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Hello at all.
I´m not sure if we already had this discussion. Anyway, there`s one thing I would like to tell you/ask you.
When our doorbell rings, Vito doesn`t bark, he never did. Annie, our other dog did bark. She passed away a few months ago... Though it was annoying sometimes especially when she barked for no real reason, we do miss her alerting. Not only this, of course!
Vito is usually behind a glass door when we open the door. He`s curious and would love to welcome everyone. I don`t want that. One example: Our postmen (and women) usually have biscuits with them so they can "corrupt" dogs. Annie would rather have starved than ever taking cookies from strangers, But Vito would love such gifts, but I actually don`t want my dog to welcome each and everyone and taking biscuits.
What do you think: Would my setter defend me if anybody would attack me? Would he just feel when something`s wrong because of his instincts?
Would you allow your dog to take the postmen`s cookies?

Vito is such a sweetheart, i just can´t imagine he could become mean or defensive, though I had one experience where he became so, it was when any old man was suddenly talking to me when I took Vito for a walk and it was already dark. We passed that man when I heard his very dark voice. He was just asking something but I was so scared. Vito seemed to feel that somehow and he started to bark like he never did before. The man smiled and said this would be a very good dog and walked by. It was not ironic!
Do you think Vito would feel if situations are dangerous generally?

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I have the setter who barks and talks all the time. He is very territorial about the house and the car. He freaks if anyone he doesn't know even walks by let alone comes to the door. I have to fight him off to even open the door. I need one of the dog trainers to come to my house and work with us! But I do feel mine would defend me. I don't think it wrong to have a sweet dog who won't protect the house or you. I prefer a friendly dog. I do not want the liability or worry of a dog who is reactive. This is the first dog I have had who is so reactive to strangers, so given that, I think I would prefer your situation. If I want protection, I would get a gun or carry mace. I want a companion animal. This isn't the breed to get for protection. . Normally setters will greet people. I feel my dog is very fearful and skittish and that is why is is so reactive about his house. On the other hand, at the dog park he meets people everyday who he doesn't know and he is lovely and warm to them. He just has this thing about the car and house.
I think if you expect your setter to protect you... you may well have chosen the wrong breed.

Mine would most definatly go and lay down discretly whilst I would have to take any burglars on. But then a setter was not bred for protection, so how can I expect anything else?
They are told from an early age to let strangers (judges etc) grab hold of them and for instance look at their teeth without a protest...we can not teach the dog one thing and then expect it to behave in the oposite manner!

I think the incident when Vito barked was due to him being scared as well...

The one dog I had that barked the most was the weediest one.
Particually when it was dark outside. :-)
My setter only barks when she wants to go out or in the house. About the protection thing, I think it is the other way around. I have a sign on the gate that says: "Close the gate, I live here". Nowadays I am thinking to replace the sign by something like: "Please don't step on me, I sleep here". :-)
Our setter Nellie was protective of young children. She was never at all aggressive, but she seemed to have a motherly instinct and always stayed close by if the kids were on their own in the garden, just watching out for them. Nobody taught her to do this...
I have to agree with Ursula. Setter were not breed to be protective but outgoing and friendly. I also think dogs can smell or feel our emotions. You were scared and you passed you emotins on your dog and that is why Vito was barking at the strange man at night. I guess he was afraid as well. I wouldn´t count on Vito to defend you.

As for accepting cookies: I don´t let mine take any from strangers as well. She is to friendly towards people as it is, if she was to be taking cookies.....
I used to have two german shephards and would trust them 100% when it came to me and my family.
On the other hand I knew they would protect me if anyone had attacked me...as my setters would not. Yet they were not as easy-going as my setters when it came to strangers at my door. I would first have to show that these people were OK and then the dogs would accept this.

So the "protective" side often has side-effects.
There are numerous incidents of dogs doing the right things (in their oppinion). But how can you expect a dog to know the difference between a TRUE threat and false one? And where would you like the dog to draw the line?
All dogs are individuals and will (unless tought otherwise) react to what they consider to be a threat. There are setters that will attack, just as there are german shephards (for instance) that will not...but a protective setter is not something I would ever want.

A setter should be kind and gentle...and yes, I let other people give treats to my dogs - depending on the situation.:-)
I'm another who agrees with Ursula :)

My dog will bark like crazy if anyone comes to the door - there's no way anyone could get into my house without him barking. But once they're inside, he brings them toys and just wants to play. He hasn't a mean bone in his body. My bitch is the same, though she carries herself with considerably more dignity lol. I don't even think my Labrador would attack someone.

I rely on my Setters' bark - but I would personally be HORRIFIED if I ever saw their bite. Setters make great watch dogs, but they aren't - and should never be - guard dogs.
My setters too are great at barking when someone arrives but also give a great welcome when the stranger is inside the gate or door!!!!! My Shepherd Luka is a little different, as he waits for the OK from me to see if the strangers are allowed in!!;o)) I think my setters would be worried if something was wrong but I dont think they would do much about it!!
Well, my dog was very shy as a pup, but grew to be a pretty confident dog. She's happy to greet and play with everyone, but she doesn't let a stranger hold her or grab her collar. She won't leave or obey a total stranger either. Even though she's the nicest dog in the world, she get's a little protective especially at night or if I'm alone with her. She also tends to show her dislike for drunk or druged people. I don't believe she's defensive, it's more a potective atitude like "Hey, I'd rahter you'd walk away please". She does not attack or anything like it, but her size is dissuading and I fell safe with her around me.
Interesting topic. My Kelsey has an aversion to trucks, men in uniform, and apparently golf carts. One day the postman came by and I happened to have the gate open and I was very scared Kelsey would hurt him. When I drive with him and a truck pulls up to the car he barks uncontrollably. I have been looking for a solution to help with this and don't know where to begin. I often wonder if it is protective behavior or something else. I do know that when I had company stay with me recently, and I gave my friend a key to get in and out of the house, Kelsey was very protective when he heard someone coming into the house. I thought he might hurt her as well, but as soon as he was able to see who she was he calmed down. So there is a part of me that does not want to squelch his agressive side, but I wish more than anything he would stop with the trucks. Would be interested in any solutions you may have heard of. Regardless, having a dog around big or small is a deterrent in my mind. Some think the smaller dogs are beter deterrents because they are louder, but I still think any dog is better than none. And of course, I got the dog for companionship, not protection, but I do appreciate the times Kelsey has kept an eye out for me or alerted me when some is approaching the house/door. I certainly feel safer with him than without him.

Hi Christine,

Your Vito seems to know that he can trust you in every given situation, which sounds good. Anyway, I believe is that it's our duty to protect our dogs, not the other way round. Maybe it's just me?

Our Anton is such a sweetheart, just like your Vito. He wouldn't harm a fly - literally.
But one day, there was a man on our dog beach (we have this stretch of beach to exercise our dogs). And this man - obviously a dog hater - abused Tina, Anton's "mum" or how you call it (I hate the words "master" or "owner" or whatever).

Tina had put Anton on the lead, as she saw the danger looming. The guy was so aggressive towards her. But you should have seen our Anton! He growled, raised his hackles and leaped towards this guy, God I haven't seen this sweetheart so mad in all the time we've lived together.

So don't be deceived by you sweet Vito, you may be in for a surprise....

I have Tibetan Spaniels as well as Irish and when the little dogs go off barking my boy Brodie gets very worked up. I don't know if he would actually 'attack' anyone he thought was a threat but the little ones would. Maybe he would back them up.
I also had an Irish many years ago who actually a very aggressive dog. She was raised in exactly the same way as all my others just had this very wild streak in her. I didn't breed her and she was from different lines than I have now. I had to take other dogs to the vets five times to be stitched up after she had attacked them. Finally she went for a child, bit her in the face, and I put her to sleep straight away. I guess that supports the saying that any dog will bite and, possibly, attack if given the circumstances and the temperament.




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