If you saw our original video of Curtis performing in different training exercises, be sure to watch the updated version we posted today. The video now features an additional two minutes of Curtis handling multiple attackers, guarding objects and more. We couldn’t be happier with how Curtis has progressed, and if you want to take your dog’s training to the next level, read about our puppy and adult protection dog training programs.
Rex is quick to handle carjacking and kidnapping scenarios in his protection work. (Video)
Kidnapping is a major part of our protection dog training curriculum, but we don’t just teach our dogs to be the best protection for kids and adults in their homes. This type of crime is a real concern for travelers and executives, and we train our dogs to perform at any moment and in any environment.
Central and South America are closely associated with kidnappings, and according to Castle Rock International, the places you are most likely to be kidnapped in are Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, the Philippines, Nigeria, the Chechnya Region of Russia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Haiti.
Kidnappings for ransom or extortion are more common than you might think. Some insurance companies offer policies to international travelers that will reimburse holders for costs associated with a kidnapping, from ransoms to mercenary teams.
At Protection Dogs Plus, we have our own idea of insurance against kidnappings.
Criminals take advantage of tourists and travelers who are already out of their element, and danger could lurk around the next corner or stoplight. A criminal’s opportunity presents itself in ways you might never expect. For instance, while some modern cars will automatically lock their doors when moving, many will automatically unlock them again in park, and other cars have no automatic lock feature at all. This inconsistency means that if you’re driving an unfamiliar rental car in a strange place, you aren’t likely to always remember to lock the doors.
When we’re training for carjacking scenarios, we’re also training our protection dogs for kidnapping situations like the one that befell Eduardo Garcia Valseca near San Miguel de Allende in central Mexico:
“A truck crashed into the back of their Jeep, pinning them. Masked bandits armed with pistols and hammers smashed the windows of their car and dragged them to the ground.”
One of our training exercises is to have a decoy attempt to pull the handler out through a door or window. Our protection dogs will rush to the door or window the assailant is accessing to fend them off. In many situations, just turning your dog on aggressively will deter a kidnapper from trying to gain access to the vehicle, and this protection continues when you leave the car and your dog stays by your side.
Kidnappers don’t always work alone. Our Guardian and Guardian Plus protection dogs are versed in handling situations like this one, from Nassau, Bahamas:
“As we all lay face down on the ground, we were being robbed by one man after the other tied up our tour guide. There was a lot of scuffling and a flurry of activity.”
The multiple attacker exercise allows you to decide whether to send your dog after the threat closest to you first, or the threat that poses the biggest danger at the moment (e.g. an armed threat).
As crime increases in popular destinations like Puerto Rico, we urge travelers not to take their safety for granted. Stay vigilant!
Guardians like Asterix can do a lot more than smile for the camera.
By Dan Moore
Our sole purpose is to pair families with trained protection dogs that will keep them safe. We do this by taking our training to the extreme, whether it’s fully immersing the dogs in various home and public environments or teaching them the most advanced protection commands possible. In conjunction with our training levels chart, this glossary will help you understand some of the exercises our dogs are capable of.
Heel: Your protection dog stays virtually glued to your leg as you walk, giving you his or her full attention and sitting whenever you stop. Your dog will resume walking when you do.
Relaxed Heel: Similar to the heel command, your dog will stay by your side until released. The difference here is that the dog walks in a more casual way within a three foot radius of your body. This becomes a constant part of our clients’ routines- from walking down a busy sidewalk to taking dogs out to the bathroom.
Down in Motion: Even if your dog is moving at full speed, you can give the word and your dog will drop to a sit or down position.
Place: With this command you have the power to designate a place for your dog to sit or lie down on command. This is a great command to use if you’re having company over and want your dog to keep a low profile.
Food/Toy Refusal: Your dog will wait for your command before taking food or toys.
Turn On Aggressively: In a situation where you need your protection dog to fend off an attacker, you can give the command to “turn on.” Your dog will enter a state of heightened alertness while baring his or her teeth, growling and barking and monitoring the situation. Your dog will await your command and will only actually pursue an attacker if you give the order.
Turn Off: When the situation is defused and you want your protection dog to return to its normal gentle self, you can give your dog the command to “turn off.” Your dog will not show any aggression again until you request it.
Target Parts of Body: We train our protection dogs to go after more than a sleeve or suit, and to be able to leverage their power and fight with technique. If you give your dog the command to attack, he or she will target whichever part of the body will neutralize the threat quickly.
Overcome Obstacles: Our protection dog training takes obstacles into account. From climbing walls, hills, rocks and furniture to jumping out of and into cars and windows, we prepare our dogs to size up a situation and find the best path forward, all while maintaining a tight focus on the threat and any additional commands given by the handler. Exposing our dogs to a variety of obstacles and environments minimizes distraction and improves their response time.
Fighting Skills: Guard dogs and protection dogs may be most known for barking and biting, but our approach is more holistic: we teach our dogs to use their entire body as a tool to fight against a threat. By using a muzzle to remove the option of biting, our dogs learn to tenaciously wrestle, scratch and claw until the handler turns them off.
Turn of Passive Threat: Your dog will turn on aggressively against even a passive threat on your command. A common mistake in protection dog training is to only prepare a dog to go after someone moving in a threatening way. The problem here is that the dog is only conditioned for a very specific set of circumstances. Someone can threaten you without any sudden or imposing movements. Our training is designed so that you can ask your dog to show aggression and deter the threat before they even have a chance to escalate to physicality.
360° Secure: Your dog will turn on aggressively against an attacker (showing teeth, barking and growling) while staying glued to your body in a tight circle, protecting you from attack in any direction. The dog will only bite if you give an additional command, or if the threat attempts to touch you or intrude into this protective barrier.
Guarded Escape: Once you have given your dog the command for 360° Secure, you can walk away from the situation. Your dog will remain in a heightened state of alert until you’re safe and give the command to turn off.
Stealth Mode: Under this command, your dog will be covertly primed for action and waiting intently for an additional command. If you have a gut feeling that you’re in a potentially dangerous situation but do not want to escalate things by turning your dog on aggressively, you can simply put your dog in this standby command.
Multiple Attackers: In the event that there are multiple threats to your safety, you can send your protection dog on a specific person. Your dog will make eye contact with you and follow the signal you give. You can recall your dog at any time, and you can have your dog switch to a different threat mid-bite. By using your judgment and selecting the most prominent threat at any given time, you are given the most control possible in a dangerous situation.
Yahoo! Finance has compiled an interesting list of the American cities with the most burglaries. Since burglaries are one of the main reasons that people guard their homes with protection dogs, we thought it was worth discussing here. Protection Dogs Plus began in Texas, so we’ll start off with the Lone Star State’s crime stats:
Dallas is the center of the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area, an area which had a gross metropolitan product of $374 billion, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Of the 61,859 property offenses committed there in 2011, 18,727 were burglaries….the population of San Antonio had grown to 1.3 million, an increase of 16 percent since 2000. This increase is part of the overall population explosion that has been going on in Texas in the new millennium. This growing city experienced 80,868 property offenses in 2011, of which 15,334 were burglaries.
San Antonio seems to be doing a great job of bringing in new residents but not a great job of keeping out crime. Let’s head a couple hundred miles east and see how Houston is doing:
Houston…saw 108,336 property offenses in 2011, of which 68,596 were categorized as “larceny-theft” and 12,281 were motor vehicle thefts…27,459 were burglaries, which puts the city at the top of the list. So if you live there, lock your doors when you go out at night.
Locking your doors is never a bad idea, but let’s remember that criminals are no strangers to breaking and entering. There are a variety of ways to bypass door and window locks: cutting or breaking glass, lock picking, brute force and so on. Wouldn’t it be better if we could stop the bad guys while before they’ve even broken in? We think so—that’s why we train our protection dogs to block off doors and windows and show aggression toward would-be intruders. Our dogs have the bite to back up their bark, but most criminals in their right mind would be deterred from escalating things at that point.
When it comes to sheer number of crimes, this next city surpasses San Antonio, Houston and Dallas:
Chicago…saw a whopping 118,239 property offenses in 2011, of which 26,420 were burglaries.
Let’s also remember to keep things in proportion: the article states that Detroit saw 15,994 burglaries in 2011. That’s around 10,000 fewer than Chicago, but consider that the population of Chicago is almost 4 times greater.
Indianapolis: Among the 46,967 property offenses reported in 2011, 15,122 were burglaries. There were also 26,588 offenses categorized as “larceny-theft” and 5,257 motor vehicle thefts.…In 2011, Columbus (Ohio) experienced 49,043 property offenses, 15,169 of which were burglaries.
One reason that guard dogs are so sought after in places like Texas is that neighbors are often miles apart and there are no friendly eyes to keep watch over properties. But the statistics from larger cities like Chicago and Indianapolis speak to the fact that neighbors are by no means guaranteed protection. You have to question if neighbors would intervene or even notice a property crime in progress. In 2011, Los Angeles, California saw 17,264 burglaries and New York City saw 18,159.
Since we’re located in New Hampshire on the Massachusetts border, we have a great opportunity to prepare our dogs for a variety of settings. When we sell a protection dog, it doesn’t matter if they’re going to Washington, D.C. or Sugarland, Texas, because our dogs have done protection work in both the woods of New Hampshire and the alleys of cities like Boston, Newburyport and Salem. We test our dogs’ off-leash obedience in crowds and with distractions such as cars and bikes. Some of our dogs are specifically selected for their mellow, low energy personalities- perfect for life in an apartment or small house.
If you’d like to take a look at the rest of the list, visit