What would your pet do if someone tried to break into your house? Would your dog defend your property?
We put different breeds of dogs from four different homes to the test to see how they reacted when an unknown person walks in the front door.
First we went to a small suburb outside of Denver, Colorado and sat down with Jill Svenson to talk to her about her dogs. She held her two rescue dogs on her lap as we posed the question to her; what she thought her little ones would do when a stranger came in.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of barking,” she said. “I think it will be interesting because the Chihuahua is protective of me.”
We placed cameras in several locations inside her home to capture all angles. It didn't take long before both dogs were barking up a storm.
These little guys were loud, loud enough to maybe scare us off, but they didn’t do anything physically to run us off. They also didn’t quiet down even after we were outside.
“That makes me feel comfortable,” Jill said, knowing her little dogs at least raised a ruckus.
After we were done at Jill's we made our way into downtown Denver. Michael Madison is very caring of his two golden retrievers. The dogs made a lot of noise while we talked with him outside.
We asked, “So if a bad guy walked in your front door or came in your back door what would your dogs do?”
Michael said, “Attack them.”
Was Michael right? It turns out, his dogs were so playful they even took off with one of our cameras. When we first walked in, the dogs barked, but within seconds we could have had our choice of whatever we wanted to take because it was playtime for the pups.
Across town in Aurora, Corey Lyon had no misconceptions about how his friendly dog would react.
“Potentially take an intruder on a tour of the house.”
His half dachshund, half golden retriever rolled out the red carpet for us and was perfectly happy getting some love.
We told Corey we were pretty sure we could get in and take all of his valuables and get out.
Corey said, “I believe it.”
Our last house made us unsure; we had no idea what would happen. The owner seemed pretty adamant that his dogs would take a bite out of us.
“He is very protective me.”
Zeus’ owner Todd Miller warned me that we might need to be careful.
To be safe, we decided to have a professional handle this test. Clover Street trains dogs – including protection K9s. He wore his dog bite suit to protect himself and make sure Zeus didn’t get hurt.
But he didn’t really need it.
Zeus and another dog, Solomon, barked but also wagged their tails. But just their physical presence may have been intimidating enough to make a would-be burglar think twice upon seeing them.
We asked Todd, “Do you take some comfort in knowing you have dogs that might deter somebody?”
Todd declared, “Oh absolutely.”
Clover reported back after his experience in the house.
“Your bulldog barked at me, growled at me, sniffed me and backed up.”
Actual protection dogs receive years of continued training, just like police dogs.
They can cost several thousand dollars.
Clover says your best bet might be any vocal dog.
“You’re looking for a watch dog, I probably would go for a beagle. Those dogs are great watchdogs and they’ll bark at anything.”
But don’t expect them to physically defend your house.
Of the four homes, not one dog physically drove us away. A few weeks ago, we interviewed a man who had broken into 20-plus homes… he said he avoided places with dogs… just the dogs being there was enough of a deterrent.
He also said when it looked like someone was home – a light on for example – he also moved on and targeted another place.