It Is Always On.
It Has Some Of The Most Highly Advanced Sensors On The Planet.
It Is Highly Intelligent And Adaptive
It Will Not Fail You Even If You Fail It.
Can You Guess What It Is?
I’m talking about dogs, of course. But not the warm, cuddly, lovable house pets from your local animal-rescue shelter. I’m talking about Watchdogs; the always-on, highly and tactically effective home alarm systems. Okay, I don’t want to lose everybody who’s thinking, “No way, I’m not keeping a big, hairy dog in my house.” If you thought that then consider this: Several small Terriers, Boxers, Corgis and even some Poodles are excellent watchdog breeds. We’ll talk more about choosing the right dog for you a bit later in the article, so stay with me!
I can say without a doubt, having had both canine and electronic alarm systems that watchdogs are much more reliable and effective. And, depending upon size and breed, cost about the same as monitored electronic systems. Said another way, Dogs Are The Best Home Alarm System Money Can Buy!
Before I tell you about the features and benefits of owning a watchdog for your home’s security I want to show you why it’s so important to have a home-security system in the first place.
Why Have An Alarm In The First Place?
According to recent FBI statistics, home invasions are now one of the most common armed assaults taking place in this country. They are the most deadly type of assault you and your family are likely to ever face and, like it or not, you could become a victim of a home invasion at any time, without any warning.
Read the crime section of your newspaper. If your newspaper does not publish crime statistics, call your Police/Sheriff’s office and ask for them. Seeing what is happening in your neighborhood will open your eyes to the fact that bad things do happen to good people even in the “good” neighborhoods. The bad guys and thugs of today are wholly immoral, brutally violent and lethally armed and could choose your house tomorrow just as easily as anybody else’s.
Denial is the biggest threat of all. The fact that you are reading this article proves that you are at least somewhat aware of this very real threat. Denial is the self-inflicted delusion that ‘it just won’t happen to me‘ – but since it very possibly could, isn’t it time to get to work on your own home invasion awareness and action plan? Today is the day to overcome Denial!
Here’s an important point: I used the plural, “Guys” and “Thugs” above because home invasions are most often conducted by teams of armed attackers. The nation is seeing an increasing willingness by these invaders to take the lives of entire families for no other reason than that they can and because they don’t like to leave behind witnesses who can identify them.
Read the newspaper and/or go talk to your local police or sheriff and prove me wrong. I don’t say this with a cavalier attitude, I say it to challenge your Denial if indeed you are still living in that state. Prove me wrong or prove to yourself that the threat is real and now is the time to plan your defense.
Features and Benefits
This article is foremost about choosing a tool so an analysis of Features and Benefits seems appropriate.
- FEATURE – Dogs sleep but they never stop listening. BENEFIT – most every dog will wake instantly from a deep sleep when they hear something unusual and will then start barking. For this alone they are worth far more than the cost of their keep. A dog’s hearing is about 24 times more sensitive than yours. Your electronic alarm system will do nothing until the home invaders have broken a door or window. Your dog will hear them crossing the driveway, crunching through the grass and then stepping onto the porch and will give you many seconds of advanced warning. Speaking of advanced warning, remember this old adage: When Seconds Count The Police Are Always Minutes Away!
- FEATURE – Dogs can do something no home alarm system can do: Move! BENEFIT – they can and do attack intruders! Dogs are very territorial. They get real defensive if someone or something threatens their pack. More about the Pack mentality in a minute…
- FEATURE – Dogs have audibly different barks for different kinds of alarms. BENEFIT – you don’t have to jump up in a panic and grab your gun when you realize that ‘Bruiser’ is merely telling you that there’s a storm approaching. It does, however, give you the opportunity to remember that your bedroom windows are wide open.
- FEATURE– Dogs are not easily fooled. Let’s say an intelligent burglar is ready to break into your house. Let’s also say that you have an electronic alarm, not a dog. The smart burglar triggers your alarm system on purpose, then hides. In a panic you jump up, grab your gun and, heart thudding, go investigate. You find no burglar and no signs of a break in. Heart still pounding, you reset the alarm and try to go back to sleep. Half an hour later the burglar does it again. Once more you investigate, find nothing and grumble back to bed, really angry at your alarm system. The burglar does it again. This time, convinced the alarm System is faulty, you turn the cursed thing completely off and go back to bed.Guess what happens next? If you have a dog alarm instead, at the first banging or jarring your dog starts barking madly, rushes towards the source of the noise and continues barking until you arrive to calm him/her down. BENEFIT – upon hearing the dog (the first time) the burglar moved on to another house and you got a decent nights sleep.
- FEATURE – doggie doors. BENEFIT – you don’t have to run home at lunch to let ‘Bruiser’ out. Now for those who want a larger breed, some may say, “but won’t the bad guy just crawl in through that big doggie door and rob me?” Okay, ask yourself this – “Would I call through some stranger’s large doggie door knowing that in all likelihood there is a LARGE DOG on the other side?”. A large dog door is evidence enough to a sane burglar to choose another target. The insane do it only once.
Choosing The Right Dog
Kemi Bababusuyi blogs that, “A guard dog is a dog that is designed to protect its “pack”, or human family. Guard dogs are much more difficult to train than watchdogs…”. “An improperly trained guard dog may not only be ineffective: it may try to protect your family when they are not in danger, like when your kids are playing with other kids from the neighborhood.”
“Guard dogs” are at the SWAT team of watchdogs – but extreme may be what you want. “Watchdogs” are far easier to train and live with. I believe I could write a small book on this topic but, since space is limited here, let’s just hit the high points.
I live with a 70 Lb. Labrador and a 125 Lb. Newfoundland. Both of these breeds are listed as good watchdogs. But you don’t need a big dog to have a good watchdog. Jump on the web and type, “best watch dogs for families”. Look at five or six different webpages. Some of those dogs will appeal to you, some not. Once you’ve identified several breeds that strike your fancy, start talking to friends, family and your local veterinarian to help you winnow the list down to your final selection.
Hint from experience: before you buy, definitely consider mixed-breed dogs. My Newfie came from the local animal shelter and he is the best dog I have ever owned, period. Any pure-blood dog’s lineage should be carefully screened for expensive-to-treat, inherited problems. The inbreeding that creates a pure-blooded dog can come with some pretty bad side effects.
Puppies are WONDERFUL if [BIG ‘if’] you are prepared to properly raise one from an infant into a well-trained adult. Do a little research on “things not to do when raising a puppy” and then do some more on “how to train a puppy to be a great watchdog”. Simple stuff really, once you’ve learned from the mistakes others have already made.
Care and Feeding
A normally intelligent dog has about the same emotional maturity as a 5 yr. old child. Just like you would a 5 yr. old, give your dog lots of love and attention. It needs you to groom, feed, walk, play, teach, discipline and roll around on the floor with it, just like any other child. Do these things and you will have a happy, healthy, affectionate and well behaved dog. Fail to do these things and you will have problems.
Feed your dog the best dog food you can afford. The additional cost of a premium brand will be offset by fewer and cheaper vet bills. Shop at and get to know the owner of a local pet food store. He (or she) will know which dog foods are really good and which are just advertised the most. Getting to know your pet food store owner will pay real dividends for years and years.
Here is a CRITICAL point: Young dogs and any dog that is new to your household needs to know where they stand. All dogs have a “pack” mentality. You must teach them, no matter how old or what size, that You are the Pack Leader! A dog that knows it’s place in it’s human family (its pack) is a happy dog. A dog that does not is a confused dog and will very likely develop behaviors you won’t like. Learn how to become the pack leader on the web, at the library or ask your vet. If you don’t, your dog will try to move into that role and neither of you will be happy.
If you love on them they will love on you because, for literally thousands of years, dogs have been bred to be man’s best friend. If you will follow the advise in this article your dog will be there for you and your family in a BIG way. Raise your dog right and even when you’re grumpy or don’t play with it enough – It Will Not Fail You Even If (when) You Fail It.
Training Versus Breed
Selecting a dog that has watchdog genes is important but that is not everything. It is also important to train your dog to properly express it’s warnings (barking). This is best done by rewarding good behavior and discouraging bad behavior. For the first few months keep dog treats in your pocket or close at hand. Give them out often when your dog does what he’s told. Scold, or if necessary, discipline a dog that barks for no apparent reason but remember, some barks are not alarms, they are just his way of talking to you and should not be punished. You will quickly learn to tell the difference. Praise, pet and give your dog treats when it gives you a true alarm. You can even teach them a key word like, “listen” which will cause them to prick up their ears and go on high alert.
Living With Your Watchdog
Most of us have heard the saying, “God is love” but those of us who live with dogs also know that “Dog is love” is just as true. Dogs are the most loving and loyal creatures on earth. Of course they are, Dog is God spelled backwards.
And that’s pretty much the closing line for this article.
For more information, opinions about dogs for home defense or if you feel the need to get some paid coaching or dog training then please contact the author at [email protected].