How to Train a Guard Dog: 5 Essential Tips
Over one million home burglaries occur in the United States every year. Nearly half of those break-ins occur during the day when a burglar assumes no one is home.
While you can’t be home every waking minute to protect your property, you can have a guard dog that is. A guard dog can deter would-be thieves from entering your property and thus keep you and your home safe.
But how do you train a dog to be a guard dog? By the time you finish reading this article, you will understand a few basic things you can do to help train your guard dog to protect your property.
1. Recognize an Attack v. Guard Dog
Begin by recognizing that you will be training a guard dog and not an attack dog. A guard dog alerts its owner of the presence of an intruder by growling or barking. They do not behave aggressively toward the stranger by attacking them.
Attack dogs, on the other hand, will attack on command. They do behave aggressively toward intruders.
Average owners do not typically need an attack dog, but rather just a guard dog for protection. Many intruders cannot tell the difference between a dog that will attack and a dog that is alerting its owner. Either one will deter them.
2. Teach Basic Obedience
Once you’ve established that you will be training your dog to alert you of any intruders, you can begin basic obedience training. Use small treats to teach your dog skills such as sit, drop, stay, and bark on command.
Focus on impulse control as you teach basic obedience. Dogs will follow their impulse to jump on strangers if you do not teach them to control their urges. So it is critical to focus on teaching the dog to sit, stay, and lie down on command. In general, all guard dogs should be able to obey basic commands.
Walk the boundary of your property during every obedience session with your dog. They will quickly learn the area they need to protect.
Then, once you’ve gone through several training sessions and feel confident in your dog’s abilities, leave them alone for a short period. Give them a chance to protect the property for short periods at the start.
3. Test Your Dog
After you’ve begun to leave the dog alone to protect your property, recruit a friend that your dog isn’t familiar with. Have this friend test your dog’s guarding abilities. See what the dog does when the stranger approaches.
Have the stranger knock on the front door or fence and then approach your dog. If the training has stuck, the dog should bark and alert you that there is an intruder. Have your friend act afraid and run off to let the dog know they’ve done their job.
Then have your friend report back to you to see if your dog training has worked.
4. Practice Daily
Training should take place daily. As your dog continues to bark at approaching threats, reward them by praising their behavior or giving them a treat.
Have your trusted friend continue to test the dog as well. They need to be a bigger nuisance to truly test your dog’s training. They should attempt to bribe the dog with treats or make noises to distract the dog.
Before you have your friend test the dog, you should include the distractions in your training. This will ensure your dog doesn’t leave their post and thus continues to defend your property.
5. Have Confidence
Trust that your dog has successfully passed all the tests you’ve given them. Reward them by leaving them alone for longer periods. Have confidence that your dog can do the job you’ve trained them to do.
Training a dog takes time and effort. It can be a rewarding pursuit and an opportunity to bond with your dog as well. Ultimately, you will end up with pets that you adore because they’re willing to work hard to protect your family and property.
Successful Guard Dog Traits
Good guard dogs should be territorial and protect you and your property and yet be obedient. They should not react because they’re afraid or aggressive.
You’ll know you have succeeded as a trainer if your dog has the following traits:
- Confidence: a good guard dog will be curious about new people, not shy or timid
- Assertive: your dog should not be overly aggressive but will comfortably put itself in a position that lets them get what they want. They will comfortably approach new situations without backing away.
- Social: the dog will recognize and be wary of a stranger and yet isn’t overly aggressive
- Trainable: your dog should respond well to new training and continue to be trainable for years to come
- Loyal: the more loyal your dog is, the more likely they are to protect you and your family and defend your property
Some breeds lend themselves to these traits more than others. A German Shepherd, for example, is an extremely loyal and trainable dog. They’re known for their assertiveness and confidence. With the right training, they’re also sociable.
Get a Guard Dog Today
A good guard dog will give you peace of mind every time you go to bed or leave your property. You’ll know you have an effective tool in place as well as a trusted friend to keep your family and property safe.
If you don’t have time to train a guard dog, you can always buy a dog trained specifically for guarding property. If you’re looking for such a loyal friend, contact us.
We have experienced and well-trained dogs for sale, ready to protect you and your family.