Frequently Asked Questions

Some common questions we receive relating to our dogs, breeding and training methods.

Are these attack dogs? Will they be aggressive in my house?

It is a common misconception that a protection dog is inherently an aggressive dog. We specialize in raising calm, thinking and stable dogs with the ability to discern would-be threat from friends, neighbors and visitors to your home. The dogs come highly obedient, and as long as the owner remains committed to that level of obedience, the dogs will be well mannered in any situation you throw them into. They are trained on intent. Perfectly well behaved dog, unless there is a problem.

 

I have other dogs. Will a Svalinn dog be OK around them?

Most of our dogs are excellent around other dogs. The vast majority of our clients have multiple other dogs already in their homes when they purchase a Svalinn dog. Part of the selection process that we go through with you is helping to find the perfect fit for your exact lifestyle and specifications. Upon placing a Svalinn dog in your home, we socialize all of the animals in the house to the new dog to ensure family peace!

 

How are the dogs around other animals?

Our dogs are raised in the western part of the United States, where wild animals abound. We have also placed a multitude of dogs over the years in homes with family pets and livestock – from horses, cattle, cats, rabbits and the occasional bush pig. From a young age our dogs are exposed to many different animals and taught how to appropriately interact with them. In your initial training we provide you with the techniques to move your dog around other animals in public and wildlife safely.

 

Are the dogs safe to be around my kids?

The vast majority of our dogs are great with children. Those that do not gravitate toward children are not sold to families or individuals but rather used for professional or military applications. Some of the first humans our dogs interact with are kids of different ages. The company owners ensure that all dogs, before they are sold, have slept in their own children’s room at night, as nothing helps a protection dog more fully appreciate his role and responsibility than keeping little ones safe at night.

 

Why do you use the term “protection dog” rather than “attack dog”?

The term “attack dog”, to our mind, has a somewhat negative connotation. It conjures up images of an aggressive, unsocial and unapproachable animal. Conversely, we believe, that the term “protection dog” instills confidence and suggests an obedient, thinking, discerning nature. Svalinn dogs are your ultimate lovers and protectors … guaranteed peace of mind.

 

Why do your dogs cost so much?

People often ask this question and more rarely consider what actually goes into making these dogs what they are. In their first year alone our dogs train an average of 2000 hours. Not only are you paying for a level of basic training unmatched in the industry, you also receive premium genetics with a Svalinn dog that allow us to offer a lifetime genetic guarantee. When it comes to price, the real question is what would you pay for guaranteed peace of mind?

 

What amount of exercise do the dogs need each day?

Our dogs’ entire purpose in life is to be with you. Keeping their handler(s) safe and protected keeps them engaged and occupied. If you are a runner or hiker, of course, they will love doing that activity with you. However, the dogs don’t need to go to the dog park and chase balls or go for a seven-mile run each day. One of best exercises you can do for your dog (to both hone obedience and maintain a strong core) is sit them on an uneven chair or stool in either a sitting or laying down position, having the dog hold that position, while you work or cook dinner or help the kids with their homework. It’s doggie pilates at its finest.

 

How much space do the dogs need?

The dogs just want to be with you so even if there is a wide-open field for them to play in they rather be laying at your feet than running around by themselves. Many of our clients who live in larger cities worry that their smaller living spaces won’t be suitable for a dog. Luckily that is not the case since the dogs prefer to be close by at all times. More square footage only equates more area that the dog has to search when clearing your house when you come home.

 

Can I play with the dog?

Absolutely. These are living, breathing animals, not robots. That being said, these are working dogs, not toys. If you respect them; they will respect you, and an important part of that relationship is ensuring their obedience. You initiate “play time” or “love fest” and then you end it by using the command “It’s over. Back to your place.” Maintaining a healthy balance of fun and obedience with your dog is imperative.

 

What if the dog bites someone inappropriately?

All dogs bite. Luckily for you our dogs have been trained specifically when it is appropriate to bite and when it is not (remember the “on/off” switch and being trained on intent?) You are more likely to have an unwarranted bite from your neighbor’s golden retriever then you would be from a Svalinn dog trained for protection.

 

Will the dog attack if they meet a new person in my house if I am not there?

Our dogs are trained on intent and intent alone. If that person is in your house to rob you or hurt you, the dog will protect you. If that person is your neighbor coming to borrow a cup of sugar, come on in! It does not matter if the dog has never met your neighbor or if the person coming to do you harm is your brother that the dog has met 100 times. The dog senses their intent, whether it is malicious or benign.

 

How long does it take to bond with a dog?

With most dogs, the bond with their new owners begins in a matter of hours. The full bonding process can take between three days and two weeks depending on the circumstance, the temperament of the dog, the number of handlers in a family, etc. The relationship between each individual dog and their new owner is unique and the bonding time depends on each ones individual personality.

 

Can I rename the dog?

Absolutely. A dog can learn its new name within two-three days if you use the name consistently. Can’t decide what name fits best? You can change the dog’s name as many times as you like and they will begin to respond to the new name within 48 hours. It’s just like a human getting a nickname.

 

Why did you pick the breeds that you did to breed and work with?

The Dutch Shepherd, German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois were originally bred with jobs like ours in mind. They are sturdy breeds with high intelligence. Their ability to match stability with capability was what ultimately lead us to these three breeds

 

Why do you feed raw?

Everything we do with the dogs is aimed at keep things as close to nature as possible. In order to deliver the best dogs possible, in optimal health, we choose to feed raw meat just as the dogs would eat in nature. The clarity of their eyes, their soft coats and overall fit, svelte, muscular structures are the result of a very healthy diet. When location, livability and availability allow, many of our clients continue this diet.

 

What if I cannot feed a raw diet?

The dog food isle of any grocery store can be a pretty overwhelming place. Svalinn has experience feeding several quality dry and wet dog foods that we can confidently recommend to you. Often we’ll suggest augmenting the dry diet with occasional bones, to keep dog’s teeth clean, and to get some nutrients from the bits of meat and marrow.

 

Will this dog poop on my floor?

Just like humans, all dogs poop and pee. Just like humans, no dog is completely infallible. Certainly all of our dogs are house trained, and once a dog has bonded to you, she should begin to do her business on command. (The command actually is “do your business”.) Despite all the training in the world, sometimes nature calls quickly. We will work with you to ensure that you know your dog’s signs for having to go to the bathroom. Maintaining a consistent diet and being clued into your individual dog’s daily routine will ensure success with this matter.

 

Does everyone on your team have past dog handling experience?

No. We actually only hire individuals with no previous dog handling / training experience. Given that our training and methodology are so unique and different from other protection training approaches, we prefer to start with a clean slate. Our training techniques are based on real life situations and scenarios, where most others such as Schutzhund, KNVP and French Ring are based on sport. Since our close-to-nature philosophy is far removed from those competition-based training ideas, we like to instill our methodology into our trainers rather than them coming with preconceived notions, ideas and approaches.