Although most people keep dogs as companions, they do have some security benefits too. Statistics show that crime rates are lower in neighborhoods where homeowners have dogs.
Owning a dog’s no guarantee that it will guard your property against intruders though. You need to teach them how to do that.
If you want to harness the security benefits of a dog, you needn’t know how to train a guard dog to the level of a police or military dog.
Here’s how to teach your dog to protect your home and family.
1. Invest in Obedience Training
Basic obedience training is the first step toward turning your big lovable bullmastiff or other equally laid-back family pet into a disciplined, watchful guard dog.
Learning alongside others during formal training sessions is the easiest way to accomplish this. However, you can make enormous progress by teaching your dog the basics yourself.
All dogs benefit from learning a few basic moves, like ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘heel’, ‘lie down’ and ‘come here’.
These commands help you control your dog if they mistake visitors for intruders.
2. Give Them Boundaries
A dog won’t defend a space that isn’t theirs. So, when you’re raising a guard dog, it’s important to show them where their territory starts and ends.
Walk the boundaries of your property every day during or after your training session. They’ll soon learn the extent of their domain.
Another way to teach them where they ‘belong’ is to leave them alone in the yard for a few hours every day.
Left to their own without distractions, your dog will familiarize themselves with their turf and develop a sense of ownership – shared with their family of course.
Most dogs readily accept members of the household as a part of their pack and will allow you into their realm without any issues.
3. How to Train a Guard Dog to React to Strangers
Chances are your dog welcomes visitors to your home with as much enthusiasm as you do. There’s an easy way to teach them to be wary of strangers though.
Leave your dog alone in their outside area, or a room. Then ask someone that they don’t know to approach and knock on the fence or window.
This unexpected sound will startle the dog and they should bark. At this, your designated intruder should act frightened and run away. This rather humorous exercise gives your dog confidence.
If your dog doesn’t react the way you want, give them a little more time to establish their territory and try again.
Don’t use someone the dog knows as the scapegoat, they’ll recognize their smell and probably won’t react the way you want.
4. Keep Up the Training
Stick to a regular guard dog training routine and stay consistent. You can’t praise the dog for barking at strangers one day and punish them for it the next.
If you don’t keep reminding your dog what’s expected of them they’ll become confused and demotivated.
The Best Types of Guard Dogs
Well-known guard dog breeds include German Shepherds, Dobermans, and chows, but almost all breeds can learn the basics of guarding.
You’re wasting your time trying to learn how to train a guard dog that’s not naturally territorial though. For example, sighthound breeds rarely learn the ropes.
If you’d like to learn more about getting the most out of your pets, keep browsing our blog.