I’ve read a couple of very good articles on home defense recently, a couple of which are mentioned in Thoreau’s previous posts, and thought I would weigh in on one specific topic. That is, having a good watchdog. Dogs have been living with and protecting humans for over 10,000 years. They are perhaps the oldest form of home defense.
I am a big believer in a family dog. From mutts to pure breeds, I love a good dog and think they’re a great addition to a family for lots of reasons. First of all they are sweet, loving, faithful, loyal, and of course truly, “Man’s Best Friend”.
Secondly they tend to scare off Bad Guys in a big way. A large barking dog is a great deterrent to any number of threats. From your simple burglary attempt to an actual assault, dogs are great at alerting their owners and when necessary even taking matters into their own hands (or teeth!). I would take a dog over an electronic security system any day and I would wager most police officers would agree with me.
When properly trained, many different breeds can be good watchdogs. Others take to the job naturally through instincts bred into the dog over many generations. Take any of the larger herding or working dogs for instance. These would include: Collies, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, and Akita’s. (Just a few of my favorites)
Their instincts are to protect and defend their family and property. More specifically the herding dog’s instinct is to protect and defend their “flock”. When not living on a farm they generally see their “flock” to be their human owners’ children. They naturally do a great job of keeping an eye out to make sure the whole family is safe.
You will find these dogs to be loving, friendly to those they know, protective of children and property they consider their own, and suspicious of strangers and those they don’t know. You can sleep soundly knowing one of these dogs is in your house keeping an eye on things.
This is what I’m looking for in a dog.
I want to know that if I’m at work or I’m off traveling that I have a watchdog that is naturally vigilant, but not overly aggressive, keeping an eye on my home. We have two full size collies. The male is about 80 pounds and the female is about 70. They’re big, muscular, athletic dogs that look even bigger with their full coat of fur. They have a friendly disposition but are always alert and bark sharply at strangers. Their eyesight, sense of smell, and hearing are remarkable and they can pick up a threat long before I ever could. Their growl is enough to make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
Dogs like these are great at stopping most bad confrontations before they ever start. The last thing a burglar wants is a bite from a big dog just so he can take a crack at stealing my microwave oven. Likewise anyone who might be looking for a fight would almost certainly rather risk a punch in the nose than a bite from a big dog. Bad Guys move on to softer targets rather than mess with dogs.
Of course with a dog comes a lot of responsibility. You have to be sure that your lifestyle allows you the time you need to take proper care of a dog. They need to be fed, walked, cleaned up after, brushed, washed, and of course Played With and Loved. A dog needs to be happy and feel like part of the family for its natural protective instincts to come out. I can’t stress this enough.
I will end by saying that there have been a couple of occasions where I had to get up at night to investigate a strange noise and I did so with a lot of confidence knowing my two dogs were out in front of me ready for trouble.