Guard dogs are used across the nation in both private homes and for corporations. The main duty of a guard dog is to protect his owner and his owner's property by fending off any intruders that may step on the property. In most cases, guard dogs are trained by professional dog trainers who specialize in attack dogs. However, in some cases, a home owner may be able to train his dog to become a guard dog. Many dogs naturally guard on their own, even without training.
Choosing a Breed
Because many dog breeds naturally guard their owners without training, these breeds are easy to train to be certified guard dogs. Doberman pinschers, German shepherds, bull dogs, rottweilers and bullmastiffs are all common popular breeds of dogs with natural guard dog instincts.
Before you can train your dog to guard, you must first train it in basic obedience skills. The commands "sit," "stay" and "come" are the most important of these skills. Without these basic commands, you will be unable to control your dog once it has locked onto a possible intruder. Be sure to reward your dog for performing each behavior. Getting her used to a reward system will help you to train them with more complicated commands later in the process. You may also want to withhold food from them in the morning, so she will be hungry and more willing to train for snacks later in the evening. However, never starve your dog before training.
An important part of training a guard dog is socializing him to her external environment. This will keep your dog on task when it comes to guarding you or your household. Get him especially used to common animal distractions such as cats or other dogs in heat. Force your dog to stay in place when he is around these distractions until he is not phased by them anymore. Also, get him used to other people and animals, so he will not attack at random.
Unless you have specifically trained your dog not to bark, this should be an inherent trait. Encourage your guard dog to bark when she hears someone at the door or senses someone is on the property. However, train your dog to stop barking on command. When the person at the door is a friend, tell the dog to stop barking and reward her when she does. If the person at the door is unknown, let her bark for a longer period of time until you give the command to stop.
You can get into serious problems if your dog attacks someone off your property lines. To prevent this, take your dog for a walk around the property line. This will help him to establish a boundary. If there is still a problem, you may want to use an invisible fence to remind the dog where the property line ends. In most cases, you should be able to remove the invisible fence collar after the dog has recognized where the property line ends. This will ensure that your dog only chases an intruder to the property line and no further.
Teaching your dog to bite should only be left to professionals. In most cases, if you are simply a homeowner, just having the dog chase and bark is enough to protect you and your house. For commercial guard dogs and police dogs, the trainer will specifically train the dog to either grab any loose clothing or the skin of extremities such as an arm or leg. The dog will also be trained to not let go until given the command by his owner.
When training a guard dog, it is extremely important to not let anyone else feed the dog. Thieves may be intelligent enough to throw food over the fence to your dog that may be laced with poison. Teaching your dog to only take food from you will prevent the dog from being distracted by the food. Also, keeping your dog well fed will also help prevent your dog from taking food or snacks from a stranger.