I trained my dog to be a personal protection dog. He has bit 6 of my friends. What should I do? I don't want to put him down.
Dear Mr. Ed Frawley,
Hi, my name is Justin. I live in Vermont and I have a 1 1/2 year old johnson american bulldog/american pit bull mix. His name is Conrad and I have had him since he was 4 weeks old. Conrad is about 85 lbs and extremly aggressive to anyone he does not know. He is very protective of my house, car, kennel and mostly me. He has already bitten 6 people and just bit my girlfriend the other night but did not break skin. I know I was a little hard on him when he was pup and I wanted a good guard dog, but I did not want to have a dog that does not allow me to have friends over. I muzzle him all the time now and he gets all depessed. He hates my 2 older brothers but loves my younger brother and my parents. He was not socialized with many people when he was a pup and I think that has a lot to do with it. I don't know what to do and I am afraid that if he keeps going down this road I might have to put him down and I don't want that. He is my best friend and extremely loyal to me. I have read your how to deal with different types of dog aggression and my dog falls under all of them. Please help me out. Some good advice or something.
Thank you, Justin
When people ask me how to raise and train a personal protection dog, I will not help them or answer that question. The reason is what you are experiencing right now. When novice dog trainers do this they are going to get other people biten. More people should read about your problem.
Your only solution is going to be control. The dog should never be allowed around strangers and a stranger is everyone but yourself. It needs to be put in a dog crate or a dog kennel when people come over. No one wants to kill one of their dogs because the dog bit someone. But when something like this happens it's not a failure of the dog, it's failure of the owner controlling his dog.
What you can and should do is become a student of marker training. Then study the work I do with Michael Ellis (The Power of Training Dogs with Food and The Power of Playing Tug with Your Dog). Use this work to counter condition the dogs behavior. Learn to get your dog engaged with you (search on engagement in our Video on Demand) and use the tools you learn in these DVDs when the dog is around strangers. Teach the dog that strangers translates into engagement with you. This can be done but it takes a tone of work and dedication.
Bottom line is your dog is currently a DEAD DOG WALKING unless you educate yourself and make the changes I just talked about.