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A few years back, a coworker awoke to a guy climbing through his bathroom window. Not surprising, considering that he lived on the ground level of a building in an area of town that was in the process of urban revitalization. He came to work the next day and asked me if I thought he should get a gun. To which I replied . . .

“Maybe?” with a shrug of the shoulders. We chatted a bit about how much fun I have shooting guns, but we also touched on the ethical and legal implications of assuming responsibility for your own safety. We both decided that gun ownership was certainly in the future for him, but not right for right now. As an interim solution, he bought a canister of pepper spray and a sturdy bat. He declined to take action on the third piece of advice I gave, getting a security system or a dog. I guess he didn’t take me seriously because I didn’t have a dog at the time.

My wife and I are both pretty granola when it comes to animals. I grew up in a house filled with strays including several abused/neglected rescue horses. At the time of my friend’s break in, Mrs. Kee and I had two cats, one a formal rescue and the other a somewhat informal rescue. My wife’s work as a hospice nurse sometimes introduces her to animals whose owners have shrugged the mortal coil leaving behind their pets. Our cat Matilda is one such animal. We’d talked about a dog and even visited some local rescues, but we never really found “our” dog.
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All that changed last fall when this pitiful beast found his way into our home. He’d been found by a friend working an oil rig in a remote part of East Texas. Said friend had started bringing food and water until he gained the dog’s trust. Once he was able to inspect our future dog child, he couldn’t find evidence of tags or collar. What he did have in abundance were ticks, fleas, and some wounds on his head that turned out to be the work of someone with a shotgun. 

The local foster that our friend volunteered with was full up so he asked us if we could foster him. Several weeks later, we resigned ourselves to our fate as “Foster Failures” and officially accepted him into our home. We christened him Bill Murray, got him some tags made, chipped him, and once he’d gained enough weight, put him under the knife to ensure we didn’t have any future child support payments to worry about.

All that food and love went right to his head because he’s about the most loyal dog you could ever ask for. He sleeps on my wife’s side of the bed (that’s where the memory foam dog bed is), and spends most of his days snoozing, and turning expensive food into fertilizer. As any keen eyed reader will notice, he’s also got a head the size of a cinder block and a pretty large skeleton. At his fighting weight, he weighs about seventy five pounds.

But his real value to me is his natural instinct for sounding the alarm. Any time someone knocks on the door, he sets off a serious bark that rattles the house. At several points over the last few months, he’s risen from a dead slumber to look out the window of our bedroom and cautiously stare at a car that’s making a U turn in our cul-de-sac . My wife tells me that when I travel for work, he’s even more vigilant.

He recently got upgraded from “good boy” to “WarDog™” a few weeks back while I was making my nightly rounds. As you should, I check all the door locks on the first floor before heading upstairs for the evening. After scarfing down a pricey bowl of Duck and Potato food, Bill made himself comfortable on his memory foam bed upstairs while my wife brushed her teeth. I rattled the front door knob to check it which resulted in seventy-five pounds of barking fury sprinting down the stairs full speed about three seconds later. Thankfully, he pulled up short when he realized it was just me. I patted him on the head and assured him that we were all good and then headed upstairs, dog following closely behind. My wife she watched him rise from what appeared to be a coma and make a beeline for the front door.

I don’t expect him to be a true “guard dog” as he’s never been formally trained for such things. He’s obviously got the strength, the speed, and the mindset to run towards trouble instead of away so he might be a good fit. But for right now, I’ll settle for his obedience, sloth, and flappy jowels. He raises the alarm and allows me time to tool up and put our home defense plan into place. For those that think a gun is the first step in a good home defense plan, I’d strongly encourage you to look at strong locks, a home security system, and/or a dog first. The bonus is that nobody will think you’re weird for cuddling your dog. Your GLOCK, not so much.

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102 Responses to Home Defense Tip: Get a Dog

  1. I’ve got a five pound chiwawa that would take a bullet for me if she was big enough. I’ve always told people that she does barking and I do the biting. She is a big dog in a little dogs body because she isn’t afraid of anything. Perhaps it’s because she knows I’ve got her back if s*** goes down. She has even scared cyotes of the lawn on several occasions. The cyotes just run off in confusion as they cannot understand why a rabbit is flying at them and barking.

    • I had a Chihuahua when I was a kid. He was about 6 pounds of certified crazy fury. I remember he used to sit on the front porch like he was the king and if any other animal – no matter how big it was – came into the yard he was off the porch like a little rocket, yapping all the way. Used to drive bigger cats up into the trees and then sit under the tree until one of us came out and brought him inside. The big dog across the street got a life lesson once from George; he just wasn’t fast enough to grab a chunk while the little guy was tearing him a new one with those little needle teeth. Funny thing about George was he completely ignored the squirrels in our yard; I think that since they were smaller than him he paid them no notice.

    • My Chi has bolted out of the back yard when I carelessly left the gate open and chased an 80lb German Shepherd down the street, biting his heels. I finally caught him before the GS figured out the weight difference. All of our dogs are small, but sound the alarm whenever there’s any movement within LOS of the house. Best alarms I’ve ever had. All the big dogs I’ve ever had have been big babies, more interested in belly rubs than raising the alarm. Most didn’t bark until AFTER the doorbell was rung. Not the small dogs. They go off whenever the neighbor’s car door slams too loud. And I always make a peek out the blinds to check.

    • From what experience I have had with Chihuahua’s, I have decided that they are midget, psychopathic, schizophrenic, bipolar, megalomaniacs with an attitude.

      • Add a methamphetamine infusion and you’ve got yourself a Jack Russel Terrier…

        Spawn of Satan, the lot of them.

  2. My dog is really good company but doesn’t pay much attention to security when she is in bed.

  3. Agreed.

    The caveat: if you don’t know what you’re doing with protective breeds, and aren’t willing to learn, you should pony up for the electronic security system. The difference between a good protective dog and a weapon is an irresponsible owner.

    • What’s important is the impression the dog gives. My service dog is 1/4 pit bull, and when he’s barking he conjures the classic image of the deadly attack dog. More than a few uninvited guests have decided they had other places to be (door-knocking salesmen mostly, I suspect, and some door-knocking church types) when they got a glimpse of him in his “My house, leave it alone!” mode.

  4. Tyler,
    What a great story. But what really has me curious is his name and how you chose it. Bill Murray is a funny guy.

  5. I have a red heeler/pit mix and she is so stupid. I threw a ball at her expecting her to catch it. Nope. It just hit her in the face and she pounced on it when it hit the ground. She’s more likely to play “how many licks to the center of the intruder” before she actually attacks anyone. I guess I’ll just count on myself…

    • It sounds to me, Nate, that you are doing exactly what you should be doing: you are a calm, confident, and stable “pack leader” and your dog recognizes it. That is why your dog is calm, playful, affectionate, and stable.

      A calm, playful, affectionate, and stable dog can still be a great alarm dog. I would also venture to guess that your dog would go from zero to blue light in about one second if a real attack occurred. Dogs are pack animals and follow the lead of their pack leader. If an intruder attacks the pack, it is game on and the pack joins the leader in defending the pack. If you suddenly jump up with fast movement and loud noises in response to a surprise attack, your dog will recognize it and most likely be at your aid almost immediately.

      My dog is the same. In fact some people have suggested we make her a therapy dog because she has such an outstanding nature. Guess what? If I get up in a hurry and run toward the door to respond to a stimulus (such as a World War II airplane roaring overhead), my dog will instantly go from a dead sleep to racing with me to the door ready to greet a friend or repel a foe. If our cat does something wrong and I make a quick move and vocalization to correct our cat, our dog immediately comes running with growl/bark to join in the event.

      I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss your dog’s potential aid.

      • Very well put and absolutely true. We have a huge bullmastiff (175#) that I jokingly call the world’s worst guard dog because he’s so friendly. But underneath that he’s very protective of his pack. Every knock and car door is met with a thunderous woof, and every visitor is greeted. And as you said, his manner changes depending on the circumstance. When he’s with our daughter, such as when she takes him for a walk, he goes on high alert and care. He even walks next to her instead of wandering about sniffing everything. Another thing to remember/benefit, if the dog doesn’t greet you at the door when you return home, something’s wrong.

        • Exactly, I came home from work to find mom’s SUV in the drive, but no welcoming committer from the dog and couldn’t see mom. Immediately went on alert. I tapped lightly on the door and the dog showed up.

          Added fact, in the days of castles and fort would keep the yappy little dogs to alert to sounds (barking like crazy) which in turned woke of the sleeping giants. That is the difference between watch dogs (the giants) and guard dogs (the yappers).

    • Agree that barking dogs are helpful when you’re home, but you’re dog fits the most common scenario. As soon as they’re met by a burglar with treats that plays with them, they won’t do much to keep your home safe. I’ll stick with an alarm system to alert me when somebody breaks in since it can at least alert authorities when I’m away.

      The video in the article linked shows just how poor most dogs are at preventing intruders. Even for the ones that sound mean, most are passive when someone just walks in.

      • Not mine. He’s a Labrador who loves swimming and sprinklers, but he turns into the biggest baby in the world when it’s bath time. He literally hides in his crate when we start getting the shower ready. Pathetic.

  6. Your dog looks like mine, an American bulldog. He is great with the kids and has a great bark when someone comes to the door. No one who rings my bell is on the front porch when I get there, they are always a few steps back.

  7. Best security device in the world is a dog — it’s a burglar alarm with teeth in it.
    Our Lab would bark furiously at the first footstep anywhere near our door, her otter tail wagging madly in anticipation of making a new friend. Of course the person coming to the door didn’t know he was more likely to be kissed to death than bitten.

    • Don’t even get me started. Our first lab is almost 14 now, but when she was a puppy, her tail would swing so hard that she’d split open the tip on the walls. There would be blood in the doorway like a passover lamb.

  8. What a consenting adult does in the privacy of his/her own home, with their GLOCK, is nobody else’s business.

  9. My “war dog™” is my daughter’s boston terrier. 26 pounds of yip and shiver. He barks or growls, I investigate. Not a fighter by any stretch of one’s imagination, but a damn good alert, batteries not required.

    • Hehe.

      Mine is a 14 lb. female Norfolk Terrier, when someone knocks on the door she bolts for it like a missile, her fur sticking straight out like a mohawk, raising hell the whole way. She wouldn’t get past knee height, but she punches above her weight class.

  10. So true… if anyone were to make is past my two English Spingers… well they would be wishing there were 4 more to deal with. Great protectors to a fault….neighborhood strays might as well be a band of thugs from all the ruckus they raise… especially at 3am!

  11. Good story, Tyler. I have a real soft spot for dogs. It’s great to see how you took care of Mr Murray there. Congrats on your new friend for life.

    I can’t agree more – a dog serves an almost invaluable role for perimeter security. A loyal dog will literally charge a freaking grizzly bear to defend it’s master (and in many cases, vice-versa lol). They have no fear and they are fiercely loyal, almost to a fault. Their senses far outstrip that of humans and are naturally predisposed to defend their turf. This whole relationship goes much deeper than many realize. Dog in fact evolved from Wolf, in a symbiotic relationship with man – for this exact same reason. It’s a genetic thing with huge significance. Dog would not be Dog without Man. And some say, the opposite is true as well.

    Anyway, yeah… Get a dog. If you can. It’s THE single best home alarm system available – with all the benefits of a loving pooch (and the expense of food and care and cleaning of course!). My dog can literally tell when I am at the top of the road (almost a mile away). I’m not sure how. I think maybe it’s the sound of my engine (which is of course in no way audible to man) – and nothing can get close to my house without him being aware. He’d give his life to defend me without a thought, and honestly, I would do the same for him.

  12. “I grew up in a house filled with strays including several abused/neglected rescue horses.”

    Did you convert one of your spare rooms to a stall?

    “All that food and love went right to his head because he’s about the most loyal dog you could ever ask for.”

    Now there’s a dog who knows his place in the pack and is damn grateful to be there.

    It kinda pisses me off that human kids don’t come naturally programmed that way.

    “He’s obviously got the strength, the speed, and the mindset to run towards trouble instead of away so he might be a good fit. But for right now, I’ll settle for his obedience, sloth, and flappy jowels.”

    If babies are in your family’s future watch carefully how he reacts to new member of the Kee pack.

    Some dogs don’t adapt well to a new member given a higher rank than themselves…

  13. I don’t know what ours would do if someone actually entered with bad intent, but he makes an unholy racket at everyone. Of course as soon as the UPS guy/electrician/grandparents comes in he sits on their feet and tries to kiss them.

  14. Two GSD’s watch over my place when I’m not there and alert me to any goings on when I am home.

    Doesn’t hurt that when people come to the door they get to hear that bark and watch me fight to keep them inside.

    Wonderful dogs, super loyal and friendly. Great with children including babies. We are on our third, we lost our big male to cancer right before the baby was born. That sucked hard.

    Lucked in on a pure bred puppy to rescue, damn near same birthday as the baby. His name was even Luger, so it was clearly ordained.

    They do scare the hell out of most people. It’s like it is a human evolutionary response to fear a wolf shaped dog.

    There will always be a least one GSD in my house.

    • My German Shepherd is named Spock. He has all the right settings to be a good guard dog. If someone even drives by slow he lets me know. I can’t keep the curtains closed because he is always looking out. I sleep better knowing that his ears are better than mine.

    • Mine’s a 140 lb purebred GSD rescue named “Indy” (short for Independence.) I wouldn’t want to meet him in my hallway at 3am if I wasn’t supposed to be there.

  15. I have a Nova Scotia Duck Toller – He’s jumpy and loud, so a good alarm dog, but he’s also kinda friendly and the breed has very soft mouths, so not much good in a fight. Still, if one of us we’re being attacked he’d jump in and try. I have to be careful when play-wrestling with the kids in case he tries to save them from me.

    • “Nova Scotia Duck Toller”
      Man, that takes the cake, never heard of any critter with a name like that! Is he anything like an Ethiopian Snot Gobbler?

    • A Toller or a Chessie are on my short list for when I have enough space for them. I’ve known both and they are wonderful dogs, especially rescues, but they do need a lot of work. How’s yours on the exercise vs. destruction graph?

  16. I have two coonhounds. When excited the entire neighborhood knows about it. Would they take a chunk out if someone? Don’t know but my girl dog will stand her ground. My male will stand there, bellow and show a set of teeth that can severely damage a black bear or big cat

  17. Anyone have a link to the survey of burglars in jail who said they are more afraid of dogs than armed homeowners because the dogs will bite but people hesitate

    • Former K-9 officer here. That is exactly true. Typically on interactions with the public, I’d leave pup in the squad with the window down. Can’t tell you the number of times people would offer to fight me – 6′, 200 lbs, with a .45, night stick, and sap on my belt – but it was all, “Yes, sir. No, sir.” as soon as I called my dog to my side.

      Take a K-9 over a human partner any day If I only could have trained him to type and drive!

  18. Take a good, hard look at what you really need in a dog, and how much time and effort (money) you are willing to put into getting what you really need. Be prepared to rethink what you need and want later. You may have been mistaken. 🙂

    I lost my wonderful buddy and protector in 2009, a 1/2 beagle and 1/2 doxie. An unlikely combo to be a good watch dog, but he was almost ideal. He would bark if anybody came onto the property, but was smart enough to be able to recognize people known to me as friends. I only had to tell him once.

    He had to be put down when he was 19 years old, too deaf, blind and sick to leave suffering any longer. And then, I couldn’t find another dog for the longest time. Finally found a “rescue” outfit on line, and adopted a nice young dog.

    Turned out he’d been so abused he was timid and fearful, and thereby quite dangerous until we’d worked out the trust thing. He also didn’t make a SOUND for at least three months. Someone had beat the crap out of him every time he barked. So much for THAT.

    I bred and trained hunting dogs for many years long ago, and know how to go about it, but this dog presented some real challenges. Finally, after praising and rewarding him for barking at some things, he’s pretty much got the idea… just not the same idea I’d hoped.

    He only “woofs” a few times, which is good, but the only things he barks at are horses, birds, rabbits, and the occasional thunder. When people come into the yard, he lurks at the door and will happily greet them once I let them in. Otherwise, not a peep out of him.

    If you want a watch dog, buy one. Pay for the specialty training. You may get lucky with a rescue, but probably not.

    • We had a doxie when I was growing up, he would bark at anything that moved. In many ways, he was a bit more scary than the dog I adopted about a year ago [mostly because he wouldn’t back down when barking], regardless of the fact that the adopted pup is an American Staffordshire Terrier; Doxies are under-rated for their alertness.

      My adopted pup, Angus, is from a rescue and was only 12 weeks when I got him. The only time he will bark is if I am laying down in bed, but I’ll tell you what, it’s quite the intimidating bark and his stature is quite menacing as well. Although I don’t think or describe him as a guard or watch dog, if it came down to it, he would be more than willing to protect me. Once, when visiting my mother and her husband at their house, he mistook my stepfather for an intruder and postured immediately, staying right in front of me. He barked a few times and wouldn’t let me pass him to get closer to my step father. As soon as he recognized him though, Angus went right back to being a goofy playful pup.

      Moral of the story: Adopting is like reaching blindly into a grab-bag; And even once you think you know what you have, they might surprise you.

  19. Dogs are great for perimeter defense. Just make sure you poison-proof them. If you’re going to encourage them to defend you, you have an obligation to make sure that they can defend themselves from a piece of poisoned beef liver or chopped meat.

  20. Almost any dog is a good alarm system although you should not rely exclusively on a dog to alert you a home invasion … I have witnessed dogs fail to alert plenty of times. Furthermore, your dog could be an excellent distraction and even buy you more time to deal with a home invader.

    A dog definitely increases your chances of prevailing over a home invader. I think they are a great asset in an overall system.

  21. Great story, I think most everybody should have a dog, and every dog should have somebody.
    However, folks tend to rely on their dog too much. My wife relies on our 117 lb Labrador, which comes inside often, for the evening, to the point of leaving our back door open (screen closed to keep the fly’s from getting out) And if there’s two or three, or more, intruders busting in, which one is he gonna go for, and most importantly, what will the other intruders be doing while their buddy is exercising the Lab.
    And to make matters worse, There’s a good chance they will be armed, and will take out the dog, before taking us out.
    I do think most dogs make good alarm systems, but alarms are just that! They alarm, they are not a defensive system. You need to have a gun, and know how to use it!

  22. “After scarfing down a pricey bowl of Duck and Potato food”

    Yeah that Blue Buffalo aint cheap!

  23. My dog is half golden retriever, half yellow lab, and all stupid. That mutt is dumber than a box of hammers but she’s loyal to a fault. She also barks and flips out if anyone gets within 20 yards of the house…including me. And I LIVE here.

    • I was a professional trainer for over 30 years, and don’t know how many times I’ve heard variations of this same complaint. You’ve just mentioned two of the most intelligent and trainable breeds there are. Why do you think almost all service dogs are either Labs or Goldens? But they need direction and structure Get that pup into some kind of training and find out how quickly it will get “smarter”.

  24. My dog is my early warning system. She barks long before anything gets to my door. The incredible thing is our bird is doing the same thing now. Sometimes he starts squawking before the dog is barking.

  25. We’ve got dogs and an alarm. Unfortunately a dog with strong jaws can destroy stuff. Also, protective breeds can be a liability if you don’t train them. Our AAA would cancel our homeowner’s insurance if we got a pitbull or Rottwelier.

    My Weimaraner bonked into me while I was out on the deck drinking some 21 year old Lismore last night. Bad dog! She wagged her tail and licked a bit of the spilled scotch off of the deck. Not sure what to make of that. Maybe she’s just got good taste.

      • There was a tomcat who walked into a bar I used to frequent, and established permanent residence under the pool table. He used to jump onto the laps of guys on the bar-stools (often without warning) to grub a little beer from the palms of their hands. He never accepted more than two such drinks. That was a cat who knew his limit.

    • I’ll bet you think that dog jostled you accidentally. That’s exactly what she wants you to think.
      Are you really sure Humans are the dominate species on this planet?

  26. I have a Pembroke Welsh Corgi. She’s a sweetheart and rolls over for any dogs or people that come up to her, and rarely barks. She is good for one thing though- if anyone comes into our driveway, yard, or door she goes into a barking frenzy. I know she doesn’t bark unless it’s something of that nature so she’s a great alarm system.

  27. A big mean dog is the whole defense package, deterent, alarm, and man stopper wrapped in a nice pettable package. The only thing better than one big mean dog is several. I never slept better after i turned my master bedroom into a semi panic room and my two pitbulls slept in bed with me. The value of a good nights sleep cant be beat!

  28. Oh and be careful what u say to your homeowners insurance rep. They asked if i had an alarm system i said i dont need one i got pitbulls. Total facepalm!

  29. Last time a black bear was scratching at the door my dog very quietly stepped down from the couch and sneaked away into a back room.

    I’m pretty sure he’d trip me and leave me for dead if he thought it would help him escape. Just like his master. lol

  30. Never gonna’ get a dog. I like ’em but in my little house there’s no room. Loud is more important than big. Fearless little yelpers are great. In another life I sold security systems but most folks only wanted a sign(with nothing else it just advertises you have stuff worth stealing). If I had a big house in the country a dog would be the 2nd thing I’d get…after an arsenal…

  31. You are underestimating the utility of a adopted stray.
    Bill could be a great guard dog and toughened up already as observed by his injuries/status from when you got him.

  32. Akita if you have an average sized house and lawn, Akita or Australian Shepherd if you have lots of space.

  33. If you are in the right situation, a dog is one of the best things you can do for security of the ole homestead. I have owned dogs ever since I have been at my current location for twenty years, I live in a small town, on a lovely street with neighbors on all sides of me. I have 2.5 acres inside a continuous chain-link fence. I have two outdoor dogs, a retriever-mix pound dog about 14 years old. My other outdoor dog is a 100 pound female Labrador Retriever, HollyBelle, the sweetest, smartest dog I have ever owned, she 5 years old.
    Both outdoor dogs bark at anyone walking down the street or close to the rear of the property. That alerts my 10 year old house dog, a Pug-Chihuahua, and he will continue to bark until he finds out what is going down, day or night, twenty four hours a day. The animals give me the confidence to know that I will be alerted to anything unusual, night or day.
    I do provide for the two outdoor dogs for the winter months with heated doghouses, they rather be outside than inside. Tried to bring them in a couple of times for the cold weather, they will soon be sitting by and scratching the door, wanting to go back outside. They are not cheap to properly maintain, but they earn their keep and the companionship, is outta site, they love to go for rides in my pickup truck. They are my “babies” and I would not trade them for anything.
    I have a Concealed Weapon Permit and never leave home or get up in the middle of the night and go outside without it. “It” being my 9mm Beretta PX4.

  34. i got a 100 lb dog that’s sweet as cherry pie…… till you walk in the door at 2 am. i have asked myself a few times if i should hurry back out the door or face the barking growling 100lb biting machine coming at me at 200 mph.his hair would stand up 3 inches like a tomahawk and when he saw me he would wag his tail but stay in condition red for a minute. Interesting note though, when i walked him at night he wouldn’t pay attention to anyone, if the girl walked him at night people moved to other side of street. i guess he figured i could handle it but he better protect the girl.

  35. We have two dogs. A Jack Russel/sheltie mix and a black lab/blue healer mix.
    Both are terrible ‘security’ dogs. All they want to do is play 🙂
    We had a siberian husky when I was a kid. Also a terrible security dog. Looks scary but he too just wanted to play.
    We had a pitbull mastiff mix. She was a good barker when strangers came around. But she also just wanted to play.
    The most protective dog we had was a boxer / black lab mix.
    And one thing we learned having two dogs that are half black lab? That means they will run an grab whatever you throw but then they will play keep away with it rather than bringing it back.

    • Sibes are actually good “watch” dogs. They watch anyone come into the house; but try and leave? Heck no, that’s when they do their job. Hotel California: You can check out anytime you like but you can never leave. That’s what Sibes do.

  36. I have a great dane and a rescue pitbull/hound mix. They alert us when someone is thinking about coming up our dead end, private drive. Yeah, they probably bark too much and one will set off the other off in a tirade, but between the two of them we are always made aware of foot or vehicle traffic on our road and especially in our back woods and land.

    As far as breaking in our house? I wouldn’t recommend it. The dogs take their jobs seriously, but are merely the first line of defense.

  37. My favorite Mark Twain quote applies to this story.
    “If you take a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will never bite you. This is the principle difference between a dog and a man.”

  38. Totally agree on the dog. We live on farm, with 50+ head of cattle, 10 horses, and several dozen pigmy goats; and although well armed, our guardian is a lovable monster named Brutus. Our vet tells us that us that he appears to be some kind of mix of mastiff/pit bull/timber wolf; and although very gentle with all members of our extended family, at 150+ pounds he is very correctly named. An outdoor creature, he roams the property, just coming inside to eat or sleep, when he chooses. Late one night we heard him take off for the lower pasture [we’ve got a gps tracker collar on him], only to return quickly with a ‘Timmy’s in the well’ look on his face. Grabbing my shotgun, we return to the field, finding an old pickup with a cattle hauler, getting ready to ‘borrow’ some beef. Two hours later the local community sheriff and I sorted the situation out and Brutus received a 2″ thick steak for his breakfast.

  39. When we were kids we had a German Shepherd that wasn’t trained as a guard dog, but the instinct was there. We lived in the country, and absolutely no one and no thing came up the driveway that wasn’t challenged. If one of her ‘pack’ told her to stand down, she would.

    A few years ago I had an Alaskan Malemute. If something was out of the ordinary, she’d quietly pad over and check it out. Occasionally she’d emit a woof, and once in a while a blood curdling wolf howl. The one time someone did break into the house, the BGs gave her a loaf of bread to keep her out of the way. I suspect she kept getting underfoot wanting attention. Great companion, terrible watch dog.

  40. AS a owner of several firearms, and a dog lover, I have/had a 85lb black lab pit mix.. worlds worst guard dog.. offer her a snack or a belly rub, and she would help you carry the TV out the window.. My brothers neighbor had a dog he was looking to get rid of, he had picked it up as a re-home, and the dog had to much energy/alertness for a apartment. My brother asked if i would take it off there hands, im like “sure, i can keep him until we find him a long term home…” yeah that didnt work out.. I still have said dog.. he is just like the authors pup with black spots.. muscular, loyal, maybe a little dumb.. but super alert, and a AMAZING guard dog.. he hasnt let me down, notices everything, and is just everything you would want in 70lbs of drooling, jowly watch dog. The only “downside” is my roomate went out, doing the young man thing.. brough home a female friend.. didnt clear it with the dog.. i get woken up at 2am by him growling and wuffing at the top of the stairs.. grab my .45 as i roll out of bed sans pants.. come out on the landing and see my roomate and his friend corned at the bottom of the stairs.. im like “hi..”.. as i stand there in my birthday suit.. other then that, love the beast..

  41. used to have a shepherd husky mix. got her from the pound as a pup; rescue dog before they used that term. loving as they come until they one day someone tried coming in through the sliding glass door. I swore she grew extra teeth at that moment. Only problem i had with her was one night, some idiot leo got po’d at his girlfriend, puled over a few doors down and fired 4 rounds into a tree through the passenger window of the car. ( he got caught and fired) The ex and I hit the floor, dog didn’t even stir. Guess teaching her not to be afraid of gunshots or loud bangs worked a little too well. miss that dog

  42. I can vouch for the comments posted about Chihuahuas, they are all true. They really are great alarm dogs. I had a Boston Terrier for three years (before she died much too soon of neurological problems). When our miniature Dachshund sounded the alarm, the Boston would jump into the safety of either my, or my wife’s, recliner next to one of us before barking furiously. Oh, we were so comforted, knowing she would protect us to the end.

    Right.

    My son has a pit bull, a collie/lab mix, and a German Shepherd/Rottweiler/Shar Pei mix. They absolutely adore my three month old granddaughter, and heaven help the person who ever intends to harm her or her parents. Truly.

  43. 30 lbs Boykin Spaniel, she pulled nightly guard duty during a year of active duty service. Best buddy and companion I’ve ever had.

  44. I’ve got two dogs. Both large, and both previously homeless. And both absolutely worthless as guard dogs. They are good for taking up space (on the floor, the couch, and the bed), and gobbling food and treats. Their appearance is intimidating (one a Great Dane just over 150 lbs, and the other an 80lb Bernese Mountain Dog mix), but I’m pretty sure they would watch me get beat down in my living room and not do a damn thing. But I could be wrong about that. Fortunately I never intended them for home defense.

  45. Our second dog after our Mini-Schnauzer was a Poundling, Lhasa-Beagle mix, a whopping 24# of faster than light teeth. 500% devoted to protecting the Mrs. The joke in the house was, once he bit you, you were accepted. Our vet wouldn’t get within’ 6′ of him unless I was there and holding him. Did I mention he was FAST!! One of my last Mini-Schnauzers, which for those that don’t know are watch dogs, was a pure watchdog and a bit of a guard dog. I’ve always wanted a Mini, a Standard (guard dog) and a Giant Schnauzer (attack). I’d almost pity the fool(s) that got in their way.

  46. Blue Heeler and a Coonhound. If they don’t know you, you aren’t coming in. I’d take them over an alarm system any day.

  47. I have a 75lb pit mix. He doesn’t even lift his head when the doorbell rings. I’m pretty sure he’d actually help someone who broke in carry my TV if they took the time to train him! Granted, I found him tied to a dumpster a couple weeks ago, so I can’t have too many expectations. Still wouldn’t give him up for the world.

  48. I have a Guard Wife. She’s meaner than any Pit or Rottie could ever be. Her bite is even worse than her bark – which is enough to scare off anything short of a 900 lb Grizzly in itself.

  49. We have an 8-pound Chihuahua that thinks he’s a Pitbull Terrier. Then we have a Red Nose Pitbull and a Pitbull/Boxer mix. Then there’s the Husky.

  50. Dogs will surprise you I think when the real thing happens. My English Mastiff looks like the beast from sand lot, but that’s where the similarities end. Doorbells and knocks do nothing for him. He’s pretty much a sweetheart and I never thought he had it in him to be much more. A few months ago I woke up to him growling and snarling downstairs at the front door. Our home defense plan was immediately implemented. What I found when the dust settled, was a. I needed a new front door, cuz my dog destroyed ours, but more importantly, b. My car in the driveway had been broken into. I’m not sure what the thiefs/vandals intentions were, because by the looks of it, they broke the window, and the sound of “the beast” on the other side of the front door scared them off immediately.

    Don’t remember where I heard the phrase, but “dumb as a fencepost but highly intuitive” seems to fit.

  51. My coonhound only hates possum and cats. He does bark at black folks which is really embarrassing. Not a mean bark, but still not cool mutt.

  52. A Tweaker targeted my daughter, “She lives along and has a small dog,” and tried to break down the back door. The set the alarm off. She called 911. She took out her pistol. Her dogs was in full “fang face” she told the fool she had a gun and the police were coming. He got the door open, saw the gun in the hands of a very angry woman and a dog that really wanted to hurt him. He ran and tried to get over a 6 foot fence. The dog took him off the fence by grabbing a shoe. Oh, the dog is a corgi.

  53. I have 3 pit bulls. Pretty much worthless as guard dogs. Well mine are. As an alarm though, they are pretty good. Which is what I need them for. Wake me up, let me handle what’s going on.

    All security should be in layers. Fences, locks, dogs, alarms, and firearms. The more layers you add to your defense the better.

  54. We have a 90 pound German Sheperd. He is a lover who will sneak anyway he can for it. Never has attacked anyone for any reason. Just excited to see someone to play with. But when the knock or sound says a person is there the bark sounds like a giant monster. About to kill! When the door is opened he jumps up and down trying to get attention, not a fight at all. However all who knock, family or close friend hear a deafening repeated bark. Never saw him angry, don’t believe he would attack anyone.

  55. We have a loving 25 lb mixed breed blue healer. Has been raised for cuddling and love as a house dog. Half of my heart she carries around. But when people come to the door or anywhere she hears noise the tasmanian devil could be turned loose. Funny though how some are treated fondly, even though she doesn’t know them. Others will be bitten if they try to come inside. Always barks at first, this is good alarm. How does she know why some should be driven away, and others not? But the immediate bark can scare and let us know.

  56. I’ve got a 75 lb female German Shepherd / Akita mix that looks mean, sort of like a wolf, built like a tank, we love her but no one has paid the poor girl a compliment. I rescued her from the shelter, she plays nice with our two other little dogs (35 lbs and 8 lbs) and my 2 year old human toddler. She used to growl and bite if you got close to her food bowl or when she felt cornered but I trained that out of her and my two other dogs helped socialize her to the “pack”. However, when someone is at the door, she releases a loud bark and stands guard, has a handy “guard dog” instinct my two little dogs don’t posses. I’ve got ADT, a 12 gauge and good locks but I rely on my dog as my first line of defense.

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