This incident happened a while back when I had the three dogs, Madam, TJ and Little Monkey.
The old dogs, especially TJ, were only able to manage short walks, and I often took them on their own slow walk then returned and took LM out on a faster long walk.
However, I took all three now and then, as it is good for the ‘pack’ to walk together. We were walking slowly along, down a curving road, when three young men approached on the same side of the road. I always assess people and decide whether to say hello or not. This was definitely a “Not” situation, so I started to pass them by without a word and with no eye contact. My dogs took their cue from me and were also ignoring the men; no problem.
Just as we passed, the closest man raised his right arm with a sudden movement. TJ instantly sprang into action and challenged the man, lunging for him and barking. Madam quickly joined him, so now I had two dogs between me and the ‘attacker’ as they saw him.
I said, “Ah-ha!’, reeled them in and carried on walking.
The man pretended he was raising his arm in greeting, by continuing the action and muttering a belated, “Hi.” But we all knew he was testing my dogs, which he perceived to be old, to see how they would respond. He sure found out.
So now they knew these particular dogs would protect their owner and property.
I have certainly never trained my dogs to protect me. It is something they will automatically do, when the ‘pack’ is stable. My dogs are definitely not aggressive. And even if they had been off the lead, all they would have done was challenge the man and bark at him, placing themselves between me and the ‘attacker’. But he didn’t know that.
TJ always hobbled. He came to me with a gammy leg, which I later found out had been very badly broken and never set, and so had healed crookedly. (see Portrait of a Dog #2 and #8) The poor old boy could hardly walk, but he protected me. The same for Madam, (See Portrait of a Dog #4 and #7) who was very old by now. I really felt part of the pack, and oh so protected.
And what was Little Monkey doing during this incident? She didn’t really know what to do, so just sort of hovered. She has since really come into her own, and will certainly protect me at home. On the walks, she is more busy looking for other dogs to freak out at, or squirrels and cats to hunt!
post script: As you can clearly see from the photo, TJ was very friendly, and loved people. None of my dogs have ever been aggressive, just, on occasion, protective.