fila to the breeder 8 years ago. I'm reading books and visiting various forums to learn as much as possible before bringing another dog into the house. I won't make that mistake again.

    So what is actually your concern?

    The OP isn't a concern of mine. Because I read this particular concern over and over, it is obvious that many people don't understand, legally, how and when they can allow their dog to bite someone. Meaning, you can't send your dog after someone who is a distance away, which I've read people saying, and other similar things. Not necessarily on this forum Dan. The OP goes hand in hand with owning a protection dog, and as far as liability is concerned, maybe even as far as training a protection dog is concerned. If it's 'real world' and not sport, then there are real world rules of engagement and it is a vaild topic for the (potential) pd owner and should be understood.

    So, if I'm able to do one on one training with a trainer, then I can bypass the club route? In working with the trainer, does/will the trainer train according to my needs (aside from the foundation training that I wouldn't have any say so over)? I'm not looking for short cuts, cut rate incompetent trainers, or anything like that, I just want a dog who can meet the challenges of my situation (and everyone situation may be different).

    On various forums I read about the concern that people have pertaining to the liability of owning a dog trained to bite. That is a genuine concern when talking about the accidental bite, or the bite that should never have happened because there was no attack ... threats don't count. In the USA just about every state has 'affirmative defense' statutes on the books. I do understand that there is a difference between criminal and civil liability. An affirmative defense basically says 'I did it with an excuse'. Those affirmative defenses to an assault or worse, homicide, are self defense, defense of another and ignorance/mistake. Most states that have any variation of these defenses determine when you can defend yourself against an assailant, and most states first require the victim to 'retreat'. If you do not have the opportunity to retreat, then you can defend yourself and you can only use the amount of force necessary (situation appropriate). In most states you are not expected to retreat from, or in, your own home. If you have the right to defend yourself, then someone else has the right to defend you, meaning that your right to self defense transfers to the person coming to your assistance ... if you had the right to defend yourself to begin with. Ignorance/mistake says that I thought I had to defend myself (or I thought I had to defend my neighbor), but as it turns out, after the fact, I didn't. These are technicalities of law, but they are the instances when you can defend yourself (without liability) ... the dog is just the weapon you chose to do it with. Threat and suspicion do not meet the test because you can retreat from them, even in the house, as long as no one has entered your home, you can retreat to call the police about the person in the yard. Every state is different in how they view the law so maybe we need to be aware of the law before owning the pd, just as we need to know the law before attempting to purchase a firearm. Remember that old saying that 'ignorance of the law is no excuse'.

    I don't have a dog and I'm not a trainer/helper. I am interested in a pd and am trying to learn as much as possible beforehand. Just about all of the pictures and videos of training that I've seen take place on a field with various distractions of some sort. I want a dog to protect me and mine (family and property) in real life. Do trainers ever use real scenarios at the dog owners home (on staircases, in dark hallways, in small rooms, etc.)? How about actual car jacking scenarios? Home invasions? Home invasions where the whole family is home with children screaming, television playing and multiple assailants invading the home? (I haven't read about many single assailant home invasions!!!) In most instances of walking down a street (day or night), the presence of the dog alone is a deterrent unless the assailant is a psycho or intoxicated. But, in the home or car, the assailant(s) may not be aware of the dog's presence, so no deterrence factor. I live in the city of Philadelphia, Pa. and these are the types of crimes that occur that a pd is needed for - home invasions and car jackings. If the dog is only doing bitework on a field, then that takes care of the walking the dog down the street scenario which the dogs presence alone is usually a deterrence. The dog is never a deterrent to drive by shootings, intentional or innocent bystander. So, when we say 'real world' and not sport, when does the 'real world' training begin and where?

    From an educational standpoint the forum has already exceeded my expectations. I'm not intimidated away from asking questions that everyone else may (think they) already know the answer to. Very professional ... very informed. And, it's looking better:thumbsup2:.

    One of the pitfalls when selecting a pup is trying to see things in the pups that are not there. We usually have a lot of hopes when we're considering a litter. Many times we travel a long way to see one. More often than not no pup is going to show you anything exceptional. But you're already there so you try to see the qualities in the pups. At least testing will allow you to select the best pup relative to the other pups in the litter. This I'm sure about. I can select the best pup out of the litter, but that doesn't mean much in the long run if you selected the best out of a mediocre litter.

    Like you said a lot of it is about your expectations, and they should be realistic. It took me about 10 years, if I add up the time I was actively searching for a good dog, to find the one I currently own. This was because early on I got to know a very good dog and afterward couldn't settle for less.

    I hear whispers of PATIENCE lurking in your post:)

    One of the unique things about ppd's is that one size does not fit all. Not only is it unique, it's wonderful, because the end result is determined by the owner's needs. Sharp or aloof. Completely defensive or able to go for the send away bite. Etc. Etc. That's from the owner's perspective. As for the trainer, well, the question is whether or not he can turn out the desired product as needed. There isn't any disagreement Dan, these are just preferences.

    If it's a 'crap shoot' and we're playing with my money then I think I'll toss my own dice, and make my own choices. That's all the more reason for me to be an informed consumer. I've read some other 'selection tests' but I now realize that there is a major difference between the protection sports and personal protection, therefore the tests should be different to some point. Zeb mentioned "...I do not prefer the one that is the most bold or outgoing, but shows a slightly sensitive and reserved side." That is the opposite of what the protection sports would look for. Bold and outgoing would indicate offensive behavior, not defensive, and for me a ppd is defensive (reacting to the threat). I will incorporate your selection test into my decision making.

    .What my concern and where my knowledge lacks is the following; Theoretically the dog passes on its genes as they are present in him having received them from his parents. Looking at it this way it shouldn't matter at what time of his life the dog passes on his genes. I suspect however that environmental factors do affect the passage of these genes. Environment does affect the dog's physiology and psychology. Hormones and chemical balances are different in dogs of differing temperament and/or status. Maybe somehow this carries through to the reproductive system and consequently affects the arrangement/combination of genes which are responsible for temperament and physical traits. I think it takes a very experienced breeder of dogs that bred for a very specific task to be able to answer this question.

    Thanks Dan. At that age the only thing that the dog can offer is it's genes. The question is whether or not training and life experiences (which this dog can't have too much of) affect it's genes in any way. Dan, if you don't know, then I certainly don't.:( In so many words the breeder states that their breeding program is to produce 'strong' and 'civil' dogs (my wording). How much defense drive could you see in a dog that age? Is 8 1/2 months a puppy or young adult for the doberman breed?

    Since the original post I've learned that it is recomended that the breeding dogs be at least 18 months. In order for any health or temperment issues to fully surface in the prospective sire/dam prior to breeding. Also, there aren't any working titles available at that age 8 1/2 months, so the sire/dam couldn't be titled.

    Thank you both, Dan and Zeb. Whether puppy or young adult, would you advise the 'novice consumer' such as myself to select one on his own, or have a pd trainer do it for him? Dan, most of my research is done via the internet and just about all of the breeders I've seen are either show (conformation) or working (sport). I haven't seen any pd breeders.