So, what do I think about Elka? Will she protect me?
Our town is pretty quiet for the summer, with two colleges on vacation. So, when we got Elka in July (at 8 weeks) the neighborhood was calm. We did still have college neighbors on the one side, which isn't always the case. When the colleges came back in September (Elka was 4 months by then), things got a bit louder, and there was more people traffic. One night, I had Elka in the driveway to potty before bed, and our neighbors came back up the driveway, fresh from the bars, a little loud and a little, um, "happy". Puppy Elka got between them and me, and barked a puppy bark at them. I praise her, but also said "It's all right, it's the neighbors!" She stopped barking and started wiggling, and that was that.
She does that even now; not the bark while on leash, but putting herself between myself and whatever she thinks is suspicious, and staring. She did it just the other night, when I had her on the front lawn for a pee break. She does it on walks as well, though I do notice that some of the time when she stares at joggers, she seems to be wondering what it is they're running from, or perhaps where their dog is, as she looks a little bit past them as well!
In the house, she'll bark if somebody is in our driveway or the driveway next door. If the mailman is on the porch she'll bark, but not if it's one of our friends or housemates. It's typically a single bark, if we're in the room with her. If we're say, in the bathroom, or upstairs, she'll bark more. It might also be a little bit of "Hey! Why am I alone?!"
We went through the library park one day last week, and there was a cluster of ne'er do wells on one of the benches. Elka had an eye on them as we were going past, but was calm and at heel. One of the guys (who was standing on said bench) said "Beautiful dog, ma'am! She really looks like she could tear somebody up!" I kind of laughed, because really, who says that, but I also said "You never know!" I don't intend for Elka to ever "tear somebody up" or have to defend me. When it comes down to it, I never want to be in that situation, with or without her. A Doberman is a good visual deterrent, and auditory one. A personal protection or Schutzhund trained Doberman is a sight to see. Elka is not trained in that manner, and as I've mentioned before, doesn't (in my opinion) have that sharp temperament.
But, to put it mildly, if the only reason you want a dog is to protect your house, get a security system and a gun, and know how to use both so that you're not a danger to yourself. Dobermans are not property guards, they are not machines, they are members of your family. Many of them, through training or instinct, will protect their families, but it's good to have a backup plan.