by Robert Fox
We all love the idea of getting a friendly, cuddly and sweet dog, but sometimes we desire more of an aggressive dog that can safeguard our home and loved ones. Well, it turns out that getting the best of both worlds is not that difficult.
Believe it or not, Labradors (AKA the friendliest dog breed of all) can be trained to become guard dogs. It does require a few innovative techniques and a lot of patience though.
Before getting to our instructions, we must advise first that guard dog training is a very serious matter, and we would recommend enlisting in the help of a professional in your area to ensure the training goes to plan.
If you choose to do this yourself, so be it, however, we at this website take no personal responsibility for the results of this training. As they say, results may vary!
Before we move onto our Labrador training tips, let’s discuss what traits make this breed so great.
There are many reasons to train your Labrador to be a guard dog, besides the fact that they’re some of the smartest dogs out there. Let’s investigate a few Labrador traits that make them great guard dogs.
Labradors are big, sturdy, solid dogs. They are almost square in appearance, with a strong body and sturdy legs. Depending on the sex, a Labrador can stand up to 25 inches at the shoulder and weigh over 80 pounds.
Part of a guard dogs’ responsibility is to be intimidating, which is why the overall size of a Labrador is perfect for the job. Their large size and heavy build can help keep away unwanted visitors and ward off trespassers.
Labradors already come with the right size to be a guard dog, so that’s one less thing you have to worry about.
Labradors are exceptionally playful, but they’re also very smart. They are ranked the 7th smartest dog breed when it comes to obedience and working intelligence.
They are one of the ten dogs that can obey first commands 95% of the time and can learn new commands in under five repetitions.
Labradors also love to please their owners, which has a significant impact during their training. That said, many Labrador owners will notice that their dogs can make great guard dogs with the right training.
Labradors are very energetic and playful dogs, which can make training them a great exercise. These dogs need large amounts of exercise to stay healthy and sane.
Since they are very energetic, they can also be very alert when it comes to suspicious activities around the house.
Labradors are protective over their owners, their property, their toys, food, and water. Although protective, Labradors are unlikely to show aggression towards people unless trained otherwise.
Labradors are among the most intelligent, loyal and obedient dog breeds. Simply saying, obedience to their owners is innate in every Labrador. Since obedience training comes almost naturally to them, this makes the process of training them to become guard dogs more comfortable.
You can use the clicker training method to teach your Labrador basic obedience commands such as sit, stay, down, and come. The best thing about dog clickers is that they “tell” your dog exactly which behavior you’re rewarding.
|EcoCity 4-Pack Dog Training Clicker with Wrist Strap
|Karen Pryor Clicker Training Terry Ryan Clik Stik for Pet Training
|PetSafe Clik-R Trainer
Here is a video explaining how to teach your Labrador basic obedience commands:
Labradors have very noticeable, deep, loud barks that can serve as a powerful deterrent for any foe. This bark can also warn owners to remain cautious if trouble is nearby.
Training a Labrador to be a guard dog is by no means the most straightforward training. The training requires a lot of time and patience.
Before you start training your dog to be a guard dog, you will have to put him through rigorous obedience training in order to assert your position as the pack leader, ensuring your dog follows your commands.
Your Labrador will need to learn how to distinguish between a friend and foe. He will also need to learn how to bark and attack on your command.
If your Labrador is a puppy, you could see results in a couple of weeks. This is Labrador puppies are easy to train and eager to please. However, if your dog is older and less interested in learning, the training may last up to several months. It’s just a matter of patience and commitment.
Labradors are popular for being good-natured and friendly dogs. Their friendly personality is a notable trait, and it’s a perfect pick for a first-time dog owner.
However, these characteristics are not common for a guard dog. Don’t worry, though. Training your Labrador to attack despite their friendly nature is not an impossible task.
To train your Labrador to grow into a guard dog and to attack a foe on your command calls for a lot of persistence. Here are some tips for training your dog to attack on command:
You must wear protective gloves that not only cover your hand but your entire arm. Things like thick gloves and proper protective clothing can help you prevent injuries.
You have to make sure that any part of your body that your dog can attack is covered and safe from their bites.
Training your Labrador to attack on command will take a lot of training with a lot of space. Make sure that there is enough space for your dog to be able to follow the basic commands, such as sit or roll over.
Your pet does need to respond to basic commands like sit, come, roll, etc. before teaching him how to be a guard dog.
The key to training your Labrador to attack on your command is to put him in a situation where he would actually want to attack you.
Your dog will not want to attack you under normal circumstances, so you have to come up with a way to provoke him enough to attack you. Of course, you will have to learn what triggers your dog to become annoyed or what irritates him the most.
Once your dog is provoked and he attacks your hand or arm, you have to shout “attack” or any word you want him to attack people on.
This will ensure that your dog understands that this is what attacking means.
Praising your dog verbally or through treats is an integral part of the training process, and this won’t work without both of them.
By repeating steps three and four, your dog will understand that this is something you want him to do and it isn’t much of a bad thing. Also, the dog will begin to correlate between the word “attack” and the actual act of attacking an intruder.
Try to do the same thing then, but from a larger distance between you and the dog. If he doesn’t respond, repeat steps three and four till he gets it.
After a recuperation period and a well-deserved break for your beloved pet, you should start taking things to the next level.
Training your dog to only bite your arm will not work on other people. Instead of your dog attacking other people when you shout “attack”, he will be more likely to bite and attack your arm.
To solve this, you can try using objects that imitate human beings. You can get a fake blow-up doll that resembles a human being and use it for the training purposes.
Place the doll at a safe distance away from your pet. Next, point at the “fake” intruder and shout “attack.”
It might not work at the beginning, and your dog might attack your arm as he was trained to do that. If that happens, make sure not to be discouraged and know that it is entirely reasonable.
Over time, your Labrador will understand that the command means they have to attack whatever you are pointing to
Once you are successful at this step, repeat it for 5 to 7 times to make sure your dog has gotten the idea of your arm as a potential lunch out of his head.
Here are some useful videos that may help you during your training sessions:
This is the most important step of them all. You need to teach your dog the “stop” command because you might need him to seize the attack on the intruder.
At some point or another, it can be done at the beginning by yelling “stop” while holding him away from the “intruder.” It would be better to have your dog on a leash at this point.
Also, a treat will go a long way, particularly at this stage as it is most needed.
It definitely goes without saying that Labradors are very friendly dogs, but, with the right training, they can be trained to be guard dogs.
Labradors were bred to hunt, and they can be easily trained. They may not serve as vicious attack dogs, but their alertness and loud bark can serve as a great deterrent.
Thanks for reading! Please feel free to share your opinion in the comments section.
About Robert Fox
Rob Fox is a former hydro worker who used to teach self defence in Miami for 10 years. He's currently enjoying his retirement, playing cribbage and golf with his buddies, locksmithing and home security in his spare time. Rob is an avid reader, and has even written a few books on the subject of self defence.