We love our dogs for so many reasons. They’re excellent companions and can help protect our home as a part of a comprehensive approach to security. But will a guard dog really protect your property? What are the risks and benefits of owning a guard dog?
Does A Guard Dog Prevent Burglaries?
Interviews with burglars, including a 2017 survey published in The Guardian, show that dogs can be a crime deterrent. Prospective burglars say they often target homes without dogs over homes with dogs if other factors are equal. This applies primarily to crimes of opportunity with no advance planning. Other crucial prevention measures that criminals cite as deterrents are:
- Security cameras
- Signs of activity in the home (lights or television on)
- Physical barriers, including secure doors and windows
- High-quality alarm systems
Remember, dogs are not a guarantee against break-ins. Many experienced burglars are well-versed in the tricks of their trade and know how to work around dogs, including calming techniques and even poisoning. Keep in mind that dogs can’t call 911 or provide evidence to police in case of a break-in. There’s no substitute for an effective home security system featuring cameras, alarms and remote monitoring.
Is a Guard Dog Right for My Family?
Some households find that a well-trained guard dog provides an added layer of security for their home. However, “real” guard dogs often have an aggressive temperament and require professional training to keep owners, their families, and visitors safe. Like all dogs, they require consistent upkeep and care. One catch-22 about owning a dog for security is that they will likely need boarding when you’re on vacation (when your home is most vulnerable to a break-in).
What Is My Liability If My Dog Bites Someone?
If your dog bites someone, it’s a significant liability issue. As the dog owner, you may be liable for medical bills and pain and suffering from a dog bite victim. According to dog bite legal expert Kenneth M. Phillips, Virginia is a “one bite” state and a contributory negligence state. The one-bite rule means that after the first time a dog bites someone, the owner is generally considered liable if he bites again. If a dog owner is negligent or breaks an animal control law, they’re responsible for injuries caused by a bite. In other words, if your guard dog bites someone (for example, a delivery person, girl scout or guest), it could mean big trouble. We also see reports of guard dogs injuring children or other family members, so it’s important to keep safety in mind.
Protecting Your Home: Comprehensive Security Is Key
Dogs can be helpful as a part of your home security program. However, there are also significant risks involved with owning a guard dog breed, with potential liability at the top of the list. We know that a comprehensive, state-of-the-art security system is the best way to deter criminals–with or without a dog. Your plan should include:
- High-quality surveillance cameras and motion sensors.
- Break-in and emergency alarms.
- Smart lighting and window coverings.
- Cloud-based control and monitoring.
Aegis Technologies has helped keep properties and businesses around the DMV safe and secure for nearly three decades. We pair top-of-the-line equipment with expert installation for a comprehensive and highly responsive system. Working with our partners at Alarm.com, we also offer round-the-clock professional monitoring. Our custom security programs help keep your home safe–whether or not a canine companion is part of your family.