I bring up the subject because I’ve seen dogs brought up as a useful form of home and personal defense on various survival sites and forums recently; even a recent episode of Doomsday Preppers featured a family that intended to use them for a SHTF purpose, which I think is an even worse idea than for general security, but I’ll get to that later.
Why dogs are not a good idea for your home protection?
I would say the most important reason is that most people tend to overestimate the defensive capabilities and/or aggressiveness of dogs. Certainly, some breeds are more prone to aggression than others. And, yes, many dogs put on a good barking show, but I would think that most dogs just wouldn’t get into the fight when they’re really needed. Of course, there are individual exceptions but, by and large, dogs don’t attack humans.
In addition, to expect that even aggressive dogs would successfully fend off or otherwise dispose of even one intruder (let alone multiple intruders) is asking a lot from a well-domesticated animal.
Another reason I feel that most dogs are not a good home defense option is that most homeowner’s tend to underestimate the ruthlessness and/or cunning of bad guys. I’m sure you’ve heard stories of dogs being poisoned or shot without hesitation. These days, I wouldn’t put anything past a person who is willing to break into your home.
How can dogs be a useful addition to home protection?
I would think there are only two ways: one way is proper training and the other is to utilize the pack mentality.
Honestly, I think that training is the only way to get a dog to be properly aggressive. That is, on command and with the intention of doing harm, but only when you say so. Think police dogs and that’s what you’re aiming for. The other thought is to have more than one good-sized dog and encourage a pack mentality. If at least one of the two dogs is aggressive then the other dog is more likely to attack because of the pack mentality.
Obviously, there are problems with aggressive dogs in the eyes of the law. You wouldn’t want your dogs to attack just anyone at the drop of a hat.
How else might dogs be useful?
Regardless of what breed of dog you have and no matter their size or disposition, most dogs prove to be wonderful early warning systems because of their acute hearing and general ability to sense anything out of the ordinary. I’ll tell you from personal experience, no matter how many times I yell at my own dog to stop barking, he persists–and strangely, so do I. In fact, many smaller breeds may prove to be far more effective early warning systems than most larger breeds… I have no idea why.
What about SHTF/WROL situations?
Another popular belief is that dogs would prove very useful in a long-term SHTF/WROL situation. I firmly believe that the opposite of more likely the case for two major reasons.
First, you’ve got to feed and water them. (Yeah, I know they’re not plants.) Unless you’re well stocked with dog food and plenty of water then your dogs could prove to be more of a burden than not.
Second, they could become a huge OPSEC liability in that, if you’re trying to be stealthy by staying inside at all times and being extremely quiet too, this could prove to be an untenable accomplishment with a dog. While children can be reasoned with to be quiet–even young ones–a dog may bark for no apparent reason and at the most inopportune of times. There are options such as a muzzle but even those are not 100% effective.
Overall, I believe that dogs should be what they are intended for these days: they should be pets; not another weapon in the arsenal.