Barking Dogs Don’t Always Deter Burglars

You have a dog that barks.  Your spouse says that you need to start training your dog not to bark because it is so annoying to the family, and the neighbors, but you keep putting it off.  You have a nagging feeling in the back of your mind that a barking dog will deter bad guys from breaking in.  It’s been on all of the television programs and the news that barking dogs make burglars look for less risky pickings.  And that is true up to a point.

Barking Mad Max by Sean Barry is licensed under CC by 2.0

Barking Mad Max by Sean Barry is licensed under CC by 2.0

Another truth is that dogs that bark selectively make homes less likely targets of the bad guys.  Imagine, tiptoeing up to a house, just getting ready to enter when a dog with a basso profundo bark announces his presence.  Although in that situation a tiny yap might work just as well.

Now, imagine another scenario.  A burglar is casing a neighborhood when he sees a house with some things that catch his eye.  Something that says class and valuable possessions, or maybe there are no signs for motion detectors, or maybe the house is separated from their neighbors a little more than other houses in the neighborhood.  But there is a dog in an outdoor kennel and that dog won’t shut up.

The bad guy stays in his car with the window rolled down for 30 minutes and the dang dog won’t quit barking.  Squirrels? Bark.  Birds? Bark.    A flag flapping in the wind?  Bark, bark.  This dog barks at everything including his own shadow.

With all that noise, that would be a safe house from burglars, wouldn’t it?  Maybe not.  A dog that barks at something proves to be a better guard dog than one who barks at everything. The old saying that the wheel that squeaks gets oiled is not necessarily true.  Sometimes, the wheel that squeaks gets ignored.  By everyone.

If a thief sees evidence of things in a house that are worth their time to steal, a dog that barks all of the time, or too often, will be ignored, and it is possible that dog might even provide cover for the bad guys.  It doesn’t matter if the dog is in a kennel, on a chain, or in the house, constant barking is no deterrent to a thief.

The good news is it is possible to train a dog not to bark all of the time, while still maintaining their natural instinct to bark at things unusual and things that don’t belong.  It is even possible to train a dog who goes nuts when someone comes to the door to tone their reaction down without stopping all enthusiasm of barking when someone is at the door.

Most homeowners prefer their dog not act like the Tasmanian Devil when a visitor comes, but they wouldn’t mind barking as long as the dog stops when instructed to.  Invited guests prefer that sort of greeting too, but uninvited guests will receive a vocal greeting that won’t stop unless the owner tells the dog to stop.

Dogs are wonderful companions, and they can help deter home invasions.  But, without some control on a dog’s barking, it may be giving the homeowner s false sense of security.

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