Does having a dog prevent burglaries? Short answer: yes, a dog can prevent some burglaries. Some is the keyword here.
Here’s the long answer.
When it comes to home security, having a guard dog is just like installing something like a camera or a motion sensor.
It will deter some burglars but it does not guarantee that your home is 100% safe. A determined and careful burglar will find a way through and may hurt your dog in the process.
A guard dog is helpful only when it is part of a varied home security setup.
What research (and burglars) say about Guard dogs
There have been several studies conducted in this area and most of them had mixed results.
Some dogs will deter burglars but just as many can be tricked with a piece of drugged meat or taken down with a tranquilizer.
Interviews with convicted burglars have similar split takeaways.
Some burglars say breaking into a home with a dog was a big no-no while others say they still went ahead with their mission even if there was a dog guarding a home.
Many potential burglars don’t want the attention a barking dog attracts. They are also concerned about the dog attacking them.
But there are also those who’ll come up with a way to keep the dog quiet, sometimes even by hurting or killing it.
How to use a dog to deter burglars
1. Have a well-trained dog
If you are getting a dog specifically for home security, make sure it is a well-trained guard dog that reacts aggressively to intruders and is unlikely to be neutralised by any method.
However, a highly trained guard dog is expensive. And even then, it’s still a dog. You cannot be 100% sure it will refuse a drugged piece of meat. It might even start playing fetch with a burglar.
But it’s still better than an untrained dog.
2. Teach your dog to bark only when necessary
A dog that barks at every little noise will not be very helpful in case there is an intruder. Your neighbours won’t bother to check what’s going on and even you, if you are home, might ignore the barking.
A burglar might use this to their advantage. They’ll break in knowing the barking will not attract any attention.
There are many guides online on how to train your dog to stop nuisance barking. You can also hire a professional dog trainer.
3. Don’t rely on your dog alone
This is the most important one.
On its own, your dog will cannot prevent all burglaries. You may actually be putting your pet in harm’s way by using it as the sole protective measure.
But when a potential burglar sees a camera, alarm system and a secure door in addition to a dog, they won’t even bother trying to get in.
Here are the other security measures you should have in your home.
- Cameras: Install cameras in easily visible locations such as the front of the house and the back. Most burglars won’t dare target a home with CCTV cameras.
- Burglar-proof doors: Replace your glass doors with strong, heavy doors. It’s also a good idea to install a deadbolt lock instead of a simple padlock.
- Motion-sensor outside lights: Motion-sensor lights are better than always-on outdoor lights. They come on when there is movement nearby, which not only startles the intruder but also acts as a visual alarm to alert you or a neighbour.
- Locked windows: Don’t just secure the doors. Make sure the windows are locked as well, including the basement window if there is one.
When you go on vacation, make sure it’s not that obvious.
Have your lights and TV on a timer or get smart devices that you can turn on and off from wherever you are. This makes it look like there’s someone home.
Also ask your neighbours to keep an eye on your home and listen for any unusual barking from the dog.
When combined with other security measures, a dog can prevent most burglaries. So if you can keep a dog, go ahead and get one. Just be ready, financially and otherwise, to take good care of it.
But if for some reason you cannot have a dog at home, don’t worry. There are plenty of other great ways to deter burglars.