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Okay, so this isn't any time soon, because my youngest puppy still isn't even full grown just yet. But I work evenings and my wife and daughter are home alone at the house from 6pm-3am and i'd like to have a good family dog that would actually be good as a guard dog too, in case anyone broke into my house and attacked my family. I was thinking a Collie because they're big enough to defend and they're excellent family dogs. But honestly, how would they fair as a guard dog if my family was in danger against an intruder? I mean, my current dogs (Shelties) would be of no use to them, they're great watchdogs with a very loud mouth, but they'd never attack, and even if they did, they're so tiny it would just be a small kick to beat them. I don't want a mean or aggressive dog at all, it will be totally indoors with my family (my daughter is 5) so it needs to be gentle, but brave and an excellent defender if necessary. Any ideas?
 

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It depends how well the Collie was trained in protection. That is the only way to know how well/reliable it would be at defending. You could also look into GSDs although a Collie probably could work. There are people on this forum who know more about Collies then myself.
 

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If you want a dog that would actually attack and intruder you will need to spend a lot of money on training, thousands of dollars, or more on an already trained dog. Usually just getting an imposing looking dog that will bark when it hears something works to dissuade intruders from entering. Most large dogs work well for that purpose, with black dogs and certain breeds being more imposing looking that others.
 

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I think any dog that is treated as a member of your family will try and protect your family if your family were in danger, even a lilt chiuhuahua. A small dog might not be as effective as a large one. A dog's family provides him with love, happinesses, and food and shelter. It's just natural insitnct for them to try and protect that.

You do not need to spend any money to have a dog trained to attack an intruder. You would probably need to spend some money if you wanted your dog to attack and release on command.

I have always been partial to German Shepherds, so I would recommend one of them. However I think any dog in the herding group, like a collie,would be a good choice. Rotties, or Pit Bulls would be good choices too.

You would be suprised at how many people are afraid of dogs, and just having a large dog around is probably deterance enough.

Good Luck!
 

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I don't mean to scare you, but I have to assume an intruder is not going in unarmed. That being said, there is not much a dog (regardless of the breed) could do to help. If you are really worried about protection, have your wife get a pistol and learn how to use it.
 

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I would be extremely reluctant to train a dog to attack just for liability reasons if nothing else. Would a dog attack a firefighter who kicks your door down to drag you out of a fire? Would he attack a police officer in your house if he picks up that you're nervous that the cop is there? What if he attacked a neighbor or some stranger who walked into the yard uninvited? There's a lot of liability there IMO.

I think you'd be better off with a dog that barks at strangers and you've got a loaded .45. Either that or get a really big, dark colored mastiff. Most people will think twice if a 200 lb dog walks between them and their target.
 

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I will be honest, I think collies make terrible guard dogs- and a collie that could do protection work would be a deeply abnormal dog for the breed. (I've known a few smooths who might be willing to play it as a prey-drive game, but actual defensive drive? No- its very, very far from what the breed ought to be. Ditto the other collie landrace descendents.) OTOH, I've known several collies who would put on a very impressive threat display when they felt like 'their' people were threatened, but wouldn't take it farther than loud barking and would probably have backed down if actually pressed. Aggression is NOT appropriate collie temperament, period. If you want protection? Get an alarm system and a gun. If you MUST have a protection dog, get yourself some really good liability insurance and a GSD.
 

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Personally I would not want a dog that would actually attack an intruder...it would scare me too much to think that my dog could be injured or worse end up put down for attacking someone...it's not unheard of. I would get a good alarm system and a dog who is visually intimidating if you must, but would not actually attack. Studies show that just the sound of barking dogs, whatever the size, deters break-ins anyway. For a dog that is visually intimidating, I would consider a gsd or a doberman, but from what I hear they are also alot more dog to handle than shelties drive and activity level wise. An australian shepherd would also be bigger and perhaps more guardy than a sheltie, but still not too totally different.
 

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A good man with a weapon already stated can do in a dog. You have a great alarm system with 2 Shelties most burglars quite frankly are going to go to your neighbor's home who does not have any dogs. You don't need a butt-kicking dog at all. If you just want to add some size a black Lab(could be high energy though)Rottie/Dobes/GSDs are excellent choices but with anything you pick training is a necessary evil (Obedience training and correct socialization are a must) no protection work at all wanted or needed. My opinion only.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think most of you have misunderstood what i'm actually trying to achieve. I don't want to have a gun in my house, I know in theory I could lock it up, but I just don't like having one in my house, especially with a 5 year old daughter around. I don't actually want a dog that can be TRAINED to be a guard dog. I fully believe that much like someone else stated, any dog who is treated as a serious member of the family, would protect if they thought their owners were in serious danger. Secondly, a dog could in theory be put down fast by an intruder with a gun, but that's also one more distraction that an intruder would have to deal with before attacking my wife or daughter...or a huge distraction if it started attacking while the intruder was acting violent toward my family. I honestly trust a dog to more valiantly and efficiently defend my family thenI would my wife with a gun....I think she'd freeze under fear, and she'd be too scared to actually shoot anyone...even someone who wanted to hurt her. Like I said, I don't really want a fierce guardian...I want a large family dog that could serve as some protection if it was direly needed. (Like I said, I think the friendliest dog would attack an intruder if he thought his family was in danger) and that's all I want...I want a dog that will be a great family dog, good with strangers and good at a dog park etc etc...but also big enough, and loyal enough to be efficient in a guard dog situation. Honestly, if it were just me and my wife, I wouldn't mind a GSD or something, but honestly...eventhough I know they can be great pets, I know they can also be somewhat aggressive if not properly trained, and eventhough I think myself to be a good trainer, it would still make me nervous with my daughter around.
 

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I fully believe that much like someone else stated, any dog who is treated as a serious member of the family, would protect if they thought their owners were in serious danger.
Our dogs don't protect us...we protect our dogs.

Even if you did get a guardian breed like a GSD (which I SO do not recommend for you), you cannot expect an animal...especially an untrained one, to protect you.

I hate to tell you, but threat or not, the dog is more likely to run away unless he's cornered. Fight or flight, self preservation wins out. Those Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul stories are nice, but not common. Even schutzhund trained dogs aren't guaranteed to protect. They've been pattern trained and taught to bite on a sleeve...if there's no sleeve, there is no bite. At most there might be a bark and hold.

You've got pleny with a dog that alarm barks.

I know they can also be somewhat aggressive if not properly trained
That can be said of any breed...from a person that owns/trains 3 Shepherds
 

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That can be said of any breed...from a person that owns/trains 3 Shepherds
Yes, that could be said of any breed...but you can't deny that a Rotti with a first time owner (which i'm far from) would be more than a handful for a family with children, whereas a Golden most likely would not.
 

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I have stated this on other threads, many times I have been asked to build a dog that would bite the burglar and leave the Mailman/UPS/Salesman alone. Be agressive enough to protect the family but love all kids. When a neighbor knocks on the door or just walks in home the dog should be very calm, collected etc. but if a would be rapist enter the home turn into a savage protective beast. There are some dogs out there that actually fullfill all these goals naturally but they are the rare exceptions. Think about the friendly with strangers statement. In most cases a burglar is a stranger. One man wanted me to train a GSD that could run loose when his grandchildren were outside that would protect them from (put your own) but when the UPS guy or a harmless stranger walked by the dog was intelligent and discrete enough to pick out the people he should bite while running loose. I told him go elsewhere as somebody will take his money to train the dog to do everything he wanted, it just wasn't gonna be me.

I want a dog that will be a great family dog, good with strangers and good at a dog park etc etc...but also big enough, and loyal enough to be efficient in a guard dog situation.

You in reality do not need a gun, when your Shelties go off the whole idea of alert dogs is that the would be burglar has no idea if you have "no gun" or everybody in family has a "Magnum 44" under their pillows. What he does know is that you will in all probability be wakened because of the Sheltie racket going on, to prepare for his entrance.
 

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Yes, that could be said of any breed...but you can't deny that a Rotti with a first time owner (which i'm far from) would be more than a handful for a family with children, whereas a Golden most likely would not.
I don't think that children have anything to do with it.....In general any large breed dog is going to be a handful for a fist time dog owner...regardless of if they have children.....golden just like every other breed of dog ...do not pop out of the womb trained to be perfect family dogs...they are going to nip, pull on walks, knock kids down when playing ..etc
 

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Personally I would not want a dog that would actually attack an intruder...it would scare me too much to think that my dog could be injured or worse end up put down for attacking someone...it's not unheard of. I would get a good alarm system and a dog who is visually intimidating if you must, but would not actually attack. Studies show that just the sound of barking dogs, whatever the size, deters break-ins anyway. For a dog that is visually intimidating, I would consider a gsd or a doberman, but from what I hear they are also alot more dog to handle than shelties drive and activity level wise. An australian shepherd would also be bigger and perhaps more guardy than a sheltie, but still not too totally different.
sheltimom your precious pooch's are so beautiful
 

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I think many of us simply expect too much from our dog(s.)

It probably comes from watching too much television: Lassie, Rin-Tin-Tin, etc. (Yes. I'm old.) We expect our dog to notify us (call us at work, if necessary) when Timmie has fallen in the well, and then give us GPS coordinates for the location of the well. If rescue is delayed, for any reason, the dog should rappel into the well, pick up Timmie by the lapel, and haul him out. CPR, if needed, should be performed on the way out.

My own Esther, who is a truly formidable dog, could not be trusted to make decisions regarding the safety of my family. She decided, a while back, that I needed protection from my cousin - who is a dog-lover. I think she was mistaken, but could not persuade her of that. I believe her bark would scare off the casual intruder but the most impressive bark I've ever heard came from Guinevere, the bassett that lived across the street years ago.

A dog without extremely specialized training is a wonderful companion and a great comfort, but not a reliable guardian - despite anectodotal evidence to the contrary.
 

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Many years ago when my ex and I were still together we had a male Rottie named Bear. Bear was the most easy going boy you could imagine. He simply loved everyone and tolerated all kinds of abuse from kids and adults alike. My ex had an uncle that was a complete idiot. He would always pick on Bear and then tell us "your dog is a wimp" because Bear would tolerate his abuse. (No, I didn't allow it, but it happened on occasion before I could stop it) My Bear was far far smarter then most of my ex's family members. Anyway, one day my ex (who loved Bear and me) had enough of his uncles crap and he said something stupid to him. He told his uncle that "if he wanted to see what Bear could do he should hit me." He (the uncle) walked over and slapped me on the arm. It wasn't hard but since I didn't expect it I said "ouch" and gave him a dirty look. All of a sudden Bear came flying in to the room leaped up against my ex's uncle knocking him back into the chair. He then crawled right up onto this man and put his mouth right over the mans face. I was running to stop what I thought would be the end of this idiots sad life. Bear growled something I had never heard before. IT was all warning. He never even touched the man with his teeth. (just let him look at his tonsils) Needless to say, the uncle never teased him or us again. My point of this long winded story is. You NEVER know how a dog will react to intruders or threats. Bear was a much loved family member that played with the kids all the time. Even after that he went right back to being a big lovable teddy bear. He never again showed an ounce of aggression. He had taught that fool a lesson though. (guessing he needed fresh undies after 130 lb dog did that) I have also had Rottweilers that let everyone in the house but if they think there is a problem they won't let the person out until I tell them it is ok. In todays society it is way too much of a liability to own a dog that makes bad decisions or is not protected from themselves. Dogs cannot be expected to protect you. In my opinion it is our duty to protect them. I do not want my dog getting shot by a robber. I would much rather they run and hide and stay safe. I am pretty sure that is just what my current 2 would do but then, they are dogs. Nobody can say for sure what they would do. My vote would be that you get a security alarm in the house.
 

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I love that story, Inga, and I've told a couple myself along those lines. And I completely agree that you just don't know what will happen until it happens.

In your example, Bear could have just as easily ignored the incident altogether. Or he could have ripped the idiot's face off before anyone could stop him.

Like you, I'd rather my dogs not be faced with that "choice" (if it is truly a choice. I think it's all instinct and influenced by factors we can't begin to understand.)

My cousin may have reminded Esther of someone who had mistreated her in the past. She behaved in a similar threatening manner to another male with a full beard, but she's met other bearded men that she had no issues with at all.

Sometimes I think it's just as well that we don't know exactly what they're thinking. Maybe they wouldn't be our best friends if we could.
 
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