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Security Dogs: Your Roving, Fluffy Crime Deterrents

Put the fear into criminals with ferocious security dogs. Dig up the poop on choosing the right dog for your family so you can keep the bad guys away.

Dogs are a fantastic way to compliment your other home security measures. Despite all the modern gadgets and electronic alarm systems out there, in many cases, having a dog patrolling your garden is still one of the best ways to stay safe in your home.

The advantages of having dogs include the following:

  • They have EXCELLENT hearing - they will hear an intruder before you do
  • Their bark is their alarm - they will warn you if they feel something is wrong
  • You cannot forget to "arm" your security dog
  • They will never run out of batteries or fail to work because of a power shortage
  • They are excellent companions (a good enough reason to get one)
  • Dogs are known to go out of their way to protect "their family"

Some disadvantages are:

  • Dogs can be expensive to keep - food, vet bills etc
  • They are a full time responsibility for the next 12 - 15 years
  • If not properly trained, they can have behavior problems
  • Your dog may bite/attack innocent people despite its training
  • You need to have a proper fence or wall around your property to keep it in

Security Dog Breeds

You really need to do some research to find the best breed of dog for YOURSELF and your family. You also need to carefully consider all the various aspects of owning a dog and before you decide to get one.

Like having a child, this decision affects not only YOUR life (and your family's) but the life of another living creature!

If you aren't absolutely committed to caring for this new animal and really making it a part of the family, you probably shouldn't bring a dog into your life. It's not fair on the animal and you will just end up resenting it.

Having said all that, I am a HUGE fan of owning dogs for home security or any other reason for that matter.

As I hinted to above, the benefits go far beyond home security. Owning and raising security dogs will change you. The darn creatures have a way of creeping into your heart whether you want them to or not!

Dogs have a reputation for softening even the hardest of hearts.

Which Breed Should You Get?

Deciding on the right breed is an important step in the process of finding the ideal dog for your home security. Every breed has its own unique characteristics. It's up to you to figure out which ones are the most important for your particular situation.

You may have owned dogs in the past (so you know which breeds you like) or you may be considering getting your first dog. If you are new to this, the information below might help you decide.

There are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • Size (and therefore, appetite!)
  • Temperament (personality or "how it gets along with others")
  • Long haired or short haired
  • Protective instincts
  • Response to training
  • Appearance (color, fur type etc)

Size: Big Breed Or Small Breed

When choosing security dogs, you will have to decide whether you want a bigger dog like a Doberman Pinscher, Boer bull or Rottweiler. Maybe you would actually prefer a little dog that can more easily live inside the home, such as a Jack Russell, Staffordshire terrier or a Maltese Poodle.

It's important to remember that you don't HAVE TO have a large, fierce dog for home security.

Smaller dogs can also be effective watchdogs since they are very alert and will bark (or "Yap" as the case may be!) at anything or anyone that doesn't belong on your property. This high pitched barking can be a turn off for many people and lead them to choose one of the larger breeds instead.

It really is up to you.

Another idea that can be very effective is to have a combination of a big dog and a smaller dog. My family had this situation while I was growing up.

We had a small bundle of energy called "Jessie", who was a Smooth Fox Terrier and we also had a beautiful, tan colored Staffordshire bull terrier (a "Staffie") called "Sarah".

What would usually happen is that the little one would hear something unusual outside and go running off, barking all the way and the larger, lazier "Staffie" would run after her to find out what all the fuss was about!

They were a very good security "team"...

...even though the most exciting "intruder" they ever got to chase was a Vervet Monkey (very common in many parts of South Africa)!

Temperament: Security Dogs And Their "Personalities"

The "personality" or temperament of security dogs varies widely. This idea will be obvious to dog lovers. Whether it's the highly strung, protective nature of the Doberman Pincher or the loving, gentle loyalty of a Labrador, the differences are clear to see.

Knowing this makes it super important to check out the temperament of the breed of dog that you are planning to get.

It's as simple as typing the breed's name into Google and reading up on it.

You really don't want to wait until you have had the dog for a few weeks or even months to find out that it's not going to be compatible with you or your family.

This is especially important if you have kids. Certain breeds are EXCELLENT with kids (patient and tolerant), while others may be liable to snap at them or even bite.

Long Haired Or Short Haired

While it may not seem like a big deal, this can be a HUGE issue! The long haired breeds do one thing that could make you miserable...

...they SHED.

Shedding (regularly losing tufts of fur) happens with all pets to a certain degree, but the long haired breeds are the worst. If you aren't prepared to vacuum your house MUCH more often, and you wouldn't want to regularly brush your new friend, these breeds are not for you.

Another potential nuisance with these dogs is the tendency for them to pick up "burs" (those spiky or sticky grass seeds that weasel their way into dog's fur after they go running through the bushes and grass).

These can be a real pain in the neck to brush out of their long fur. Depending on where you live (and the kinds of grasses and bushes in your garden), this may or may not be a problem. It's just something to be aware of.

Plenty of people absolutely adore long haired breeds, and you might too, but you need to know that BEFORE you bring your fluffy new companion home.

Short haired breeds tend to be very low maintenance. Their needs are limited to the occasional bath (we always used to bath Jessie and Sarah every Sunday), food, water, exercise and most importantly...

...your LOVE and attention.

Protective Instincts

Generally speaking, most dogs have a strong protective instinct and will do what they can to protect their owners from harm.

However, there is no question that certain breeds are genetically programmed to do this more effectively and more actively than others.

A big factor that determines how protective your security dogs will be over you or your family members is how much love and attention you give them.

If the extent of your involvement in your dog's life is to feed it every day and then lock it away in the back courtyard, don't be surprised when it fails to put its life on the line to protect you one day!

It's not surprising that the most protective dogs are the ones that are most commonly chosen for guard dog roles.

These include breeds like (Click on these links for more info about each from Wikipedia):

There are many more, but these are some of the more well known protective breeds. If you are serious about getting a security dog for home protection...

...then you can't go wrong with one of these breeds.

By getting a real security dog, you are just stacking the odds in your favor if you ever need the dog to save your life or chase away burglars.

Please don't misunderstand me and believe that I'm not in favour of other breeds of dogs for a home security role or that I think other kinds of dogs aren't protective. I realize that many people are very satisfied with their "non-guard dog" breeds in this role.

I simply believe that if you are really serious about protecting yourself and your home from crime then you will get the best "tool" for the job.

Response To Training

If you are an existing dog owner, you will know that some breeds are more responsive to training than others.

This is partly due to differences in intelligence.

Some breeds just aren't able to catch on to things as quickly as others, and they'll never be able to improve beyond a certain point. Other breeds are well known in the dog training world for being really sharp and quick to learn new things.

If you want to make sure you're getting the most effective home protection you possibly can, it makes sense to choose a breed that is known for its good response to your training efforts. This will just make your life easier and keep you and your family safer.

Whether you choose to train the dog yourself (I wouldn't recommend it unless you have experience in this area), or have it trained by a reputable trainer (the only way to go in my opinion), having a highly "trainable" dog can only help you in the long run.

Appearance: What "Look" Do You Want?

Doberman looking meanI wouldn't want to meet this guy on a dark night, would you? (Photo by Joseph Vasquez)

Lastly, it helps if you like the look of your new companion! We all have different ideas about what looks good in an animal. Some may find the squashed up nose and short, stocky body of a bulldog to be irresistible!

I definitely don't! :-)

But who am I to tell others what to feel! I personally love the look of a large, muscular Boerboel or the fierce and stocky Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

Each to his own!

I really think it's important to give some thought to the appearance of the different breeds of security dogs. You can pick an animal that you like the look of, while still making sure that it has all the other important characteristics that I have discussed in this article.

A dog with an intimidating appearance will certainly work to your advantage if your goal is home security.

Nobody will want to risk jumping over your fence if the first thing they see is the long, sharp fangs of your Doberman glinting in the moonlight!

While I really think there are other, more important factors than what a dog looks like, it's definitely something you need to think about before you make your final decision.

Becoming A Part Of The Family

Owning security dogs is a big responsibility. If you're prepared for all that this entails, though, having a furry companion (or two) can be an extremely rewarding experience.

I have always loved having dogs around.

They are always happy to see you when you get home after a long day at work, and they forgive you much more quickly than human beings do!

If you aren't a dog owner already, give some serious thought to getting a furry home security companion. I bet you won't regret it and it may even enrich your life in ways that you didn't expect.

That's certainly been my experience!

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