What to Know About Getting a Guard Dog

If you’ve ever thought about getting a security guard dog as protection for your home or business, rest assured that it can be a good decision. To find the right dog, you might hire a company that trains security or guard dogs, particularly if you don’t want the responsibility of training and pet ownership. Another option is to get a dog that you can train yourself to be a guard animal.

Regardless of the specific path you might take, the following are some general things to know about guard or security dogs…

What is a Guard Dog?

A guard dog is usually a certain breed, and they’re trained specifically for the task. People have guard dogs at their homes and very commonly when they own businesses.

Some dog breeds known for being protective include Dutch Shepherds, Cane Corso, Bullmastiffs, and German Shepherds. Typically a dog breed that’s known for being protective will also tend to be obedient, loyal, and very alert.

We often hear the terms watchdog and guard dog used interchangeably, but there are some differences between the two.

A watchdog can be almost any dog who will let you know if something out-of-the-ordinary is going on. However, being hyper-vigilant can be a bad thing in some cases. A dog should be alert but not so vigilant towards things that aren’t necessarily relevant to you. That can indicate the dog isn’t socialized enough.

Watchdogs basically just have to be able to bark loudly. This means that even very small breeds can make good watchdogs.

Guard dogs are trained to potentially restrain or attack people if necessary. A guard dog will usually bark and if the intruder doesn’t retreat, the dog may take action.

As a side note, guard dogs are also sometimes called sentry dogs. A sentry dog can protect warehouses and other facilities.

Guard dogs are not attack dogs. Attack dogs can be very aggressive and are usually used by police K-9 units or military personnel.

Training Dogs for Protection

If you truly want a guard dog, you have to start training early on. It takes time and effort. For example, if you start training a dog at around six months old, he should be prepared as a guard dog by the time he is 1 1/2 years old. You’ll also likely have to do some ongoing training and refresher courses.

Training focuses on obedience early on because you need to control your dog. Guard dogs need to be socialized, and then, from there the dog will be trained to attack in the event of an intruder who won’t stop.

Getting an aggressive or untrained dog and hoping it will be protective can be dangerous. Dogs who are true guard dogs are well-socialized.

What to Consider Before Getting a Guard Dog

If you’re thinking about getting any dog, especially a guard dog, it requires planning. You should think about your budget first. Are you going to be able to pay for everything the dog needs, including healthcare and maintenance, but also training? Training a dog can get expensive, particularly specialized training.

A guard dog will also need more exercise than other dogs to stay in good shape.

Your dog will have to learn basics like housetraining, but also how to react to situations that are high pressure.

You also have to think about potential liability if your dog attacks or bites another person or animal. As a dog owner, you’re responsible for preventing injuries from happening. If you’re not careful, and your negligence led to your dog hurting someone, you may be legally and financially accountable for that.

What About Hiring Security?

Some businesses and individuals will hire a security company that uses guard dogs. High-profile people will do this, for example, or they’ll do this if their business specifically requires it.

When you have a security dog onsite at your home or work, it’s a visual deterrent. The dog shows that you take security seriously. If you hire a security dog handler, then this can reduce your need for multiple security professionals to be onsite as well. You can be more efficient with your security.

Another advantage is that dogs have a great sense of smell and hearing, and they can detect things that humans can’t otherwise.

If you’re considering bringing a security dog onsite to your business, it may also help your employees feel safer.

Getting a guard dog is a big responsibility, and you may think you know what it requires, but it’s possible that you do not. Do your research to figure out the right option for you and your property.

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