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German Shepherd Protects Family from Home Intruder

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German Shepherd Jack protects family from Intruder! 

Jack and my son Jon

The following incident occurred on Sunday Aug. 13, 2006 in Scottsdale Arizona.

I was awoken by a loud bark from my 2 year old male German Shepherd
named Jack.  Jack is a Czech German Shepherd that I obtained from Alpine K9 Safety, and was trained in a personal protection sport called “ZVV” which is similar to  Shutzhund here in the U.S. 

Jack does not normally bark at night so it seemed unusual that his bark was so determined and guttural.  Waking from my groggy sleep, I assumed that the source of Jack’s concern was my wife moving the headboard enough to hit our wall.

When she denied doing this, I realized I would have to make the rounds around the house to make sure everything was OK.

My wife’s sister was visiting at the time, and she was using my nine year old son Jonathan’s room.  Jonathan was sleeping on the fold-out sleeper in our family room.  As I opened the master bedroom door, I noticed that Jon was not in the sleeper as I had expected.  I was not immediately alarmed since Jonathan would often sleep in his older brother, David’s room many times during the week.

As I approached the living room, I could make out a figure lying in the smaller love seat.  I was puzzled because the length of the shape was much longer than my son Jonathan’s.  Jack approached cautiously and started to a low guttural growl again.  As I approached the figure on the couch, I was able to discern facial features and realized that this was someone that I did not recognize! 

My heart leaped into my throat!  Who was this strange man in our living room?  I quickly went back to the bedroom and to be thorough, asked my wife whether the kids had anyone in the neighborhood visiting for a sleep-over.  My wife replied that none of the kid’s friends were spending the night.  At that point I told my wife that a stranger was in our house and to dial 911. 
I quickly opened my gun safe and retrieved a Springfield XD 9mm subcompact with a laser attachment.  Knowing that the police were on their way, I racked a round into the chamber, swallowed hard, and went out to face the danger that had now materialized.
I turned on the foyer light giving me more light to discern the figure lying on the love-seat.  It looked as if the stranger was sleeping.  I turned on my laser, and kept the weapon trained on this new threat.  I commanded Jack to go into a “Leeday” command which is the Czech command for watch and guard.  If the intruder were to wake up and attempt to get up, the dog would immediately attack. 
Jack lay down immediately, ears erect and alert, with full attention on
the intruder.  There was no doubt in my mind that this 100 pound German
Shepherd Dog would lay down his life for mine.

Time seemed to pass slowly.  Minutes seemed an eternity.  Many thoughts
raced through my mind.  What if there was a second intruder?  Where was my son Jon?  Were my kids safe?  I made the hard decision to leave the intruder, guarded by Jack, and to go back into our bedroom and ask my wife to find the kids and barricade herself and the kids in case the situation got worse. 

She was still talking to the 911 operator but followed my whispered request to find the kids and lock the door.  I went back with my XD 9mm subcompact and settled in the chair across from the intruder, waiting for the police arrival. 
Again, time seemed an eternity.  The intruder’s cell phone was going off every few minutes like clock work.  The rapper/ gangsta ring tone told me that this individual was definitely from a different background and culture than my own. 
My anxiety was increased by more minutes of silence.  Again my thoughts
turned to a second intruder and whether my wife was able to make it to the kids. 

I decided to leave the intruder guarded by Jack and find out about my children.  I found my wife walking in the halls by the kid’s bedroom.  She seemed OK but I was frustrated and whispered an angry request for her to lock herself in the kid’s bedroom.  I didn’t find out until later that she was wandering the house because while she found our oldest 11 year old sleeping in his bed, she had yet to find our 9 year old son Jon.  Later she did find Jon sleeping with David (our other son) hidden by some blankets.

I went back to the living room and joined Jack in the vigilant watch over the sleeping intruder.  Thinking through all the scenarios that may confront me, I decided that if the intruder woke up, the intruder would have to surrender immediately.  I made the decision ahead of time that if the intruder did not obey my commands to surrender, that instead of deploying the dog, I would have to shoot the man.  I still did not know whether there were other accomplices or not and I was not about to spend precious time using my dog to convince him to comply when time may be of the essence for my family’s safety.  I would expend my 15 rounds of 9mm hollow points and then use the attack trained
German Shepherd as my last defense in case he was hyped up on crack or some other drug that somehow gave him the strength to survive the barrage of gunfire.

The police arrived a few minutes later.  I heard their calls through the door, which triggered more barking from Jack.  I released Jack from the “Leedhay” command and repositioned Jack away from the intruder and told him to stay with the “Zustain” command.

After repositioning my dog, I opened the door and the officer’s asked me to place my weapon down before they would enter.  I complied and brought the officers in to take care of business.  They asked me to make the weapon safe and I quickly removed the magazine and unchambered the live round in the pipe.

The police woke the suspect up and it turns out that this individual was
intoxicated beyond all belief.  It seems that we had inadvertently left the front door un-locked and he just happened to be looking for a place to crash.  I was glad that I had not used deadly force on this individual, but things had gotten pretty close and would have gotten much more complicated if he had woken up.

The police handcuffed the suspect and took him away for booking.   I asked the second police officer to verify that the house was secured.  I followed the officer, with Jack by my side as backup to the officer.

We went room to room and everything was in order with no signs of visible entry.  The police and I both surmised that we must have left the front door unlocked.  Rest assured that we learned our lesson… always lock your doors before turning in for the night!

The entire family gave Jack a big hug for his vigilance and bravery.  For the rest of the night, Jack slept by the living room couch, as if to protect the house from a repeat of the night’s incident.  It took a while to get back to sleep, but with our big Czech German Shepherd on duty, we finally dozed off.

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