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Should I Train A Security Dog?

Firstly, our caveat – ‘We will not train just anyone to have a Security Dog’’, but please beware aware there are different levels of training from looking the part, providing a psychological deterrent, barking on command to becoming physically protective.

Why Do People Consider Training A Security Dog?

Statistics in relation to reported crime are always in a state of flux and sadly, many members of the public are becomingly increasing disillusioned regarding the actual value in reporting crime.

To complicate this picture still further is the way crime has been recorded over the years. So notwithstanding this, there is always a significant ‘dark figure’ in relation to the true crime figures recorded.

Whether it’s owing to the real or perceived increase in crime rates or the reporting of more knife crime, but we seem to be getting more enquiries from people seemingly wanting to own personal protection dogs.

Correspondingly, anyone who watches the media or just keeps their eyes open walking around our streets, cannot but notice an increase in the popularity of certain large breeds or types, that are often deemed to be ‘aggressive’ breeds by the media.

Our Advice - Seek Police Advice First

As a qualified security professional, and Crime Prevention Design Advisor our advice is that should you be concerned for your own personal safety or for the security of your home or business, then in the first instance, you should contact the Police to express your worries and to seek their professional advice which is normally free.

 Security systems and strategies will always offer a far more cost-effective solution than owing a ‘security dog’. 

A dog is not infallible and is only effective in particular circumstances, but as a potential owner or handler of a security dog, then you must remember, that if things go wrong, then there can be grave legal and financial consequences for you the owner or handler.

The Realities Of Security Dogs

Owning ‘just a pet’ places considerable responsibilities on the owner, but possessing a dog that has been trained as a ‘security dog’ at whatever level is a ‘whole new ball game’, and places huge accountabilities on the person responsible for the dog, and arguably at a level that most people are not prepared for.

Sadly, many people have little comprehension of what owing or training a security dog is all about in terms of the commitment required for training; the type of dog required; its physical and mental suitability; insurance and legal concerns – but to just reiterate – the requirements placed on the owner or handler. Many people have simply seen clips on YouTube or other media, and think this what they want without having a thorough understanding.

It is not widely known, but the fact is, many professional Security Dog Handlers do not have dogs that are actually trained to bite. Many Security Companies prefer to rely on the image of a man with a dog as an effective deterrent; rather than actually having a dog that is trained to be protective. Appreciating the work that goes into the training of suitable dogs, and the cost implications. It’s not just the cost of the dog and its training it’s the countless other expenses: refresher training; exercise; feeding; housing; insurance; vet fees etc – but above all this are the potential ramifications should the dog actually bite someone.

Take The Decision Seriously!

So, accepting above, we ask you to take your time to seriously think about whether a security dog is really for you. Since once trained it is no longer ‘a pet’ in the true sense of the word – you must always have eyes in the back of your head and be prepared for the unexpected.

Time and time, we’ve seen dogs that are apparently trained for security; so often these are simply nervous, anti-social dogs that are neither confident or stable. 

In a nutshell, they are not mentally or physically suitable for the role. We have seen countless people turn up with nervous dogs (nervous aggressive), and the owners have asked whether they would make a good security dog? To put it simply, nervous dogs are not suitable for the role, they’re a liability! Sadly, so many prospective dog owners have been duped into buying such animals.

Be Very Cautious

Perhaps not surprising in this day and age are the numbers of ‘dog dealers’ jumping onto the ‘security dog bandwagon’, trying to make quick cash; selling (at considerable profit), poorly bred, raised and trained dogs to unsuspecting ‘customers’’.

If you are considering buying or acquire a new dog, we would recommend that you download our booklet ‘Guide to Buying or Acquiring a Dog’ to try and protect you from just a few of the potential pitfalls you may face.

Always be cautious if you are buying a trained Security Dog, simply because good dogs are rarely available, and remember that if the dog was ‘really good’, then most trainers would not wish to part with it. In the few rare cases when such a dog becomes available, then you can expect to part with a lot of cash. But please be very cautious, as there are countless unscrupulous people out there, who will tell you, just what they believe you will want to hear to make the sale.

Our Experiences

Having owned dogs for well over 47 years, we have never required one of our dogs to bite someone for real. So, the question I always raise is why then, do you feel that you need a dog to bite someone?

Similarly, while we have trained many dogs, only the odd one or two have actually bitten someone while performing a security function. So, appreciating this, why do you need a dog that is trained to bite, when very few professional security dogs are ever called upon to actually bite someone. We argue that the psychological deterrent of a barking, snarling dog is usually more enough for most ‘criminals.

A dog that has been trained to bark on command, and look the part is a far safer prospect for most people, as it requires less training (therefore less cost), and most importantly, the risk of the dog biting someone innocent or accidently is massively reduced – so you are less likely to be prosecuted.

'Excessive Force'

Be honest with yourself and ask this simple question, ‘would you be prepared to face a barking, snarling dog that you didn’t know?’ Unashamedly, the answer would no doubt be a reassuring ‘no’. Even if your dog was to bite someone (having good cause as determined by the Police and Courts), then there is always the consideration that is all too readily forgotten by people with ‘security dogs’, and that’s the question of ‘reasonable force’. 

For if the bite(s) is deemed to be ‘excessive force’, then this will have serious legal implications. A fact that is so easily forgotten by people with massive breeds, who seemed to be totally obsessed, boasting about perceived bite pressures figures they have seen on social media. 

Logic would deem that most of this nonsense since if you think about the human race, we don’t all punch as hard as Mike Tyson, so why some media individuals seem to think that certain breeds have a bite pressure of ‘x’, is quite surprising, Some dogs within a breed hit or bite harder than others…. some bite and pull, some shake, others don’t they are all different.

No Turning Back

Possessing a dog that has been trained for security or personal protection places serious responsibilities on its owner or handler, who as a minimum should have a thorough understanding of the implications posed through the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, Guard Dogs Act 1974, Criminal Law Act, complimented with a though understanding of the laws pertaining to negligence.

Since once serious training has begun, you cannot simply wind back the clock and erase what has been learned, as much of the training ‘bad or good’ will remain throughout the animal’s life. 

We have seen this first hand, with poorly trained security dogs that have been ‘binned’ and ended up in rescue centres.

Only for the new unsuspecting owners to contact us, once the dog has bitten friends. Regrettably such dogs are often damaged beyond repair, and will have to spend much of their lives wearing muzzles when out in public, as they cannot be trusted.

Our Security Dog Training

NDTS are qualified and experienced to the very highest level of security management, having a detailed knowledge of the security industry and its services, as well as having a comprehensive knowledge of the strengths and limitations of using canines for security, and are happy to share much of this knowledge with our clients.

After you have weighed up all the pros and cons, the risks and responsibilities – and should you still then require a dog for security or personal protection, then contact us. Individuals and security officers working in high-risk environments may require levels beyond the ‘threat dog’ and require a dog to become physically protective, should the psychological threat offered by the dog is not heeded by criminals with intent. NDTS can help with professional training.

‘We will not train just anyone to have a Security Dog’’, but please beware aware there are different levels of training from looking the part, providing a psychological deterrent, barking on command to becoming physically protective.

The Requirements

NDTS firmly believes that any dog that undertakes training should be on the basis that the animal has a rock steady temperament and sound nerves, and is under the absolute control of its handler at all times. It should only become protective when requested to do so by the handler or if the handler is being attacked. In essence it must be possible to ‘switch the dog off and on’. 

Training dogs for this level takes time and you need a dog possessing the right attributes, likewise the handler should have similar qualities and be an upstanding member of society with integrity.

The advantage of having a trained dog with you, at whatever level you require (watch dog, security dog….) is that if you treat and train your dog correctly and with respect, you will have a friend at hand, that will offer a psychological deterrent that is difficult to equal. 

And if trained the dog will meet the threat with force, within the limits of their ability. Having the advantage, that dogs unlike their human counterparts, when trained correctly are not usually intimidated by name calling, what is said; how big or what the assailant looks like.

Contact NDTS for help with Security Dog Training / Personal Protection.