Should I Get a Dog for Protection?

Dogs are much like video surveillance. They can both listen and see all day and all night. They are an extra pair of eyes and ears. They are on watch 24/7/365. They are like a bodyguard in that they are both defensive and offensive.

Getting home protection in the form of a furry beast is a big decision. Protection dogs aren’t to be taken lightly. Dogs bark. They bite, they eat, they poop, they pee and they are dirty. They require time, money and significant attention.

My dog is the furriest beast ever to roam the earth and is sweet, lovely, psycho, a pain in the ass and very territorial. When someone with obvious bad intentions comes around, like someone with a bad attitude, a predator or even someone who’s drunk or rowdy, this excites her, as these characteristics tend to get her attention even more.

There’s a slight drawback to her vigilance. I live in proximity to lots of foot traffic and whenever anyone comes within 100 yards of my perimeter, she starts barking…which means she’s pretty much barking all day, which isn’t always a good thing. She barks until she can no longer see or hear a human. And when she barks, my head starts to swivel. I’m looking out the window, seeing what she sees—and if I don’t like it, I start barking too.

Not all dogs are bred for protection—a real protection dog is trained for protection because it possesses what’s called “prey drive.” (Read up on it.) Most are bred as pets. Only a few, like Dobermans, Rottweilers, Belgian Malinois, Bullmastiffs, German shepherds and a handful of others are natural protection dogs, but not even these top breeds always produce the right temperament. Knowing what type of dog is a protection dog is and isn’t, is key to knowing what you are getting into. A protection dog does not mean that it will bark nonstop, or that it will snarl and behave aggressively at everyone. A good protection dog is generally sublime, aware, alert and careful. Its every action has a calculated reason behind it.

Let me say it again: A dog is a big deal. And if you have the resources and the right attitude, you should get one.

Robert Siciliano personal and home security specialist to discussing burglar proofing your home on Fox Boston. Disclosures.