Are Dalmatians Good Guard Dogs
Although they don’t bark often, Dalmatian’s are very good at giving a scary sounding “someone is on our property” bark, as is natural for them. This is acceptable and handy to have around the home, as long as your Dalmatian knows that it is all bark and no bite (teaching a stop/silence command can also be a good idea for the sake of your ears). Dalmatians make excellent guard dogs with a little training because of their loyalty, protective and territorial instincts and alerting bark. Dalmatians frankly love meeting new people and are more likely to accidentally injure them with a wagging tail and excited greeting than any aggression. People often misunderstand this loyalty to their owners (perhaps because they are bigger than your average dog). Dalmatians are known to smile when they are happy and greeting people or animals. This smile is basically them baring their teeth. It can be easily mistaken for aggression by people and animals that are not accustomed to the breed.
Watchdog vs Guard Dog
Generally, the term guard dog and watchdog are intertwined or mixed up when discussed. There is a huge difference between a watchdog and guard dog technically speaking. A watchdog will sound the alarm when somethings wrong, as will a guard dog. The difference is a guard dog has the next step of acting on this problem. This may be in the form of attacking, restraining or incapacitating human or animal intruders. Guard dogs are usually used in a professional capacity and are rarely used to guard the typical family home. This is because successful guard dogs need a huge amount of professional training to be effective and efficient in its use. They need to be able to successfully distinguish between a real threat and everything else that may be happening, such as a small child wandering onto a guarded property. Do not mistake a guard dog for an attack dog, usually used by police and military to attack on command.
A watchdog may follow up the bark with a bite if the threat is not scared off or the owner is threatened or under attack depending on the temperament and training of the animal. This is exactly what a Dalmatian would likely do in the event of an intruder if properly raised and loyal to their owner. This is what most people mean when they refer to a guard dog.
Aggression and loyalty
It’s important to note that aggression is not as important as most think when it comes to a good and successful guard dog. Loyalty, alertness and intelligence alongside a little aggression (aka not timid) are the traits to look for that will determine if your dog or future dog will be a successful guard dog. Too much aggression in a dog makes the animal impossible to trust 100% of the time. A dog with high aggression may even turn on its owner, even after proper training. An aggressive dog in the family home is a recipe for disaster, especially if children are around. It’s important to note that any dog should never be left alone with small children, no exceptions!
Loyalty is extremely important in a guard dog. This trait gives the dog the motivation to protect you, your family and your property. Dalmatians are extremely loyal to their owners if treated correctly. Correct training can improve loyalty making the bond between owner and dog stronger. Dalmatians need lots of love, attention and exercise. If you can provide this, your Dalmatians loyalty and bond will grow immensely, making your Dalmatian extremely protective of you and your loved ones – in turn, making a good guard dog.
Guarding the family home
Dalmatians are excellent at guarding the family home. They are territorial and don’t take kindly to strangers or other animals wandering into their area. They are extremely loyal to their owners if treated correctly and will usually do anything to protect them. Having a Dalmatian around to help guard the home is useful as they are great around children and people in general, but will also alert the household when a human or animal enters the property. Early training and socialisation is recommended to teach the dog how to behave when someone you know visits, such as a command to stop the dog from barking. Socialisation with other animals is important from an early age as Dalmatians can be very untrusting of other animals without it.
Many people don’t necessarily want a Dalmatian solely for the purpose of watching, guarding or protecting, but would like to know if the dog would protect them in a dangerous situation, or at least alert them to an intruder. This is something a Dalmatian is almost guaranteed to do because of their breeding history and general temperament.
Training your Dalmatian to guard
Dalmatians are very headstrong and independent, meaning they need a confident, strong leader to follow. They will always test the boundaries of the relationship so it’s important to be ready to lay down the law when this happens. Barking at strangers entering the property seems to be very natural for a Dalmatian. Usually the training required for Dalmatians is a command to stop the dog from barking, and then some more training for when people you know enter the home (stopping them from barking and jumping etc).
Dalmatians love food! This makes training much easier using a positive reward system when your Dalmatian does what you want. Dalmatians are quite intelligent so after a few tries of a command with a treat reward, they should understand quickly. Training is an excellent way to connect with your Dalmatian and improve your bond. It’s great mental and physical exercise for the animal with no downsides.
Dalmatians make excellent guard dogs if they are raised properly. Guarding people and property comes very naturally to Dalmatians and if you build a strong bond with the animal, they will be extremely loyal and protective. This means spending loads of time with them, giving them plenty of love, attention, training and exercise and being a good strong leader.