Some homeowners mistakenly think that having a dog — or even just posting a “Beware of Dog” sign — is enough to deter a burglar. However, this is not the case. Some amateur burglars may be warded off by the sound of a dog’s bark, but a person who is really determined to break in will not be stopped by a dog. In fact, many professional burglars account for dogs in their burglary plans.
While dogs have been used for security purposes throughout history, they have some significant disadvantages when compared to modern home security technology.
1. Dogs Are Not Helpful Witnesses
Dogs are wonderful companions, but they have their limits when it comes to security. They are not completely reliable, don’t know how to call 911, and can’t tell the police about anything they saw. Also, they certainly cannot testify in a courtroom if necessary.
2. Your Dog Isn’t Always Home
If you do not have a home security system in place and you ever take your dog with you when you leave home, your house is left without any security. Anytime you take your dog to the park, the groomer, or anywhere else, your home is vulnerable. The risk is even greater if you have your dog boarded while you go on vacation.
3. Dogs Can Be Bribed with Treats
As you can see in this surveillance video, burglars can easily distract a dog with treats while they break into a house. Most pet dogs are inclined to see a person offering a yummy snack as a new friend, not a threat, and will let them go about their business of robbing your house. (It also should be noted that open doggy doors create an easy access point for slender, agile burglars to enter your home.)
4. Dogs Can Be Frightened
It’s hard to predict exactly how a dog will react to a stressful situation. Your dog may bark at an intruder, but if a burglar breaks in, your dog may become frightened and run off to hide until the scary person goes away. Even worse, a frightened dog could escape through a door left open and run away from the house in fear, leaving you without your beloved pet but still with a criminal inside your home.
5. Dogs Can Be Hurt
Nobody wants to think about such things, but if a burglar is determined to get into a house, a dog will be no match for them if they carry weapons or pepper spray. Criminals are just that — criminals — and they may have no qualms about harming your dog. You should not leave your dog to be the only line of defense in a situation without backup from an alarm system that can alert authorities to a crime in progress.
6. Watchdogs Bark a Lot
There’s a difference between a watchdog and an attack dog. Attack dogs are not safe family pets, as the risk is too great that a dog trained to attack can hurt an innocent person by mistake. If your dog hurts someone, you are legally liable, and the results could be tragic. A dog cannot always tell the difference between a real threat and a pizza delivery person, a guest, or a child who makes loud noises and sudden movements. A watchdog may not be aggressive, but if you encourage a dog to bark at intrusions, that dog is likely bark at all kinds of “intruders” with equal levels of urgency: a burglar, the mail carrier, a squirrel in the yard, or a neighbor’s child riding a bike down the sidewalk. This becomes a nuisance for you, and even can bother your neighbors if your dog is loud enough! Additionally, it will numb you to barking so that you won’t know the difference if a real burglar comes along.
Your dog’s presence may help make your home a less attractive target for burglars, but it’s not enough to keep you truly safe. It’s also risky for your four-legged friend. Give your pup a break and make your your home is secure with things like an alarm and a trusted burglary safe.