Family guard dogs that are good with cats?(32 Posts)
Ok so I was burgled this week, and I'm fairly terrified in my house right now. Added to that I am partially deaf so feeling quite vulnerable. My husband has wanted a dog for years but I have been less keen as it's another added responsibility but now it feels like it could have a benefit to us that it sways that balance more.
However, we have 4 children, aged 3-8, two of which have special needs (autism), one wouldn't cope with constant barking. Neither would present too much of an issue with the dog, they know to be respectful and careful around animals. My youngest, aged 3 I'm less sure, she loves and cuddles everything and thankfully we have a very tolerant household.
We have a lot do pets already, including fish, turtles, a bearded dragon, giant African land snails, a hamster and 2 cats. The cats provide a lot of comfort to the children and I'm worried about co-habiting a dog with cats.
So yes, that's it's really, is there a dog (I realise all dogs are different and training is required) that is a good enough guard dog, or scary enough, that is tolerant with kids and won't eat the cats?
Size, grooming, exercise isn't a problem, we realise we need to put the work in, house is decent sized and so is garden, we have both had dogs in the past, things like rough collie, maltease and golden retreiver.
It's still mostly training, but I'd head for a Collie or Lab if you have experience and time to deal with their needs.
I have a mix breed who is husky, Collie, malamute and greyhound. She has a massive prey instinct, but with training now lives happily with a cat at home. However she rarely barks except in play, so you're a bit beholden to their personality!!
I seem to be suggesting them a lot at the moment but a Smooth Collie (the short haired version of a Rough Collie) could be a good option.
From the breed description there: "Smooth Collies are active, intelligent dogs and make excellent family pets... They make good house dogs having a reliable and kind nature but they are quick to bark if a stranger is about."
From the breed club site: "Smooth Collies are usually very good with other animals and children... They are quick to bark and alert their owners to strange noises or disturbances but quickly settle and are usually very happy to accept invited strangers into their homes."
They're super dogs, very intelligent and trainable. Active but not ridiculously so and with a great "off switch". Not too big, with an easy to care for coat. They are fairly rare, though numbers have been increasing a little in recent years. Definitely worth a look though.
Labrador. Deep bark if required, loyal family dog, generally good with other animals and kids. Working type generally don't bark without good reason.
Negatives - sneaky about stealing food and shed fluff...
I'd suggest a Tibetan Terrier, they have all the traits you're asking for, are easily trained and love their humans.
A little description:
The Tibetan Terrier is smart, pleasant, and affectionate. Gentle but fun loving, he's dedicated to his family.
True to their heritage, they make wonderful watchdogs and will bark an alert if they see or hear anything suspicious....
Awesome ... thanks everyone. I'll certainly be looking into all the suggestions. Thanks so much.
Not everyone's cup of tea but our rottweiler loves our dc and our 2 dcats!!
Never had any sort of security issues here!!
Can't beat a german shepherd as an all round family dog if your willing to put the time in socialising it from an early age.
Mine love everyone and everything but still are scary enough to make people think twice.
Are there any other security measures you can put in place before getting a dog? You seem to have your hands pretty full and a dog should be taken on as another family member not a living house alarm. I'm single with no children and even after extensive research I was still not prepared for the work a puppy and dog required!
Bluetongue - that's particularly why we haven't had a dog yet, but I have been considering it for while.
We do have cctv, which we have the person who broke in on, we are looking into alarms, etc.
I guess the fact is now a dog would bring some benefit of at least feeling a bit more secure, so it sort of out weighs the extra burden.
But yes, I do have my hands full, although the insanity of our house hold us such that I'm not sure we will notice another addition. 😂 We will completely commit though, we are not the type to just get an animal and then part with it or not give it the love, money and attention it needs, so although I maybe don't sound it, We won't be getting it solely for its "use" of a detterant.
Everyone, thanks for your answers. I'm really enjoying reaching the breeds suggested.
Mu husband wants a Rhodesian ridgeback, don't know if anyone has any expermce of those?
Rhodesians are not good if you have other animals such as cats. They have high chasing/prey instincts.
For what it's worth, as others have said, a true guard dog is more about training than anything else and a true guard dog isn't a family pet.
I've had Dobermans all my life and the most they would do to an intruder is lick them.
It's pot luck if a pet dog will be a good guard dog, our large black Labrador doesn't bark, he's 4 and a can count on one hand the number of times he's barked and it had always been a single bark. He'd either lick an intruder to death or if it was early in the morning not even both getting out his bed!
If you want and are committed to getting a dog and can fulfill all its needs go for it, for security get an alarm.
I guess my wording is wrong, I don't need it for security as such, rather than feeling more secure knowing there is a dog who I assume will alert me if someone knocks the doors etc but also isn't tiny, something with dog presence but not something that is going to protrol the perimeter. If that makes sense at all?
Hedge - that my fear with those breeds, speaking to breeders etc they all say they are fine with cats they are raised with but then they will say that won't they. Online info seems to suggest as you stated high chance it won't be fine.
We are getting an alarm. Honestly not using the dog as a security system, but that doesn't mean it won't bring a feeling of security.
I'm not a big dog person, my husband is, but we won't do anything without fully committing to it.
You guys are awesome with all your ideas and suggestions! 😀
Sorry fur your burglary. How did the burglars get in?
I would start initially with securing your property more. It will take time to get and train a dog but you could improve your home security in weeks if not days.
Really surprised you have cameras but no alarm. For most it's the other way around. You can get alarms linked to the police, and with a panic button (either code on the key pad and/or standalone fob) for additional peace of mind. Security motion sensor lights are very off putting to burglars.
Mainly though it's the manner in which the burglars entered you need to secure first and foremost. Did they break a window/door? Was it down to poor security? (Leaving something unlocked?)
My friend works at a special needs school and insists that a "cavapoo" is the best for autistic children. Not sure why but I'd focus your research on therapy type dogs.
"So yes, that's it's really, is there a dog (I realise all dogs are different and training is required) that is a good enough guard dog, or scary enough, that is tolerant with kids and won't eat the cats?"
So you are enquiring about breeds with these characteristics? If you want a specific breed, it can be difficult to find an adult dog that meets all your criteria, so you may well be thinking about a puppy.
If so, just how is a puppy going to make you feel more secure any time in the next year or two? More likely to feel less secure, as it will be one more family member ... a baby one at that ... for you to protect in the household.
As other posters have said, a family dog and a guard dog are two different things. However, you have said that you will get security from simply knowing it's there (not a puppy any time soon, though) and I do get that, but I think you are coming at it from the wrong angle.
I think you should be looking for an older dog (two upwards, say), a family dog, very much a companion dog as it will need to fit in with your children's special needs and ... a dog that is specifically compatible with your deafness.
I don't mean a 'Hearing Dogs for the Deaf' trained dog ... that's a whole different ballgame ... but look for a dog with a natural 'communicating' ability. A dog that is alert to it's surroundings, wants to be with you (and your family) all the time, and wants to be telling you all the time. Alerting you, even.
I hope I'm explaining this clearly (I know what I mean ). It's not an uncommon trait, and it is behavior that's worth it's weight in gold ... especially for those with a hearing problem. Find a dog like that and it won't just be keeping you informed about intruders, the postmen, or unwanted visitors ... with a bit of training, it could also be telling you about the cat wanting in, the children being sick, and the biscuit tin being raided.
Sorry, I'm rambling a bit now
can you tell I'm a bit enthusiastic about this . Talk to reliable rescues, rehoming organisation, and, yes, even breed specific groups (but talk to them all, not just the breeds you're currently thinking about ... for example, a poodle could be the dog that meets all your criteria).
Okay ... I'll shut up now.
Despite thinking she's rambling, A dish says some good things above.
I'd advise against a collie as a pet, they need to be worked and their brain kept occupied to be happy, or they can become quite vocal which you say you don't want, especially in a busy house, they can be very skittish; and with so much already on your plate I'd imagine you wouldn't have the time for agility / flyball / time every day needed to occupy a collie.
Oh and things like a so called designer breed (stupidly exspensive mongrel in reality!) such as a cavapoo is more than likely a product of a puppy farm, and very much best avoided!!
We have a whippety cross/Heinz 57 - he's a fab guard dog although we weren't specifically looking for one. Lives with cats & toddler. Friend came wandering into our house last year at night to drop something off but we'd went to bed early and were woken by him going daft downstairs. He's not a big dog but sounded ferocious. Not a fan of the postman either though or anyone who play fights with DS
Many, many breeds can be good with children with autism, good with cats and good guard dogs.
Any dog that gives one woof will deter causal type opportunist thrives.
Consider how your children would like to interact with the dog, do they want it to just be there, to be able to work the dog ( agility, flyball etc). This will narrow down breed choice.
I'd go for a large male Labrador. My parents have a black lab, he is the softest dog ever with my 3 DC (my eldest has ASD & ADHD) and he lets them crawl all over him and rolls on the floor with them. He loves all other animals and is very put out if the neighbour's cat won't come to greet him. However if someone comes to the door, he stands there on guard and let's out some big deep 'WOOF's that would put anyone off if they didn't know him.
I have a boxer and she is so amazingly loving with my kids . She does need a good walk each day but after that is basically a couch potato - unless anyone dares approach the house ! She has a deep bark and has sent many cold callers turning back halfway up the garden path ! She is a massive soft though so wouldn’t be a great deterrent if anyone did break in , she’d slobber all over them but that’s about it .
Find out if you are eligible for a hearing dog. You do not have to be profoundly deaf. If your hearing loss is enough to make you vulnerable in the house then you might well qualify. The dog would be trained to your specific circumstances, to your door bell, phone, to the presence of children. It can be trained to alert you to noises in the garden etc.
A good friend of mine has a hearing dog and even though she can function without one it has made a world of difference to her to know that she is not missing important sounds.
A boerboel (also known as a South African mastiff) wonderful family dogs, trainable, exercise is manageable but are protective. My all time favourite breed.
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