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Friday, March 15, 2013

Security Dogs

What's a security dog?  (AKA: Watch dawg.)  Would that be a little dog hanging out in a little house at the end of the driveway with a walkie-talkie and a flashlight?  Nooo.  I'm talking about a dog that will help take care of your "stuff" while you aren't around, or even when you are around and just need a hand.  There are many different levels of "security" that should be considered, starting with the simplest form to the purpose built "professional" dogs.

Let me preface this post by telling you that I am not a dog expert, but I have worked with many working dogs of different types and have taken my bite.  Only one... that was enough.  I am not going to go into the "professional" classes of dogs here.  I am talking about things to think about when you select your next general purpose dog.

So what makes a good security dog?  Well, I guess that would really depend on who you are and what exactly you are trying to secure.  A junkyard?  A good fence and any dog that'll chase and bite might be an option.  How about your home?  That would depend on your circumstances.  Are you a single guy with a little stuff that lives in a marginal area of town?  What if you are a single lady living in that same area?  Do you really need security, an alarm, or both?  What if all you really just want a buddy to hang out and watch TV with; but one that'll make a bad guy think twice?  With a little compromise and a bit of consideration there are many that can fit that bill.

Things you want to consider are breed temperament and disposition as well as what you are really trying to accomplish.  If you are simply trying to deter a burglar you might want to consider a "yapper".  Any good yapper will make a great alarm system and burglar deterrent but you need a selective yapper... not one that barks at every bird that flies by the window.

No burglar wants to try to sneak into your suburban home with a chihuahua going nuts right inside a window.  Another bonus is that when the burglar actually gets through your "high security" sliding glass door in less than fifteen seconds your chihuahua will stay just out of reach and bark three thousand times a minute... and no burglar wants that.  They are trying to be sneaky.  So with this type dog you'll want to look for alertness coupled with wariness.  He'll need to be paying attention, but not go running over to any person that tries to pet him.

The next option would be the "barker" that barks four or five times and then waits for another noise and barks a bit more while waiting for you to get up and go investigate.  Burglars are usually wary of these types because they are a bit bigger and hard to predict if they are a threat or not.  Things to consider are that they are typically a bit more social and might go make friends with the burglar when he gets inside.  A good barker type dog would be most of the terrier, spaniel, and collie breeds such are the Cocker Spaniel, Jack Russell Terrier, and Border Collies.  These are the ones that let you know when someone comes to visit but then welcomes them into your home.  

The next type would be the "big friendly guy" that would leave "big dog" signs around but not have a lot to say.  Those are great if you want a burglar step in poo and then track it all through your house. You know the ones... the lab and retriever types.  They are friends with everyone.  Have you seen the movie "UP"? That's pretty typical behavior.  (Although, let one get bit by a bat and turn into Cujo and see what happens...)  

The next type are the "defensive lineman" and "century" types.  They'll stand between you and what ails you.  The ones that first introduce themselves via growling through the front door and have to be put away in another room before friends get to know them.  These guys are not intimidated by anything.  Before you bring one of these guys into your home or yard you MUST consider the risk of bites first and foremost.  These guys are the biters that send you to get a tetanus shot at the doctor's office if you aren't careful.  They take a few minutes to settle down and can then be brought in and introduced around.  Before you know it he'll be in your company's lap with his favorite basketball chew toy.  Good examples of this type would be your German Shepherds and your American Bulldogs.  This is the upper limit of "buddy type" dogs.

The last type I am going to talk about are the "gladiator" types that tend to be over-protective, bearing in mind we are talking about dogs that you want for a buddy with security benefits.   This type dog would be your Dobermans and Rottweilers.  These are the guys that you would never have someone not known to the dog to drop by and check on your place for you while you are out.  You probably wouldn't want your buddy's two year old to wrestle with these either.  It also makes it hard for him to be a buddy if he can't be in the same room with company.  Anything in this group will need to be well monitored with any interaction with anyone outside the their "pack" and well trained to know their limits or you are asking for trouble.  These boys are biters!  Count on stitches if you or your company aren't careful.

There are a couple more classes above these, but without proper training for him AND you, you're asking for serious trouble.... I mean lawsuit type trouble.  Don't do that to yourself.  Anyone that buys a protection, attack, or guard dog without proper training and equipment is simply being irresponsible and when you are irresponsible, you are liable.  You'll lose that lawsuit.  These boys are serious biters, and I'm not talking about him accidentally nipping you while you are playing tug-o-war.  I mean "dingoes ate my baby" biters.  Dogs in this class aren't typically available at a pet store of at the pound.  If someone is getting rid of one of these they are resold by the breeder usually.  Examples of these class dogs are the Cane Corsos, Boerboels, and Presa Canarios.

But there is one type of dog that I have talked about, but have not mentioned.  They fall into the slot between big friendly guy and the defensive linemen types.  These are the guys that I call "sleeper" dogs.  That is a old drag racing term for an old beat up grandma's car with a huge engine with a blower on it and nitrous.  The ones that the young punk with the hotrod Firebird pulls up to at the red light, revs the motor at, and then gets left in a cloud of tire smoke wondering what the heck just happened.  The old "don't judge a book by its cover" trick.

These are the perfect types for our situation of living in town and wanting a buddy type dog that can go running in the park with the ladies or can hang out and watch a softball game with you, but without scaring the piss out of everyone within a quarter mile.  The ones that will get between you and trouble in a flash and will give you that extra five seconds to get the 9mm out when you get caught off guard.

Imagine this scenario: You and your 95 pound rottweiler want to go for a run, you accidentally drop the lease and he runs into a playground and tries to play with a five year old little girl.  Now, no joke, this guy is the biggest teddy bear EVER.  Today he accidentally knocks this little girl over and tries to lick her face to soothe her.  But alas, she comes from family that has taught her fear of "scary" dogs and not respect of dogs and she is crying like something, in particular your loving rotty, is trying to kill her.  Her mom and dad come running.  Mom is already on the phone with 911 and cops are on the way to take care of the rottweiler that is killing a beautiful five year old in the park... what now?

Now imagine THIS scenario:  You and your Great Pyrenees Mountain dog want to go for a run, you accidentally drop the lease and he runs into a playground and tries to play with a five year old little girl.  Today he accidentally knocks this little girl over and tries to lick her face to soothe her.  However, she isn't scared of this 125 pound furry yellow lab... her parents come running over and grab your leash for you as you apologize.  They tell you not to worry and you are back off running.

What changed?

Only the appearance of the dog... a Great Pyrenees is by all knowledgeable accounts a better security dog and protection dog for you, your spouse, and your kids than most rotts, dobies, or shepherds   Another that fits this category is a Rhodesian Ridgeback... a large redbone hound dog (Where the Red Fern Grows) looking pup with a funny stripe of hair going the wrong way up his back... that was bred to hunt lions.  Point is, nobody looks twice at these pups except the bad guy trying not get eaten alive after he tried to take your five year old from the yard.

Oh yeah, and get a "Beware of Dog" sign even if you don't have a dog... that's your very first step to making a bad guy think twice... and you don't have to feed it.



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