Guard Dogs: Can They Really Protect Me?
People want to feel protected in their homes and many feel that they can achieve this peace of mind by acquiring a dog that has been bred to guard. The truth is that any dog with a bark loud enough to scare away a stranger or alert you to the presence of an intruder makes a good guard dog; and, for the average homeowner who is seeking a four-legged “early warning system”, just about any breed will do. Every dog is territorial to some degree and will know who does and doesn’t belong on his territory.
Breeds That Are Recognized for Their Guarding Abilities
If you have your mind set on acquiring a dog that has been bred for its guarding ability, there are many breeds from which to choose. Those breeds are:
Ainu Dog, Airedale Terrier, Akbash Dog, Akita Inu, Alano Espanol, Alapaha Blue Blood Bulldog, American Bandogge Mastiff, American Bulldog, American Mastiff, American Mastiff (Panja), American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American White Shepherd, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Argentine Dogo, Australian Cattle Dog, Australian Shepherd, Austrian Shorthaired Pinscher, Banter Bulldogge, Beauceron, Belgian Shepherd Groenendael, Belgian Shepherd Laekenois, Belgian Shepherd Malinois, Belgian Shepherd Tervuren, Black Mouth Cur, Black Russian Terrier, Bouvier des Flanders, Boxer, Briard, Bull Boxer, Bulldog, Bullmastiff, Canaan Dog, Cane Corso Italiano, Canis Panther, Cao de Fila de Sao Miguel, Cao de Serra de Aires, Caucasian Ovtcharka, Cenral Asian Ovtcharka, Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Chinese Chonqing Dog, Chow Chow, Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, Doberman Pinscher, Dogue Brasileiro, Dogue de Bordeaux, Dorset Olde Tyme Bulldogge, Dutch Shepherd Dog, East European Shepherd, Estrela Mountain Dog, Eurasian, Fila Brasileiro, German Pinscher, German Shepherd Dog, German Wirehaired Pointer, Giant Schnauzer, Great Pyrenees, Hovawart, Irish Terrier, Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Jindo, Kangal Dog, Kerry Blue Terrier, King Shepherd, Komondor, Kuvasz, Maremma Sheepdog, Mastiff, Neapolitan Mastiff, Nebolish Mastiff, Norwegian Elkhound, Olde English Bulldoggge, Old Victorian Bulldogge, Perro de Presa Mallorquin, Pyrenean Mastiff, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Roman Rottweiler, Rottweiler, Russian Bear Schnauzer, Schipperke, Shiloh Shepherd, Slovensky Cuvac, Spanish Mastiff, Spanish Water Dog, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Standard Schnauzer, Tibetan Mastiff, Titan Bulle-Dogge, Tosa Inu, Valley Bulldog, Victorian Bulldog, Weimaraner and Wetterhoun.
Owning a Guard Dog
In most ways, a guard dog is like any other dog. He needs the same care and attention and deserves to be part of a loving family. If all you want is protection and not a new addition to your family, you’re much better off investing in an alarm system. A professional security system will be cheaper in the long run (no medical bills, food, training, etc.) and you won’t have to deal with a potentially dangerous animal.
Do a lot of research on the different breeds of guard dogs before you rush out and buy one. If you do decide to get a real guard dog, you have to be prepared to invest an extensive amount of time and money in professional training. The goal is to end up with a dog that will aggressively protect your home and family while remaining a loving and sociable pet. Guarding breeds need to be exposed to all sorts of people and animals from the time they are very young so that they can learn to behave appropriately around non-threatening strangers.
Since most guarding breeds are naturally aggressive and dominant, they need to learn that you are the boss through your gestures, mannerisms and voice commands. If you appear weak to one of the guarding breeds (especially the male of any breed), he will not see you as an authoritarian figure and will most likely ignore your commands. There can be only one “alpha male” in any group and if your dog will fill that role if you do not.
If you choose a dog breed that has been bred to guard flocks of sheep or cattle herds, you’ll need to have a large yard area that is securely fenced in – your dog’s territory needs to be clearly defined or else his perceived territory may expand into the neighbor’s yard or the park across the street. With this type of dog, also be prepared to be “herded” along with your other pets and children. Remember, your dog was bred to guard a flock and part of that includes keeping members of the flock in a place where they can be easily watched and protected. If your dog is properly trained, then this behavior will manifest itself as a minor personality quirk.
If you are going to own a guard dog, you have to realize that you can’t turn his aggressive qualities on and off to suit your mood. You can learn to control these qualities, however, through firm and consistent training techniques.