Our 3 Levels for Protection Dog Training Explained

We train Belgian Malinois and German Shepherd dogs for home protection in three different levels: Protector, Guardian and Guardian Plus. All of these dogs are given the same thorough off-leash obedience training, so your personal protection dog can easily stay by your side all day long.The difference between the training levels is the protection exercises that are involved. You can see a visualization of included exercises at our training levels comparison chart, or continue reading for an overview.

We will often train and list a dog for a lower training level than he or she is capable of completing. We do this in the interest of offering more variety in our selection. If you are considering one of our protection dogs for sale but would prefer him/her to have a higher level of training, please contact us to see if the dog you have selected is eligible or currently undergoing further training.

axel-4x3-2Protector Level
Our personal protection dogs trained at this level represent a tremendous value: total off-leash obedience and great on-leash protection.

On your command, these dogs are capable of turning on aggressively toward a threat, turning off, biting and releasing.



Guardian and Guardian Plusaspen-4x3-3-2
Our Guardian and Guardian Plus protection dogs take functional protection off-leash. This has some huge key benefits. For example:

  • You can call your dog to protect you from another room.
  • Your dog is trained in defending against weapons and fighting a threat with his/her entire body.
  • Your family can make a safe retreat while your dog remains engaged with the threat.
  • Your dog can be left in charge of guarding your car or home.
  • Your dog can be sent at an attacker over a great distance and be recalled at any moment.

The advantage of the Guardian Plus training level is that it includes our most advanced exercises.

  • Multiple Attackers: In a situation with 2 or more attackers, you can direct your dog to the most prominent threat.
  • Stealth Mode: There are times when your gut tells you that a situation is unsafe even when there are no visible causes for concern. In this situation, you can switch your protection dog into a state of silent, heightened preparedness. Without showing aggression overtly, your dog will be ready for anything.
  • Guard Specific Area: Even without the physical boundaries of a car or a room, you can direct your protection dog to watch over a specific object or area (such as the bottom of the stairs).

Depending on the natural ability of the dog, you can also request that tricks be added to any of our training levels. Examples of tricks you can request are: Spin, Roll Over, Beg, Bow, Stand, Walk Backwards, Weave Between Legs and Fetch a Beer.

When Two Protection Dogs Are Better Than One


Our personal protection dogs are highly social, and having two in the same home is no problem. The two dogs will follow your off-leash obedience commands without a problem. With the right training, they can work together in a protection scenario, too. Instead of getting confused and hindering each other in the heat of the moment, a pair of dogs with cooperative training can be a huge asset.

Eteo an Kazou are Belgian Malinois protection dogs who have both been trained at our Guardian Plus level. In this video, you can see that they will come to opposite sides of their handler on command. They do this in perfect unison, and as shown in the video, they will even run past the decoy to form this protective barrier instead of becoming distracted and taking a bite before they were commanded to. This fierce duo doesn’t just take to separate sides of the handler— they also target different parts of the attacker so that they can cooperatively overtake the threat instead of getting in each others’ way.

Rex, a black German Shepherd, is one of our Guardian level protection dogs. Falco is a sable German Shepherd with Guardian Plus training. While these two dogs differ in final training level and appearance, they come together with precision in functional training scenarios. Rex and Falco have been sold to a client in Nigeria who will have a variety of options when it comes to home integration. For instance, having two dogs means that one could take watch over the backyard while the other patrols in the interior of the house. It also means that neither handler nor home will be left unattended when it’s time to travel. Each member of the family receives training on obedience and protection handling, so this client’s wife and children can remain under the protection of one dog while another follows its master on trips.


A similar situation is that of Curtis and Zira, a male and female German Shepherd pair who have been trained to work together. These two muscular dogs deliver a one-two punch that easily tackle even our largest decoy trainers. Keep an eye out for a new video featuring this pairing, coming soon to our video page.

“Alpha Dogs” Are No Personal Protection Dogs

Nat Geo Wild has launched a new show, “Alpha Dogs,” which features German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois working dogs, and we’ve been getting some questions about the show and how closely it relates to the work we do at Protection Dogs Plus. Simply put, the dogs you see on “Alpha Dogs” are police and military dogs and they have very little in common with personal protection dogs.

There are some similarities here: we do train German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois to bite, we do encourage dogs with some of the same techniques that you see on the show (such as motivating dogs by using their food and toy drive), and we do condition dogs to be comfortable working around gunfire and other distractions. But to paraphrase the show itself, “these (military dogs) aren’t pets.”

The truth is that military and police dogs aren’t good for homes, let alone children. Police and military dogs are selected for different traits than personal protection dogs; unlike police and military dogs, we look for a combination of power and friendly, stable temperaments. This complete package is much harder to find than dogs that are simply good at attacking targets or searching by nose. We know this because we have had experience in training dogs for other purposes than just personal protection, and can say that very few of the dogs chosen for police or military work would be the right fit for our program- probably around 5% of them. In “Alpha Dogs,” the dogs shown have little to no functional obedience training when they’re considered “finished” and many of the handlers on the show don’t seem to have control.

The trainers on “Alpha Dogs” are professionals, but they’re in a different industry than us, and therefore their knowledge and background is different than ours. They get dogs and usually turn them over in a matter of weeks, as they do not have to spend as much time training their dogs for obedience and sociability as we do. We train our dogs for months with every situation imaginable, and the personal protection dogs we train epitomize control.

This morning, for instance, we worked with Rex on one of our most valuable exercises: “turning off.” It’s one thing to get a dog to turn on aggressively against an attacker, but it’s another thing to make that same dog friendly on command. The dogs in “Alpha Dogs” are shown biting and then refusing to “turn off” or release their bite. Rex, like all of our protection dogs, can be told to instantly stop displaying aggression and release his bite on command. The scenario goes like this: we send Rex off-leash to bite a decoy with undercover equipment, and a second before Rex hits his target we give him the command to lie down. There’s no delay- Rex is “off” now, the decoy is safe and the dog can now be approached and pet. Our dogs do not have to be redirected, or given a ball to be rewarded each time because we’ve taken our training past that point and we’ve transitioned them to respond to a verbal command said in a normal tone.

We wouldn’t be surprised to see a reality show about personal protection dog training, but even that wouldn’t give you an idea of what happens at Protection Dogs Plus. TV producers like drama and that’s just not what we’re about. We take precautions so that our dogs aren’t biting the hand that holds them. We raise dogs to be a pleasure in your home, not just to look extreme for the cameras. And when it comes to training, we never rush the process or compromise our values.

Take a look at our fully trained protection dogs for sale, and see what functional training looks like on our Videos page.