People want to know if man’s best friend becomes man’s best protector in times of crisis. When asking, “Will my dog protect me,” they generally mean from other people. The truth is, most dogs won’t protect anyone from another person.
That being said, dogs are generally protective when it comes to environmental dangers other than humans.
Let’s talk about what our dogs will and will not protect us from. Be aware that all of these are only generalizations. Some dogs will be more or less apt to do anything about anything.
These are generalities. While some breeds are more prone to take a protective role because of their background and breed origin, most dogs are just going to stand there. From the time they are puppies, dogs are socialized and trained that people are good. We like people. People give us treats. People give us ear scratches and belly rubs. That thinking is reinforced over the entire life of the dog, so when another human makes aggressive movements towards you, your dog is not going to suddenly become the canine version of The Lion King.
WILL MY DOG PROTECT ME FROM OTHER ANIMALS
This one is more likely to occur.
Even though we socialize our dogs to make them friendly towards other people and animals, their protective instinct is more likely to come out when an incident occurs with animals. They know what to do with animal threats. Their brains are more wired for it instinctively than a human threat.
So if another dog or animal makes aggressive moves towards you, your dog is more likely to intervene.
WILL MY DOG PROTECT ME FROM ENVIRONMENTAL DANGERS
Dogs can tell when something is off. Strange smells like gas or more obvious things like fire or a trapped person tell a dog that something bad is happening.
The thing is, all dogs are different. While one dog may end up being on the news as the dog who saved his owner by waking him up at night, another dog might just go cower in a corner and wait for his master to fix the problem.
WILL MY DOG PROTECT ME?
The reason most dogs really suck at being guard dogs is because we’ve trained them to suck at it. We want our dogs to be friendly towards other people and animals. We want our dogs to look to us for guidance on everything. That’s the hallmark of good training. So it should come as no surprise that in most emergency situations the majority of dogs aren’t going to be helpful.
After all, they’re only following our training.
What a dog CAN do is alert you to potential dangers and/or visitors, but it is up to you to intervene. Escaping is always preferable to fighting. Understand that dogs hear up to four times better than people. So, your dog is more of a burglar alarm than a bodyguard.