When discussing getting a home security with friends and family you may be told, ‘Don’t waste your money on a system! Just get a dog!” Which may sound like reasonable — and economical – advice initially. And many homeowners have gone that route only to realize they got a great pet but terrible guard dog. Or they end up spending significantly more on the dog and training it than a quality home security system would have cost them.
Having a dog may add an additional layer of security to your home. After all, watching over home and property is one of the primary reasons man domesticated dogs. Even with ingrained natural instincts to protect their ‘pack’ and ‘territory’, not all dogs are capable of being a guard for their home.
What Makes The Best Guard Dog?
There are three key traits to a successful guard dog:
- Body: A good guard dog must be large enough and strong enough to subdue (and control) a full-sized man.
- Heart (Temperament): He must also be fearless – willing to act without hesitation to protect you and your family with no regard for its own safety.
- Mind: A dog who possess the right body and heart may make an exceptional guard dog one day – but only after significant, professional training – which requires an intelligent and loyal mind.
Let’s Talk Facts
Training any dog can be long, and expensive let alone training a proper guard dog. For example, training from K9 Working Dogs International to create a certified ‘guard dog’ can take from weeks to months and will cost anywhere from $5,000 to $30,000.
Getting the right dog is difficult. You can’t go to the local shelter and look for the largest, meanest available dog, throw some training at it and expect it to be a good guard dog.
The American Kennel Club identifies several working breed dogs that have traditionally been used as effective guard dogs, including the Bullmastiff, Doberman Pinscher, Giant Schnauzer, Akita, German Shepard Dog, Rottweiler, Puli, and Rhodesian Ridgeback. Other breeds may also have the physical stature and mentality for protection or guard work.
If you are serious about owning a guard dog, you may wish to speak with an organization that raises working guard dogs – breeding from their own stock animals and providing all the training before you take ownership.
What’s This All Mean?
There is a significant difference between owning a dog for companionship – and owning own to perform a task. Even an untrained dog with a strong healthy bark may be enough to intimidate a would-be intruder.
But owning a working dog trained for protection work is a significant responsibility — not much different from keeping a gun in the home. It’s not something to jump into without educating yourself fully. All dogs – even small ones – are capable of inflicting significant injury – even death. And if you have a dog that is indiscriminately aggressive you may be legally and financially liable should your dog injure someone.
And while you’ll never have to remember to ‘Arm’ your dog before heading out – you will have to feed him, bathe him, walk him, and incur additional expenses with vet fees, dog walkers etc.
A guard dog may be able to protect your family from a violent intruder and your family pet may have an intimidating bark that’s enough to scare off a burglar. But it won’t be able to contact the police, fire or other emergency personnel. And can’t send an alert to you when you’re away from home. There’s also always the risk that your beloved family pet may become the victim, especially in the event of a fire.
Is A Guard Dog Your Best Option?
Owning a dog is a great experience for many homeowners but there is a difference between a family companion dog and working guard dog. And for those that choose to get a working dog trained for actual guard or protection service, they have added another layer of protection to their existing security measures. But the best guard dogs are the ones that supplement a primary security system. If you’re serious about the safety and security of your family, even a home with the best guard dog(s) benefits from the security and alert capabilities of a home security system. Learn more about your home security options and the top security providers by checking out our in-depth reviews.