Are Guard Dogs Effective for Preventing Break-ins?

A lot of people wonder, “Are dogs good for home security?” While it’s true that some burglars won’t enter homes with security dogs1 and that many family guard dogs will bark at strangers, we don’t recommend getting a guard dog just to act as your security and alarm system—especially if that’s all you’re relying on.

Here are five reasons why dogs fail at home security.

Dobermann protecting his family at home.
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1. Dogs aren't as reliable as a home security system

Dogs sleep. They get distracted. They might even decide they like your home intruder and want to play fetch. The reality is that unless your dog has had highly specific—and expensive—training to act as a home security dog, they can’t be relied on 100% of the time. A home security system, on the other hand, is always there and always on.

(Don't forget to get one with cellular backup.)

2. Dogs can't alert the authorities

Even the most highly trained guard dogs can’t call the police for you in the event of a break-in. Not only can alarm systems make noise to warn away intruders, but those with professional alarm monitoring can also alert the proper authorities and get help to your home as quickly as possible.

3. You could put your pet in harm's way

While some intruders will flee at the first bark, others won’t be deterred by a home guard dog. Unfortunately, intruders sometimes resort to violence to silence dogs or protect themselves from an attack. If your dog is part of your family, you don’t want to put them at risk.

4. You can become desensitized to a dog that frequently barks

We all know someone whose dog barks at everything. This might even describe your dog! The problem is that constant barking can cause you to become desensitized to the sound. This can become a “boy who cried wolf” scenario, where you become so used to your dog barking at harmless things that you either don’t notice or disregard the warning when it barks at something that is harmful.

If you’re going to have an alarm, it needs to be something reliable that will get the appropriate attention from you when the time comes.

5. Home security systems have features that dogs don't

Modern home security systems do more than just alert you of intruders. They include state-of-the-art fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and water leak sensors. They provide cameras and ways for you to monitor those cameras no matter where you are. They can even alert you when you’re not home. While family protection dogs are certainly great companions, they are just not as capable as a dedicated home security system.

Despite all that, having a home security dog is certainly not going to make your home any less secure. Just make sure you have a home security system to complement your guard dog by checking out our picks for the best pet-friendly home security systems.


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Cathy Habas
Written by
Cathy Habas
With over seven years of experience as a content writer, Cathy has a knack for untangling complex information. Her natural curiosity and ability to empathize help Cathy offer insightful, friendly advice. She believes in empowering readers who may not feel confident about a purchase, project, or topic. Cathy earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Indiana University Southeast and began her professional writing career immediately after graduation. She has contributed to sites like Safety.com, Reviews.com, Hunker, and Thumbtack. Cathy’s pride and joy is her Appaloosa “Chacos.” She also likes to crochet while watching stand-up comedy specials on Netflix.

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