The "test" was interesting to watch, though not scientific in any regard. More for fun, I guess. My issues with it are somewhat nitpicky, but hey, if we're going to play at housebreaking, it might as well be realistic as possible, for the dogs' sakes, right?
I did comment on Pamela's entry, but I'll repeat myself here.
(guy in a bite suite, from the Wikimedia Commons)
Issue #1: The dogs were home when the cameras were installed, so they already all kinds of strangers coming inside and messing with things with their owners present. I'm not sure how much time elapsed between the installation of the cameras and the "break ins", but I wonder if the original activity sort of set a precedent. Most dogs don't "learn" something in one go; certainly, if these dogs were particularly protective, they wouldn't have been loose and sniffing people while they were placing the cameras.
Issue #2: The front door was unlocked, so the intruder just walked right in like he was supposed to be there. If he had come through a window, or kicked the door in, I wonder if the dogs would have reacted differently (on either end of the spectrum, really: more fearful OR more protective).
Issue #3: The owners were not home in any of the break in scenarios, which leads me to wonder if the dogs would have behaved more protectively with an owner present. A personal protection dog is different from an estate guardian dog. I guess there are thoughts of territory as well that could play into this
If you watch the video, the only dog that even gets nippy is a German Shepherd of woeful physical conformation. He is also extremely fearful, and I wonder if it was more a fear bite than a "protection" bite, as that dog struck me as rather fearful each time he was on camera, even with his owner holding the leash. He also seemed somewhat young (but I could be incorrect on that).
Most of the time, we're here if somebody enters the house and interacts with Elka. At least once, I asked one of my coworkers to come and let her out when we were at a Renaissance Faire, and said coworker encountered no problems entering the house with a borrowed key, approaching Elka (who was baby gated in the kitchen at the time), and taking her out back to empty her.
A friend of ours, who had met Elka many times, had a somewhat different experience coming to let her out. Again, Elka was baby gated in the kitchen, and said friend had a key to come in the house. Our friend got the front door open and looked towards the kitchen door; while you can see the kitchen from the front door, it's a funny angle looking back, and Elka couldn't see who was at the door all that clearly. But oh, our friend could see Elka! She said that Elka's lips were pulled entirely back from her teeth, clear up to the gums (which I've never seen). Elka's ears were laid flat against her head. Her fur, from neck to base of the tail, was fully erect. And she was totally quiet and still. Our friend thought "uh-oh", but from the door said "Elka, it's me!" and Elka put all of the Scary Doberman stuff away and wiggle danced in greeting, and they went out back and had a good time.
It's comparative situations like this which make me think it would be interesting to take Elka to a Working Aptitude Evaluation (WAE). From the Doberman Pinscher Club of America web site:
The WAE tests the temperament of a UNTRAINED dog. The "evaluator" scores each dogs reaction at each of the 7 testing stations. No training is required, nor preferred, to properly evaluate the dogs temperament. A trained dogs reaction, to any portion of the test, can be misleading and defeat the purpose of the test! The WAE is designed to give owners and breeders a better understanding of the dogs temperament, but not it's working ability! A review of the test results will give a good understanding of the strengths and weakness of each dogs temperament.Of course, at 3, Elka isn't exactly "untrained", so the evaluation wouldn't be entirely "pure", but as I said, it would be interesting. Some of the components of the tests are things like a gunshot, a neutral stranger, and a threatening stranger. I've read other Doberman owners' accounts of having taken their dogs to a WAE, and do regret not having attended a recent one that was downstate. However, Elka gets carsick without Dramamine, so not only is she not "untrained", but would also have been drugged...that's a confound to a study if ever there was one!
Really what it comes down to is if your dog is not tested realistically, you don't know how your dog would react in a given situation. Nobody's broken into our home, so I don't know how Elka would react. Nobody's approached us in a threatening manner on the street, so I don't know how Elka would react or try to follow through. I hope to never have to find these things out, really. It would be nice to live life without these occurrences.