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JoAnna Lou
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New Trend: Executive Protection Canines
Security guards gone to the dogs

Harrison Prather used to train dogs for the British special forces and the Navy Seal Team 6, but a growing market led him to start Harrison K-9 Security Services to provide his talented pups to wealthy civilians.

Some people come to Prather for his executive protection dogs, as he calls them, after receiving threats or after human bodyguards proved ineffective. Others simply like the combination of protection and companionship.

Prices have increased in recent years due to the growing number of people who like the security and status provided by a guard dog. It's not uncommon for people to pay upwards of $60,000 for a dog trained in Schutzhund, or protection work. Prather's dogs cost over $200,000 since they are trained for three years in Germany before coming to the United States for further skill development.

The executive protection dogs learn tracking and fighting skills, but are also trained to be gentle in the house with family.

These dogs play an interesting role as both a bodyguard and a companion, but I do worry that the hefty price tag could cause these dogs to be seen as merchandise. I hope that the buyers consider the responsibility of an animal, and don't just view these dogs as a living security system.

What do you think about executive protection dogs?

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

Photo by k9centrum/flickr.

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