The relationship between you and your protection dog is mutually beneficial. Dogs have a strong desire to please their handler and true protection dogs also possess a natural desire to defend. In return, your dog is rewarded with the stable and balanced household that you provide as well as regular praise that lets the dog know he or she is making you happy. CCK9’s unique method of training focuses on this dynamic, therefore eliminating the need to use toys, tugs, or food as a reward (it also eliminates the use of shock collars and other unnecessary means of force).
As handler and guardian, you are responsible for ensuring the optimal health of your protection dog; the diet you feed your dog is an integral part of providing a balanced environment. I’m often consulted regarding my opinion on which diet to choose. Hands down, I’m a fan of the excellent- but controversial-raw food diet. We feed all of our dogs at Command Control Canine LTD a diet that consists of at least 70-80% raw meat (beef, turkey, duck, venison, lamb). Egg is also a protein source. My preference is to switch the types of raw meat used every few days in order to vary the fat content as well as keep our dogs stimulated. Bones, fed raw and with some meat on it, are given several times a week. The other 20-30% of the diet consists of fruits and vegetables. Onions, mushrooms or tomatoes should not be used. When starting the diet, keep an eye on any gastrointestinal problems your dog may have and try to eliminate trigger foods. On top of this, I like to add in about 2000 mg of fish oil supplements.
When preparing the food, be sure to massage it with your hands in order to get your scent on it. It is just one more reminder that the leader is the supplier of the meal and serves to maintain the respect that the dog has for you. In the wild, wolf pack leaders will eat first and then the rest of the pack will finish. The pack is used to tasting the leader’s saliva on their food. For this reason one of our clients swears by spitting in her dog’s food daily. We don’t do it but it’s an interesting theory.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the raw food diet. That the diet may not be balanced or increases the risk of introducing germs or infection tops the list. I have not had this experience but one tip I can offer is that I deep-freeze our meat for a period of time before thawing it for preparation. Also, we prepare large batches and freeze them until right before use. The benefits of the diet outweigh the risks and allow the dogs to eat a diet that they have been feeding on for billons of years.
There are commercial foods that attempt to mimic the raw food diet. For the most part, my suggestion is to create your own meals. It may cost slightly more than commercial dog food but your protection dog is a long-term investment. The dividends- the security of you and your family- are well worth the extra cost.