Originally Posted by ScottRiqui
One potential legal "gotcha" is what happens if the bad guy attempts to retreat. With a gun, you can stop shooting at that point (and frequently are required to do so by law.) But with a dog, unless you can command it to break off the attack *instantly* when the attacker starts to flee, you may have legal or civil problems.
I think this is exactly right. I don't know specific laws on this topic, but as a matter of common sense, as well as the ethics of self defense, it seems to me that if you have a dog that's large enough to do serious damage to someone, and protective enough of you that this would be likely if you were threatened, you must
keep the dog under control, either by physically restraining it or by ensuring that it is very well trained - well enough that you will, for instance, be able to call it off someone who is retreating or submitting.
For most of us, this probably means working with a professional trainer, both to train the dog, and to learn, ourselves, how to handle it -- just as we'd get professional training in the use of any other weapon