Training man's best friend to be your first line of defense
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
More and more people are turning to guard dogs for protection. Local trainer Angel Soriano said it's a trend that goes up as crime does.
Soriano is the CEO of K9 University in Yukon. The business does everything dog-- from puppy and behavior classes to training dogs for personal protection.
Soriano said well-trained dogs are an effective, safe way to combat crime.
"There are 3 million guns in America and the question is: 'Where is yours?' 'Is it loaded?' 'Why is it loaded if you have kids?' That's probably not the safest thing to do so the idea of having a weapon is questionable. I like the idea of having a gun myself but that doesn't mean that I'm going to be able to do something with it if a crime occurs," Soriano said.
He said a personal protection dog can stop a home intruder or unwanted advances, giving you time to call 911. He said it will also stop a criminal, while stopping short of using lethal force.
"You can call back a dog after you sent them, where you cannot call back a bullet," he said.
For people who want a personal protection dog, Soriano said the whole family should be in on the training, so they can all learn the commands and conditioning that goes into making a well-trained dog.
He said it should start from puppyhood with a dog from a defensive breed.
"Protective breeds are German Shepherd, Belgian Malinois, Dobermans, Rottweiler, Boxers-- they're protective breeds. They're bred to do that kind of work," he said.
But, he said, don't discount a shelter dog. He said a mix-breed dog could work.
"A gentleman adopted this dog and it turned out to be a phenomenal personal protection dog," Soriano said.
A puppy will still need to be assessed to see if it's a good candidate.
"You have to start with a dog that typically has the drive, has the courage, has the ability to do that job. Then once that's determined, the training starts. The process in training a personal protection dog varies but it's anywhere from about eight months to 18 months worth of work," he said.
As Soriano puts it, it's not inexpensive. Getting a full bred puppy can run $4,000 to $5,000. The months of training can run from $8,000 to $11,000.
The dog is also a good family pet.
"It's a family dog first and protector second. Don't minimize the protection piece of it, but it's simply a dog that can get along with your kids, your grand-kids. We have a personal protection dog at home and I have two young grandkids."