The Protective Value of Dogs

Dear Fellow Survivalist;

I’m not the typical “dog person” in the sense that my dog is my best friend. I don’t take my dog on errands with me and my dog isn’t in my workshop when I’m working out there. Nevertheless, I have a dog. I wasn’t really planning on it, but I have one anyway.

When my daughter went off to college, she left her dog home. It was a black lab mix and quickly shifted its affections to me. When she came home for the summer, it was clear that the dog was happy to see her, but by then she was mine. Dogs, they say, choose their own masters. Pretty much the same happened with my wife and her daughter’s dog, when she went off to college. We were grandparents to our grandpuppies.

I kept that dog for many years, until she went off to doggie heaven. That happened a few months after we were forced to put my wife’s dog to sleep. Apparently, dogs get attached to each other, even when they hate the other dog. We made the decision that we didn’t want another dog, as it finding someone to care for that dog is always a problem when we need to travel.

But it didn’t work out as we planned. A few months ago, a friend of my wife asked us to dog-sit, while she went out of town. She had two dogs, one of who hated and was mean to the other, so she couldn’t have the same people watch both. We agreed and by the time she came back, two weeks later, the dog had decided she was mine. My wife’s friend was overjoyed, as she didn’t want the two of them bickering with each other. So much for freedom of travel.

But I’m not really upset about having a dog in the house once again. Dogs are nature’s wireless doorbell, always aware of what is going on in and around the house. Even though our little dog is only 16 pounds, soaking wet, she serves her purpose, helping to protect our home.

I’d personally rather have a noisy dog than a fighter. I can defend my home, once I know that I need to. My problem is that I’m usually so busy doing other things, that I might not notice that something is going down or even that someone walked through a door that I inadvertently left open. With that being the case, having one of nature’s wireless doorbells is a real help, letting me know if anyone is walking on our turf.

Considering the world we live in today, having a dog around to tell us if anything undesirable is going on is a good idea. That’s by no means the same thing as having a dog that’s trained to attack or is aggressive by nature. I’d avoid dogs like that, because you can find yourself liable for any harm that the dog causes criminals breaking into your home, not to mention neighborhood kids that the dog might attack. The only way to have an attack dog is to have one that is fully trained and will only attack on your command.

While it doesn’t usually require a lot of training to get your dog to warn you of anyone approaching… or any training for some dogs… your response to their barking can have a negative effect. If you yell at your dog every time it barks, you can expect that the dog will bark a lot less. While that may make your home more peaceful, it will also negate the protective value of having that dog. Personally, I’d rather have my dog waking me up with their noise, then have them be quiet and not receive notification until I hear the door frame splintering.

The dog’s barking gives you time to react; that’s what it is for. If you’re in bed, be sure to take a pistol with you, as you go to check out your home. You may feel silly doing that, especially if you don’t end up finding anything but shadows or a cat in the backyard; but that one time when there’s more than shadows, you’ll be glad you’re armed. There’s nobody to laugh at you, but you yourself; so, go ahead and laugh, while you take that pistol as you check out what your dog is making a racket about.

I realize that some people can’t have dogs, because of allergies; but there’s no way a cat is going to warn you that someone is breaking into your home. Cats don’t have the same territorial tendencies as dogs, so guarding your home just isn’t in their nature. Donkeys and guinea hens are as good as dogs for warning you about intruders, but I don’t think anyone would want either in their home. Better to have them as an outdoor alarm system.

Ultimately, that dog is a much better alarm system, when you are at home, than the electronic ones you have to pay big bucks for. And when you are out, the barking dog is going to make any thieves think twice, just before they turn tail and run. Thieves don’t want to deal with your dog. just think of your dog as one more piece of defensive equipment, like your gun. They are just as important as keeping your powder dry and your survival kit close at hand.

Dr. Rich

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