Can a good guard dog ever make a good family pet?

(64 Posts)
WaftyCrank Sun 28-Apr-13 09:35:03

We're looking at getting a 2nd dog to join our husky as some company.
We were discussing different breeds as DH would love another husky however I'd quite like to research other breeds first.
However we started talking about dogs that make good guard dogs and I wondered if it was possible to get a breed that is good for guarding or protecting and yet them be a good family pet and good with children.

I know a dog is only as good as it's owner but I also know some dogs have characteristics that are hard to train.

I'm not saying we're going to rush out and buy one of these dogs, our new dog is good way off, will be thoroughly researched and checked to make sure it's suitable, I'm genuinely just interested.

WTFisABooyhooISBooyhoo Mon 29-Apr-13 16:41:58

he's right to be wary of new benches tbh. i stood on mine to clean the living room window and the slats broke and i went right through. i think i've i'd been pre warned i'd have brought a step ladder out. grin

finickypinickity Mon 29-Apr-13 16:50:03

Lol at you lot concentrating on the park bench issues. I must train new pup to be suspicious of them if its the new MN measurement of a good doggrin

Booboostoo Mon 29-Apr-13 17:57:52

I think the OP really wants a guard dog though, I think she wants a dog that barks when uninvited people come into the house (sorry if that's not the case and I am putting words into your mouth OP!!!). That is a specific behaviour that can be trained in most dogs but it would take a bit of time, skill and persistence.

I think there is a difference between:
- dogs that are reactive to sound and likely to bark often. That is a breed characteristic. If you want to limit the barking to very specific situations it might be better to start with a dog that does not as a breed bark and teach it to bark on the rare occassions where it is needed, than a dog that is naturally barky and try to keep it quiet most of the time.

- dogs that are naturally territorial. Some breeds are more territorial than others and some individual dogs are more territorial than others, but IMO that is not a good trait in a family dog. As has been mentioned before in the thread the dog may not be able to distinguish between welcome and unwelcome visitors.

- dogs that are naturally easier to train as protection dogs. Such dogs need to have a low bite inhibition and high trainability. They also need a very skilled handler and trainer and IMO are rarely if ever suitable dogs for a family even in retirement.

OP for what you want I think it might be easier to get a nice family dog and a house alarm!

WaftyCrank Mon 29-Apr-13 18:12:04

No, I don't think I worded my OP very well, I just wanted to know if dogs that people see as guard dogs make good family pets after a discussion with DH.

I would like a dog a bit more alert than husky but it's not something we'll be looking for the dog to do in particular when we choose our next dog. A good family pet is more important.

colditz Mon 29-Apr-13 18:16:03

My little dog is so reactive that she 'huffs' at people coming back into the room from going to the toilet. She's deeply suspicious of noises, but actually a very friendly little dog!

Varya Mon 29-Apr-13 18:23:05

My Dobie is very gentle with the family and loves affection but, every time he goes in the garden he inspects every inch to ensure there is nothing amiss. If people come to the house or pass our door he barks and is always alert, looking out in case some miscreant puts a foot on our land! Brilliant pet and guard dog. Had five of them and all are similarly great.

CharlieMumma Mon 29-Apr-13 18:23:50

German shepherds are good family dogs and also alert to strangers. Female tend to protect their people and males their land but in general they are a protective breed and could also keep up with an active husky on walks/playtime etc. plus they are lovely with the children in the house grin

digerd Mon 29-Apr-13 20:15:08

I have known only one Doberman and he was lovely and gentle with family and visitors. They are not a heavy breed, but elegant and slender with an easy coat to care for.

He was very attached to his family.

34DD Sat 04-May-13 04:46:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BookieMonster Sat 04-May-13 05:03:11

It sounds as though you want a dog that is known for alarm barking rather than a guard dog. This is what labs do, as well as being the soppiest dogs on the planet. Neither of our labs will go outside in the rain grin but they always investigate a sound that is out of the ordinary and will bark if they hear someone walking the house at night in a way they don't know. If I come in from a rare night out wearing clacking heels, they give a growl and bark.

HotPanda Sat 04-May-13 09:02:45

My Dalmatian will alert bark, but is quiet at all other times.
Our front door is always unlocked, and friends/family just walk in. As soon as that door opens he will bark up a storm and rush to the door. Once he sees he knows who it is then he will greet nicely and expect a fuss in return.
We do wonder what would happen if he didn't know them, but don't know anyone willing to try an experiment!

He also alert barks when;
He is woken from sleeping by a sudden noise
When someone is a the front door but not yet rung the bell or knocked
If someone stands still and stares at him for longer than 10 seconds
If a carrier bag blows around in the wind grin

He was also under attack once from a GSD and was desperately trying to get away. He was losing so DH waded in. GSD turned his attention to DH and spottydog was in immediate attack mode to defend DH even though he was getting his ass whooped seconds earlier.

Might work well with your husky? Need similar amounts of exercise.

Labs are known for barking? Maggie dog is totally silent. If someone is coming to the door, he will stand there and wag his tail but has never once barked at someone coming to the door! He did have a habit of barking at people when they were sitting round unproductively as he saw it but now he's been trained out of that he never makes a sound!

Montybojangles Mon 06-May-13 09:23:47

Montys lab barks like a loon if she so much as hears anyone walking up the path (and she sounds terrifying, like the hounds of the Baskervilles). Excellent deterrent (but would likely just bring a toy to anyone brave enough to break in after hearing her)

D0oinMeCleanin Mon 06-May-13 10:02:56

I grew up with a doberman. I've never met a friendlier dog. Children from the street would call for her and ask if she was allowed out to play. However she would've made a rubbish guard dog. She'd more like to cuddle an intruder to death than anything else.

Our Akita would and did guard our property, however he wouldn't have done it by growling or barking, he would have went straight in for the kill. Akitas are naturally protective over their family, but don't tend to give warnings and need an experienced owner because of this, you need to train and raise them very carefully. In the right hands they are amazingly loving dogs, but you do need to be aware of their tendency to be skeptical of strangers and socialise them well.

In my experience terriers are the best guard dogs in terms of alerting you to potential intruders, however mind tends to alert us to relatively common things such as carrier bags caught in nearby tree branches or the owl in the local park. Getting him to make noise is not a problem, it's getting him to shut up that is the problem.

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