Owning a Guard Dog

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A good guard dog can be any dog with a bark loud enough to scare away a stranger or alert you to the presence of an intruder. For the average homeowner seeking a four-legged “early warning system,” just about any breed will do, although some dogs have been bred for guarding abilities (see end of this article).

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 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.

Research the different breeds. If you do decide to get a real guard dog, be prepared to invest a lot of time and money in professional training. The goal is to end up with a dog that aggressively protects your homeand family while remaining a loving and sociable pet. Guard dog 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 guard 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.

If you choose a dog breed that has been bred to guard sheep flocks or cattle herds, you need to have a large yard 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, this 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 learnto control these qualities, however, through firm and consistent trainingtechniques.

For information about training a dog, see The Koehler Method of Guard Dog Training

Guard Dog Breeds

If you want a dog that has been bred for its guarding ability, you can choose from many breeds:

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
Belgian Shepherd Groenendael
Belgian Shepherd Laekenois
Belgian Shepherd Malinois
Belgian Shepherd Tervuren
Black Mouth Cur
Black Russian Terrier
Bouvier des Flanders
Bull Boxer
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
Fila Brasileiro
German Pinscher
German Shepherd Dog
German Wirehaired Pointer
Giant Schnauzer
Great Pyrenees
Irish Terrier
Irish Staffordshire Bull Terrier
Kangal Dog
Kerry Blue Terrier
King Shepherd
Maremma Sheepdog
Neapolitan Mastiff
Nebolish Mastiff
Norwegian Elkhound
Olde English Bulldogge
Old Victorian Bulldogge
Perro de Presa Mallorquin
Pyrenean Mastiff
Rhodesian Ridgeback
Roman Rottweiler
Russian Bear Schnauzer
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

Updated: December 14, 2013 — 9:10 pm

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