A guard dog, or a watchdog, is trained to protect your property and your family. Contrary to what you might think, most guard dogs are not taught to attack.
Rather, they are taught non-confrontational techniques, such as how to stand guard and how to use their bark to alert you of a stranger or potential danger on your property. Training your dog to be a guard dog will take some time and patience, but the result will be a dog that will not only protect you against a threat, but will also be comfortable and well behaved in non-threatening situations.
Preparing to Train Your Dog to Be a Guard Dog
Recognize the difference between a guard dog and an attack dog. A guard dog is trained to alert its owner of the presence of a stranger or intruder through barking or growling. Guard dogs are not typically trained to attack on command or to act overly aggressive towards a stranger. Therefore, guard dogs generally do not make very good attack dogs.
- Attack dogs are often used by police and law enforcement. They are trained to attack on command and respond aggressively to potential threats or intruders.
- Most attack dogs are well trained and will not act in an aggressive way unless they are commanded to by their owner. Attack dogs that are not well trained, however, can attack without warning and pose a serious danger to humans and other animals.
- The average owner is unlikely to need an attack dog.
Determine if your dog’s breed is a typical guard dog breed.Though most dogs can be trained to be guard dogs, certain dog breeds are known to make good guard dogs. For example, smaller breeds such as Chow Chows, pugs, and Shar Pei’s have been known to be good guard dogs.
Larger breeds, such as Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherd, and Akita also make excellent guard dogs.
- Certain breeds, such as German Shepherds and Doberman Pinschers, can be trained to be guard dogs as well as attack dogs.
- If you have a pure-bred dog that is not a typical guard dog breed, or if you have a mutt, it is still possible for you to train him to be an excellent guard dog. If he has the behavioral characteristics of a guard dog and is properly trained and socialized, then you could train him to guard and protect you.
Learn about the personality traits of an ideal guard dog.Contrary to popular belief, a good guard dog should not react out of fear or pure aggression. Generally, a good guard dog should be territorial and protective of his owner and his owner’s property, yet remain obedient to his owner’s commands.
- A good guard dog must be confident in himself and his surroundings. A confident dog is curious about a new person or a new area, and is not shy or timid around new people.Your dog may already have this trait inherently, but proper socialization can also instill confidence in a dog.
- A good guard dog is also assertive. This does not necessarily mean that he is overly aggressive or pushy. Rather, it means that he is comfortable with putting himself in a position that will allow him to get what he wants. It also means that he will be confident in approaching a new situation or person, rather than backing away.
- Sociability is another important characteristic of a good guard dog. A well-socialized guard dog will be able to recognize and be wary of a stranger in his owner’s presence, but will not attack or become overly aggressive towards that stranger.
- Good guard dogs must also be easily trainable.Chow chows can make good guard dogs because they are naturally suspicious of strangers, but tend to be very independent and not easy to train.
- Loyal dogs make great guard dogs. The more loyal your dog is to you, the more likely he will want to defend and protect you. German shepherds are known to be a very loyal breed.
Socialize your dog as a puppy.Proper socialization is essential to training your dog to be a good guard dog. When your dog is well socialized, he will be comfortable in his normal environment. He will also be less fearful and more relaxed—important characteristics of a good guard dog—but will still retain a healthy dose of suspicion of unfamiliar and potentially dangerous situations.
The best time to socialize a puppy is when he is between three and twelve weeks of age.
- Beyond twelve weeks of age, puppies become increasingly more cautious of new situations and therefore become much more difficult to socialize
- During the socialization period, you should get your puppy comfortable with meeting new people and interacting in new environments. It can be a huge task to socialize your puppy, so it may be easier to break socialization into small parts and expose him to situations over time at his comfort level.
- Reward your puppy with plenty of positive reinforcement (e.g., petting, treats, extra play time) each time that he has a good socialization experience.
- Puppy classes are an excellent way to socialize your puppy. Keep in mind that your puppy should be up-to-date on his vaccinations and deworming treatment to keep him healthy and free of disease during the entirety of the training program.
- If your dog is an adult and you have already trained and socialized him, then he should be well on his way to becoming a good guard dog.
Ensure your dog can follow basic obedience commands.Before you begin guard dog training, your dog should already be able to obey basic commands like “stay,” “sit” and “down.” Having these basic obedience skills will ensure your dog can build up to learning defensive techniques like alert barking and standing guard.
- You can teach these commands to your dog on your own. Alternatively, you can sign your dog up for an obedience training class.
- When you trained your dog, you can try to use some equipment or tool, such bite sleeve, toy or Whistle. It makes the interactivity with your pet.