Protection is essential, not just for our assets but for the safety of our families. Burglars are less likely to rob a home that has a large, loud dog. But having a large animal will only get you so far, as many thieves have learned ways to maneuver around the watchful pooch. So, it’s significant to know what makes the best watchdogs. First and foremost, let’s take a look at the benefits a watchdog has to offer.
What is a Watchdog?
A watchdog (not to be confused with an attack dog) helps protect your home from unwanted intruders and animals. They are trained to bark when someone enters your property and when someone is heard at the door. This acts as a deterrent to those looking to break into your home or onto your property. They can protect you and yours both when you are away and when you’re home by scaring off potential threats with intimidation tactics.
Even when the dog is not at the physical location, a ‘Beware of dog’ sign or large food dish displayed prominently in the yard can warn what lies beyond. It is less likely for you to fall victim to a home invasion if a watchdog is on alert at your property.
So, what makes a good watchdog? Here are a few tips to help turn your furry friend into a proper protector.
Which Breeds Make the Best Watchdogs?
The larger the breed, the more intimidating
While it’s true that some small dogs can hold their own, the fact remains that larger breeds, such as German Shepherds, are more intimidating.
Aside from their size, their barks will be much more profound, a natural deterrent for burglars. And it is this fear that is your first line of defense against home invasions.
However, a larger breed does not automatically guarantee good watchdog material. So, here are a few breeds to consider when choosing a watchdog:
- German Shepherd – Medium to large breed. Willing and eager to learn. They are often used as police dogs.
- Akita – Medium dog. Powerful, independent, dominant. Training should start young.
- Bullmastiff – Large, muscular dog. Strong, powerful, sensitive. Natural guardians. Socialization is important.
- Doberman Pinscher – Medium to large breed.Very intelligent. Easy to train. They were bred for defense.
- Rottweiler – Medium to large dog. Devoted, obedient, eager to work. Powerful. Herding and guarding instincts.
- Giant Schnauzer – Large breed. Quiet, energetic, and can be territorial. Easy to train and loyal.
- Boxer – Medium to large dog. Smart, energetic, playful, and protective of children. Socialization is important.
What are the Qualities of a Good Watchdog?
What You Can Do: Socialization
Arguably, the most critical aspect in your future watchdog’s overall success is socialization. He must understand the difference between normal and abnormal behaviors. Socialization will keep your dog from becoming aggressive. This is achieved by walks, plenty of attention, playtime with other puppies, and introducing them to people you know. Be sure they understand when they are “off the clock” to prevent unwanted attacks or unnecessary fear.
Training Your Guard Dog
How to Encourage Ideal Characteristics of a Watchdog
Training is pivotal for success. Training should start at an early age, with patience and time being dedicated to your pup.
The first step in proper training is to teach your dog basic commands. During this time, it is essential to establish yourself as the master.
This is not done with fear or intimidation. Instead, build your bond and trust by leading your pet with command and confidence.
Your pet will respond to authority. Once he has mastered basic commands such as sit, stay, lay, and wait, it is time to advance their training.
Teach them to bark at strangers who come to the door and use a command such as ‘bark’ or ‘speak.’ Then be sure to reward them for the behavior.
Along with this, you need to teach your dog a command to halt his bark. You can use words like ‘quiet’ or ‘hush.’ This gives you control of when and appropriate behavior.
Create mock trials for your dog to practice by having a friend or family member knock on the door. Do this until it becomes natural for your dog.
Also, be sure to keep up with training so that your dog does not get rusty with his skills.
Optimal Watch Dog Diet
Diet is something to consider when raising your watchdog. A healthy diet makes for a healthy dog which, in turn, lets him perform at an optimum level.
Keep in mind how much food larger breeds need to eat each day, and confirm with your vet the best brand and amount for your particular breed.
A few good brands for high performance and working dogs are:
- Victor Classic – Hi-Pro Plus, Dry Dog Food
- Grandma Lucy’s PUREformance Dog Food
- Eukanuba Premium Sport Adult Dry Food
- Taste Of The Wild – High Prairie
This is becoming widely popular among dog owners for its natural ingredients that you put together specifically to meet your dogs’ needs.
Health Conditions to Watch Out for in Watchdogs
Another critical factor when considering your watchdog prospects is the medical conditions often associated with the breed of dog you have in mind.
While typically bred for a specific purpose, purebred dogs tend to have health conditions within their breed. This is often why mutts are sought after because their mixed breeding decreases the chances of medical issues down the line.
A few examples of medical conditions found in some large breed dogs include:
- Hip/Elbow dysplasia
- Osteosarcoma (bone cancer)
- Panosteitis (inflammation of leg bones)
- Wobbler Syndrome (disease of the neck)
- Dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart)
- Aortic stenosis (narrowing of the aorta)
These are just to name a few. Depending on the breed you intend to purchase, be sure you do your research into their breed’s health and ask for papers confirming your pup’s parent’s history.
You have to be sure you are financially and emotionally ready to handle potential issues and retire your pet when it can no longer work.
Final Thoughts on Raising The Best Watch Dogs
These are just a few valuable tips to get you started on your quest for the perfect watchdog. If your pet is willing and eager to work, why not give him a task that benefits everyone? After all, there is no nobler job than one that protects you and your home from unwanted visitors!