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Discussion Starter #21
For Want of Poodle: "My question is about choosing a breed or a breed type. I think of guardian dogs as divided into livestock guardians, like Maremmas akbash, and Pyrs, shepherds, like German shepherds and Malinois, pure guard breeds, like dobermanns, rottweilers, akita, and mastiffs like cane corsos, bullmastiffs, etc. How would you classify the types and what are the differences? Where do dogs like the Briard, Bouvier, and giant schnauzer fit in(shepherd?)? How would you suggest choosing between breeds or types? I admit to a strong love for those first two types though i lack the acreage for a livestock guardian and the time and stamina for a Malinois- the ones i know make Annie looks slow! My first dog, who i only have the faintest remembrance of was a livestock guardian type who liked to kill coyotes , ward off salespeople and guard small children that didn't belong to her for recreation."


I put the Briard & Bouvier in the herding group.

I don't see a lot of Akitas who go through training & I put my stamp of approval on them for guardianship of humans. They can be quite moody & I've seen a few of them get as grumpy with their handlers as the bad guy.

What you'll want to first consider where you live & your neighbors, how much dog you need for the job you have but also how much dog you can handle. I'm physically strong but I was injured some years back & when my Giant came to me, wow... very powerful dog. I saw her uproot my husband once. She only hopped him forward once & he got a hold on her. Yet she taught herself not to pull or yank on me. In 9 years she never yanks on me even in a full display of guardian work. If she hadn't saw the need & adjusted... I'd have been in trouble. I'm currently working toward self improvement but these kinds of things have to be considered.

Let me give you some other info to consider. Keep in mind when you look at the bite per square inch of pressure this is what the dog is going to use against a bad guy/intruder/attacker.
The breeds listed I was able to find bite pressure per square inch ratings:

Pit Bull 235 PSI
American Bulldog 305 PSI
Dogo Argentino 500 PSI
Cane Corso 700 PSI
Mastiff 556 PSI
Tosa Inu 556 PSI

Kengal 743 PSI
Leonberger 399 PSI
Rottweiler 328 PSI

Malinois 195 PSI
Dutch Shepherd 224 PSI
German Shepherd 238 PSI

Doberman 245 PSI
Great Dane 238 PSI

Labrador 230 PSI
Akita 350-400 PSI

On bite statistics we have (listed in order of worst offenders): Pit Bull, Rottweiler, German Shepherd, Bullmastiff (Presa Canario), Wolf Hybrid, Husky, Akita, Boxer, Chow, Lab, Great Dane, Mastiff, Doberman, Cane Corso, Blue Heeler, St Bernard, Australian Shepherd, Golden Retriever. There were also mixes of the above breeds on the list.

The reason I posted bite statistics is this is very important concerning your guardian/bodyguard & insurance companies. The way the world is turning, I decided long ago to seek out guards that were not on the list for as long as that was possible. And yes, you can be denied coverage or your premiums go through the roof because you have certain breeds.

So when you are selecting your future guardian breed this can lead to huge heartbreak if your insurance company says NO. My sister had picked a Doberman puppy, so excited to finally get another dobie in her life when she found out her insurance was going to TRIPLE or she would be canceled. I was able to get insurance but the man who did the farm/home visit told us, "keep your mouth shut. I see dogs. You don't tell me what kind they are... ever." But he spent a couple of hours with us, watching us put dogs in & out for bathroom & exercise while he was there. Dogs going from crate to yard with no leash, on command & behaved well. He told me he'd been bitten by hunting dogs & some heelers. He was scared of our kind of dogs except at our house.

So you also look at & consider where you life & neighbors. Livestock guardians are not good at worrying about fences so if you live on acreage but your neighbors aren't going to appreciate big Anatolian visiting to look after their cows or driving off dogs that they don't think belong there. Where we just moved from, we had a neighbor with a mixed LSG (livestock guard) & she's nearly come to lawsuits or major fights with neighbors because her dog thinks it dictates on everyone's property so if you bring in new livestock, she tries to drive them off. This can be a HUGE problem. If you have lots of visitors & company visiting family or a house full of neighbor kids, the Russian Ovcharka, not likely your dog they resent strangers in their domain. If you're a bookworm & not always on the go go go with activity, don't get a Mal or Dutch Shepherd.

I can tell you the Giant Schnauzer is very hard to get to adulthood without wanting to kill them. They are NAUGHTY & crazy puppies. Gotta have tons of exercise but once grown, they are wonderful. My girl is gettting older & it's hard to imagine life without her. She has one goal in life... protecting ME & the tiny dogs. She loves & adores my husband but I'm HER human.

if you pick out some breeds & tell me a bit about what you want I can give you pros/cons. I'll help you any way I can. Let me know if I'm still not answering you well.
 

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I think the breeds I'm interested in are Cane Corsos and Giant schnauzer's. You've listed the cons/pros of schnauzer's, but what about Corsos? I'm looking to buy one either of the two when I settle down hopefully in the suburbs. Do you recommend it? If so, are there any particular lines you're fond of?
 

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Discussion Starter #23
I have heard nice things about the Outlaw line of Cane Corsos. As I dont know the breeder or his work, I cant endorse him. He had info about the breed from an expert in Italy that was interesting on his site. When I was considering the breed myself an old breeder said they're not a good match for me because I keep more than one dog. They can develope issues with dog aggression in same sex dogs. But of the ones I've seen in the last few years, ive seen were skittish. Also seems to be some heart issues taking dogs too soon.

My Goant did well in the suburbs. Dont know about the CC

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(Sorry in advance for this long thread! I suck at summarizing)

I keep reading through this thread and digesting more, thank you! Last night i started working Annie with feet up on a wheelbarrow. Today she hopped in on her own, i will try lifting it in a session or two.

i grew up about a kilometer through heavy forest and swamp from my nearest neighbour. Tend to forget about boundary and neighbour issues :)
A good reminder about insurance , i have never been asked about dogs on mine but i am sure that is coming here, too.

I am 3 to 4 years out from another dog, which may not even be a guardian type (considering a mini or small standard) depending on life circumstances, but... I researched poodles for 5+ years before Annie and like to be prepared.

Breeds i have experience with either owning or training: poodle, border collie crosses (not neurotic , farm dogs) , hounds, yorkie, labs (show and working), goldens, corgi, St. Bernard, cocker spaniel cross, Airedale, Australian shepherds (show and working ), australian cattle dogs (working ), english shepherds (working).

My favourites are probably my poodle, the collies, the english shepherd, and the cattle dog. Love working line herders. The ones i would never want to own myself are the labs, hounds, and terriers.

Dog Traits i value : eyes on me , good health, nonshedding/ low shedding/seasonal shedding, confidence, an attitude, brains , bounce back from scares, desire to keep working (my collie cross could learn new tricks faster than i could think of them and keep asking for MORE ), dogs who are aware of and control their strength, being polite (reserved is ok) with most strangers if i am around , friendly with known friends, good for a home with multiple dogs, reliable recall. Adaptable, can bring anywhere (public transit, stores, etc). Relatively relaxed but watchful and who will assess threats with good judgement.

Not - unpredictable or untrustworthy, not handler attentive, poor health/ bad joints

i like offleash hiking and camping and think dogs need to run. I love the water and wish my dog would swim with me and ride on top my kayak. Dont like letting dogs go wild and value obedience training and early socialization. I have no issues with owning a 150 lb dog again, but like the 50 lb, carryable size of my spoo.

Annie and i do one or two training sessions a day, a few short walks, one longer walk, trip to a new location, offleash park trip, offleash hike, ball session, or dog sport class each day. Thats about the right activity level for me. I do obedience stuff to tire her out on walks and during the day.

Breeds i have never met but am curious about:
Tervuren/Groenendel - i see people say they are overly shy, but love the idea of a lighter weight dog guardian (50 lb) i can pick up, and the brains. I have heard they have a better off switch than the Mals.
Giant Schnauzers like the idea of them, yours sounds lovely though maybe too sharp for me, worry they may be too terrier like and independent.

Briards- hard to find, but another working dog with a low shedding coat i dont know enough about.

Komondor- not suitable for me any time soon. Never met one outside of Europe, where they are definitely not dogs to approach without their owners. Wonder if you have met any?

Beauceron??? like the short coat and build, but do not know enough about them.

Dogs i have met impressive examples of but i dont want to own: rottweiler, doberman, bullmastiffs, boxer, cane corso

Dogs i have met and liked
Bouvier - met one who worked in a store with his owner. Loved how he watched me, assessed me, and chose to greet me, and made it clear it was his store and he could be over the divider and at me in 3 seconds if he chose to (and sneaked out to better meet me when his owner wasnt paying attention) . Neat to watch his behaviour when a different person entered, moved away from me to be between me and new guy so he could see us both, at a distance to make sure the new person wasn't gonna try anything . Definitely a thinker. But slower dogs .

German shepherds - not a fan of many, occasionally meet a highly impressive beautifully behaved, focused, and confident one, or one who is a way better dog than the owners deserve. Probably they shed too much and have too many health issues...

Sorry for the small novel! Are any of those breeds ones I should consider, and are there others i should look at?
 

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Ugh, that sucks. With such a large dog and my preference for female dogs (I hate hormonal-related behaviors of males and their “lipstick” keeps me a way lol. Pats on the head, back and licks only), I would never take the chance. I wonder what you would suggest, if you don't mind? I really enjoy a dog that listens and is alert. A dog that's loyal and shows affection, but it's not too much/something they'll grow out of as years pass on. I'd have to say that like Floofy, I wouldn't mind something low shedding, however it's not priority. I don't know if it's possible, but a dog that's aware of their size too? I do love small breeds equally.
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Peggy's best (only? lol) friend is a Briard. She is the most confident dog I've ever met, imported from Hungary. She was completely unfazed by her transatlantic journey and marched into her first puppy class like she'd been there a dozen times before.

View attachment 469331
That's the kind of Briard I went looking for. Just had trouble finding one. The youngster I handled had a stubborn streak a mile wide but... I was the 5th trainer this pup was handed to. Nice pup just wasnt going to be pushed around. She would bark out at strangers to back them off but not for the owner. The owner was pretty furious


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I love love love my terriers, even though my own JRT is a pain sometimes. However, I'm curious as to how one would go about training a terrier for protection work? Wouldn't the massive prey drive and general attitude be a bit of an issue? I haven't had the pleasure of meeting an Airedale or a Black Russian IRL, although they seem to be gorgeous dogs and well-put-together.

The dogs I'm most interested in from your list would be the Spoo (of course), Boxer, Airedale, Black Russian, Schnauzers, Briard, Kelpie, Heeler, and pretty much any shepherd, although I favor the German shepherd and the Belgian breeds for that group. It surprises me that you put Redbones on there, although if Where the Red Fern Grows is true to the breed, I guess I shouldn't be!

FWOP captures what I do and don't want in a dog pretty much exactly, although I don't have allergies/don't really mind cleaning the hair everywhere, so shedding is not as much of an issue.

As for activity level, I typically go on a mile run in the mornings, and then a 1/2 mile walk. Sometimes Misty will come with me on the run. Fluffy can't because of his knees, but joins us on the walk. Later in the day we'll usually do a training session and another 1/2 mile walk. On rare occasions we do that multiple times, depending on how hyped up I am/the dogs are. I also like to hike. When Misty was a lot younger, we'd also do agility on equipment that I built out of scraps left over from my dad's projects. Maybe not the safest of things to do it on, but we both had fun. About once a month or so, though, I need to stay in the house and chill in bed for health reasons, so any dog I get has to be able to settle down for a day or two.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
Forwantofpoodle & floofy I'm gonna tackle your posts tomorrow

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Peggy's best (only? lol) friend is a Briard. She is the most confident dog I've ever met, imported from Hungary. She was completely unfazed by her transatlantic journey and marched into her first puppy class like she'd been there a dozen times before.

View attachment 469331
Sounds like very Hungarian dog lol.

The coyote killing dog i mention above was a hungarian kuvasz, bred to killl wolves, and the komondors are supposed to be more formidable guardians (!!!). I have family there, and have said that if i was ever to get one i would import from Hungary, as the dogs are much healthier and still worked there. So i will keep that in mind of i ever want a briard puppy!
 

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Discussion Starter #32
FloofyPoodle,

Terriers should all be sold with little leather jackets & a warning that "quite" isn't really in their vocabulary. In the Schnauzers, the Standard is the oldest of the 3 breeds (& they are 3 separate breeds, different ingredients to make the three sizes & the traits that make them unique). The Mini shows the strongest terrier traits, the Standard more so than the Giant but not as much as the Mini. So if you like the terriers & you have a knack for handling them, you simply understand how to bring out what you need from those fiesty little buggers. The Black Russian Terrier has really made changes in the last 15-20 years. The first one I ever saw came over from it's homeland with it's family. Very serious beast. It would be wise to advise anyone that lives in high heat & high humidity areas, the BRT does not do well in heat. They're not bred for it. The working Airdale are amazing dogs when you can find one near the balance point. I spend some time testing a few things to see how much is that the dog has been allowed to let its prey drive get out of control vs a dog with prey drive that's through the roof to the point of it being a problem. Make no mistake about it, a dog who just mindlessly chases anything spunky that goes past him... not a safe guardian. I know trainers who have had trouble with terriers because they will break bones, harm themselves going after the thing they are after. It does you no good if you have a home invasion & the dog is so focused on get the bad guy that he does something to himself & bleeds out or can't function. His job is to help you to get away. So this can be problematic. I love terriers & grew up with them. It's amazing their tenacity but it's gotta work for you.

I've seen one working guardian Boxer in the last 20 years. A big, beautiful, old style bred dog who was owned by a woman who trained dogs for soldiers in Viet Nam. Unfortunately someone talked her into neutering him. She had no idea how hard this type of Boxer was getting but he had the fire & could bring it in a moment's notice. Fascinating woman & dog.

Heelers & Chessies (from the hunting group) have the same issue. They can be very laser focused on ONE person. So if you have a family or have lots of family/friends that come over you have to be super careful because they can get to the point they are intolerant of anyone. Not all. I know an old rancher whose heelers held 8 guys while the old guy drove over to a neighbor's to use the phone, the neighbor & his sons returned to find all 8 guys terrified to come out of the old corn crib in the barn from the dog watching the door to the two that were steadily working their way toward tearing into that corn crib. I adore Kelpies. They are extremely active & often get into trouble because if you don't exercise them... they will entertain themselves & create their own work. I have a niece with a couple of old adopted Kelpies. Great dogs with her child. I like them all :)

I came from hunting dog country & there are a lot of Redbone Coonhounds. The same grit that will have that dog squaring off against a 50-60 pound boar coon can be used to protect their humans from bad people. The most notorious one that I remember with great love & affection belonged to a youngster. His Dad was a single dad who jerked his kid out of the city after he was grazed in a drive by shooting by a warring gang. Moved the kid to po-dunk-junction & the kid didn't fit in & hated EVERYTHING. But a good friend conned me into allowing him to come tracking with my guys. I don't have a lot of kid experience (my step kids were teens when I came on the scene) & our Grandson was not a typical kid. So I just laid out the rules, obey them or you get the boot, ask questions when we are all standing around post track. He wanted to work with us more than he wanted to get into trouble so we ended up with our kid & when his Dad could afford it he bought his kid a puppy, a Redbone. Another local trainer really rained on his parade over Peaches. The kid was crushed, the Dad did not have the money for a $2500 puppy to work with us & was too proud to tell me the issue. Good grief anyone of us would have given the kid a pup if we knew he could have one for free but the Dad has his pride. I had him bring Peaches to me. And before she was 6 months old, she was accurately mantracking & when one of the guys came out of the brush, Peaches went full blown attack dog. As the boy had handled my 98 pound bruiser, he remembered what to do. The rest is history. Peaches lived to be 14 years old & died curled up next to her master while he was home on leave from serving his country. Peaches is not the only Redbone we've trained with who was far better than given credit for. As with most of the hunting breeds, their noses get them into trouble though & it depends on if the dog is willing to override that to work with you in other ways. Some are not. In fact if you ever track with Bloodhound puppy (don't try it with an adult unless you are super strong, have long endurance, & can cover ground like they do). Some of these hunting breeds resent you interfering with them or slowing them down & it creates conflict not conducive to the work we are talking about. While I'm at it, sometimes the English Shepherd can be a great option but it's been a long time since I went looking for one for this type of work.

For people who are runners, hikers if you're consistent enough, the more active members will do well. The Giant Schnauzer loves to eat up the ground but I am not a runner (I'm built like a concrete cinder block). Some of the big heavy breeds may view your need for running as a large annoyance. A breeder friend of mine who used to breed Russian Ovcharkas used to run his fence lines to his property every day. He took a pair of his dogs with him. Someone gifted him a molosser pup of another breed. I can't remember right now which breed but it saw no reason to go farther than it took to be able to see the house. They'd leave the pup where it sat & when they returned, she'd be in the same spot they left her. This was not a plus to my friend.
 

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Discussion Starter #33
ForWantofaPoodle,

You had me breed shopping online last night. You & I share the need to research in common. If everyone did it might be better for dogs & humans alike. I'm an information junkie. And no worries about the length of your posts, as you can see from mine, I'm not so hot at summarizing. With the written word I find I am sometimes misunderstood because I don't go in depth enough or I go too in depth & the reader glazes over from overload. LOL It's not deliberate.

I hope my Standard Poodle continues as he is in the Guardian department because I'd be okay with another one when it's time. He's just wonderful to live with & raise. He's having a pest phase right now with the girls (my other dogs) but that's to be expected. The Giant's allergies are acting up & he's insistent he can clean her eyes & she's not always receptive to his good intentions. LOL My girl is 9 & never had issues other than occasional watery eye but we've moved to this location & there's something that's triggered my husband (normally not allergy sensitive), me & the Giant. We just haven't figured out what it is.

Now let's wade through some of these breeds. I wish I had a source in Hungary myself. If they're producing dogs like this... oh my! I have an acquaintance who has two male rough coated Collies & they are a terror when it comes to protecting their family complete with full on bite work. The older male's sire came from Hungary & the dam is in Ireland. The man went over there & was nearly bitten by their collie (he thought the collie would be like the ones over here). The Collie said how dare you touch me or enter my gate without the master's permission. He learned a lesson & convinced the lady of the house to let him buy a puppy. I'd take one of his pups in a heartbeat but he's having trouble finding females that would cross with his 2 males.

In the traits you value, the low shedding narrows the field more than anything. Poodle, Giant/Standard Schnauzer (they don't shed but have hair so they drop hair like a human, they don't expel/shed. So you do have some hair but it's not like having a shepherd or the Collie... oh the Collie hair!). Airdales are like the Giant in the hair department.

And I gotta tell you when I read about you & water, loving to camp & the dog going on the Kayak. You might really dig into the Giant Schnauzer. The black members of the breed tend to love the water. My dog's breed suspects the Spoo is in that variety of the breed & that the Wolfhound or something similar is in the Salt/Pepper variety as they show signs of the traits of a breed like that. They will scan the horizon & spot even the smallest thing out of order. I am forever reading about people taking their Giants camping, hiking, canoeing , etc... Just remember those buggers will go off on a bear or anything else they feel threatens you. My husband says the first two years the breeders should provide two gallons of aspirin tablets & booze. They get pretty good from there. LOL The Standard would be more the size you like but just as there are in the SPOO, you can find Giants that aren't soo large. Either would be at home on your kayak if you start them young. Standards are used for police work in Europe & are very hardy & healthy overall. I favor the S/P over the blacks in Standards though. I don't know why. Standard Schnauzers are in the size you like but I am told many of them are like living with little military generals. They rule the roost over everyone except their leaders.

Breeds you're curious about:
Tervurens: I think they're beautiful but the ones I've met or trained with were skittish & nervy compared to their cousins the Malinois. When you find a steady one, they are nice dogs. I haven't seen a lot of them do well as guardians but nice pets & obedience dogs.

Groenendel: I've only met a couple of these & they were not interested in anyone except their handler (which is normal for that family). The Mal, Terv, Groenendel, Belgian Shepherdog are all in the same family & were bred a little different to separate them.

You mentioned the Giant & that mine might be a little sharp. Honest there are Giants who are used for therapy dogs (I have a friend whose died by was a very active therapy dog). Mine is also a velcro dog. I do nothing alone & haven't for 9 years. There are Giants good with babies, children, & just hang out with everyone all the way to the dogs from Europe that you do not touch if you aren't their human so it's a wide swing of temerament.

Briards: The one in the picture with Peggy the Parti, that's what i had been looking for. I really loved the one I had in training but I could not get the owner to let me buy her :( She had zero respect or tolerance for that human. I have never found another one that I really liked & found to be solid except imports who their owners wouldn't part with

Komondors: Oh they are little fireballs & if you have one of these protecting you... you sleep well. Someone brought me one & they thought it was a poorly bred Poodle. They'd shaved off his cords & brought him in on 4 leashes & 6 humans to get it done. The vet wanted to put him down but sent them to me because they knew i wouldn't beat the dog up & if there was any hope for him, we were it. Neat dog. His problem was he had been dog napped off a sheep ranch with his sheep. I didn't really know anything but contacted police asking if anyone had reported sheep, goats, calves stolen. Him & I figured each other out but he was an imposing dog & part rubber band as he could escape & be back on you for a fight before you even realized you lost your grip on his leash. He finally realized I wasn't going to 'grab' him, let me put a leash & collar on him. He walked 5 feet out from me & watched me & everyone else. Finally convinced the vet to check him for chips without a muzzle. Found he was chipped & located his owner which led them to check barns in our area & wow, yes he & the sheep were stolen from Montana. Got him returned to his owner & you've never seen such a happy pair. Poor guy was not accustomed to being handled by anyone except 2 humans & their children. They were weeping, he was in heaven, & the entire staff of the clinic & the 'foster' home were bawling our eyes out. Never seen a dog like that before. It was beautiful. They bond very tightly to their trusted human

Beaucerons: I would try one & will probably be in so much trouble when I drag one home some day but I love the breed. The ones I knew & worked were much more coarse dogs than what you see breeders working. One of the two who put the hurt on me in training was 110 pounds. Solid muscle. This would also be an excellent candidate for camping, kayaking, etc... I'm not sure if they're into swimming or not but I'm telling you, like the doberman, they've got eyes that can freeze a man's soul if he's got bad thoughts in his head. I've had a female Beauce who looked at me & brought the hair up on the back of my neck. I was in line to get one of her puppies but she & her owner were killed in a car crash :( They are one of my favorites when bred right.

Bouviers: I like them but their grooming needs. Ugh, they get wet & their hair will sour. I've known a few Bouv breeders who all said the same thing. If you value a clean house or you have allergies, rethinkt he Bouvier. They pack in everything. I like them but prefer the mind of the Giant

Because you are active, you might enjoy a Mal IF (that's a big if) you could find someone who is using them for farm work (not talking about just showing but actually breeding what they work & working what they breed). My girl was NOT what 99% of the people would want to live with. I had been hit by a car as a pedestrian & had a lot of messed up spine I dealt with. I sat in the floor & had gone quite (I know, unbelieveable right? LOL) while my husband talked to a client we were going to be training a dog for who I did not like (the man not the dog). The man was a pompous jerk who was an expert on dogs & dog behavior but couldn't train his pup. I think everyone knows the type. Ego the size of the grand canyon with little reason for it. I also suspect he was an abusive bully. I had my Malinois laying on my left side between myself & the client. I was in the floor, the dog laying up against me from hip to knee. I felt her breathing shift, she was snoozing. AT one point a disk in my back slipped & pinched a nerve. I went numb from the waist down except for the p-a-i-n. Yeesh. Awful. I never said a word, didn't make any sounds. At that point my husband was demonstrating to the client about how people behave the draws the dog into suspicion & causes a bite. He reached out like he was going to grab me. That little Mal went from snoozing to action in less than a second. She was in motion & I was just fast enough to get my hand up to clamp my index & middle finger by her muzzle as I said, "it's okay, leave it" Husband looked at us sort of puzzled & kept talking. I had to stop him & tell him talk to her. she doesn't understand why you threatened me. He spoke to her, "Sorry girl, you know I wouldn't hurt Mom" & went to finish what he was saying except the client & had death grip on his son & they were both plastered to the back of the couch holding his breath, white as a ghost. He believes dogs only bite out of fear ( this is a wrong & foolish notion). He demanded to know why my husband would let me have a dog like that. (LOL, let me) My husband never blinked, "Mister, that dog's job is to see to it that NO ONE hurts my wife... even me. If I do something to harm my wife, I expect that dog to do her best to stop me & if I wouldn't stop because I'd lost my mind, I'd expect her to try to kill me." I think my heart grew 10 sizes that day. My husband meant it. It took a bit for my dog to forgive him & the only reason I had time to save him from a bite was because he is Dad & she has never seen him be violent toward me. Understand just how little that movement was. He slowly acted as if he were going to grab me (I mean slow, nothing sudden or abrupt). The dog's response was so strong because of what happened to me with my spine. She knew I couldn't defend myself. So Malinois can be hair trigger BUT IF you can find someone breeding & using them on a farm... might be just what you want. They do shed though.

Let me know if I missed something
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Now I've shared with you the story of my Malinois would could go on a person due to muscle tension changes (like if we were shaking hands & I released & you didn't. The change in muscle tension... boom. It wasn't that she was a vicious, quite the opposite, she was thinking & clear headed. In comparison, my Giant would go from la-tee-da, these visitors are no big deal to being very quiet & super alert at the point you reach your hand out. She'd be reading you like a book. If she read something she didn't like she would move into position & coil like a snake. If you were one of those people who wanted to just "see what she'd do" (btw, foolish thing to try with one of my dogs as mine tend to be fairly high octane) she's apt to punch you, using her forehead like a gigantic fist. She's accurate & the one time she got me (because I stepped in the way) it hurt for more than a week.

Because of how I raise them, my dogs tend to be sharp. I grew up with dogs like that. Dogs tend to step down their game to accommodate their handlers so when you have a handler who shapes them into guardian work, they tend to roll with it. When I got my Giant, she's out of pure show lines all my handlers poked at me because "what are you going to do with a show pony?" The first time some of them met her they swore she couldn't have come from a show kennel. I showed them the paperwork. But in fairness to the breeder, she is not breeding dogs for just for the show ring. She's had dogs go into Schutzhund, bodyguard work, etc... So when I was so very specific in what I wanted, she provided. But those first 2 years... lol. Here's an example so you have an idea of what I'm talking about. As I've done a lot of mantracking work, I tended to be very set in my habit patterns: come home from work, walk up stairs, greet dogs & husband, put my backpack in a certain place & my purse behind it. One day I was coming up the stairs, hubby was fixing dinner, everything was going wrong in the kitchen, smoke rolling & he saw me & said, "can you come help me real quick?" Of course I tossed my bags at the couch & went to help him before he dropped a hot pan full of food. Well, once we had crisis averted the Giant exploded, executing a bark & hold & there was no stopping her until the problem was solved. My husband says, "I think that dog is mental" (this is often said of young Giants) & I go in to check (this is the handler's job, the young dog finds a problem, you have to go clear it, shoot it, or call 911). So I go in & she has her nose inches from my purse (you see to her, this item was in the wrong place, anything out of place is an issue & unsafe to her handler so it must be fixed). Same thing happened when my husband's coffee mug sprang a leak & the gas station replaced it for him: same color, same identical mug. I even called the station & they checked for me it was the same manufacturing lot as the original yet the dog knew that was NOT the same & she barked & held it until I cleared it. I gave her the "I got it" & had her sit/stay. I picked the cup up, looked it over, showing a good amount of attention to it, took the lid off, smelled the contents. It took me awhile to figure out her crisis over the cup but she was absolutely accurate. It was NOT the same cup. God bless this dog's breeder because no matter how many times I wrote to find out if her behavior was normal, she patiently answered. I always asked (because I know this lady is super busy) 1) is this normal for the breed or 2) specific to this individual dog. All of it, every time, normal for breed.

Now for everyone who wants to raise their pup to be a keen guardian. This is the kind of stuff you do. So when I got Mr. Layne, I watched him watching the other dogs. If my Giant ran to the window & popped up on a chair to see if someone was in our drive, his ears would go up. I would ask in a very calm tone, "Is it somebody?" & I only did this when I knew it was actually someone. Being a Standard Poodle, he catches little deeper is than many other breeds. He's up there with my Malinois in perception. It's not uncommon for the others to be going nuts & he's just like, "i don't see what their deal is." So you adjust to each individual. For my Giant as a youngster when she sees something it's such an explosion of barking I have to be very calm. When it was someone, she would get, "GOOD watch. Good watch," & it's the tone I use that dogs start working for... oh they want that kind of approval. For Mr. Layne, I go quiet, "What do you see?" If he barks or better, growls... I insure it is someone & he gets the "GOOD watch". He tends to coil back like a snake & if he leaps forward, I've never worked with a decoy who could get out of his way because he's got a big leap forward when he springs. I have a phrase I use when it's a friendly person that is not a threat. Like when our kids/grandkid comes to see us. I'll use as an example the one my Giant's breeder suggests as it's very common & easy to remember. She waves & calls out, "Hi, how are ya!" & it's in a nice friendly greeting tone & the Giants know this is her 'cool it, it's okay... we love this person'. And you should have a pass word/phrase or item that is used by dog sitters or house sitters so your helper doesn't get eaten.


I'm not trying to overload you but anyone reading this, it's important to understand what you're getting into. Mr. Layne is a very fast & athletic dog. If he didn't have the kind of mind to want to please me, I could never trust him to take him farther but he is all in. My Giant is such a natural guardian. She's helping with his training but he's got the natural umph.
 

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Ok- so on my list are a giant or a standard schnauzer (only met a mini), a beauceron, a briard (but be careful to find a good one), a farm working mal, and , because i do love them, an english shepherd. Thank you that was incredibly helpful.

I can handle some shedding- if i am in the right house , bathe them often, and dont allow the dog to sleep in my room (so not my old apartment). Do prefer dogs who shed seasonally though. I love my standard, and will probably always have a poodle now. She makes me laugh and smile just watching her. But i do miss having a herding breed dog.

Honestly, glad to hear about maybe a farm malinois. I know two Mals, i love them both, both are WAY too much dog for their owners and too much energy for me, but.... i could have a lot of fun with one, they are so focused and driven to do ALL the things lol, and so fearless about new things. " . One owner was a first time dog owning family, told at the pound it was a collie shepherd cross. But... it kept 3 athletic teens busy to exercise it. The other is one of those guys who takes a malinois to a dog park (??? I used to go to one any time it was snowing, super windy, or raining like mad, so that often we could have it to ourself. Usually this guy was there ), barks commands in german that the dog ignores, and then ignores him to talk to his buddies and tells me how i should raise Annie ...

I screwed up with annie and water. Had her play and follow me on slippery wet rocks in may, age 5 months or so, first experience with a lake. Slipped in, was scared, and at age 1.5 will only now after a lot of work willingly play in the shallows. She loves to boat and to canoe, but perching on my kayak? No. Hopping in to a canoe from more than ankle deep water? No. Slow work in progress.
i am used to hysterics about minute changes. Trixie, the yorkie, spent her first year freaking out anytime ANYTHING changed. The garbage cans are out? Omg. There is a piece of paper in the hall. Omg. Someone on the walking route got a new decoration. Omg. There is a new pipe sticking out on that house. Omg. There is a Christmas tree. Omg, someome added a present under the christmas tree. Etc. Sometimes we couldn't see what the change was, but i am sure she was right!

As for a password/safe signal, definitely agree. Annie is not a natural guardian... mostly. But she is not a fan of people walking towards me at night. She gets between me and them, big black dog, and barks, deep, serious barks, shiny white teeth, if they are heading for me. Last camping trip it was a group of kids and their mom , i was waiting at my car for a friend . I said hello. They ignored me i said it again 3 times, dog getting more worked up. Finally said, i need you to say hello or talk so my dog knows you are friendly . Mom said hello begrudgingly, i replied its a nice night. Annie flipped into her normal, "oh, hi person! So happy to see you!! " Mode as the woman stalked past with her gaggle of children. i am sure she thought i had a psycho poodle, but i was pretty content with her. I lived and walked a lot downtown in a poor city, past bars and some homeless shelters in the dark, past abandoned and falling down warehouses, etc at my old apartment with her, i dont mind her being protective of me when people are approaching at night, and yeah, they were afraid of her and their body language was weird, and they were a large group stalking silently towards us at night. One night she warned me the same way, serious barks, when i was being (possibly deliberately) followed home by a man and his akita. Good dog. On the other hand, the second time my dad met her, first time my puppy saw him at my old apartment, i left a key just in case he got there first, came home to find my dad and my 5 mo puppy on the porch. Never even barked when he came in, opened the crate, leash on, etc. And the rottie she is afraid of, she hides behind me! But, i wanted an easy first dog of my own and i more or less got one :)

How did you get into tracking?
 

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Discussion Starter #36
I started out trying show or sport tracking but my heart wasnt in it. I knew it's not how I was tracked by dogs as a child. I learned about foot step tracking, trailing & air scent but I met up with a very old world trainer who started dogs off tracking their handler, then a stranger. No trying to make the dog keep his head down to scent. It was just a human, a track line, & a scent I couldn't smell but the dog could. Thrilling work if you've enough patience. It's a very ritualistic type of thing. I had fun seeing how dogs overcame difficulties on a track. Water, wind, time of day, weather conditions affect the scent but the dog is capable.

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Discussion Starter #37
Okay, just in, I was able to get in contact with someone who has had & lived with some Cane Corsos fairly recently. Hers did fine with multiple dogs in the house hold however the caveat on this is that she & her dad tolerated ZERO dog aggression from the time the arrived until they passed on. This is how it's done in my house hold. I just won't put up with it. My dogs all freeze & look to me when my Giant corrects my SPOO. I then correct the pup & tell the Giant to stand down. You CAN NOT DO THIS unless the dog correcting is a dog you know, trust & you are on top of the situation. If my Giant was 3 years old & the SPOO was being a brat I'd correct him & I'd stop her before she had a chance to correct him. This sort of thing can explode so fast you can't blink before there is blood everywhere. But 9 years with the old girl, I know she's given him every opportunity to knock it off before she finally makes her stand. A slow, overly exaggerated snap at his face all the while she's making this sound (you know the kind I'm talking about, the sort that mothers do when they're just about to get drastic with their kids). She said the Cane Corsos she's had were couch potatoes & protectors. That's about it. She said the one thing she had a hard time getting used to was the drool. Lots of drool. Not just when drinking water. So there is that. And from our conversation I would say this is no breed for someone who is not particularly assertive or has trouble being in charge because these dogs require leadership.

I also just got information that explains why I got some of the answers I did. The breed was nearly wiped out in the 80's & had to be revived. During that time it takes some time, a lot of effort, & many breedings to get the breed back to it's normal. Plus you get ya-whos who are self proclaimed experts who jumped on the Corso band wagon because they're big & powerful, tough dogs when it's their ego their feeding rather than taking care of properly breeding. So they'd not be out of the question for living in the house with multiple dogs same sex or not, but you're the cooler. Either you drive the bus or you'll have a mess to clean up & it must start when they're pups. Dirty looks & growls not tolerated & I gotta tell you, if you ever look into the eyes of the CC pup... there's a fire in there & there is a look so you'll have to quickly become an expert on your pup so you can tell the regular face from the 'gonna fight' face. It's very subtle different.

Much the same has been done with the Pit Bull except that breeding has gone bad in most cases. Honestly if you'd met well bred Pits when I was a kid, they weren't prone to going off on humans. I sat between a breeding pair as a very small child & I picked thorns out of the big male, while resting my back against the female's chest. I was in no danger of the dog even though the thorn sites had to be painful. The master got me peroxide & tweezers & I worked for hours. The old boy never moved, never once complained or nipped. And when I had to dig a really deep one out & I cried because I knew it hurt him, he washed my face. These were the dogs of old. I've seen the same male square off against a very mean bull & won. He wasn't used for bullfighting, he was used to save his master when the neighbor's bull came over & tore up fences coming after the man.

So I'm sorry for the confusion. This revival of the breed does explain much of the weird things I've seen & then of course due to them being big, tough dogs you have the idiots that come out of the wood work & bad breeding follows. The breed is supposed to be bred for higher intelligence than your average molosser breed. But when the kids disguised as men get involved & they go for bigger is better, wanting the biggest, baddest, (you know all the extreme they can come up with) they destroy everything they touch in the breed.

So this is current information as my contact had her dogs within recent years.
 

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The many standard poodles I have had over the years have all been appropriately protective of person and property. I have also had German Shepherds, but no longer - too much shedding and too many health issues. Actually, I think most dogs are protective of their persons when they perceive a threat.
 

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I think I'd be more than capable of that. I feel like whenever there's a powerful breed, mankind always feels the need to make them bigger and more aggressive because they feel that's what makes a guard dog a guard dog. It's horrible. I've been looking into Came corsos for awhile, but not in detail. I hope they remain the same.
 

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Discussion Starter #40
Johanna,

When I started looking for a guardian SPOO most thought I was a little touched in the head. I had breeders who wouldn't even talk to me despite my explanation that I did NOT want a vicious Poodle. I was looking for a dog with a very good mind who had natural guardian instincts. Natural in that if they perceived a threat the dog would make a show of warning (this is where you hope the bad guys will leave), but if need by the dog will go to the mat to protect the handler. I got laughed at a lot except I trained with 2 SPOOs (a silver & a white) who were nanny guardians (they protected their children from the nanny should that adult ever become aggressive with the children). I've worked with quite a few of these dogs & must admit with the exception of 1 breeder up north (not a Poodle person) I've not seen better dogs for the job of protecting children. These two were trained to trigger an alarm which would alert the parents. The nannies all had to sign a contract & waiver that they understand the conditions that they were working under. Excellent minds on those two dogs & they were so gentle with the kids & their many different pets (including a parrot, a chinchilla, guinea pigs, etc...) but when it came to manwork... bam... they turned on the heat. So I knew it was possible but it took me awhile to find my boy. Right now he's a little goofy, going through another phase on his way to adulthood but just about 2 hours ago when they saw someone on our property that didn't belong, he hit the fence like a Doberman or my Giant Schnauzer. I can do everything through training & rearing except provide the genetics which has that dog made with a leaning toward protecting what's theirs.

Luluspoo,
I wish I had a picture of some of these pups. Think Superman lazer beam eyes & that's when they're happy! LOL I nearly gave a friend cardiac issues when I went to help with one at a pet shop once. The young CC had no desire whatsoever to do this nonsense that was taking place in puppy training class. The poor young lady who was conducting the class thought she'd just take the leash & exert her leadership & the CC pup scared her... badly. Big burly pup & when he growled it sounded like it came from the pits of hades. This young trainer had been in the store when one of her co-workers tried to argue with me about collars & it did not go well for the impertinent youth. She looked at me & mouthed the word, 'help'. I'm thankful to be in the right place at the right time because it would be a shame for her to be scared off training. The young lady had promise. So I introduced myself & offered to work with the CC who at this point had plopped her butt down & was death glaring at the world, including a grunt at the owner. The pup was seriously ticked off. The owner told me what they were doing to socialize the pup & they were doing a good job. Always remember Molosser dog minds click differently than a poodle or a shepherd or doberman. It took 45 minutes to get the dog comfortable & the pup decided I was okay. I made no demands, never tried for the leash, & did not want the pup to go in circles for no reason the pup could see. Sometimes with a serious minded pup like this one, you sneak the training on them in a way that doesn't feel like training. Next I sat in the floor & we had a conversation. "Don't like all this stupid stuff, huh?" Puppy glares & makes a harumphing sound. I put my hand in front of the sitting pup & said in a slow, exaggerated command tone "D-O-W-N" as I tapped the concrete floor with my nails. First pup slapped at my hand & followed it down. I told the handler to praise pup by saying, "GOOD down" try to mimick how i said it & the tone I used. The handler did very well. I basically cleaned the floor at that store with my butt that day but puppy's training came along & had sit, down, heel without Pup ever knowing training was happening. I was a little appalled to learn that class had stopped & they all wanted to watch the show as I'd tuned out everything but the pup & handler. I had to explain this won't work with some of their dogs as their dogs minds just work differently but in digging for information for you here, I ran across this memory in my training files & thought I'd share it.

I also ran into an article that speaks of how the CC was bred in the US & how some of them have very little to none of the Cane Corso Italiano in them. The Boxer & Bandogge & some others were bred into them which also explains some of the increased dog aggression & such.
 
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