This post is originally authored at the home security blog at family + home security.
If you own a guard dog, you should already be familiar with basic guard dog training. However, a question that many people ask, is “Should I leave a guard dog outdoors?”. Since a guard dog’s function is to protect your home and property, having your dog outdoors can seem like a good choice. However, there are consequences to leaving your dog outdoors, both behavioral and health-related.
Leaving a Guard Dog Chained Outdoors
Both the Humane Society and animal behavioral experts warn against leaving your guard dog chained outdoors. Dogs are social animals, and will often suffer from feelings of abandonment when left outdoors. In addition to this, being kept on a chain in an outdoor location will often cause feelings of frustration and aggression in a guard dog. These feelings often cause a dog to become disconnected from its owners, and may even cause a dog to act against others when unprovoked. Having a dog on a chain can also be a safety hazard for your dog. If your guard dog becomes agitated, they could tangle their limbs or neck in the chain, resulting in injury or death.
Having a Guard Dog in a Fenced Yard
Another option people consider is leaving a guard dog outdoors in a completely fenced-in yard. While this may seem more humane than a chain, you still need to remember that a guard dog left alone in your yard can still cause injury to itself and others. If you leave your dog alone in the yard, and someone enters your yard, you will be held liable if your dog injures that person. Since guard dogs are trained to be aggressive against unwanted intruders, leaving a guard dog alone in the yard is generally not recommended.
When to Have a Guard Dog Outdoors
If you want your guard dog to be outdoors, you should only do this when you are currently at home. Even then, it’s important that you do not leave your dog outdoors for an extended period of time. A huge part of a successful guard dog training program involves forming a strong bond with your dog. If your dog trusts you, they will be able to effectively understand when they need to protect you. By leaving your dog outdoors for long periods of time, you are causing your dog to feel abandoned, or experience separation anxiety.
Installing a “Doggie Door”
Another option is to have access for your guard dog to travel freely between the outdoors and inside your home. This can be done with a small, easily accessible entrance, often called a “Doggie Door”. However, it’s also important to remember that by providing access for your dog to enter your home, you are also providing entrance for potential burglars. If you do choose to install a “Doggie Door”, be sure that it is on a door that is able to be secured against intruders. An option for securing a door with dog-access is to install a metal security screen door, which can be securely closed and locked over the door with the dog entrance.
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