How to prepare and train your guard dog to protect your home
Ok, so you’ve finally decided to join the club of guard dog owners. That’s some major stride there, my friend. Congratulations.
If I may ask you, what’s the experience with him like so far? Is he as you expected, or is he proving too hard to handle?
Does he continue to bark at visitors he’s already seen before? Does he react aggressively to other dogs in the compound? Does he attempt to escape his leash and run after people/kids/other creatures when you take him on a walk?
My guess is he’s doing everything mentioned. Don’t blame him. That’s typical of dogs with high prey drive.
High prey drive dogs, like your guard dog, are amongst the strongest dogs around today. As such, they’re usually loaded with a lot of pent-up emotions and energies, which makes them impulsive and sometimes reckless in their actions.
To make them do exactly what you want every time, you need to take them through a training process. In this post, we’re going to show you how.
How to prepare and train your guard dog
Start with basic obedience training
The major reason most guard dogs act irrationally is because they lack basic training. If you’ve been teaching your dog to sit, play, drop or pick something, move, stay, bark, or go, there’s no way he would refuse to listen when you give him a command.
So, to begin with, you need to check some basic obedience teachings off the book. This will help him to know when to do certain things, respond in a certain way, or behave in a certain way.
Most people use their compound for these teachings. If you don’t have a yard that’s big enough, you can take him to a park every evening to have his training.
At the end of every command he obeys, you can reward him with a treat or toy to play with.
Dogs are naturally territorial. If you don’t set boundaries in your house, they may assume they’re meant to protect the entirety of the compound.
To show your dog where his territory lies, you simply need to run the property boundaries with him. That is, take him on a walk, run, or stroll around the area he should be protecting. Do this after your obedience training every day to make him familiar with the boundary.
Move to negative impulse control training
Once you’re sure he understands basic obedience commands, you can then proceed to teaching him negative impulse control. Negative impulse control has to do with him learning to control his gut feeling, instincts, and impulse reactions. In other words, learning to control his negative impulses.
This is important because you don’t want him tearing strangers apart.
To teach this, you’ll need a stranger to visit your home. Once the person arrives, you’ll tell your dog to sit on command, lie down, and watch as the person comes in. To make the training stick, you may need to repeat the same procedure with the same person time and again.
The idea of negative impulse control is to ensure the dog doesn’t act aggressively toward people you consider friends and family.
Move to positive impulse control
This is just the reverse of negative impulse control. Here, you’re trying to teach him how to control his positive impulses. In other words, you want to make sure he doesn’t become overly friendly with strangers/intruders.
To teach this, have a stranger come to the house and knock on your gate. Stay inside and watch what happens next.
Normally, your dog is supposed to run toward the gate and bark or stretch out from his cage and bark. If you see that your dog was simply wagging its tail toward them or didn’t even show any reaction, know that he’s being too friendly with strangers and needs to be corrected. Yell a command at him to get a reaction or move closer to encourage him to bark.
However, if you notice that he’s barking at the knock on the gate, you can walk toward him to reward him with a treat.
To make your dog get more confident at this, you can even tell the stranger to pretend like they’re scared and running off when the dog starts barking. This will make him feel more confident in himself.
Ask the stranger to come in with a distraction like a meat bone. And to throw the piece toward your dog. Then watch what follows.
If your dog runs toward this piece of bone, forgetting to guard his territory, order him to ‘leave it.’ This is a sign that he’s being too soft and easily swayed by distractions.
If he ignores the temptation and focuses on his primary assignment, reward him with a treat afterward to show him that he’s done a good job.
Story by Uday Tank