Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

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Arkane
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Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Arkane » Sun Jan 30, 2011 1:58 am

I threw this together after a good long discussion during a meeting of of the old sarge club. As usual conversation drifts and something actually meaningful comes out of it. In this case it was the use of dogs as security for your homestead/BiL. I've got my setup now that we are living in (homestead out in the boonies) and I have a small pack of 4, a lab/pit mix (he got the best of both breeds), a shepherd, a small blue heeler, and a chihuahua. The larger ones spend the night on the back deck and watch the surrounding pastures, the heeler sleeps in the entryway (but has run of the house) and the chihuahua sleeps in my master bedroom (he has alerted on deer and other animals as far away as 200 yards at night out in a woodline from our MBR). I'll summarize the thoughts we captured below.

1. Given truth: There are two types of basic defense. Active and passive defense. Active defense includes anything that actively engages a threat to your BOL. Passive defense includes things like prevention of detection and alerting.

2. Dogs can be used as an active defense. I'll skip which breed is best, because that is the subject of as much debate as AKvAR. The purpose of an active defense dog is not only to deter entrance to the AO by having a loud and aggressive bark but engage on command or as trained. One point of concurrence was that you definitely want to have these dogs fixed - if they catch scent of a bitch in heat they will loose their minds and forget every and anything they've been taught. Also make sure you take into consideration state and local laws on ownership - some cities and counties actually regulate certain breeds. And liability insurance isn't a bad idea at any rate. One benefit of having larger breeds (especially males) is that by allowing them to scent the trees/posts marking your AO quite often yotes and other small predators will avoid it, especially if they pick up on a pack scent (multiple males).

3. Dogs make for excellent passive defense. They have acute senses that can pick up on movement and sound that rivals a lot of modern technology. For this purpose smaller breeds are often better. An alerting dog mixed with a couple of defense dogs (the larger dogs will learn to cue off of the smaller ones) can be a formidable obstacle for someone trying to sneak up on your AO. A dog isn't going to aid in detection prevention but makes for an excellent alert. My larger dogs will often wait for the heeler to be let out and cue off of her direction.

Some of the considerations you need to keep in mind are the size of your property or AO; your ability to feed and care for them (AD dogs are going to normally be a larger breed), and the impact of introducing a possible friendly predator into your plan (if you have chickens it's a huge consideration - once a dog gets a taste of them it's going to be an issue from then of); and the impact of keeping larger breeds around family and friendlies. Especially if they haven't been socialized properly. Even the smaller dogs can be dangerous to children. Above all else remember, dogs are territorial animals. If you are bugging out and your dogs have never lived at your BOL then they will have no idea of it's boundaries when you hit the ground. I would also avoid leaving them at your BoL unattended. Dogs left alone without persistent human contact will go feral (especially unfixed males). Given that I would avoid using dogs for active defense if you plan to bug out to another location especially if you don't spend any appreciable time there (but Sparky the family pet spaniel should work fine as an alert dog inside the BoL if he's around the family all of the time).

Some of the tasks you need to work with your dogs before it's too late is adjusting them to firearms report (you'd be surprised how some of the larger and more aggressive breeds cower @ it - you can start off using cheap field 12g field poppers and work up to full loads), familiarize and socialize them with the folks you know are going to be living in your AO, learning to control their position and have them bark back, especially when you yell for them (that comes in handy in the dark), and controlling their advance.

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Dawgboy » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:42 am

Nice writeup. I also believe that dogs are a good defensive method. I also have a Pit/lab mix that I am just starting out with, 4 month old male. Also a female wheaten terror that is an an alarm and she is a bit aggressive, a Weinerdog, whose main use is small animal control and alert. We also have all these damn pups(look at horde in my sig) and one of these will join the pack. Dweezel(Weinerdog) is extremely effective at vermin control, A pretty good foot warmer too, and all are good at refuse disposal.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Anomic1 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 2:30 pm

I love the early warning the dog gives me in the house or camp. Especially when im sleeping...

I qlso believe when the burgler pre-paw trys the door knob and the dog starts barking that is enough to get them to move on to an easier target.

Btw golden retriever ftw

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Stercutus » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:24 pm

Something worth noting, especially with larger dogs is that they can have difficulty seeing.

But as everyone knows their sense of smell and often hearing can not be beat. My dog will often activate on people he knows to be friendly if he is up wind or not close enough for some other kind of identity cue. This is due to him not identifying the person properly with visual acuity. Often times a greeting will get him calmed down quickly or just getting within the proper range for him to see/ smell.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by jetnet22 » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:34 pm

I love the early warning the dog gives me in the house or camp. Especially when im sleeping...lace wigs

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by ei8htx » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:42 pm

Great writeup. My beagle concurs.

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Jamie » Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:48 pm

Our 2 dogs are great for giving us a heads up when someone turns into our driveway...they're also visually and aurally intimidating to people who knock on the door and/or see them through the windows...because I have a child and friends with kids (and my experience is that kids act unpredictably, especially around dogs), my dogs are trained not to act aggressively towards people on the same side of a door/window as them (or when we're on a walk)...

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by raptor » Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:47 pm

Dogs are indeed great companions and can based upon your situation can increase your security. However be sure to obedience train dog and exercise control/supervision over the dog.

Also be sure to understand your dog's limitations. Not all dogs are suitable protection enhancements, some can actually be a liability.
Last edited by raptor on Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by NC5thcav » Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:05 am

We have three dogs, a German shepherd, Texas heeler(Australian shepherd/blue heeler cross), and her 1yr. old pup(boxer cross :roll: ). My GS looks ferocious, but is really an overgorwn, silly puppy. He stays on a run line at the garage. Our heeler and the other one stay inside most of the time. The heeler is a great warning system. She rarely barks, and if she does something is up. The coolest alert she had done for us was one night about 3 a.m. She went nuts and made it a point to wake me up and show me the two bear cubs playing in a tree in the backyard.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Vicarious_Lee » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:27 am

I have, prefer, and fully endorse a healthy small dog that doesn't bite kids, yet has a nervousness that makes it bark at everything.

I don't need a big, intimidating dog. What I need in a dog is to alert me when I'm not alert (AKA: asleep) as quickly as possible. Me and my firearms can do the rest. Unlike my firearms (and contrary to popular belief about firearms), my guns can't act to harm people of their own volition. A big dog with a more primitive brain that is trying to process, assess, and neutralize threats can make mistakes. My guns just don't care, and won't do anything to protect or to jeopardize me.

My friend has an old and very huge doberman (that he loves dearly) with a nervous streak that rivals even my 11-pound chihuahua-poodle mix. The difference is that my dog has NEVER tried to engage on it's own, and even if it did, could easily be punted across a lawn. His dog can be 115 lbs of pure concentrated attack, and has done so many times before. He doesn't have kids, and he doesn't have kids that enter his house regularly. I do.

Dogs are great. Dogs that assess and confront threats on their own can be a serious liability, IMHO.

So yes. Dogs are great for home security. I prefer that they be an early-warning system ONLY.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Ufdyixcaff » Mon Jan 31, 2011 2:48 am

raptor wrote:Not all dogs are suitable protection enhancements, some can actually be a liability.
*sigh* Dont you read the internets? EVERYONE has a dog that behaves perfectly under high stress situations, knows who is friend or foe because they have been trained to read minds, is bilingual - unless you count tactical hand signals as their third language, wont mind if you eat them when the zombies come and would actually encourage it............ but still shits on the carpet and eats the trash on the daily.

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by raptor » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:23 pm

Vicarious_Lee wrote: My friend has an old and very huge doberman (that he loves dearly) with a nervous streak that rivals even my 11-pound chihuahua-poodle mix. ...(snip)... His dog can be 115 lbs of pure concentrated attack, and has done so many times before.

Dogs are great. Dogs that assess and confront threats on their own can be a serious liability, IMHO.
This is exactly what I am talking about in terms of liability issues.

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by FanaticalModerate » Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:51 pm

Oh, fiddlesticks!
You folks just don't understand dogs good.
You're relying on old-fashioned, namby-pamby dogs, when you need to get one of those new crossed-breeds.
You should get you one of those KifaruDoodles(tm) - they're the most durable, toughest dog out there. ...For when you know you need a tactical dog, no matter what the cost!



Okay, just kidding, but just saying "Plus One" would have been boring. Dogs here are companions/therapists and early warning systems, and nothing more ...and we love it that way :)
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Stercutus » Mon Jan 31, 2011 3:53 pm

His dog can be 115 lbs of pure concentrated attack, and has done so many times before. He doesn't have kids, and he doesn't have kids that enter his house regularly. I do.
Wow, that is no good at all. Our dog is huge but super mellow. Unless someone is messing with the missus or the kids. If someone does that he gets upset. When he gets upset strangers crap their pants. But he has never needed to attack anyone, not even one time. Mostly because there has not been a reason.

Just to give you an example last year the missus was having a problem with someone doing some work at the house. The guy was kind of annoyed at being made to do the job he had contracted to do. When his upset-eness started coming out in his voice and body language the dog stood up and growled at him, quite softly, lowly and distinctly and gave him a look. This guy had been in the house for hours but when his character came off as threatening he was done.

Now I can count on both hands the number of people he has growled at. Nearly every time it was merited. This time not so much but we understood. A good dog will understand your moods and try to figure out what is going on and why.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by ZMace » Mon Jan 31, 2011 4:50 pm

Any time someone brings up dogs as security or defense, I am reminded of an old Discovery show called To Catch a Thief. Basically people dare a former burglar to break in to their house, and he attempts to sometime during a week time frame. Several times he encountered dogs and never had a problem, and in fact at least once stole a dog.

Dogs are awesome at early detection, I would never count on one for anything more except for highly specialized cases. Certainly I would never count on a pet as a guard or "attack" dog.

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Stercutus » Mon Jan 31, 2011 5:13 pm

Actually somone could steal my dog, so long as he were home alone and he thought he was going to go eat.

He doesn't care in the least about the house if no one is in it. He almost never barks when we come home if there is no one inside the house. But like all animals he can be a little unpredictable too.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Anomic1 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:38 pm

Zmace is probably a cat-lady

I work for a delivery company and go to about 500-1500 houses a week depending on the area. There are a lot of them (mostly in the sticks) that i can not get out of my vehicle at b/c of dogs. Your discovery channel burglar may be tough but when the dog is biting the window and snapping teeth i think he will move on.

As mentioned above in most situations the type of dog described above would be a liability but with a well bred dog and an experienced/willing to learn trainer a good middle ground between zmaces calico cat and an attack dog can be reached

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Rev » Mon Jan 31, 2011 6:49 pm

A dog training academy nearby trains dogs for "home defense". I figure if I'm there, I'll take care of the problem. If I'm not at home there is nothing worth killing/injuring someone for or endangering my dog.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by DannusMaximus » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:48 pm

Get a dog because you want to love a dog, not because you think it adds to your preps. Any security bonus should be just that - - a bonus.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Rev » Mon Jan 31, 2011 7:58 pm

DannusMaximus wrote:Get a dog because you want to love a dog, not because you think it adds to your preps. Any security bonus should be just that - - a bonus.
Generally I'd agree but for many people a dogs first and foremost role is as a working animal.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by DannusMaximus » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:46 pm

Rev wrote:
DannusMaximus wrote:Get a dog because you want to love a dog, not because you think it adds to your preps. Any security bonus should be just that - - a bonus.
Generally I'd agree but for many people a dogs first and foremost role is as a working animal.
I think a staggerinly small percentage of people use their dog as a 'working animal', unless you include calling their natural inclination towards barking at strangers and protecting their pack a type of security 'work'.

My idiot terrier mix is technically 'working' when he chases a tennis ball until my arm is practically dislocated from throwing it back to him, I suppose, since the terrier side of him was bred to chase small animals and run off rodents. I guess the other side of him is 'dumbass', since the preponderance of his remaining time is spent...well, being a dumbass.

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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by Rev » Mon Jan 31, 2011 8:51 pm

DannusMaximus wrote:I think a staggerinly small percentage of people use their dog as a 'working animal'
Not so small around here.
DannusMaximus wrote:unless you include calling their natural inclination towards barking at strangers and protecting their pack a type of security 'work'.
A working dog is just a refinement of a dogs natural inclinations. A "guardian" dog, be it livestock, property, or individual is a working dog.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by DannusMaximus » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:00 pm

Rev wrote:A "guardian" dog, be it livestock, property, or individual is a working dog.
Semantics. By that definition I am a working chemical factory, since I'm dilligently converting oxygen to carbon dioxide even as I type.

Regardless, I stand by my assertation. If you want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to purchase a dog that is trained to provide high level physical security, that's what you need to do. Most 'security' dogs in the shitty neighborhoods I work in are actually just terribly abused dogs who have had their asses kicked enough that they're mean and aggressive towards everybody except the primary person who regularly abuses them. Otherwise, realize that a good dog who lets you know if a stranger is poking around your house is just providing a pleasant side benefit to having a good dog.

You and I aren't going to agree on this. No worries.
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Re: Commentary: Dogs as security for your BIL

Post by maldon007 » Mon Jan 31, 2011 9:09 pm

These are 100% family pets, not trained other than, heal/speak/come/fetch/etc. But they have proven themselves at least a few times as decent security dogs. Both dog pound mutts, both females, both around 90lb. and never poo/pee in the house (unless sick)... but the trash, well as long as no hunks of meat are in there, its mostly safe... mostly.

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