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Hi, my samoyed/springer cross is 4 months old now and I've been playing with the idea of training her as a watchdog. Mainly because there have been a lot of violent break-ins in my area and as I live on my own with my 3 year old I'd like to have some sort of warning that someone is up to something they shouldn't! I live in a rented house so getting an alarm system installed isn't really an option so I was wondering would it be possible to train Freckles as a watchdog?
She is starting to get very vocal in the last few weeks, she doesn't bark at everything but does bark when excited and wants to play. Has barked a few times at people passing when out on walks, not in an aggressive kind of way but more in a "hey! look at me! i want to play with you!" sort of way.lol.
Is she too young to consider training her as a watchdog and if she isn't how would I go about it? How do I encourage her to bark when a stranger is at the door?
 

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I think you'll find that a lot of that is instinctual, and your dog won't need much 'training' to watch out for you. Our puppy is very friendly to people outside, but she naturally barks and growls at my husband when he opens the door without announcing his presence. As soon as she knows it's him, she settles right down. When there is a threat, or something amiss, your dog will probably sense the difference and be there where you need her.
 

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Well, wirth our dogs it was as simple as rewarding when they barked at strange vehicles on the property (we have a large farm). They'll stop barking once we ask them. We also live in the country so it's not that desterbing for others if our dogs bark. For you it might be another story if your close to other people..ect... It seems kind of going agains't training too, but if you want simply reward your dog if someone knocks on the door - problem is this can get anoying really fast. Also it's not the best idea to teach a dog to bark at people, because they might get confused..ect.. Our dogs alarm only to cars and not people - which is a bit different, and they also stop barking once they recognize the car. I don't know what else to tell you - you could look into schutzhund training, and find a good trainer and work with them - however I believe 4 months is too young for that. Honestly thee best thing is to get home security..ect... talk to your landlord...ect..
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. She's vocal anyway, it's the sammie in her!lol. I live in a detached house though so it's doesn't seem to bother the neighbours. There are a lot of dogs in the area, and some who seem to bark at everything that moves so I don't think it would be a problem. I don't leave her outside on her own either (dogs being robbed is on the rise here as well) She knows the "quiet" command, I made sure to teach it early as I know sammies can be very vocal. Personally though I don't mind her making noise though, I wouldn't have gotten a sammie cross if I did!lol. I kind of do want her to bark when people knock on the door because some of the stories of what has happened in the area are quite scary, my friends elderly mother was nearly stabbed the other night and someone else was tied up in their own house. As she has a very loud bark I kind of hope that the sound of her would make someone wary of trying to break into the house.
I don't expect her to be guarddog at all, she'd sooner lick someone to death than she would attack them! But would like to think her barking would ward any unwanted visitors away and she would be able to alert me if someone is trying to get in the front or back door during the night or something. I don't really know much about watchdogs though so I suppose what I was really wondering is there a way to train her just to bark at strangers at the door or the sound of someone trying to break in instead of barking at every single noise that is heard! Or to not bark at letters coming through the door and that sort of thing. I'm home all day most days so it wouldn't be a case of her sitting in the house on her own barking at everything and driving the neighbours nuts.
I wish asking the landlord to install an alarm system was an option but even getting him to fix the broken side gate a while ago was a nightmare cos he didn't want to spend the money needed to fix it!
 

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You could train her to bark when someone comes to the door. It would involve some help, having someone knock on the door, you encourage her to bark, either through a speak command or what you may have in place. It should only be a matter of time in associating someone knocking on the door as a command to bark. Once the association is made, work on isolating it to people she doesn't know. The sound of her barking could very well be a deterrent to someone going to break in.
 

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thanks hyamin. havn't taught her the speak command but will start teaching her that and then start working on the knocking on the door once she has that. just got so paranoid when i heard about all the break ins and the fact that they are happening when people are home! never intended for her to be a watchdog or anything when i got her but just thought it might be a good idea with all this going on.
 

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You could train her to bark when someone comes to the door. It would involve some help, having someone knock on the door, you encourage her to bark, either through a speak command or what you may have in place. It should only be a matter of time in associating someone knocking on the door as a command to bark. Once the association is made, work on isolating it to people she doesn't know. The sound of her barking could very well be a deterrent to someone going to break in.
This was good advice in my opinion. :thumbsup:

With my dogs I work a LOT on the 'Go Look' command. Around the home or at work sometimes I will pretend to hear a noise and tell the dogs to 'Go Look'. (Dogs can pick up on body language - 'Pretending' to hear something can easily get them to listening for it as well...)

When I use the 'Go Look' command inside my dogs will run to the nearest windows and start looking. When outside at home they will generally make a loop or two around the entire house as part of their 'looking'. At work I usually have to point which direction I want them to go look in (the place is BIG and it would take them a while otherwise).

In my opinion this is the WRONG dog to have as a watchdog. You mentioned 'violent break ins' in your area... What is it that you expect this dog to do if someone kicks your door down? :ponder:

An alarm system IS something you could consider. There are plenty of systems available that do not require much in the way of installation and can easily be taken with you if you move 6 months from now. Many do not even require a landline anymore... These do NOT have to be expensive either... My monthly monitoring is under $13.00 and my system works flawlessly. I did NOT have to sign a contract either. I can cancel my service at any time I wish... We have a five second delay on the door in 'stay' mode and police will be here in less than 5 minutes if the alarm gets tripped... (I know because I have tripped it accidentally a few times in the past) :)

'Some' potential thieves will move on just by seeing the alarm company stickers on your windows and doors... Not worth the trouble to them to find out if you really do have a system installed or not. These stickers cost very little indeed. ;)

Some thieves are going to consider what sort of dog you have first before deciding if your house is going to be easy enough to break in to or not. They might not hesitate to come in the window if they see a 10 lb dog barking at them but they will think about for a minute if they see a 120 lb Great Dane on the other side of the glass... :)

We had a few instances in the past where theives would just walk up to our loading dock at work, load stuff up in their truck and drive off... (Lost several expensive tools that way) Or they would break into our vehicles that were parked near it. :(

This NEVER happens any more. Visitors come to the FRONT door and ring the bell like they should and 'would be' thieves keep on walking... My girls tend to hang out near the loading dock and they can see all of the cars + everything inside the shop. They WILL bark if they see a stranger poking around...

Was working late one weekend night with the girls and had the shop stereo cranked up full blast. (We spent a little more and got a good one. It gets LOUD...) I happened to look up and see the girls 'greeting' the private security guy that happend to be patrolling the lot that night. The guy walked right in the back door and then stopped right there. LOL! He said it was late and that he was just checking to make sure we were not getting broke into... :rolleyes:
 
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