Training a guard dog involves various techniques, along with some vital information about the dog's behavior. The training, when given at an earlier stage, proves to be more effective and ideal. This is because of the fact that the dog's training might get hampered due to other skills that the dog might have learned earlier. For example, if the dog was never taught to jump up on people, he might be hesitant in doing so while being trained.
As mentioned earlier, training a guard dog is best left to professional dog trainers, as these people are aware of the techniques of teaching companion dogs to function as guard dogs. However, dog owners can train their dogs to expertise skills such as obedience, hunting and other kinds of dogs' sports.
Train a Guard Dog At Home
# Basic dog obedience is the first phase in training a guard dog. Unlike a companion dog, a guard dog is expected to obey each and every command of his master, and that too with immediate effect. Using hand signals, teach the dog verbal commands such as come, sit, down, stay and heel. Ensure that the dog responds to all these commands appropriately. While training the dog to be obedient, the animal should also be made aware of not to accept commands from anyone other than the owner or handler. This is a critical factor in the training as the motive is beaten if an intruder is able to control the dog by using the same verbal commands. Basically, the dog has to identify between the commands given by his owner and any stranger. A guard dog must also be taught to refrain from accepting any treats from strangers, as they may be potentially dangerous.
# Barking at strangers or intruders is the next crucial step. Teach your dog to bark when someone approaches the house and give commands to stop, indicating that the person is a friend. On the other hand, when a stranger approaches, allow the dog to continue barking until you ask him to stop. A form of this technique can be carried out by training the dog to go to a family member when something unusual happens. This can be done by letting the dog bark and calling it to be rewarded with a treat or chew toy. The idea behind this is to develop a reflex so that, at the sight of an unusual event, the dog barks and alerts the family members.
# Teaching the dog to remain indifferent to other animals is also an important step to be taught during the training. This would include not being aggressive towards cats or other dogs, and not to pursue a female dog in heat. The dog should also be made familiar to the boundaries of the owner's property. This is done so as to prevent the animal from going beyond the property line, in case of events such as, chasing an intruder or a burglar.
# A guard dog is also trained to lay an attack on an intruder, as an immediate action to the owner's command or when the dog perceives a potential threat. This fact is the reason of not leaving a guard dog with visitors. It is obvious that visitors may take the animal as a normal pet and the dog might harm them by misinterpreting their actions or gestures as threatening. Training a guard dog to protect the owner, also includes methods which teach the dog to be insensitive or indifferent to loud noises or overpowering gestures. This is done to prevent situations, where the intruder may use similar actions to stop the dog from attacking.
# A guard dog should not only be familiar with the trainer, but also to other members of the family, including other pets. That's why it is necessary that the adults and kids in the family should interact with their dog, giving him regular attention and care. This helps the dog to know the members well, and not perceive them as any kind of threat. If there are other pets in the family, then train the dog to socialize with them, so that the dog understands that they are also a part of the family.
Some Popular Breed of Guard Dogs
- Akita Inu
- American Bulldog
- American Pit Bull Terrier
- Doberman Pinscher
- German Shepherd
- Giant Schnauzer
- Kunming Wolf Dog
- Rhodesian Ridgeback
- Staffordshire Terrier
- Tibetan Mastiff
An important thing to be kept in mind is, a guard dog should not be considered any different from a normal pet dog. A guard dog also requires the same kind of attention and love from the family members. Owning and training a guard dog is more than just a responsibility. This is because, you have an extra commitment not only to make the dog vigilant and protective, but also a loving member of the family.