The short answer is yes some can but not without further training, while others simply cannot.
The truth is that dog sports or disciplines like Shutzhund (IPO), French Ring etc offer us the ONLY standard in our industry. In our opinion, the best protection trained dog you can have is one that was taught all the bases using sports-based training without necessarily being titled or even having compete. Here is why:
A dog with sports-based foundation training has been very through and detailed training since the intent is to compete in very stringent and highly competitive sports where dogs win or loose by fractions of a point. The selection, development and training process will confirm or deny a dog’s abilities to perform and work. There are sports dogs of different temperament some of which can be crossed trained for real protection while others cannot.
In the sports world a dog that gets to aggressive toward the decoy (man in suit or sleeve), tries to bite skin, doesn’t out of the bite etc loses points therefore the type of dog that is desired for sport must have the mentality of an athlete, he must be competitive, posses a high level of prey drive but perhaps not so much defense and fight drive as a “real” protection dog should have.
Sports dogs are said not to be good or “real” protection dogs because they’ve had so much routine day in and day out in the same field with the same people that they become programmed for that routine and don’t really perform outside of it. These dogs will look impressive on video but are highly sleeve or equipment oriented and don’t care to fight the man, its a game. Granted they are biting during this game and its a crushing bite but their state of mind is whats different than a real protection dog, the sports dog is playing while a real protection dog is defending. Another two significant downsides to owning a titled sports dogs is that the dog will be older in age just due to the fact that it takes years to compete and win titles plus the dog, just like a human athlete, will suffer from aches and pains or worst just a few years after you buy them due to years of daily running jumping and smashing into the decoy. Unfortunately these dogs are sold by some for 50-100k as if they were godly European royalty when in reality they are “retired race horses”. We’ve had police officers bring “champion” dogs to be agitated and we quickly see they are sleeve happy dogs, for these officers this is like having blanks in their guns.
Let me be clear in saying that i am not trashing sports dogs, their training or their trainers. They are truly formidable animals with superb training that most of us cant even perform but would I walk down a dark ally with an over-rated, gizillion dollar super dog from Europe or elsewhere? HECK NO, not without evaluating it and determining it it can be cross trained for real protection and everyday scenarios. There are some sport dogs that can in fact be effectively crossed trained for real protection and be outstanding protection dogs. Ring Sports like French or Mondio Ring are more civil than Shutzhund aka IPO so it requires a stronger or harder dog and usually a better result for effective cross training into the real world.
Our puppies are all trained using sports based methods or foundation and then gradually trained for real protection as maturity allows. We may or may not begin with a dog that has been trained in one of the dog sports but ultimately and independently of the dogs accolades the dog is going to go through our program and be trained for real protection.