Earlier this year someone broke into my home one night. He assaulted and robbed me. I feared for my life. I'm so scared now that I've been considering buying a personal protection dog and have looked online at some websites. The price at one website I found is $8500, and another is around $12,000, but I'm so afraid that I'm actually considering it. Am not sure how these dogs are trained. I watched a video provided by one breeder, and the dog was downright scary. Am not sure it would work for me. I don't have a gun and don't really want one. I couldn't have gotten to it the night I was assaulted anyway. I would appreciate your advice.
I'm so sorry for your misfortune. I am not a proponent of "trained guard dogs" for ordinary people like us, because I have yet to see one that is any good. Most are not well trained, or they respond only for the people who trained them, or they are liabilities.
What I would recommend is any kind of a big, intimidating-looking dog with a serious bark. Train him to be your companion. In a crisis, he will probably deter intruders right at the door or window, and his bark will alert you to take the next steps. And in a serious situation, even a nice dog will probably chomp on a bad guy to protect his leader. We can't predict that with certainty, but there is an extremely high probability. Again, your best defense is to intimidate the wrong-doers from even considering entering or doing you harm.
If I could choose a breed for you, I would choose a Rottweiler. German Shepherds and Dobermans are neat dogs, but I would not recommend one for you, for a variety of reasons that I won't go into here. Rotties are dear dogs, gentle and affectionate. Most aren't aggressive, but they have the look and bark (and reputation) to deter bad people. They are easy and fun to train. A large black Lab or Lab mix could also do the trick. I would recommend getting a young adult, whatever you get, or perhaps an older dog who needs a home. Check with Yakima Valley Pet Rescue and Wags to Riches, both in Yakima. You may still have to do some housebreaking and training, but it will be easier with an older dog. The older dogs are also more appreciative, bond more quickly, and are protective more quickly.
You should also look for a "Refuse to Be a Victim" seminar somewhere in the area. Here is the website for this EXCELLENT program: http://www.nrahq.org/rtbav/This This program teaches you how to defend yourself with whatever you have around...a pan of hot water if you're in the kitchen, for instance. It is well worth a trip to the Seattle area if that's where you find a seminar.
I would post a "Beware of Dog" sign or two on your property and at your sliding door. Don't listen to the rumors about such signs being "liabilities." Get one anyway. You can worry about lawsuits AFTER you've scared the bad guy away. Even if you DON'T have a dog, posting the sign may help. You might even put down a BIG dog dish outside the door so it looks like you have one...until you really do.
My advice is to stay away from websites claiming to have well trained guard dogs for sale. They'll take your money and leave you with a REAL liability. Your best bet is to find a good, large companion (even a Great Dane would be excellent) and take some basic manners classes together. My thoughts will be with you. Let me know of I can offer further help.