Quoted from Wikipedia, “Archaeology has placed the earliest known canine domestication approximately 30,000 BC,and with certainty at 7,000 BC; Domesticated dogs provided early humans with a guard animal, a source of food, fur, and a beast of burden; humans provided the dogs with food and shelter.” Today, we are quick to knight our four-legged pets as family guardians (Watch dogs, Guard dogs, etc.).
As homeowners we are quick to think that purchasing a dog with the intent of training it as one part companion and one part family-guard is a good compromise. In some instances, it is a good compromise; in almost all cases, your dog is part of your family, if you take care of it, it should take care of you. The problem lies in that dogs are creatures of habit; your happy-go-lucky, congenial family dog who greets you at the front door with a wagging tail and wet kisses will also more than likely greet strangers the same way.
It has been reported that many law enforcement and security professionals view watchdogs as less effective than electronic security systems. Your security alarm system may not be able to play fetch or sit in your lap when you watch TV, but they can provide 24/7 surveillance at the flip of a switch.
Is a dog as effective as a home security system? Depending on the dog, a dog can be a very good reason that a burglar would avoid burglarizing in the shear sense of fear that the dog will cause deadly harm. However, with that being said, even the smartest, most fearless dogs can’t compare to the technological defense of professional monitored security alarm system.
Some of us are content when it comes down to logical thinking in that we typically do not think outside the box. Not that I am saying that most of us are stupid, but in that we are content in what we know and that is good for most. While a dog might be able to scare the living dog poop out of an intruder, it is impossible for our family dog to dial 9-1-1. What some people don’t realize is that home security expands well past home burglary. Fire and carbon monoxide protection, elder care and home automation.
According to this article, the best alarm system that money can buy are Watchdogs. It is a well written article that has some really great points and advice. The professional term of these alarm system type watch dogs are “Area Protection Dogs”; the basic concept is pretty straight forward. Your home is your castle, your property to be gated and/or fenced, but the security of your family is in the paws of a professional trained dog (your Knight) that is designed to notify and protect in the event of unauthorized access. The argument of the best alarm system that one could buy are watchdogs have some really valid and strong points, but the article does have other important factors that must be taken into consideration.
A domesticated dog that has not been trained as a Watch/Guard dog can be exploited. It is a proven fact; depending on the type of dog you are using as a guard dog could have a negative impact on your security. Consider one exploit in where an intruder could essentially throw your guard dog a nice fat juicy steak to occupy the mind of a dog. Again, this might not work on a well trained dog; worse case, consider the meat laced in poison in that the poison could kill the dog in less than 10 minutes.
Another exploit to consider is if the dog is oblivious due to the feeding of a juicy steak, the dog over a period of time can be fed steaks by a burglar to become the dog’s friend and will more than likely end up as a successful exploit in most circumstances.
Also, keep in mind that an untrained domesticated dog that has been acquired for the sole purpose of defending property and lives will more than likely land the owner in a court of law regarding HRS 663-9. The courts will more than likely favor the ruling to protect the owner of a dog that had caused harm against a burglar, but there have been cases the ruling has been in favor of the burglar. I am by no means a lawyer, but just be aware that you can end up in a court of law fighting a lawsuit that has been filed against you by the burglar for your dog for causing injuries and in some cases by the family of a burglar that has deceased due to the injuries caused by the dog.
Here are some things to think about before you consider purchasing a dog for your home security system:
- Buying a quality Watch/Guard dog will run you about $800 – $2000; in this case, a German Shepard.
- Compare this to about the average cost of an alarm system at $400.00
- You do not want an untrained domesticated dog, so you will need to include training of that dog, which can cost between $600-$1000 dollars.
- Dogs sleep, but they also must eat; last time I checked, dog food is NOT cheap, especially for big watchdogs. It costs about about $20.00 – $40.00 a week to feed a German Shepard; that is over $1,040.00 a year
- Annual exam and vaccinations of around $100.00/year
- Heartworm and flea preventative (50 – 100 lb. dog) $240.00/year
- Supplies – food and water bowls, collar, leash, id tag, shampoo, brush, chew toys which costs about $250.00/year
- A dog is a commitment for 12-15 years; you can not switch the dog on or off when you get tired of it.
- Finally, dogs have audibly different barks, but if you want to remain a friendly neighbor, the dog barking could become a nuisance and in some cases can lead to fines; check out the current laws: http://www.hawaiianhumane.org/current-laws.html
This equates to about $1,630.00 a year, for 15 years, so consider spending over $24,000 at the end of 15 years. Compared to a professional monitored security alarm system at $15.95 per month for 15 years, that is a savings of over $15,000.
This might sound like alot of money, but any dog lover will tell you that if you are not spending money on your pet, you should be have one; very much like parents and children, why have one if you can’t afford one.