You might have seen in the newspapers recently that a number of the England Football Team have purchased guard dogs for their homes, after a spate of break ins. These dogs can cost upwards of twenty thousand pounds and take months to train. So, are these dogs worth the time and money? We will take a look at whether they are an effective security measure.
History of Guard Dogs
It’s unclear exactly when humans started using dogs for protection, but some of the first recorded protection dogs date back to 150BC in Rome. These early farmers would use dogs to protect livestock and they would introduce the dogs to livestock when they were puppies, so the dogs would ‘imprint’ and feel protective urges.
By the Middle Ages dogs were being used to hunt, protect and even catch criminals. In the 19th century the first recognisable breeds of today came in to being. Most notably the modern-day Rottweiler, who herded livestock, but also protected merchants’ money.
The first recognised formal police dog training started in Belgium in 1899, which then spread across Europe using mostly German, Belgian, and Dutch Shepherd Dogs, which is still the case today.
Guard Dog vs Protection Dogs
You might not have known that there is a difference between a guard dog and a protection dog. There are also other categories of security dogs.
A guard dog will be specifically trained to be exclusively a working dog, not a family pet. Guard dogs are generally used within the police or military. Usually a guard dog cannot ‘turn off’ their training, there are three levels of guard dog training and a dog can be trained in each;
Normally a large breed with a loud deep bark. An alarm dog will bark when someone approaches, but will not attack. It’s hoped the bark will be enough to deter any intruders.
These dogs are mostly used to guard the outside of a large building, such as a factory or warehouse. Sentry dogs tend to roam free, without a handler and will attack any intruders.
These types of dogs are trained specifically to attack or kill, when given a command by an owner or handler. Dogs like this are designed to be used by police dogs or within the military service. Attack dogs tend to not be sociable and do not make suitable pets (unless custom training is given).
Protection dogs tend to be family pets that are trained to protect and defend their families in any threatening situation. The breeds used for protection dogs tend to be extremely loyal and will truly be part of the family unit. They should be socialised with children and other pets, and even neighbours. Most of the protection dog breeds will need to be specifically behaviour trained and will need to be taught their position within the family. They can be dominant, so it’s important that the owner establishes their role as the alpha. These breeds do have a natural instinct to protect, but this will need to be built upon from a young age.
The main difference between a guard dog and a protection dog is the training. So, depending on what your needs are will influence which one you require.
If you have seen the press about the footballers acquiring guard dogs then you would have seen that they are mostly from a company called Chaperone K9. This family run business provides a high-level security dogs while maintaining high standards in dog welfare. They tailor each protection dog to the needs of their client. When purchasing a protection dog from Chaperone K9 you have a detailed consultation to discuss your needs with their expert trainers. From this they will identify the best breed of dog for you family and develop a bespoke training package. Dogs are trained from 8 weeks old and are sourced from vetted and trusted breeders. By the time you receive your dog, they will have had 2 years of intensive training. Owners are encouraged to be part of this training process, so that they and the dog can fully bond and develop a close relationship. Owners will also need to undertake some dog handling training, so they are fully confident when the protection dogs handed over. Chaperone K9 do offer ongoing support and will be on hand to help with any difficulties new owners have. To find out more visit the Chaperone K9 website.
Are Guard Dogs Effective?
Advantages of Guard Dogs
Just the presence of a dog can deter a burglar, so the presence of security dog should work even better. Burglars like to work in the dark and quiet, so a barking dog making a scene should force a burglar to leave. Also the threat of a dog bite should also stop a bugler in their tracks.
A dog trained to attack can help protect you from harm, if an intruder turns violent. This may offer you piece of mind and make you feel more relaxed in your home.
The Illusion of Security
Even if you and your dog are out of the house, a ‘beware of the dog’ sign can give a burglar enough hesitation to move on.
If you are home when someone enters your home and you call the police, there will inevitably be a response time. If you have a guard dog present in your home, your protection will be instant.
Disadvantages of Having a Guard Dog
Your Dog Could be Harmed
If your dog tries to protect you then they could get hurt, possibly fatally, in the process which can be distressing for you and your family, especially younger children.
Your Dog Could be Stolen
If your intruder isn’t just a chancer and has planned the break-in, part of the plan could be to take your dog. Not only are they beloved family pets, they are also worth a lot of money – especially if they are a pedigree dog.
They Can’t Call the Police
If your dog is home alone and someone breaks in, are unable to alert the authorities. So, if their presence doesn’t make a burglar leave or alert a neighbour, an intruder will be left to their own devices.
They aren’t Video Recorders
If you are using a dog as your only form of security system, then they won’t be helpful in identifying an intruder if a break-in is successful.
They Could Harm Someone who isn’t an Intruder
The owner of a guard dog will be liable for any damage done by the animal. Which means you could be in trouble if the dog harms an innocent party, or even if it harms an intruder.
Guard Dogs and the Law
There are of course laws around owning a guard dog that you must adhere to. If you do have a guard dog in your home, then you must follow guard dog laws in the UK. You must have clear signs stating the fact at every entrance and fence to your home. This mean that you are completely covered if someone is injured by your guard dog. If there is not ample warning in and around your home signifying a guard dog, then any damage done while you dog is not restrained will make you liable. It is also required within UK law that there is a handler who has complete control over the dog present at all times.
There are certain breeds that must not be used as guard dogs, by law. As of 1975 dogs banned from being guard dogs are;
- Pit Bull Terrier
- Japanese Tosa
- Dogo Argentino
- Fila Brasileiro
If you are found to have a guard dog of these breed then you could be prosecuted and fined up to £5000.
It is also in UK law that a guard dog be on a lead when out in public, this is in case an incident occurs and the owner isn’t close enough to respond quickly.
Is a Guard Dog Worth Investing in?
If you have the resources to fund one, and your lifestyle requires an extra level of protection then it could be something to consider. Dogs have been used for thousands of years for protection and are still used by the police and army to this day, meaning that they are an effective way of protecting your home and family. However, the most effective way to keep your home secure is to use a mix of security measures, such as security cameras and alarms, so these used with a protection dog is a good way to maintain your homes security.
To find out about other ways to protect your home visit out Home Security Hub.