How often do dogs defend their owners?

In movies the dog will always protect its owner from an attack. Does this happen in real life?

If I go out and buy a German Shepard, will I be able to count on it if a group of hoodlums start attacking me?

Well, no one has tried to attack me yet. But, I live in a neighborhood with a lot of wooded areas. One night a couple of years ago, I was walking Auggie, The Cutest Dog on the Planet ™ on the same route we always go on. We were getting close to one of the wooded areas, and it was almost dark. All of a sudden, the fur on his back stood up, he started growling, and refused to let me go any further down the street. I tried to coax him on, but he wasn’t having it- there as no way he was going down that street. I decided to listen to his instincts. The next time we went down the same street, he was fine.

I have wondered what was in the woods there. If it was a deer or a possum or something, he would have barked his head off. I have no idea what was there, but he clearly thought he was protecting me from something.

A bear, maybe?

I’ve never been attacked either, but I’d be very surprised if my two dogs wouldn’t defend me if I were. They’re quite overly attached to me, and are very attentive when they feel like I’m not behaving correctly.

For instance, my older dog (who is a morning [del]person[/del]dog) will often come out of the bedroom to get me if he thinks I’m staying up too late.

I am skeptical, but I am also ignorant. When I was a kid, my dogs assumed everyone was their friend. I’m not even sure they would recognize what an attack was.

Oh yeah, I’m an adult now and I don’t have a dog.

We have two dogs (a black lab and a golden) who bark their imbecilic head’s off whenever the doorbell rings. But, then, of course, once the intruders are in the home, all’s well. Typical dumb dogs, but…

The couple of times that I’ve taken the golden out on the trail hiking with me*, she can get extremely over-protective of people. She’ll put herself right in front of me and protect me with her body, growling the whole time. (Even after I move her next to me and seat her.) She keeps being defensive right up to the point where I exasperatedly hand the “aggressor” some kibble and have them give it to her.

Other than that, she’s one big puff ball.
*Ever have a dog jump up on bed with you? Know how hard it is to convince a 60-70lb golden that she doesn’t get to sleep lying on top of your legs? It’s even harder when you’re both on ground level. Then there’s that look you get in the morning. You know the one: her face inches from yours telepathically telling you, “it’s daylight! let’s play! and feed me, while you’re at it. Come on, comeon,comeon, gedd up! I haveta peeeee!” She doesn’t come hiking too often…

My dog’s idea of protection is to try and lick an assailant to death.

However, my dog is a 50-lb. standard poodle who stands nearly 30 inches, and is as tall as my wife when he’s up on his hind legs. He also runs full-speed at strangers and jumps on them to get acquainted. He’s actually a better deterent than some barking machine.

When I was a child, we had a very protective Westie, Sam. The plumber was afraid to get out of his truck unless Sam (actually Sam II) was in the laundry room. (For some reason Sam had a special antipathy towards the plumber. If you saw the plumber you’d understand - great plumber, terrifying individual if you don’t know him.) Anyway, Sam was especially protective of me, and when I got in trouble with my dad he’d try to defend me. Just normal yelling-spanking trouble, no abusive relationship or anything - but Sam saw it as a threat and he clearly had a heirarchy of People to Protect - me, and then my mom, and then my dad, in that order. He’d protect my dad against the plumber but me against my dad.

My then 10 year old daughter was home alone with Indiana Bones (90 lbs of pure bred American Sofa Setter, who was also the biggest cupcake ever, loved everybody)
Anyway, a guy broke into the house.
The dog went ballistic. Barking, growling and trying to get away from my daughter to tear this guy limb from limb.
The guy left.
Indy, got steak that night.

Our old dog was very protective, and on two separate occasions chased someone who didn’t belong away from our house. She was the stereotypical overprotective dog you see in movies.

The dog we have now is a bit too friendly. He’s nice and friendly when you introduce him to strangers, but one night a couple of years ago my brother in law showed up at our door at about 2 am (long story), and while we were sleeping, he came in and crashed on our couch. Our dogs, which had only seen him maybe once or twice in their entire life and I’m sure did not recognize him, didn’t even bark when he came in. I didn’t find out he was there until I got up in the morning.

German shepherds have good guard dog instincts. If you get one of those and treat it well, it will be your typical movie style guard dog without you needing to train it to be so in any way.

To answer the OP - Yes

Boo Dog weighs 10 lbs - he’s a terrier. His bite has never been tested but his bark is pretty fierce. My house was getting broken into and since I got him that’s never happened again. He’s very protective of me. Just today I had a person he didn’t know helping me in the yard. He gives the bloke the introductory “don’t f about” barking session then relaxes. During the afternoon the gardener waved at me to indicate something and “The Wild Dog of Borneo” is suddenly barking & growling at his feet. No sudden movements please!

In the event of an attack I’d say one kick would get him out of the way, but he’s an early warning system that would wake me up and give me a few seconds.

He also protects me from sleeping too long - my hand is usually hanging over the side of the bed and I get the cold nose treatment - if that doesn’t work he goes onto the single yap, pause, single yap thing.

Sorely missed is good old Cronny - soft friendly dog. You can come in, but you can’t come out. A friend once made the mistake of going around the back of the house - thinking he’d sit on the step and wait for us (that was his story anyway) and when we got home hours later I noticed the dog didn’t rush up to us. I then heard growling from the back of the house. He’d cornered the terrified guy and held him for further questioning!

My house has a fenced in yard, as do all my neighbors. My next door neighbor has a chocolate lab who is very fond of barking at anything and everything, though he’s very friendly once he gets to know you. My dog and Choco the Lab get along just fine in their interactions through the fence, they are friendly with each other and don’t act at all aggressively. On the few times that I’ve been out there in the back yard while they are both out however, I’ve noticed much different behavior. If neighbor dog starts to bark at me, my dog will come running to the fence barking his head off, immediately making sure he gets between me and the other dog. He reacts similarly when the other dog barks at my brother’s dog when she’s over(they used to live together and clearly consider each other part of the same pack).

Whether he would then actually fight to defend me, I don’t know. Like I said, there’s a fence. But the instinct is definitely there.

My 2 Gordon Setters are normally the friendliest dogs in the world… love everyone. But a few months back, I had 2 Jehovah’s Witnesses come to the door, doing whatever it is they do. They were all dressed in black, and when I opened the woosen door, I had a Setter on either side of me, kinda in a ‘V’ formation, with their heads in front of me. Both gave out deep warning barks, totally unlike themselves, and would not budge. neither letting me out or the Witnesses in. They meant business.

Yeah, they would have protected me.

When I was a little kid we had a Golden Retriever / Irish Setter mix who was pretty territorial. She never had an opportunity to protect any of us, but one summer some friends took her for a month while we were overseas, and she scared off a burglar.

Shoot one of my labs is so protective he doesn’t even like it when people hug me or my kids.

He also gets pretty pissed when the kids start to horse play.
That’s what I love about my Labs. Once they realize you’re a friend it takes them all of five seconds to warm up to you. But man, if you’re not on the friend list; Lord help ya!

You have no guarantee that a dog will be protective. It’s a luck of the draw, but you know if they are that way after a few months. You can have a coward to all, nice to all, protective of certain people, or aggressive to all dog.

Our late Golden Retriever was protective in his own way. Max had an “I don’t know you / I don’t like you” bark that he used on occasion. There was one incident in particular where he was especially protective, though. A mean looking dog was coming toward our kids playing in the yard. Max went bounding over the kids, leaping through the air, and put himself between the other dog & the kids. Then he kind of guided the other dog to a different part of the yard and kept him there until the kids were in the house. Max was a good boy.

Our Shar-pei/Shepard mix is a giant mushy-dog to nearly everyone, but on a few rare occasions she has been protective of Nashiitashii when out on late night walks in our old neighborhood.

My last dog was a miniature dachshund. Most people don’t realize this, but dachshunds are bred to be fearless. The breed’s original purpose was to go into holes and kill badgers and wolverines. So Goliath was always ready to protect us from any perceived threat. I remember one time an old friend of my mother came to visit. They immediately started hugging and shouting and literally jumping for joy. Goliath interpreted all this as a stranger fighting with a packmate and was about to attack when I stopped him.

I have a little mutt: part terrier, part chihuahua, and supposedly part wild fox (he has some awesome freakin’ ears). He likes to bark at the doorbell, and when people come in, he has to yap his little head off for a minute to let them know who’s really in charge. Then he’s fine.

This summer, we took him on his second camping trip, where he sleeps in the tent with us. During the night, his motif is to keep waking us up growling at random little noises out in the dark, the occasional bark, and just general uneasiness.

However, the second night we were there, the whole group of us, maybe about eight people, were sitting around the campfire at about 10 p.m. when a giant, savage-looking bear lumbered around a tree, maybe 20 feet away. This was no spring chicken, either, it was a full-grown male, and couldn’t have weighed less than a fully-loaded, bloodthirsty moving van. Scared shitless, we all jumped up and started making non-threatening noises to make sure this vicious beast* knew we were there.

The dog? Not a goddamn peep. In fact, he saw what we saw and quietly slinked his way to the back of the group.

A guard dog he is not.

  • OK, he wasn’t so ferocious. He just stepped around the tree and looked at us as if to say, “Uh… sorry, didn’t realize you guys were home. I’ll leave now.” And he backed out. He was big, though.

I have 2 German Shepherds, Sam and Frodo. They would both jump around while you were being attacked by the hoodlums with tongues lolling about. They may grab a hand or two, but really they are just checking to see if the ball is hidden there. However, when you are a blood heap on the ground, they will lick you and snuggle up to you (either to keep you warm or steal your body heat, I haven’t figured out yet).

However, Mufa the Himalayan won’t let anyone in the house. When the door bell rings, she’s there in an instant. And, she is growling and hissing the second the door opens. In fact, she actually starts before you open the door and will stop when she recognizes you. The boys send their friends up to the door when they are teasing her. She greets the gales of laughter with a flounce up the stairs. When the neighbor kids are on the front porch, she will sometimes lay in the window growling at them through the window.