Would your dog protect you during a break-in?

Three families put their dogs to the test to see how they'd react to an intruder

Geva said breed doesn’t matter when it comes to finding a dog that will protect you, it’s all about the training. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Do you ever wonder how your dog would react if an intruder came into your home?

Three local families recently put their dogs to the test, and the results were nothing short of surprising.

Ronda Szlavich had high hopes for her dogs Toby, a miniature Australian shepherd, and Echo, a pitbull. Although pitbulls are often seen as an aggressive breed, Szlavich says Toby is more aggressive than Echo.

“I think they will both get off the couch,” Szlavich said. “Echo will look, go back to the couch and sit down, and I think Toby will be the one that will jump up and down and bark and bark and bark.”


Professional protection dog trainer Omri Geva suited up to stage a break-in at Szlavich’s Aloha home, equipped with a Go Pro to catch her dogs in the act.

“Hi baby,” Geva said as he entered the house.

Not only did Echo and Toby hardly bark, they greeted Geva like a long lost friend.

“They’re not doing anything!” Szlavich remarked as she watched the footage. “That didn’t go so well.”

Geva, who founded Custom Protection Dogs, wasn’t impressed with Echo and Toby’s reaction either.

“If I was a real burglar in plain clothes, I don’t think they would’ve done anything,” Geva said.

So he went back in for another try, this time with Szlavich’s grandson, Trenton, inside the house. But once again, they greeted the “intruder” happily, and didn’t even mind when Trenton walked out the door with him.

“My possessions could be replaced, but if somebody took Trenton? He couldn’t be replaced,” Szlavich said.

Portland residents John Hickmon and Lauren Procario were curious to see what Truffles, their pitbull, and Cheeba, their vizsla, would do in the event of a break-in.

“I’m looking to see almost, like, their facial expressions in a way,” Hickmon said.

With a quick jiggle of the doorknob, Geva was in the house.

“Hi babies,” he said to Truffles and Cheeba. “Let’s go outside babies, let’s go outside!”

He easily led both dogs outside, and was even able to steal cell phones and a wallet along the way.

Procario and her son were inside for the second try. While Cheeba didn’t put up much of a fight, she did stay by her mom’s side to protect her.

In Gresham, the Lebrun family was especially curious to see what their dogs would do, having been victims of theft in the past.

“You work hard for your stuff, and people just walk up and take it,” Jason Lebrun said.

You could hear barking from Riley, a boxer, and Dallas, a malshi, when Geva first walked inside. Then, it became silent as the dogs smelled the “intruder”.

As Geva started walking around the house, the dogs began barking again. Dallas jumped impressively from couch to couch, letting Geva know he wasn’t welcome. Riley went outside, but Dallas refused, trying instead to stop Geva as much as possible.


Suddenly, Geva turned around to confront Dallas who retreated and slipped on the floor.

“Oh no!” Denise Lebrun said. “We could’ve lost everything in our home… They’re fired!”

Denise stayed inside the house the next time around. As Geva walked in, Riley stepped up to the plate to protect her owner. Denise yelled, “get him!” as Riley jumped on the “intruder”.

While Denise was a little happier with Riley’s reaction the second time around, each of the owners weren’t particularly thrilled with their dogs after putting them to the test. Still, Geva said it brought up an important lesson.

“If you want a dog that will really protect you, it’s not about the breed, it’s not about having a dog that’s big and mean,” he said. “It’s about doing very specific training in order to raise an animal that’s going to follow a certain set of criteria.”

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