Will My Labrador be a good Watch Dog?

This is a question I often get from those who have never owned a Labrador—and even some that DO wonder why their dog won’t be a better “guard dog.” (some use the term “watch dog”)

I’d love to change the vocabulary to say they are GREAT “watch dogs”.  But not necessarily “guard dogs” and if they were, history may have placed them in the AKC “Working Dog” class where many guard dogs are who were BRED to do this job. Some of them will even kill and turn on their own owner if not trained, raised and respected carefully. They won’t just “alert” you but may actually hurt or kill and intruder. Some of the dogs that fit into the category of “guard dog” would be:  Pit bull, Rottweiler, Alaskan Malamute, Alaskan Malamute, and the Bouvier Des Flanders. And let me be clear, with the right training and environment some of these dogs can live in harmony with humans and some other animals. Some of the sweetest dogs I’ve known fall into the above categories—and I love ALL dogs!!!

In “general”:  The main difference between guard dogs and watchdogs is each dog’s training. … In other words, watchdogs are trained to alert their owners of intruders, while guard dogs are trained to both alert their owners and neutralize the threat.

Let me also add a personal story to demonstrate the difference:

I have a dog show colleague that owned one the above breeds. She was a great mentor and owned eleven of this same breed while I knew her. I would visit often and enjoy the difference between them and Labradors and wonder at the immense amount of grooming and care they took.

Two years after meeting her (and dozens of visits to her home later) she announced that I was the first person to enter her home that her dogs didn’t try to kill!!

THANKS A LOT—friend????

I would literally walk in and pet them and talk to them like Labradors. In truth, if I had not acted this way, they may have smelled fear and turned. Who knows? (I have big angels, I know, so I’m sure they had something to do with it!) I never went back again.

  There is a REASON the Labrador Retriever has been the #1 dog in the US for over 20 years now. Its because it carries the benefits of guarding and watching over your family, home, and property, but you don’t have to worry about them turning on a child, a stranger—or you—if they are bred properly to reflect the AKC Breed Standard for the Labrador Retriever. So if you are worried your Lab is not “protective enough” say a short prayer of thanks, but also remember, that instinct DOES kick in if someone tries to REALLY, seriously hurt you. I’ve only seen Labradors “react” in these situations—but they do so with less force (a warning growl or two maybe) then body signals, then perhaps at the most a bite (or nip). I’ve never heard of a Labrador mauling a person or child—ever, if bred, trained, and raised in a healthy, secure environment.

My labs are “watch dogs” in that they always alert me if there is a new car or person in my yard or at my door. They stand beside me—not growling—but they are “there” should I need them. Many times I’ll let them crowd the door as a show of force even though I know they’d never do a thing—but hey—I don’t know who you are, stranger, and I may be alone at home, right?

People don’t want to worry about the children around a dog–so Labradors are highly favored for this.

In closing, I must say, I also only observed a Labrador “nip” ever so slightly at the sight of another dog (its pal) being disciplined, one time. Now this was way back when corporal punishment was still used on children. So I guess you could say “Dog knew Best???” I’ll let you decide. And for more training for your Labrador, search for a good animal behaviorist who has many years of experience with a large variety of breeds.

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