How to Train a Dog to Guard Your House

How to Train a Dog to Guard Your Home

Tips & Advice
Last Updated: Aug 10, 2020

They say dogs are a man's best friend. Many dogs love receiving affection, getting treats, and, most importantly, protecting the ones they love. While many dogs are cautious about strangers coming into their homes, some dogs quickly warm up to strangers and see their arrival as no threat at all. 

When looking to train your dog to guard your home or looking to purchase a guard dog, there are a few things to keep in mind. The dog's obedience, dog's breed, and your type of training style may all affect how well of a guard dog your pet will be. 

Why One Should Have a Guard Dog

Protecting your family, home, and personal belongings are important parts of keeping your family safe and secure. Having a guard dog who is trained to protect your property can not only be beneficial to your personal life but also if you own a business needing extra protection. 

Many home and business owners have security cameras to capture any criminal wrongdoing, but security cameras alone will not be completely effective in warding off any criminals. Guard dogs can be left alone in a home or store when the owners are away and can act as a frontline defense system. Guard dogs can also be present when you or your family act when you might not be able too.

Many people who want a guard dog have some sort of past trauma that they felt defenseless in. Whether that was your home or store being burglarized or just a general uneasy feeling being alone, guard dogs act on certain trigger words and their own instincts. Having a guard dog at standby for your home can stop potential burglaries and criminal mischief. 

How to Train A Dog to be a Guard Dog

There are many steps you need to follow when training a dog to be a guard dog. Starting from basic training skills to advance protection skills. Below is a step-by-step list of training tips to follow. If you’re interested in more detailed information on this, we’d recommend to check out SpiritDog Training. It’s a great resource for all kinds of online dog training courses and they even have a free dog training video library.

Step 1: Basic obedience.
All dogs should have basic obedience skills. Skills like sit, stay, drop it, and bark on command are all basic obedience skills your dog should know before training to be a guard dog and in general. 

Step 2: Impulse control.
After your dog has basic obedience skills down, you should begin training your dog impulse control. Dogs should control themselves around welcomed strangers. Dogs should sit, stay, and lie down all on command when in the company of strangers.

Step 3: Teach property boundaries.
Teaching your dog the boundaries of his territory is important for his training. After every obedience training session, you should rerun your property with your dog, so they learn what they are supposed to be protecting. 

Step 4: Alone training.
When you have confidence in your dog's behavior to leave them alone, allow them to be left alone on the property they should be protecting.

Step 5: Test your dog.
Have someone your dog is not familiar with test your dog's training. Allow the dog to be alone on the property within the fence boundary or in the house alone when the stranger approaches. The stranger should knock on the fence, front door, and approach wherever your dog is. 

If the dog's training has been effective, he should bark and make their presence known. The stranger should act afraid and run off to signal to your dog; they are doing their job. Have whoever approached your dog tell you about the dog's behavior when the test is over. 

Step 6: Daily practice.
Continue testing your dog's training. When the dog appropriately barks at approaching threats, reward them with a special treat or praise your dog's behavior. 

Step 7: Increase the distractions.
Have the stranger become more of a nuisance to the dog. Making noise and bribing the dog with treats are good distractions the stranger can try to use on your dog. Any distractions used on your dog should already be tested in training on your dog to ensure they will not abandon guarding your property.

Step 8: Confidence in your dog.
When your dog has successfully passed all of the tests given to them allow your dog to be left alone. Have confidence in your dog's ability to guard your home and watch their behavior to see if there are any areas of training that need correction. 

What Type of Dogs Are Best For A Home Guard Dog

While any dog can technically be trained to be a guard dog, there are few things to keep in mind about selecting a dog breed. Larger dog breeds are commonly used as guard dogs because of their muscle, weight, and intimidation factor. 

Some of the most common guard dog breeds are:

•    Belgian Malinois
•    German Shepard
•    Rottweiler
•    Puli
•    Dutch Shepard
•    Cane Corso
•    Akita
•    Bullmastiff
•    Doberman Pinscher
•    Giant Schnauzer
•    Staffordshire Bull Terrior
•    Rhodesian Ridgeback

Even though large dogs are commonly used as guard dogs, any dog that has a few key personality traits will work for guard dogs. Loyalty, alertness, obedience, and bravery are all personality traits to look for when selecting a guard dog.

Dogs that are highly territorial, aggressive, and nervous do not make good guard dogs. They tend to take their job too seriously and forget to differentiate threats from harmless visitors. These dogs should not be allowed to act as guard dogs due to the risk of a violent attack occurring on someone who is not a threat. Guard dogs need to remain calm when protecting their property.


Training your dog to guard your property requires obedience and dedication from both you and your pet. Following the steps listed in this article will help you be able to train your dog properly. A calm, loyal, obedient dog is best for guarding your home or other property. Selecting the right dog breed is also important for training a good guard dog and should be researched before making any final guard dog decisions.

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