We have heard it all!
• A dog locked away in a dark small box will be fierce guard dog at night.
• A dog resting all day will be alert at night
• Chained dogs are better watch dogs than free roaming ones
Did you know it is illegal to keep a dog permanently chained or confined in a box?
A dog relates to a pack. In the case of the domesticated dog, that becomes the human family and any other pet living within the household. It’s in a dog’s natural instinct to defend their established territory from any encroaching strangers.
Creating unnecessary and callous restrictions will only result in frustration for both dog and owner and the dog will be seen as not performing its duties. Just like people, dogs are wired to have periods of activity and rest throughout the day and night. They will sleep for a while and then want to run, play, explore and mark boundaries within its territory.
Belief in ridiculous myths cultivates:
• Frustrated and unpredictable behavior: a dog that isn’t allowed to mark territory will be scared and insecure. A dog that has ‘rested’ all day will be hyperactive and unpredictable
• Depression and unhappiness: a dog that doesn’t know its pack / family and is therefore unable to bond will be lonely and bored for lack of interaction and affection.
Curtailed instincts and a lack of training make a dog dangerous and may result in injury/death of a person, other animal and/or even the dog itself.
For a guard dog to be effective, its natural instincts must be respected and nurtured:
• Make friends; get to know your dog, play with and feed it so that it forms a bond with you and recognizes itself as a member of the family
• Allow the dog to roam the compound; all dogs need plenty of exercise and opportunities to sniff, ensuring mental stimulation, and happiness.
• Your dog needs company; if you can afford it keep more than one so they aren’t lonely.
• Provide all the essential needs; sufficient food, fresh water, a large shelter that keeps out the rain and allows for toilet area away from the bed. This should be kept clean at all times.
• Get involved with some basic training of your guard dog like teaching it to sit and come to you when called. This will strengthen the bond between the two of you and ensure that it listens to you. A well-trained and well socialized dog is unlikely to pose a danger to the public.
• “Making a guard dog” by tying up and beating your dog until it bites, is counterproductive: it makes the dog scared of people and will only make it want to run away. Ensure you engage reputable, positive reinforcement dog trainers, especially with large breeds!
Dogs aren’t expected to shield us from armed thieves. The purpose of a guard dog is to alert us when strangers are around by barking so we can take action.