Selecting the Right Dog for Executive and Personal Protection ~

Great Dogs for Good Times and Troubled Times

I’m a lucky guy. My passion for dogs has led me down a path that has afforded me a life of adventure, travel, and fun. Sometimes, more danger than fun. Through the years, with my K9 partners leading the way, I have hunted and apprehended dangerous criminals on American streets and shared terrifying moments in close-quarter gun battles. My survival during those harrowing incidents has been in large part thanks to my K9 pals.

As someone who has stood up programs for specialized tactical K9 units throughout the world, I am often asked what is most essential to building a successful K9 program. My answer is this ~ “DOG SELECTION!” No matter if I am selecting for a police department, an elite military unit, for executive protection, or just a great family dog, it all comes down to selecting the right dog with the right attitude. Because a dog is something with a heartbeat, and not a widget, my gut feeling and reaction to the dog I am testing plays a big part in the process. A vast majority of the dogs I test, pass the basic criteria regarding good genetics, physical ability, conformation, and health without issue. But, because I am selecting a heartbeat and not a widget, I have to go with my instincts ~ instincts that have been honed by hundreds of real-world situations where the guts and heart of the dog have seen me through some very troubling incidents.

When selecting a great dog for an elite organization, executive or personal protection, or other specialized task, the dog must meet my criteria which I call “The Big 5.” If the dog doesn’t show me all of these qualities, then I go no further in my testing. Come to think of it, these requirements could well be applied to the selection of humans who wish to join a top-notch company or unit.

  1. Works well with others
  2. Happy and fun;
  3. Intelligent;
  4. Physically courageous; and
  5. Trustworthy.

You may be surprised to learn how many dogs I fail before we even get to “sit, down, or stay.” Awesome dogs, like awesome people, do not grow on trees. Only someone with real-world experience, someone who has walked-the-walked in a myriad of situations when the chips are down, can truly attain the gut feeling required to see the aggregate qualities in a dog.

I have been trusted hundreds of times to successfully select, train, and place dogs to protect royal families, heads of state, our wonderful military, police, business leaders, and my own family. When selecting dogs for Heimdallr K9 Services clients, almost without exception, I look for a mature and loyal German Shepherd Dog with Schutzhund / IPO training and titling. In most ways, the dogs we select for personal and executive protection have the same temperament attributes of the very best military working dog ~ they are go anywhere, do anything, confident dogs with lots of heart and courage.

It is my honor to live this life and I continue to enjoy the journey. Most importantly, I have satisfaction and pride knowing that I and my small, close-knit group of friends in the dog world have made a difference. Sonja, Mike R., Mike D., Thomas, Ken, Craig, Shannon K., Blackie ~ THANK YOU!!

I would like to close this little BlogSpot with a great quote from my buddy Mark Twain.

“The dog is a gentleman, I hope to go to his heaven, not man’s.”