JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A military wife was afraid to own a gun but still wanted an extra layer of protection while her husband was stationed overseas.
Chanin Rodriguez lives alone with her 3-year-old daughter. She has been training a 1 ½-year-old German shepherd named Titan to be her protection dog for more than a year.
“He makes me feel better when my husband is gone. He's just there and a gun can't do that,” said Rodriguez.
Jason Davis of Karma K9 is a third generation dog trainer and has trained dogs professionally for 18 years.
“Just as important as it for a dog to know how to bite, they have to have to be able to hold composure, have impulse control and not bite as well,” said Davis.
He said a majority of Karma K9’s clients who bring dogs for protection training are women.
Tana Mankus is a mother of four who works in foreclosed real estate throughout Jacksonville.
She said she takes her dog Kato wherever she goes.
“It's another set of eyes and ears to be around me as I’m going through the houses,” said Mankus.
Having a dog trained as a protector is usually a two-year process.
“In the moment the dog is doing a job. They're doing something they were instructed to do. Reacting to a threat,” he said.
Before the dogs are able to begin training at the Karma K9 facility, they go through a special screening process with their owner.
“We have to make sure we're not creating a liability by training these dogs to protect, to bite,” said Davis.
The facility has special mats that protect the dogs, and Davis wears a bite suit while training them.
He encourages people to learn about the dogs and speak with qualified trainers before investing in one.
The training results in an added layer of protection for Rodriguez. But she said her protection dog is also her best friend.