There are a lot of ways to train a dog to protect you, property, or a certain space or area. There are fantastic protection sports out there that we can all learn from. But at the end of the day, these systems are far more involved than what the average person needs in a protection dog.
Don’t get me wrong - dog sports have their place and can be applied to personal protection. However, these are entire systems designed to challenge dogs to perform at extreme levels in tracking, guarding, and general obedience—and then fearlessly find a man and bite him. It's just not practical for most dogs and most owners.
Most people who are looking for a protection dog simply need their dog to bite under command, withstand environmental pressure, abort before biting, and be quick to release the bite and return to the handler. We developed the GNA Training Academy Personal Protection Dog program with this in mind, so dogs are trained to do what they need to do without all the excess and pressure to compete.
Our Personal Protection Dog program includes all the best elements of French Ring, Mondio, KNPV, PSA, and Shutzhund, condensed into a practical protection system. The program uses the core drive principles from the protection sport systems to achieve the perfect protector in less time with less stress on you, the handler. It's designed to be comprehensive training for real world situations, focusing on utility and reliability.
GNA Training's system is different from other protection dog programs because we teach modern tactics for practical street application. This means that we avoid issues like equipment fixation and uncapped drive, while simultaneously teaching practical disarmament techniques and reliability with recall and outs. We train to achieve a dog who is confident in their abilities yet still controlled.
The Personal Protection Dog program is not about breed, pedigrees, or papers. It is strictly about ability. It is not a sport and there are no points. It comes down to whether your dog has the temperament and drive to do the job, and nothing else.
All dogs entering our Personal Protection Dog program are required to complete our Basic and Advanced Obedience programs or comparable training prior to admittance into the program. We can also start puppies with foundational work, including obedience and imprinting the bite.
There are three levels of Personal Protection Dog achievement:
Ring of Life Level 1
- Introduction To Prey & Fight Drive
- Introduction To The Stick
- Introduction to Gunfire
- Alert Command
- Bark & Hold
- The “Out” Command
- Equipment Selection
- Dog or Pup Selection
- On & Off Leash Agitation
- Puppy Bite Imprinting
Ring of Fire Level 2
- Introduction To Defensive Drive
- Introduction To Find Decoy
- Food Refusal
- Scent Refusal
- Command Refusal
- Equipment Fixation
- Disarm Attacker
- Engage a Still Target
- Specific Body Targeting On and Off Leash
- Guard Item Command
Ring of Fire Level 3
- Introduction To Blending Prey & Defensive Drives
- Professional Vehicle Protection
- Perimeter Defense
- Engage Decoy On Slick Terrain
- Water Desensitization
- Muzzled Engagement
- Undercover Engagement
- Prisoner Escort
- Reverse Heel Guard Handler
Personal Protection Pricing
You may choose to book lessons on an individual, hourly basis at our full hourly rate of $265. However, we recommend purchasing one of our lesson package options, which offers a lower price per lesson as well as more comprehensive and customizable options. The more you buy, the more you save.
7 Lessons $1750
14 Lessons $3250
28 Lessons $6000
We are commonly asked how to choose the perfect protection dog. Here are our tips:
- Breeding matters! If you are purchasing a puppy, we urge you to do your due diligence and thoroughly research the kennel. Ask for references, examine the bloodlines, and gather as much information as you can about the breeding parents.
- A puppy/litter does NOT have to be registered! You can tell a lot about a puppy from its pedigree, however club registrations are completely optional.
- Some breeders are producing dogs who lack nerve or drive. You may see a mixed litter of dogs with drive and dogs without ("working" and "pet" quality within the same litter). It's been our experience that kennels producing mixed litters need to introduce different bloodlines into their program; inbreeding should be avoided for best health and temperament. If mixed litters are common, it's best to avoid the kennel entirely.
- Many breeders are no longer breeding the old European way, which is for performance, especially here in the United States. Instead, breeders are interested in titles and passing those titles on; this is common within the show world, however it is becoming increasingly common within working dogs, too.
- We firmly believe that dogs should be bred to preserve the traits of the breed as a whole. This means that protection dogs should have high prey drive; hounds should be bred for their hunting abilities; labs should have a desire to retrieve or track.
- We also believe that the gene pool is fine - dogs do not need to be inbred to be successful. Some breeders will claim that a certain dog's name is in the pedigree to add perceived value to the litter, driving costs up. Some breeders truly believe that line breeding is necessary to pass on behavioral traits from certain dogs in their pedigree, however we do not agree on this. We love knowing where our dogs came from and what their lines really are! At the end of the day, though, it's the working ability of each individual dog that matters, regardless of bloodlines.
The long and short of it is that finding a good dog is not about titles and fame, but about working ability and soundness of mind. Be sure to research everything before committing to a puppy. Don't be afraid to ask questions and find out the details of the litter's parents and pedigree. Be mindful that even dogs bred for protection work may have vastly different temperaments and personalities.
If you have any questions or you would like help finding the perfect protection dog to suit your needs, just give us a call!