[dropcap]R[/dropcap]esearch has shown that burglars avoid houses with dogs for a lot of reasons. Intruders are often put off by dogs of any kind, however larger dogs or breeds traditionally used as guard dogs (such as German Shepherds or Rottweilers) are especially seen as a threat by burglars for a fear the dog will attack them if they try to enter into the house.
Burglars also avoid houses with smaller dogs though, not because they’re afraid of them, but because the animal is more likely to draw attention.
In short, a home with a dog will act as a deterrent against burglaries because most people wishing to enter into your home will look for an easier target, before they risk an encounter with a dog. This is either because the burglar thinks they risk an attack, or in case the dogs may make noise.
Does this trend continue however, if the situation changes from normal to emergency? When people become desperate, when survival is at stake, and people are willing to disregard regular risks or preventative measures (for example in WROL and SHTF circumstances) can we rely on dogs to deter burglars?
This article aims to cover those questions, and outline the actions and practical steps that can be taken to make sure that burglars avoid houses with dogs, regardless of the situation.
Can we Really Expect Burglars to Avoid Houses With Dogs in a SHTF State of Affairs?
Being able to expect a burglar to avoid your home in a SHTF situation depends on the seriousness of the conditions you find yourself in. In a SHTF scenario and when the unprepped may be desperate, few citizens would hesitate to harm a dog, especially if it would allow them easy access to a home. The likelihood of burglary will probably increase when the burglar thinks that the property has something likely to aid their survival, but everything hinges on the ability and preparedness of the dog.
As a general rule, thieves or looters will try their easiest options first in SHTF circumstances choosing abandoned homes, houses with easy access, or properties without dogs. When those options are exhausted, they may be forced to try and all opportunities, even if that means approaching a house with a dog. What this does highlight though, is that having a dog may buy you time: you remove your house from being the easiest target for burglary, giving you more time to assess the environment and make plans specific to the situation you are experiencing.
What Practical Steps can you take to Make Burglars Avoid Houses With Dogs?
Choose the Right Dog
This may be an obvious statement, but investigating different dog breeds, finding out about their strengths and evaluating their weaknesses (all dogs will have both) is going to make a difference later on. If having burglars avoid your house is one of the main objectives of you having a dog, you might want to investigate breeds such as German Shepherds, Rottweiler’s, Dobermans, or Bullmastiffs, all of which are commonly used as guard dogs.
Small dogs, which tend to make a lot of noise, may actually work against you in potential burglaries in EOTWAWKI conditions. Animals making a lot of noise may be noticed easily and give burglars the impression that a pet has been abandoned in an empty house, which is then an easy target for burglars.
Be the Boss and Make Sure the Dog Knows it
Obedience in a dog is key in any scenario, but this becomes especially important when you expect to rely on the dog in an emergency or if you want the dog to deter burglars. For example, in the aftermath of a disaster with repercussions that are only expected to be temporary, a scared dog that bolts from home causes unnecessary distraction (and distraction equals danger).
A well-trained dog that follows instructions is an invaluable thing to have. If the SHTF situation is short lived, the dog can offer real protection to your home, deterring would-be burglars or intruders who may otherwise be tempted to take advantage of the short-lived emergency.
Take Measures to Train your Dog Appropriately, Ahead of Time
It’s agreed on that by the time an EOTWAWKI situation arises, if you haven’t trained your dog already, it’s too late. Appropriate preparation should be taken in advance (ideally from when the dog is a puppy and if that is not possible, from when it is introduced to the household).
Working together with the dog and professional, accredited trainer is suggested, so that you can guarantee that the hound picks up the necessarily skills you want it to, especially if your aim is that burglars avoid your home.
Given it is impossible to know when a burglary might occur, dogs must be trained properly and their behavior must be predictable in day-to-day life. There is little point in having a dog that will act in exactly the way you want in the face of an intruder, if it is badly behaved the rest of the time or poses a threat to your family by reacting in a dangerous way.
Training is great, but don’t let the dog forget what it has learnt by not keeping the training fresh and repeated at regular intervals. Upkeep is important. Make sure the dog stays vigilant and your training doesn’t fall into predictable patterns, which they can learn to anticipate (although consistency in training with method, same commands and so on is important – a trainer can give you necessary tips). Keep challenges fresh so the dog knows it is expected to react in the same way to different scenarios – it will make you think as well as the dog!
Does your Dog Know a Friend From a Stranger?
A further aspect of having a dog at home which admittedly may not prevent burglars, but can be excellent at helping you to prepare, is that dogs have a natural instinct to be friendlier to people approaching the house that they know and don’t perceive as a threat. While a dog might not be able to outright stop a forced entry (especially in SHTF scenarios when intruders are more likely to take extreme actions), watching its reaction can make you aware of the difference between a known visitor versus an unknown person.
Ensure the Dog can Identify Normal Behavior vs. Abnormal Behavior
Dogs should be able to socialize with other dogs and people often. Doing so will allow it to understand normal circumstances and actions, and this means that in burglaries or forced entry circumstances, they will react differently and as per their training or your commands, without confusion or delay.
Prep for the Dog
A dog may be of great use to you in a SHTF situation and almost certainly burglars will avoid your home and look for easier targets – if they’re not desperate. The dog will only be reliable though, for as long as it is healthy and well looked after.
You should ensure you have a stockpile for the dog so that you do not run out of food and drinkable water, just as you would for another member of the family. Stocking up on basic medicine and care products is also important, in case of injury.
Make Sure it is Clear to the Outside World you Have a Dog
Putting up warning signs about the presence of the dog can also help to avoid and protect against burglary. Signs that you have a dog should be clearly visible and make it clear what kind of dog is on the property. Making sure signs are visible enough to be taken seriously should be balanced with overuse, which may give the impression that they are for defensive purposes only, rather than because there is an actual dog – we’ve all seen yards with these signs where the dog doesn’t exist!
Specific Commands to Teach your Dog to Avoid Burglary
It may also be beneficial to consider training your dog to obey specific commands, which can help to avoid home intruders. Teaching your dog to bark on command is one method that can deter burglars. Likewise, making sure your dog is trained to stay quiet on demand is also important (fit can give you the element of surprise if the intruder is already in the house).
Burglary cannot always be avoided, especially in circumstances in which tensions are high and unprepared communities may act irrationally. In these instances, a dog trained to search the home and identify any burglars is valuable as house owners can rely on the dog to ensure the coast is clear and the house is free from intruders if, for example, you have to leave the house and return later. This can be an especially useful command for children or weaker relatives to be able to give the dog.
At the very least, the dog should be taught to make a controlled commotion of visitors on your command – this could be barking, jumping, pulling at clothes etc. The dog behaving in such a way may at least buy you some time in the event of a burglary and gives you the advantage of initially distracting and surprising the intruder in the case they have already entered into your home.
If you had to break into a house in an TEOTWAWKI situation, would you avoid a house with a dog? Chances are you’d try somewhere without a clearly prepped dog if that option was available to you, and you can assume that burglars would do the same too.
Essentially, and as with all emergency or SHTF, preparation is key. In this cas,e groundwork and training go hand in hand. Owners should consider themselves responsible for identifying which behaviors in a dog will be most useful for them to prevent burglaries and training the dog accordingly.
In conclusion, a dog is an excellent resource for protecting your home and avoiding burglary – the only question remaining: which dog?