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Guard dog to protect your home…

 
pollinator
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First a disclaimer…

I’m not really a dog person.

I owned a keeshond about 35 years ago for a few years, and I loved him.
But things happened and since I lost him - I never had a dog…

Thinking about home security - I would like to learn from your experience - what is your recommendation when it comes to owning a guard dog to protect your home (pros and cons, please)?

 
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We've had good luck with GSD's (as pictured).  They are naturally territorial.  Pretty trainable -if you have patience.  Absolute gremlins as pups.  They are good all around protection dogs.  Folks give them a wide berth. Well socialized dogs mostly will protect yet be ok with people once introduced.  

A minus is that lots of them seem constitutionally incompatible with livestock and must be physically separated by fencing.  Just too much prey drive.  Occasionally you get one that doesn't care about chasing down the chickens -or can be trained not to, but in our experience they are the exception.  

 
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N. Neta wrote:

Thinking about home security - I would like to learn from your experience - what is your recommendation when it comes to owning a guard dog to protect your home (pros and cons, please)?



You live in the perfect place for this.  Home of the Perro de Presa Canario.  Irema Curto lives there.  You can't go wrong with his dogs if you wanted a guard dog.  There are other great Presa breeders there as well.
 
steward
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While I do not have any dogs (yet) may I suggest looking into livestock guardian dogs, specifically the non-herding breeds. Even if you don't have livestock, they will bond to you and your family, stay nearby*, and fiercely defend you and the vicinity.

*Some breeds are known to roam, such as Great Pyrenees for example. They are more guardian and not really a herding dog, but they were bred in the alps where sheep free range and thus having many square miles of territory is a part of their genes. Story time: I have friends who raise cattle and had a Great Pyrenees. Excellent defender, a coyote killer, but liked to roam. Smart dog and would always find its way back home. They really didn't know the dog was going on sojourns at first. The dog had an ID tag on it's collar and one day apparently the dog had developed a routine stop on its rounds. My buddy gets a phone call one day and the caller says "you the owner of a friendly white dog?" "yes" he replied and the caller continued "well he sure does like cookies". My buddy sighed and asked where he was located so he could come pick up the dog. The caller gave him his location, six miles away.
 
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Being that you mentioned that you are not a dog person, and have only had experience with one dog in your whole life, I would rethink getting a guard dog. Dogs that have the temperament to be a good guard dog typically need experienced owners who are also clear and experienced with obedience training.
The other question to ask is whether you are going to be home enough to provide the dog with what he or she needs. Dogs, as you know, are an extremely social species. Leaving them home alone all day while going to work is not a fulfilling life for a dog. If you are home a good part of the day, not just mornings before work and evenings when you come home tired (while the dog is ready for some activity, having slept all day with nothing to do), then the next question to ask yourself is if you think you will have the time to socialize the dog properly (along with the obedience training). An unsocialized dog that has the temperament to be a guard dog will soon see anyone that is not part of the household as a threat and can quickly become overly protective/aggressive, and therefore a liability issue.
Often, a good home alarm system is less expensive and less of a commitment, and definitely less of a risk in hands with little experience, than a dog, especially a guard dog.
 
pollinator
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I think it's a good idea!

"Dog's got the instincts, man's got the brains".
 
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I think all homesteads should have a dog or several. I do not keep my dogs inside, they are inside my perimeter fence but not in the house. That defeats my purpose, I like the dogs outside in the darkness. They let me know when something isn't right, and if there were an intruder of some sort they will give me the time I need to get to my weapons (guns, knives, and axes).

I have had more dogs than I can remember, and the best dogs were smart and obedient. And generally they weren't the biggest or the meanest looking. And most of them couldn't properly be called "Guard Dogs" but they were part of the family.

Currently I have two Jack Russell/Red Heeler crosses and an Anatolian Shepherd. Beatrice, my older Jack Russell/Red Heeler cross is still in the process of training the overgrown Anatolian yearling.

Dogs are a good investment, but should not be considered your main-line protection. Rather a roadblock in the intruder's path and an alarm.

 
pollinator
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How bad is your society when you are looking at dogs, guns  etc for protection?
Are there many home invasions where you live?
 
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It’s important to realise that their are two kinds of ‘guard’ dog. The first kind attack, the second kind make a lot of noise. I have the second kind, a dog that was very common in the UK until it was superceeded by the Border Collie. Fortunately, the breed was very popular amongst pioneers in the US and Canada and continues to thrive today. It’s the English Shepherd which has the same ancestry as the Australian Shepherd, Border Collie and Scottish Collie. Unlike the Border Collie, they are less fanatical and a have many other skills. They are incredibly loyal and will bond very strongly. They herd, very territorial, excellent at sounding an alarm. They will bark at anyone they meet for the first time but if you show them that, that person is a ‘friend’ then they will accept them.

F74149F5-960A-4146-A5F0-7E8BEB635F2C.jpeg
My English Shepherd fresh of the boat in NYC
My English Shepherd fresh of the boat in NYC
 
master gardener
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I suspect much depends upon ones specific location.  Also, there is the questionable nature of stats. To explain, I live in what used to be one of the highest capital crime areas in the state. You see, in this community of 3000 we had one murder. That destroyed the % for several years.

I am not a dog person, so I wanted dogs that could be independent of me.  I have Border Collie and an Australian Shepherd. They are fantastic.  Now, they certainly are not attack dogs ... unless someone is foolish enough to mess with their supper dish.   But they do let me know when a stranger is around.  They keep coyotes away from the livestock, and they provide sufficient intimidation for strangers.
 
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Do you have a fenced-in area where a dog can do what dogs like to do?

Do you have gardens that are safe from dogs doing what dogs like to do?

We have always been dog people as we had dogs before we married and have had them our whole married life.

We are partial to German Shepherds.

For the last 20 plus years, we have had a Dachshund, a little 10 lb. dog.

We don't have a fenced-in yard so I take her out on a leash.  Mainly because if she sees a rabbit, squirrel, or other wildlife she will chase them.  I am afraid she will get lost and we have predators like bobcats and foxes.

There used to be some websites where a person put in the qualities they wanted in a dog and it would say which breeds had those qualities.  I think Purina might be the one I am thinking of though I don't know if that still exists.

Best wishes for finding a good companion and guard dog.
 
Trace Oswald
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John F Dean wrote:I suspect much depends upon ones specific location.  Also, there is the questionable nature of stats. To explain, I live in what used to be one of the highest capital crime areas in the state. You see, in this community of 3000 we had one murder. That destroyed the % for several years.



I agree that it depends very much on location, as well as your specific lifestyle. I don't live in a place with a lot of car accidents, but I have car insurance. We don't have a lot of tornados, but I have a safe room in my basement. We don't have a lot of power outages. I have candles.

All that said, I have guns and "guard dogs". My dogs will bite. That isn't their primary purpose but it's in the top three. We live in an isolated area where police can be many minutes away. The joke here is that the police don't stop crime, they just write up the reports after it's over. It's a joke, and only refers to the fact that they are spread too thin. Plus, my brother in law is a county sherrif and I like to mess with him. It still has some element of truth to it. People here need to be able to provide their own protection, and dogs and guns are, in my own opinion, the best way to do it.  Obviously dogs like mine are an extra responsibility, and need extra care. I make sure I provide that.
 
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We have an Australian Cattle Dog. He barks very quick and alerts on anything moving into our property. He starts with grunting and then eventually falls into full blown bark/howl as they get closer. But I don't think he'd ever bite anyone, he never has.

Personally I just want a dog that alerts and barks like that. We've got a ranch rifle ready to go for coyotes and the such, I'd rather have me making the decision to hurt something than my dog.
 
pollinator
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Well Edward, now you've gone and done it. Brought back the sadness of her loss but also the great joy of having been good friends with an English Shepard for almost 15 years.

I don't know how helpful it will be to answering the question of the original post but I am a dyed in the wool, top to bottom, dog person. So much so that I guess I view them differently than many people, they aren't possessions as much as companions.  I have never been comfortable with the term, guard dog.  It feels like they are being weaponized for lack of a better word and that is distasteful to me. I think that any dog that is your true friend will by instinct protect you if the need arises and if they can. To me, having one trained and or of the temperament to protect property when you aren't there is a little like a booby trap and just as dangerous to friend as foe.

My friend Ethel, an English Shepard  was not a guard dog but she was most certainly an alarm system of supreme effectiveness. I live at the end of a mile long dead end gravel road. Ethel wasn't particularly loud she would just tell me when a car pulled of the black top a mile away and whether or not she knew who it was.  If she was inside side she just jumped up and after making sure I was paying attention would go sit by the door. If outside she would bark a few times and come sit outside the door. Deer, possum or what ever, little of anything moved outside without her letting me know and she sometimes insisted, in her own little way that I go check it out.

She also and for her own protection I'm glad of it, was a coward. The mail carrier and delivery drivers all loved her and she them for the treats they brought but even they commented that they never saw her if no one was home. I'm sure she was hiding, probably peeking around a corner at them but as an alarm system rather than guard dog what's the point of drawing attention to yourself if there is no one there to alert?

She was the only English Shepard I ever knew so don't know if it's typical of the breed but she was the most independent, opinionated critter I've ever had the pleasure of knowing. I never trained her to do anything but all I had to do was glance around and wonder to myself where the chickens were and she would dive off her chair and go get them. She was her own little being and lived here life her own way, never in a cage, never on a rope.

In my opinion if your want a loyal friend who will stick by you no matter what an English Shepard is a fantastic choice. But with any dog that loyalty goes both ways. Some may see it differently but to me dogs are not property, they are not weapons. They are friends and companions with all the benefits and obligations that go with that.

 
Trace Oswald
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Mark Reed wrote:
I don't know how helpful it will be to answering the question of the original post but I am a dyed in the wool, top to bottom, dog person. So much so that I guess I view them differently than many people, they aren't possessions as much as companions.  I have never been comfortable with the term, guard dog.  It feels like they are being weaponized for lack of a better word and that is distasteful to me. I think that any dog that is your true friend will by instinct protect you if the need arises and if they can. To me, having one trained and or of the temperament to protect property when you aren't there is a little like a booby trap and just as dangerous to friend as foe.



Mark, you and I are on the same page with regards to being total dog people :)  I look at the rest differently than you do.  I worked with protection dogs enough to believe it's a fallacy that any dog will protect you if it loves you.  I have had many dogs over the years that I loved very much, and they loved me back, but they had no temperament whatsoever for protection.  I tested several, and they simply wouldn't bite.  You can watch and number of real-world videos of people being attacked and their dogs did literally nothing except hide in many cases.  That's great for a companion dog, and in most cases, exactly what the average person needs.  I don't have the negative connotations connected to the term "guard dog" that you have, but it isn't a term I use unless it is used by someone else first.  I don't have negative feelings about the term, I just don't find it descriptive.

My own dogs are friends and companions first.  They take turns sleeping with me, they go with me in my truck nearly every day, I am outside for hours a day and they are always with me, so they are friends and companions in the truest sense of the word, but they are very capable protection dogs as well.  My personal feeling is that a dog that is trained to the level mine are are far less dangerous than an untrained dog, both to themselves and others.  I want a dog to protect my property when I'm not there.  Not all of my dogs need to have that temperament, but I will always have a couple that do.  My dogs give plenty of warning that they are there.  If a person continues into their area or my house when I'm not there after the warning, they should expect to get bit, and they will.  Again, my house is in the middle of 80 acres, and there is no reason anyone should be there, ever, if the dogs don't know them and we're not there.
 
Edward Norton
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Mark Reed wrote:Well Edward, now you've gone and done it. Brought back the sadness of her loss but also the great joy of having been good friends with an English Shepard for almost 15 years.



15 is a pretty good innings. I love reading your fond memories of a great dog. She sounds much like mine.
 
Mark Reed
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Trace, I understand your reasoning and living in a similarly isolated location I admit to having considered your point of view. One thing that worries me is that someone with ill intent might just shoot my dog, where upon I might be tempted to take action in addition too or instead of filing a report.  

My dog I had before Ethel was much different. He was a big baby, so tender hearted that I could tell it hurt his feelings if someone was afraid of him, which at almost 150 lbs wasn't that uncommon. In the 15 years I had him there was one awful incident where on a walk he was attacked by a German Shepard. Wilbur's response to that was to roll over and give up, that's what he always did when another dog of any size showed aggression. I think he viewed it as a prelude to play, OK, I give, now let's play. But that dog wasn't playing and I mistakenly thought Wilbur was actually being hurt so went to kick the shepard at which point it turned it's attention to me and that's the last thing it ever did. Wilbur reached and grabbed it by the side of the head and stood up. The shepard went down and Wilbur immediately let it go. It only made it about 1/2 way back up to it's house when it fell down again.

We were a couple miles from home and I worried the whole time he was bleeding but when I got him washed off good none of the blood and there was plenty of it,  was his. He was missing a little fur on his chest and that was it. That was years ago and I still feel kinda bad about.
 
Trace Oswald
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Mark Reed wrote:Trace, I understand your reasoning and living in a similarly isolated location I admit to having considered your point of view. One thing that worries me is that someone with ill intent might just shoot my dog, where upon I might be tempted to take action in addition too or instead of filing a report.  



We are 100% on the same page there.  Our dogs are our children.  Hurting one would be a terrible, terrible mistake for someone to make.  

Mark Reed wrote: My dog I had before Ethel was much different. He was a big baby, so tender hearted that I could tell it hurt his feelings if someone was afraid of him, which at almost 150 lbs wasn't that uncommon. In the 15 years I had him there was one awful incident where on a walk he was attacked by a German Shepard. Wilbur's response to that was to roll over and give up, that's what he always did when another dog of any size showed aggression. I think he viewed it as a prelude to play, OK, I give, now let's play. But that dog wasn't playing and I mistakenly thought Wilbur was actually being hurt so went to kick the shepard at which point it turned it's attention to me and that's the last thing it ever did. Wilbur reached and grabbed it by the side of the head and stood up. The shepard went down and Wilbur immediately let it go. It only made it about 1/2 way back up to it's house when it fell down again.

We were a couple miles from home and I worried the whole time he was bleeding but when I got him washed off good none of the blood and there was plenty of it,  was his. He was missing a little fur on his chest and that was it. That was years ago and I still feel kinda bad about.



Those situations are awful, and I hate them.  The only good that can be said about it at all is that, if another dog attacks me or my dogs, I'm glad mine won't be the one that is injured or killed.  That said, I don't want anyone to lose their pet because of my dogs, and I try very hard to socialize my dogs with lots of people and animals.  I find it doesn't hurt their guarding ability at all, and it makes them stable, like your dog was.  Wilbur sounds like a great dog and I'm glad he wasn't injured.
 
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Our neighbors have been robbed and we have had 2 attempted burglaries. We have great pyrenees. Having come home on two different occasions to find the door open and a very upset looking LGD I Can say LGD's are top notch home security systems. Not only that but our LGD can jump our 6' fence. I'm sure that was a shock to both would be robbers. Here is this big ol' fence. They think they're safe and BAM JUMPS THAT BIOTCH. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH
 
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I'm going to expand on the "dogs shouldn't spend hours alone" theme.

Our neighbor's got an outside "guard" dog, but they were often at work, so they got a second dog to keep it company. One fall, a good friend of mine needed someone to trouble-shoot an intermittent electrical problem in their motor home, so it landed in our driveway so my husband could help (he's an electrical engineer by training and very good at trouble-shooting.)
Our driveway is about 20 feet from the lot-line which had a dense cedar hedge followed by a chain-link fence. The dogs would *not* shut up. If their owners had been there, they would have made them shut up, but with their people gone, it was virtually constant for hours while Hubby and my friend's husband or dad helped. At one point, my friend's husband threatened to go home and get his gun! That's how bad it was. If they stopped in response to me ordering them to be quiet, it only lasted 10 minutes. Finally, I had my kids entice them up property by going along the hedge and I jumped the fence and closed a gate behind them to keep them further up property. That helped for a while, but apparently, they could get over/under that fence.

The catch here was that the neighbors had *no* idea how bad it was when they weren't there. The dogs were fine when they were home. Most of the time, we weren't working in that area and they new me well enough to mostly "go lie down" when ordered. However, Hubby was working at that time, and the dogs didn't know Les or Alf at all, so it was a real problem.

The moral is - unless you've got a baby monitor turned on and some sort of recording device - you have no idea who your dogs are pissing off when you aren't home. So if neighbors are close, it's up to you to find that out and figure out how to fix the problem. The neighbor wasn't pleased with me locking his dogs up property until his wife explained the situation because at first he didn't believe how badly they behaved when he wasn't home.

PS: The fault Hubby finally found in the motor home could easily have caused a fire. My friend was totally freaked when she saw the melted wires that so easily could have  killed her and/or her family.
 
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Hmmm, you clearly state you are "not a dog person"; this concerns me, especially if you are interested in any sort of 'guard dog'.  The owner of such a dog must be well bonded with the dog, and willing to be with/work with the dog on a daily basis to reinforce both the bond as well as obedience/training. There is no such thing, in my opinion, as a guard dog that does not require regular training to ensure that the animals response is not over or under active.

Now, it is possible that what you are seeking in reality is a WATCH dog - these are breeds that will patrol and alert, but not necessarily "take action" as their genetics are to ALERT when something is amiss, not deal with situations they find alarming.  

You mention having experience with a Keeshound: "Compared to other breeds in the "Spitz" family, the Keeshond is quieter, more sensible, and less dominant.  Bright, cheerful, and lively, the Keeshond needs moderate exercise, but more importantly, he needs companionship. He is very people-oriented, craves attention and petting, and needs to be fully involved in the family.  With his acute hearing and emotional sensitivity, Keeshonds are more reactive to loud noises than some other breeds and don't do well in an environment with tension or shouting.  This is not a guard dog. Keeshonds will bark, but it's usually welcoming rather than protective. Most are peaceful with other pets."  https://www.yourpurebredpuppy.com/reviews/keeshonds.html

As you can see, they are intelligent, human oriented, and a WATCH dog.  It might be a good idea to think about what characteristics you liked about the Keeshound, and go from there.  Watch dogs can be as tiny as a Miniature Pinscher, Dachshund, Cairn or Rat Terrier (ALL great ratters/pest control dogs) to as large as a Schnauzer, Poodle (yep, you read that right, very loyal, and protective with a bark they are not afraid to use) or Giant Pyrenees.

True Guard Dogs (many confuse guard and watch) are a whole different breed, literally.  They are generally VERY intelligent, which means much tougher to train as they have "minds of their own", and are very dominant, requiring a strong minded, dominant, effective trainer.  They must be super socialized, at a very young age to control their dominant attitude, and tend to be much better suited to experienced dog owners.  Those would be your Mastiffs (from English to Boerboel to Bordeaux...), German Shepherds (in fact, seems like pretty much any dog with German/South African heritage has at minimum watch, and more commonly guarding characteristics), the Japanese breeds such as Akita and Shiba Inu, or Chinese breeds such as Shar-Pei or Chow Chow.  ***these are generally accepted descriptions of breeds; there are always exceptions to any generic description.

I would suggest clearly defining WHAT it is you expect from this dog:  Is it to save/guard your property and family against humans or wildlife? Is it to protect livestock from bear/cougar or raccoon/mink?   Is it to "take out" or "take down" whatever the threat is?  Is it a dog that will alert you when something strange is occurring so that YOU can handle it?  

Once these questions have been answered I think you will have a better idea of what sort of traits you are seeking and will be able to narrow down the search to a specific breed categories; then you can decide on size, coat type and other characteristics that may be important to you.

***WARNING:  Keep in mind, depending on where you live and what sort of insurance you have (house/property) there it IS a liability having a "guard dog" that may or may not inflict harm on a person. Here, this may mean higher insurance, NO insurance (happened to a friend who moved up Island, and was had extreme difficulty finding a firm, and then paid much more to insure their home due to their 12 yr old German Shepherd) and the distinct possibility that you COULD be sued if someone claims the dog harmed them, their livestock, or wildlife.  

Where I live, even though my property is completely enclosed by a 6 foot solid metal fence, an intruder scaled it, and while attempting to leave WITH STOLEN GOODS my staffie "attacked".  The thief grabbed her collar with both hands, holding her off the ground, needless to say, his arms were severely bitten.  Long story short, it was only because of my relationship with Animal Control, and their personal knowledge of myself and my dogs that they disbelieved the criminal (who claimed the dog had scaled the fence and attacked him), and could honestly state that the dog was "provoked", so the thief was unable to sue...

There can be very serious legal ramifications to owning a "guard dog"; especially if you are not one who has the time and energy to put into constantly reinforcing the training and bonding, to ensure you don't end up hostage to a dangerous dog.
 
Mark Reed
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You can never be 100% sure what will happen with a dog, they lack the reasoning ability of a person and sometimes fall back to what I guess you'd call instinct for lack of a better word. That incident with my dog and the German Shepard is an example of that I think.

That wasn't the first encounter Wilbur and I had with that dog, we had walked by that house several times and the shepard had more that once ran out to the road to challenge and warn us. It was good dog, coming to the edge of the road and growling a little bit as we passed and sniffing at Wilbur and me with the fur on it's back raised a little bit, nothing out of the ordinary and completely within it's rights.

But I got home late that day, it was completely dark by the time we got to that part of our walk and it was snowing. It was my fault for not thinking what an odd spectacle we would present in such a situation, just shadows passing by in the dark. The snow and wind probably stifled any scent and I'm sure we were completely quiet. We probably took it by surprise and scared it a little. It probably didn't recognize us, frightened and confused is not a good state for a dog. I doubt it even knew what we were, let alone who.

I said it was a good dog but the house were it lived is 50 yards or more off the road. While that dog's reaction was somewhat understandable a really good dog would have just stayed on the porch and watched us pass. On the other hand if I had been thinking I would have taken a different route for our walk that night.

The incident was not witnessed by anyone, I suppose the people thought their dog was attacked by coyotes, all I know is I never saw it again.
 
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There was an excellent podcast from Jack Spirko who interviewed Joel Ryals about Protection dogs. That was an information packed episode explaining the difference between military, police, and "civilian" protection dogs. They get into some of the legalities as well. If you are considering a "guard" dog, this might be a good resource to know what you are getting in to.

https://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/protection-dogs-ryals
 
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Showing some hesitancy about dogs tells me you shouldn't have a guard dog unless you can deal with your fears before getting the dog. In this case I would say get a puppy where you both can grow together. It's a commitment though. For sure.

If you can be available and present each and every day for months on end to train the pup and be able to show them that you are the boss, then go ahead! I was in this exact situation 4 years ago. We got a doodle which turns out to be so much poodle. Never thought I'd like one of those but she is my best friend and a great protector. Always lets me know if a truck is here, if someone at door, if something is amiss. Many breeds and mongrels will lay down their life for you when you are the head of the pack and have shown them the way of acceptable behavior. Loyalty, am I right?

Do you have any 'dog people' in your life who could show you a few things about training the pup? I would start asking around for tips on training. Best tip I ever got was seeing a breeder lay a pup down on its side and hold it there using a stern voice until the pup relented and gave up trying to get up. It had been showing too much aggressive play without listening to the owner and this was the best way to show it who was boss. A technique I used one time. Never needed it since!

Good luck!
 
John F Dean
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Jay and Lorinne bring up excellent points.   There are degrees of being a dog pers9n or not being a dog person.   I do not consider myself to be a dog person, but I do make a point of being with them daily and they assist me in feeding the livestock. I have also taken the time to teach some basic commands.

dogs can also be a major problem for neighbors.  I do let my dogs run free a couple of times a week. By that, I mean they have full use of my neighbors many hundreds of acres . I also check with all my neighbors to make certain my dogs are behaving themselves.   All feedback is that they spend their days off from work running full tilt through the neighboring fields until they are exhausted.

As important, they know the neighbors, and the neighbors know them.
 
Mark Reed
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John F Dean wrote:
dogs can also be a major problem for neighbors.  I do let my dogs run free a couple of times a week. By that, I mean they have full use of my neighbors many hundreds of acres . I also check with all my neighbors to make certain my dogs are behaving themselves.   All feedback is that they spend their days off from work running full tilt through the neighboring fields until they are exhausted.



My dogs also always ran free, the whole neighborhood was theirs. I remember looking out the window one time and seeing my large dog chasing one of the neighbors horses, in a panic I ran out put a stop too it. By time I got there they were out of site over the hill but here they came back up with the horse chasing the dog then I guess they were tired so they laid down together. When I called the neighbor she said she had seen them doing that before and not to worry about it. Wilbur and that horse were best friends for a long time until they sold the horse, it was very sad when we walked by the pasture for awhile. Wilbur couldn't understand why his friend didn't come to play. I was also afraid he would bother the guys that hunted on the abandoned farm across the road but they liked him too and saved all the hearts and livers for him.

Ethel was very different, she was happy to play and get attention with other people or animals but not by herself. If I wasn't there too she wouldn't associate with anyone.

In any case you make an extremely important point, if you have free range dogs, everyone they might encounter needs to be on board with it. Like I am now with a new neighbor I have. They built a house about 1/2 way back my road and at 1/2 mile away are the closest neighbor I have. They got a German Shepard named Abby. They keep her tied most of the time, which I hate but occasionally she comes over to visit. I've taught her not to jump on people, not to answer the coyotes when they call at night and that a raised hand or picking up a broom, at least with me, doesn't mean she's about to get hit.  She's actually a sweetie, I wish they would just let her run all the time but I guess they think she is a better guard dog tied up close to the house.  
 
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We live in Youngstown, Ohio.  At one point kniwn as little Chicago for mafia dealings, car bombs and the like.  Now the city has been dealt a rough hand after steel mills closed in the 80s, population nearing 200,000 plunged to just above 60,000 at last check.  There is a lot of poverty, crime, blight.  Thankfully they are taking down many of the abandoned houses (which is why I have a huge 3 city lot garden...and a little business called UnAbandoned).  All that was a prelude to dog selection.  We have had zero problems since getting bigger dog.  Ruby has been the best.  She rarely barks, but always when someone unknown or in postal garb approaches the house.  She has a big beefy bark.  She is a big scaredy-cat but no one need know that.  I do not think she would ever attack, but again, intruders do not know that.  We had two break-ins prior.  During one I was awake, aware and bound by intruders.  So this is very important to us.  She is a Rott/ Shepherd/ Lab mix by best estimation.  She was found on roadside in a box as a puppy along with her siblings.  So bigger with big bark helpful, aggressiveness not required.
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Dogs and security. I've seen comments on many different breeds, even LGDs. Personally, I have 2 LGDs who watch me, the farm and the livestock. They also sleep indoors.

Many things to keep in mind, no matter what dog you choose (should you choose one).
They need to be trained!! A good citizen will respect you, other people, and whatever you own. They will know the difference betweeen an approved visitor and one that sneaks in after dark or when you're away.

They need to be able to be taken to the vet. No matter how reclusive a life someone lives, a dog is a dog and can get into many scenarios where a vet's care is imperitive. If the vet can't treat the dog because it is out of control, bites, etc. then the dog won't have much of a chance of survival after protecting you.

Good housing and a perimeter! Even though my girls sleep inside with me, there are times when I'm away that the house is locked up. So they have good shelter outside - between the goat barn and various dog houses they have a place to get out of the weather if they choose. (Sometimes they prefer to lay in the snow or rain just outside their shelter ooof!) Perimeter - At this time, I do not have any perimeter fencing. I do have night paddocks for the goats and ways to keep chickens locked up safe at night. During they day, my livestock free ranges (yes, we have the room for it). But the dogs - many people say that an LGD, and especially Great Pyrenees, won't stay home, will tend to run off. I say that's either due to breeding practices or to lack of bonding with their human. When bonded properly, and LGD will become your partner. What you see as important they will too. Due to my lack of fencing, I use a GPS collar on the dogs - mostly to see where they are, also to enforce a boundary - they are meant to protect me and the stock, not roam the hillsides.

Compatibility. Are you comfortable with a LARGE dog (my girls are just over 100 pounds each). Can you take shedding hair with grace?
ARE YOU WILLING TO KEEP A DOG FOR IT'S ENTIRE LIFE???

So many other things to look at before choosing a dog as a partner in your life. About training - especially for LGDs, but good for any dog (spouse or child too, LOL) - look up the Farei method on facebook, mighty network and mewe - straight to the point training that turns out lifelong partners who stay home, are livestock safe and have good manners.
 
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You need to get trained if you're going to essentially have a deadly weapon attached at the hip, you need to train yourself and it. Here's a podcast from one of Paul's friends and another permaculture enthusiast, Jack Spirko, about this topic: https://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com/protection-dogs-ryals


This man does it for a living: https://www.fortressk9.com/

 
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I agree, invest in your community, not in more security. The whole future is about people stopping thinking so much about themselves only and accumulating and protecting property as a priority. I also agree that an aggressive dog without regular positive reinforcement and time spent exercising with the owner (as their own little pack) is a dangerous situation.  Last thing. Insurance is largely a scam. If we were really trying to prevent everything that could happen, no one should be driving cars, no one should be even getting out of bed in the morning, you might slip and break a hip. That's not an excuse to be one of the aggressive, scary people with guns and dogs and fences and security cameras. Remember, do good things, don't spend your time worrying about the bad guys. Like attracts like, fear creates bad situations, but still and compassion makes a better world
 
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Good strong metal doors for entrances with ability to actually BAR the door too!

Windows with metal grids small enough that even kids cannot get through if they break a window.

Even with all of that, have a "Safe Room" built in your home as well.

Training and use of a weapon - as well as ownership of one for defense. For a woman, maybe a smaller pistol like a 32 cal Beretta or similar gun. Learn how and when to use your defensive weapon!

An ALWAYS  charged cell phone to call 911. Your telephone land lines and electricity may be cut or shut off so your "Safe Room" should have a phone present that is always fully charged.
 
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There is a lot of good advice here. I will just add two things. One, if you get a high prey drive dog, don't have other pets like cats. And two, if you get a working dog make sure he has a job. Working dogs without a job get in trouble and are a terror to own.

We have a German shepherd that my son got for a search and rescue dog. She is a lovely dog and very attached to us. However, she has killed 3 of my cats and shreads everything. Why, because after getting the dog my son started paramedic school, worked full time plus 3 part time job and got engaged. I am in the process of starting up some agility obstacles to give her something to do. We are also looking into another dog handler taking her so she can be the search and rescue dog she was meant to be.   I know that's a long to say that a working dog without a job will run a muck.
 
Jay Angler
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Jesse Glessner wrote:Windows with metal grids small enough that even kids cannot get through if they break a window.

I lost a patient once when a fire started between her and the stairs and she couldn't get out her gridded windows. I'd choose the style carefully, and consider if the level of crime justifies it.

Even with all of that, have a "Safe Room" built in your home as well.

If you're planning one, consider all risks. Here, risk of earthquake is higher than risk of violence, so my "Safe Room" would need to be low on glass that could break among other things.

Training and use of a weapon - as well as ownership of one for defense. For a woman, maybe a smaller pistol like a 32 cal Beretta or similar gun. Learn how and when to use your defensive weapon!

The Police spend hours upon hours training to be able to shoot accurately despite adrenaline surging. Deciding to have a gun increases the risk of people being killed accidentally or by suicide. This is an international site and laws are very different around the world.

An ALWAYS  charged cell phone to call 911. Your telephone land lines and electricity may be cut or shut off so your "Safe Room" should have a phone present that is always fully charged.

There are many places in my area where cell phone connections are shaky. We can use one upstairs, but not downstairs. So this is something that needs to be checked thoroughly. Maybe there are people who know how to boost signals from the house end?

I am aware that there are locations where crime is the greatest risk and yet members may not have a choice of where they live. I agree with the people who suggest that working at building a safe community is a great goal. I'll also suggest that making your property look as if there's nothing there worth the risk of violence is a good approach. Most thieves won't break in for apples and potatoes!
 
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A little dog, tells a thief that the human may be home. A manequin works really well sitting on the porch.
 
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I always was a little scared of dogs because we never had one. Then, about 20 years ago, we finally decided to get a dog because we live in a very isolated location and had a lot of burglaries. Our first dog was a German Shepherd. She was absolutely lovely and great at communication. Ever since, we never wanted to be without a dog again. Often German Shepherds are overbred and have a problem with their hindlegs, but our dog didn't have that. Our second dog is a mongrel we got from a neighbor. She's also very lovely.

Dogs are herd animals and they will adapt to their owner. They will test the lines to see how far they can go, but you have to be firm as the top dog and set down clear rules of what they aren't allowed to do. When you get a young dog, try to see what the parents are like. What you can't train in a dog is genetic and there isn't much you can do about that.

Most dogs have a very good sense of smell and hearing. When they sense something near your property, they will bark. You have to encourage them by praising them when they bark. Normally, they don't bark without a reason. Don't get an aggressive dog and don't train your dog to be aggressive because then you'll have to keep him on a chain since you don't want to run the risk that he's attacking somebody. It's enough for a dog to bark to keep intruders out. An animal or human intruder is usually put off by a free-ranging dog because he doesn't know if your dog will attack. Whereas, intruders figure out pretty quickly when a dog is on a chain or locked away.

You want to warn off people and animals, but not hurt anybody. Your dog will bark when there is an intruder to signal that the place is occupied they shouldn't intrude.

Now we can go to sleep without locking our door because we know that nothing can approach our property without the dog going absolutely frantic. She takes her job very seriously and is very satisfied when she drives away a wild boar or our neighbor's goats.

Female dogs are better than male dogs because they are more attached to your home. A male dog may disappear for days. Don't get a dog which has a hunting dog in its ancestry, because they will often run away in pursuit of an animal for hours.
 
Mark Reed
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There are a lot more thing to consider with dogs and I admit this is just my own preference or prejudices. Not to be taken seriously but some things to consider.

1 - Ears, are they sticky up or floppy down? Floppy down is best because they are more fun to pet. One of each is fun too.

2 - Fur, is it long or short? Long is better because it's fluffy and soft and again more fun to pet. It's also easier to remove from furniture and the like cause you can just rub it around and it sticks together in little balls. Short hair sticks in things like little needles.

3a - Tail, does it wag side to side or circular, otherwise known as propeller tail? Propeller tail is much better because it's funny.

3b - Tail, is it curly and sticks up or over the back at rest or is it relaxed?  Relaxed is the proper answer here unless you like looking a dog's butt hole all the time.

3c - Tail, does it carry a good amount of inertia, enough to carry part of the dog with it? This is known as wiggle butt and always a bonus because like propeller
tail it's really funny.

3d - Tail, can it clean the contents of a coffee table in one swipe, sometimes funny. Can it knock a little kid down? Repeatedly? really funny. Can it pull a little kid in a wagon or on a skate board? also funny but the dog might not think so just make sure to give them a half rotten chicken liver after, the dog not the kid.

4 - Mouth, teeth and strength - Can they drag a little kid out of the river? Even if the kid protests? Without leaving a mark? You guessed it, funny.

5 - Toung - how many licks to clean a little kid's face? The fewer the funnier but in the case of a small one persistence is also good.

Humm, I didn't realize how much little kids, be they your own or someone else's figure into having a dog.



 
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These two make a wonderful  pair, though Isis, the older Doberman, is way too sweet to do anything but look and sound big. Wilson, our pyrenees-akbash, is also extremely sweet with anything/anyone other than predators. He’s treed or driven off numerous bears, but only showed anything but love towards a few select people, who I assume were true asshole, or just smelled like bears. I am confident he would defend anyone or anything he loves with his life, and with an astounding amount of power and agility. I try to avoid him thinking this is necessary.. I can concur with Elle’s description of jumping 6’ fences, as he did to protect a neighbour’s goats.. I think it’s also of value when dogs are damn cute and endearing to virtually anyone who isn’t human paraquat or a natural born enemy like a bear. If needed the ideal dog can become  plenty intimidating, but is unlikely to be aggressive in any but the most dire situations. I went with a pyrenees-akbash (or white Anatolian) largely due to their very low bite rates, proven success as LGDs over millennia, and their hybrid vigor from the crossing of two landrace breeds that had millennia of selection for health, temperament, judgment, and fitness. The main drawback is they are not safe around roads and are not easy to train, though Wilson clearly understands dozens of words, and hasexcellent instincts and temperament . Pyrenees and other LGDs need a good sized fenced area to protect with other mammals therein. Those can be other dogs, or humans.  Wilson also protects the trees and raised bed gardens I’ve planted within his 1 acre fenced area.
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Isis and Wilson
Isis and Wilson
 
pollinator
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I my youngster times I made some money working as a in Germany called "Figurant"
It's the fellow packed in safety gear and be an actor playing different roles and get rampaged by the dogs at training.

our club had different breeds:

Outstanding in my opinion the German Shepard Dog.
Well trainable, obeying and protective. Guard, Rescue, Drug Dog or just a good friend.
But I didn't like the short lifespan and in many cases the hip problems in this breed.

More Protective multipurpose is the Belgian Malinois. (Groenendael, Tervuren and Laekenois is part of this group but have different characters)
But it need a bit more experience as the German Shepard

In Thailand I love the Bang Kaew Dogs in my opinion it is the most protective dog breed I have seen and had so far.
But you need a lot of time and experience to teach these generally stubborn dogs.
In return they will give you a loving personality and  a protection that you won't find in any other dog breed. They will die for you.

But final and best advice is : let a good dog find you and not the other way around






 
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Jay Angler wrote:
Our driveway is about 20 feet from the lot-line which had a dense cedar hedge followed by a chain-link fence. The dogs would *not* shut up. If their owners had been there, they would have made them shut up, but with their people gone, it was virtually constant for hours while Hubby and my friend's husband or dad helped. At one point, my friend's husband threatened to go home and get his gun! That's how bad it was. If they stopped in response to me ordering them to be quiet, it only lasted 10 minutes.



My neighbors have an LGD that is a raving lunatic. He was not socialized to people at all and makes my life hell whenever I am in my own backyard. Thankfully he's not a fence jumper but I can't move around my property (which is narrow and long) without him barking his head off and if I want to work in my garden, forget it.  He rushes the fence and if I don't notice him coming, it jacks my heart rate right up and anxiety goes off the scale. I've planted all my elder plants along the fence but I think I have several years before they are thick enough to be a shield so out of desperation, I hung a bunch of old metal roofing sheets from the fence. He still barks but since he can't see me now, he can't specifically follow me. I absolutely hate this dog, when in reality, I should be pissed at his owners for not training him properly to respect neighbors that live close.
 
Mark Reed
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Gina Jeffries wrote:
I absolutely hate this dog, when in reality, I should be pissed at his owners for not training him properly to respect neighbors that live close.


I'm sorry you have to deal with that and yes the neighbor rather than the dog is the problem or at least the source of it. Unfortunately many dogs are owned by people who shouldn't even be allowed to own a dog. They don't know how to train raise a dog and they can't seem to grasp that it is their responsibility to other people and the dog to make sure the dog knows the difference between a threat and a neighbor. Nor that there are people who are afraid of or just don't like dogs and that those people have the right not be bothered by one, especially on their own property!

If the "owner" hasn't already driven it completely insane, it may be possible to make friends with the dog. It could be a long slow process but you might try at first just talking to the dog. Follow up after a while by sneaking it some yummy treats, nothing major just a little something to let it know you are a friend. If you can reach through the fence offer it a hand to sniff, palm down and fingers closed at first. Dogs can sense emotions in people though, so if your feeling resentments and anger directed at the dog you would have to subdue that and replace it with feelings of what good and pretty dog it is. I've done that with lots of dogs over the years some take just a few minutes some much longer and the "owners" aren't always pleased if their dog wags it's tail instead of bearing it's teeth.

If you are one who is afraid of or doesn't like dogs that probably won't work for you and just shows even more what a jackass the "owner" is for not having enough consideration for a neighbor to make sure their dog doesn't bother you.  






 
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