Guarding is a natural instinct present in all dogs, but some of the dog breeds can be trained to enhance this instinct and convert it into a task or duty for the dog. Guard dogs are often portrayed to be large, dangerous and ferocious so that a sense of fear can be created. They, however, like any other pet dog, are quite friendly and loyal to people they are familiar with. They unlike watch dogs, can attack and harm trespassers and strangers whereas watch dogs perform the duty of alerting their owner. The different types of guard dogs are based on the training provided to them, but they are generally divided into three categories; personal protection, sentry and attack dogs.
Guard Dog Breeds
They not only alert their owners of an intruder, they also have the ability to attack and restrain an intruder. The most popular breeds include the Bull Mastiff, the Doberman Pinscher, the German Shepherd and the Rottweiler. Other breeds include the Hungarian Sheepdog, the Giant Schnauzer, the Airdale Terrier, the Black Russian Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier and the Neapolitan Mastiff. Of these a few are good as family dogs and some of them can also be considered good with children.
As mentioned before, the different types of guard dogs depend on the training imparted to them to perform different kinds of duties. The following is a brief description of the duties that they perform.
Guard dogs were used for home security since a long time and pet dogs were kept at home for the purpose of guarding homes. Nowadays, guard dogs like the German Shepherd and the Doberman Pinscher are trained to guard homes and they are extremely good at this. Their appearance is intimidating and their keen sense of smell and sight enable them to differentiate between strangers who are friends and those that mean harm to their owners or home.
Personal Protection and Commercial Protection
Personal and commercial protection dogs are trained to provide security and protect individuals or families in case of a known threat. Commercial protection dogs are deployed in premises and guard the area against threats. They are trained to find, alert and even attack someone who threatens their owners. They are also trained to guard and attack in complex situations such as in crowded places or incidences involving gunshots.
Professionally trained dogs are those which are trained for police or military purposes. They are trained to track, attack and help in investigations. These dogs undergo high levels of training on a daily basis at special training centers, to improve and keep in touch with their skills.
Property guard dogs are trained to guard unsupervised property or a place that is not occupied. They must do this even in the absence of the owner and without commands from a handler. They are trained to subdue and attack intruders or trespassers.
Livestock Guardian Dogs
Livestock guardian dogs are trained to protect livestock from animal or human attack or predators. They are deployed in farms and other areas where cattle and livestock are kept and even attack predators in certain situations. Popular livestock guardian dog breeds include the Great Pyrenees, Akbash and Anatolian Shepherds.
Different types of training methods are available that are used to train the various guard dogs. The most commonly used and the most popular one is a German training technique known as the Schutzhund. It includes obedience training, tracking and protection. Another popular training type is the French Ring Sport which includes obedience, agility and protection training.
All types of guard dogs need to be trained and socialized appropriately so that they know how to control their aggression and do not develop any kind of behavioral problems. This is vital for their overall health and vitality.