Crime-weary New Yorkers are teaching their pooches to provide big-dog-sized protection, animal trainers tell The Post.
A dog “is an incredible psychological deterrent to criminals – regardless of size,” said Bash Dibra, Bronx-based author, Hollywood consultant and celebrity animal trainer.
About a third of his clients these days seek help in turning miniature city pooches into canine crime fighters, a “notable increase” in recent years, he noted.
A Turtle Bay dog mom says she ‘absolutely felt safer’ walking the dangerous streets of Gotham with Joey, the 16-pound Chihuahua mix she adopted when the pandemic hit in 2020 and s was trained to tap into his inner lion.
“A random skeevy guy isn’t going to attack me when I’m walking with Joey,” said Dibra client Suzy Lieberman.
“You come between him and his mom, he’ll bite you, he’ll attack you,” she added.
Some of Dibra’s techniques have been unconventional — like the time he encouraged a celebrity couple to throw their dog at criminals in the crime-infested 1970s.
A wily sausage dog belonging to the first host of ‘The Tonight Show’, Jack Paar, launched Dibra’s career training dogs for the rich and famous, after the comedy legend’s wife, Miriam, was assaulted in Central Park.
He taught their stubborn dachshund to growl angrily at attackers when Ms Paar gave a signal – in her case, picking up the dog if she smelled trouble coming.
“Even if someone tried to grab her, she could throw the dog at them as a last resort,” Dibra said, as she ran or screamed for help. “That little dog was an incredible deterrent.”
Throwing puppies at criminals is no longer part of his training regimen, as it was when Paar was mugged. But the basics of his diet remain similar.
Budding Underdogs learn to talk, bark, growl, and bare teeth in the direction of danger, on cue from the owner.
Criminals look for easy targets and paths of least resistance, Dibra noted, so a small dog’s growl is often enough to scare away potential attackers. Even emotionally disturbed people are “instinctively” discouraged or disarmed by the presence of a dog, he said.
The desire for four-legged security patrols comes as the city is in the midst of a historic crime wave in 2022: assaults up 20.9%, shootings up 30.9%, rapes up 32 .1% and flights up 42.4%, compared to the same point last year, according to at the NYPD.
Dogs are a particularly effective deterrent against home invasions. FBI data shows that 95% of thugs will jump a residence if they hear barking, regardless of the size of the animal.
And it’s the small dogs – the favorite breed of crowded city dwellers who live in small spaces – who are most up to the task.
Dachshunds, Chihuahuas and Jack Russell terriers are the three most aggressive breeds in terms of bite frequency, according to animal research data.
The French Bulldog – also no slouch – weighs no more than 28 pounds and is the most popular breed in New York, according to the American Kennel Club.
“Small dogs can be just as tough and aggressive as big dogs, even more so,” said Anthony Newman of Calm Energy Dog Training in Brooklyn. “You have gentle giants among large breeds and a Napoleon complex among small dogs,” he said.