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 dogs 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 Dedicated 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.
  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 they 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, carbon monoxide, and water detection. 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 home security systems.


Compare the best home security systems

Best for
Brand
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Contract required
Installation
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Best overall
VivintVivint
$599.00
Icon Yes  LightNo *
ProAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Reader favorite
SimpliSafeSimpliSafe
$229.00
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DIYAmazon, Google
Whole-property
FrontpointFrontpoint
$99.00
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DIYAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Pro monitoring
ADTADT
$0.00
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ProAmazon, Google,
Z-Wave
Customer-focused
CoveCove
Quote required
Icon Yes  LightNo *
DIYAmazon,
Google

Info current as of 04/23/21. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*$0 due up-front with consumer financing.
†No-contract options available with outright equipment purchase.
‡Landline monitoring only. Some restrictions apply. (Full disclaimer)
**With $99 installation charge and new monitoring agreement. Early termination fee applies. See full disclaimer for full offer details, terms, and conditions.​

Celeste Tholen
Written by
Celeste Tholen
Celeste has dedicated her decade-long career to reporting and reviews that help people make well-informed decisions. She oversees editorial strategy and production for SafeWise, with a goal to help people find the information they need to make their homes and lives safer. Prior to SafeWise, she worked as an editor and reporter for KSL and Deseret News. She continues to report on local news as a volunteer with the community paper. For the last six years, she’s led a Girl Scout troop, teaching girls about safety and preparing for whatever life throws their way.

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