Dogs and your security
There is definitely no question about whether dogs are man’s best friend or not. The question of where exactly they fit into your safety and security strategy, though, is still open for discussion.
Dogs make fantastic pets and can provide a sense of security in many cases. Although different breeds have different characteristics, it’s no secret that police, security and military forces throughout the world have utilized dogs for a variety of purposes, from smelling out drugs and explosives to patrolling and riot control. Dog ownership itself dates back to prehistoric times when early humans used canines to help hunt and protect.
Now while it’s true that dogs are great at alerting us to danger and can act as a deterrent for possible intruders, the truth is, unfortunately, that they don’t really make the best home security systems. Here are some points to consider before putting all of your confidence into acquiring a 4-legged friend specifically for security:
- The average family dog spends between 12 and 14 hours a day sleeping (and maybe more when they are senior dogs or pups), whereas a good quality alarm system will provide more efficient protection.
- Many well-socialized family pets could find it difficult to distinguish between intruders and welcomed visitors.
- There are numerous cases where dogs were poisoned, shot and even stabbed by criminals.
- While there are dogs that do have the ability to detect environmental dangers, they are, unfortunately, just as susceptible to the dangers of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning as humans.
- Dogs are no more able to handle frightening and scary experiences than people are without proper training.
- When most dogs bark, snarl and snap, it’s more often than not a nervous reaction and not a protective measure.
- Most dog owners discourage their dogs from actually biting from a young age, as this is seen as bad behaviour.
Although the above points may be obvious to some, a few bubbles were most likely burst. Always remember that proper security is about planning and taking into consideration not only the strengths but also the weaknesses of the various strategies in place. One often overlooked factor is the very relationship that you as dog owner have with your dog. Do you provide your dog with enough attention? Laurence Myerson, in his book Hijackings, Burglaries & other serious crimes: The South African Nightmare, writes about dogs that bark non-stop when the homeowners are at work and go silent when the first stranger comes along giving them some attention. Instead of being protective over your property the dog will be only too happy for the attention. Don’t neglect your dog!
In much the same sense that training in the use of firearms, security and self-protection skills yields a more confident and assertive individual, the proper training that gives your dog the ability to recognize a threat to you and your home will provide them with the confidence and assertiveness they need to deter that threat. Depending on the main reason for you owning a dog in the first place, and whether the dog is trained or not, the effectiveness of the dog as part of your home’s security will differ in every case.
Here we do need to mention that there are definitely exceptions to some of the above-mentioned points. Although there are dogs that make both outstanding family pets as well as being naturally protective it must be remembered that for the most part there is a difference between a well-socialized family pet and a trained guard dog. As one dog trainer puts it, it’s often the expectations we have of our dogs that need to change and not the training regimen we follow with them. What do we truly expect from our dogs in their current state?
Most criminals do, however, avoid homes where there are large aggressive looking dogs and it seems that more people are relying on specific breeds for their protectiveness and aggressiveness. Popular breeds include but are not limited to German Shepherds, Dobermans, Rottweilers and Pit Bulls. However, let us not forget that even the smaller breeds will bark at the sound of an intruder or possible danger, but oftentimes, that’s where the actual protection stops. If your dog jumps in and gets aggressive with an intruder, see it as a bonus.
Modern technology has come a long way in keeping us safe and one of our philosophies is that one should always have a comprehensive approach to security. So where exactly does that leave man’s best friend? It depends on you, the dog owner. What do you expect from your dog? Is your alarm system structured in such a way that it takes into consideration the fact that you have a dog on the property? Is your dog a barker only or is there a more aggressive side? Where does your dog sleep at night – inside with you, or outside? The answers are not going to be the same for everyone. Be honest when answering these questions for yourself and you will have the best setup for your security and if your dog has protective instincts then it will certainly be a welcomed bonus to your safety plan in one way or another.
Article by W. Kruger
- Would Your Dog Protect You From An Intruder? by Lori Fullbright (Thursday, November 8, 2012, 10:11 PM CST)
- Hijackings, Burglaries & other serious crimes: The South African Nightmare by Laurence Myerson (LAD Publications (1995))
- Dog vs. Security System: What’s Better? Dec 13, 2018 (Copyright © 2019 Vivint, Inc. All rights reserved.)
This is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your specialist for specific and detailed advice. (E&OE)