When you think of home security, alarm systems, deadbolts, and surveillance cameras might come to mind. If you mull over protection, firearms and other types of weaponry may be the main choices you contemplate. All of these choices aside, there is a security and protective measure that has been used successfully for years.
That is the dog.
Photo: Gina Sanders
It is common for people to think of a guard dog as a vicious, snarling beast, but that is not necessarily true. Sure, dogs like that do exist and a dog is what you make it, but a watchdog can take the shape of the family pet that sleeps in bed with you every night and plays with your kids all day. The balance you wish to achieve with such a dog is a loving member of the family that will not hesitate to stop an intruder or otherwise act when the command to protect is given. A dog that knows its job and does not hesitate to perform when called upon is priceless when it comes to the safety of your family. You may only ever need a dog that barks and has a big presence, but if something more is necessary, it is possible to get highly trained dogs that will rise to any defense occasion.
When it comes to selecting a dog that will keep your home safe, there are many things to consider, much of which is your level of commitment. If you only want a dog that barks, many smaller dogs will fill that role without resorting to a bite. Herding and guardian dogs have a protective nature due to the purpose for which they were bred and will bark as well and may escalate to a bite if the occasion calls for it. Then there are your large breeds that will bark as well as protect if necessary, but usually their presence alone is enough.
Most commonly chosen, however, are breeds such as Shepherds (German, Dutch, Belgian), Dobermans, and Rottweilers, which are not only willing to protect but also athletic enough to do so easily.
Once you've settled on a breed (which can unfortunately be difficult with breed banning and home owner's insurance to consider), you are going to have to decide on the manner of training you wish to pursue. In a lot of cases, dogs will have a natural inclination to protect, but that may not always be enough and training will be necessary to properly channel your dog's protective capabilities. Again, it comes down to your level of commitment, and if training is not your thing, finished protection dogs are available for sale in many places around the country.
If you do opt to go it on your own, be sure the dog you pick has a good temperament above all else. After all, this is an animal that you will be living with and relying on to be a good citizen in addition to being a protective asset. Your dog will need traits such as confidence, assertiveness, and trainability, but most of all you are going to have to truly click for your partnership to work.
Of course, as with everything, there is a downside. Some training programs can run as much as $10,000. Your homeowner's insurance may discriminate against certain breeds or trained K9s in general. Also, any animal is in the end a finite resource, that will some day expire.
Still, with a suitable, well-trained dog incorporated into your home and family, safety and protection can literally be available at a moment's notice. In addition to having an animal guardian, you will have a friend for life in a dog.
Take care of your canine, and he or she will take care of you and yours.
Whats your opinion? Do you have a dog incorporated into your homestead to assist with security or is it too much trouble? Let us know below.