Let’s face it; houses with dogs have a low chance of criminal activity. After all, intruders don’t usually like to mess with dogs. It’s like having a loaded gun in your possession. If someone attacks you, a dog will protect you to no limits on any given day of the week.
That said, not all dogs are the same. Some dogs will protect you naturally; some won’t. It really depends on the breed of dog you own. After all, most dog breeds have differing personalities.
Generally speaking, an ideal guard dog must be alert, strong, intelligent, and extremely energetic. Ideally, the dog must not react out of fear or aggression.
On the contrary, the dog must be fearless and confident. Of course, it must also be protective of its surroundings. Unfortunately, most household dogs do not fit this description.
Usually, military/police dogs have these qualities. The point here is that any dog out there cannot be a good guard dog. Even in dominant breeds, some dogs avoid a fight.
Can My Pet Become a Good Guard Dog?
To some extent, you can train any dog to protect you. However, dogs that are naturally inclined to protect owners are easier to train than those who are not.
Of course, the more loyal a dog is, the easier it will be to train him because a loyal dog will defend you and your belongings at any cost. Keep in mind that the majority of the guard dogs are not taught how to attack. Instead, guard dogs are taught non-confrontational methods to alert you of potential danger.
That said, certain breeds can be trained to be both guard dogs and attack dogs. However, an average homeowner won’t need an attack dog. Nevertheless, most dogs will require a lot of training to be a good guard dog. But, the end result will be worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.
So, let’s dive into some tips on guard dog training that will result in a dog not only protecting your house but also behaving well in non-threatened scenarios.
Tips on Guard Dog Training:
1. Start with the Basics
If your dog doesn’t respond well to your basic commands, you should ditch your dreams of making him a guard dog.
It’s really unlikely that you could turn a non-obedient dog into a good personal protection dog.
Using hand signals, teach your dog basic obedience commands, such as ‘sit,’ ‘come,’ ‘stay,’ etc.
If your dog is responding well to these basic commands, you can think about converting him to a guard dog.
Ideally, the dog must be taught not to accept commands from anyone except the homeowners.
Furthermore, the dog shouldn’t accept treats from strangers as this can be potentially dangerous.
Pro Tip: You won’t have too much trouble training your dog if you drain your pet’s energy before training.
Yes, dogs are more responsive to training when they are pre-fatigued before training.
2. Make Him Social
Guard dogs need to be confident around human beings, and they should know how to handle unusual situations. For this, it’s important that you socialize your dog.
Therefore, try to introduce your dog to as many dogs, people, and situations as possible. You can take your dog to parks, shopping malls, and nearby hiking spots.
Also, make it a point to take your pet out for frequent walks. Daily walks serve as a great opportunity to expose your furry friend to different dogs, people, sight, sound, and smell.
Needless to say, choose areas where there are other people and animals. After all, the dog needs to be comfortable with the world around him.
Not to discount the fact that dogs socialize well at a young age. The best age for pet socialization is between three to twelve weeks old.
3. Make Him Bark on Command
Although barking comes naturally to most dogs, you must teach educated barking to your pet. This means that your dog must know whom to bark at.
Ideally, you must encourage your furry friend to bark at strangers approaching your house. Praise/reward your dog when it barks at strangers. You can practice this by having strangers knock at your door.
Of course, the dog must stop barking once it receives any clue from you, which will be an indication that the person at the door is a friend. Don’t reward your pet until he stops barking at your command.
4. Create Fake Scenarios
A dog selected to be a guard dog must be tested a lot. This is to say that you will have to set up scenarios where the dog can potentially protect your house.
You can ask your friend to attempt a house break-in to see your dog’s reaction to the burglary. Needless to say, you will have to keep refining the dog’s behavior based on how he responds during the training process.
By creating fake scenarios, you will know whether or not your dog is prepared to handle tough situations.
5. Tips on Attack Dog Training
As mentioned earlier, most of us won’t need an attack dog. Law regulators state that a barking dog is enough to prevent home burglary in most cases.
Therefore, if you have no reasons to train a dog to attack, you shouldn’t train him to attack. After all, irresponsible dog attacks can escalate quickly, causing you a lot of trouble.
A possible lawsuit is also not out of the question. So, don’t ask for trouble when you don’t need an attack dog. If there is a need, please pay attention to the training pointers given below:
-First and foremost, wear a protective glove that covers your entire arm.
-Then, tap your dog’s face with the glove on your arms to irritate him.
-Continue doing this till your dog runs out of patience and attacks your arm-long glove.
-Once your dog attacks the arm, say the word ‘attack’ as loudly as you can.
-The point here is to let the dog associate the word ‘attack’ with ‘fight.’
-Make your assistant stop the dog. Then, wait for the dog to relax fully.
-Once relaxed, praise him. Although not necessary, you can use treats to reward your dog.
As most pet owners might already know, dogs usually learn faster with treats.
Of course, your dog shouldn’t blindly attack anyone in its sight. A dog acting on the wrong person can land you in serious trouble.
Keeping all the risks in mind, you shouldn’t train your dog intentionally for attacks.
-Please know that it can take many months to train your dog to be a reliable protector. So, don’t expect results in a few days or weeks.
-Of course, you also have to be fair with the breed’s physical abilities. Don’t expect all bloodline of dogs to excel in this type of training.
-Do not ever train your dog when you are in a bad mood. Most dogs can easily sense our emotions and body language. So, they can pick up/learn the wrong things from us.
Remember, a guard dog is no different than your normal pet dog. A guard dog requires the same care, attention, and love as your normal family dog.
If you don’t know what you are doing, you shouldn’t train your pet to be a guard dog because you can unknowingly complicate things. You don’t want your dog to attack guests, right?
In other words, do not attempt dog training with half knowledge. Also, take help from training experts, whenever required. As they say, ‘it’s dangerous to be an expert when you are not one.’