Many people decide to get a dog as a form of protection. A good guard dog can ward off potential intruders and keep you and your family safe. However, not all dogs or dog breeds are cut out for such an important job.
Will a Great Dane protect you? Do they make good guard dogs? Great Danes are one of the most protective dog breeds. They have many qualities of a protective dog, though those qualities don’t always translate to the job of a guard dog. Some of their protective qualities include:
- Their appearance
- Their patience
- Their personality
- Their activity level
A Great Dane is one of the best dog breeds you can choose if you want a protective pet. However, protective dogs aren’t necessarily the same thing as guard dogs.
A protective guard dog can become part of the family, while a guard dog may not feel comfortable with the same amount of socialization.
The Protective Dog
While many people want a dog for companionship, dogs can provide much more than that. Of course, dogs are man’s best friend, so many dogs will become a friend or even part of the family.
However, some dogs can also protect you and your family.
If you want a protective dog, a Great Dane is an excellent choice. They have many great qualities that you would expect from a protective pet.
Great Danes are big, so they can scare off strangers. However, they’re gentle enough for families with kids.
Great Danes and You
Owning any dog is a commitment. You have to feed your dog, give them enough exercise, and give them a space to live. Now, that doesn’t mean your dog shouldn’t give you something in return.
While your dog may not be able to speak, they can show their love in other ways. One way they can do that is by giving you some peace of mind or by making you feel safe. While Great Danes are typically patient and gentle, they can be protective when they need to.
A Great Dane’s characteristics are what make the breed an excellent option for a family guard dog. Even the gentlest Great Dane can scare off people who may try to invade your home or harm you or your family.
There’s much more to Great Danes than meets the eye. You can click here to learn more about how Great Danes can protect their humans.
Most of us know that Great Danes are large. Indeed, they’re one of the largest dog breeds. Adult Great Danes can weigh anywhere from 110 to 175 pounds, and they can stand anywhere from 30 to 34 inches tall.
It can be hard, if not impossible, to ignore a dog that size!
Great Danes have long bodies, and they’re often very muscular-looking. While not as heavily muscled as some breeds, their lean body composition enhances the appearance of their musculature.
The color of these dogs can also vary, which can give them an even more unique appearance.
- Brown is a common color for Great Danes, but it’s not the only color.
- You might see a black or blue Great Dane.
- Some of these dogs even have a fawn or brindle coloring.
- Other Great Danes even have harlequin or mantle coats.
Depending on the coat color of a Great Dane, it can make them even more intimidating to strangers. Couple that with their large size, and you have yourself a huge dog that strangers won’t want to mess with.
The American Kennel Club has a great profile on the Great Dane.
Despite the Great Dane’s large size, this dog breed is surprisingly friendly. Great Danes can be very patient and calm, and they’re great for families with children and other pets. Of course, you don’t want a guard dog to be too calm or patient.
Even with their calm temperament, Great Danes can be aggressive when necessary. If your dog senses someone is trying to harm you, they will do what they can to protect you and your family from the person or situation.
While Great Danes are normally patient and calm, you definitely don’t want to mess with this breed.
If you train your Great Dane correctly, you can rely on them to be calm on a normal day. When something bad happens, your dog can jump into action and be the protection you need.
In fact, one of the breeding purposes of Great Danes is to protect. These working dogs can be your at-home guardian. What’s more, they’re easy to train.
Along with their patience, Great Danes are playful. These dogs love getting attention, and they fit in well in larger families. Great Danes also love being social, which makes them a great dog for any household.
They love being people-pleasers, and they can make new friends easily. However, you shouldn’t treat their friendliness as just that. After all, Great Danes are huge, so they’re big enough to tackle an opponent.
Great Danes are easy enough to live with, and they surprisingly make great dogs for people who live in cities. They don’t bark much, and they don’t usually snore either.
However, these dogs do require a bit of extra care, especially if you want them to do their best to protect you.
Their Activity Level
Any dog needs some amount of physical activity. However, the bigger the dog, the less activity that they typically require. Early in their life, Great Dane puppies will have more energy and require more activity, but this will subside as they grow older.
A Great Dane of any age can benefit from regular walks to keep their bodies healthy and in good shape. While the Great Dane is an excellent protective dog, they are prone to health problems that can impact their lives.
If a Great Dane suffers from, say bone problems, they won’t be as active. That means they won’t be able to be as protective of you as they once were.
So be sure to keep your dog as active as you can while they’re young and so that you can minimize their risk of developing such issues.
Interested in learning more specifics about having a Great Dane? If so, please make sure to consider my book “The Great Dane Puppy Handbook“.
What Is a Guard Dog?
In the most basic sense of the term, a guard dog is a dog who works to guard something. That could be a home, an office building, or any other area that you want to keep secure. However, different places require slightly different types of guard dogs.
Wherever a guard dog works, they work to protect their territory. If they sense an intruder, they will attack. It doesn’t matter who the person is or what they’re doing.
In many cases, guard dogs don’t receive much socialization. As such, Great Danes don’t typically become guard dogs. Since Great Danes are usually very calm, people tend to choose more aggressive breeds to do the work of a guard dog.
Most guard dogs use their instinct to determine how to react to various situations. On the other hand, Great Danes are very social, and they love being around people. That doesn’t make for the best guard dog.
Guard Dog Traits
As with any working dog, there are some traits that you’ll see among many guard dogs. While it’s not a requirement for a guard dog to have these traits, it certainly helps the training process.
If a dog already has these traits, it will also make working as a guard dog easier for them and the trainers.
- Most good guard dogs need to be aggressive to some degree. While they can also be calm, guard dogs need to know when to be aggressive.
- A guard dog should also be relatively alert. They should be able to notice when humans or other animals are approaching them.
- When they’re approached, they should have a confident stance. A dog who cowers or runs away won’t make a good guard dog.
- Guard dogs should remain calm when interacting with humans they know as well as with other friendly dogs. In this way, Great Danes could make good guard dogs.
- A good guard dog is also dominant. Guard dogs need to protect their territory, so they should be able to hold their ground when a human or other dog challenges them.
- Another important trait of a guard dog is loyalty. Especially for home guard dogs, they should be loyal to their people to the point where they want to protect their homes and owners.
Great Danes have some of the requirements of a good guard dog. They can be alert, are calm around their owners. and loyal. However, Great Danes aren’t as aggressive as other breeds.
What Is a Watchdog?
Compared to a guard dog, a watchdog is less aggressive. Almost any dog can be a watchdog, even if they don’t have the qualities of a guard dog. A watchdog watches over their home, and you might call them a family guard dog.
These dogs protect the home and their owners, and they can alert their owners to potential threats. While Great Danes may not attack strangers, their size can be enough to protect you in a home environment.
Watchdogs provide security to your home, and they can be an excellent alternative to alarm systems. Your dog can bark to alert you of something suspicious. And since Great Danes don’t often bark, their bark can be even more startling to both you and a potential intruder.
A watchdog has many of the same traits as a guard dog, but they should be good around people and families. These dogs should be just as loyal and confident as guard dogs.
However, they shouldn’t be as aggressive, nor should they attack any random person.
When it comes to Great Danes, they have the size and appearance to be intimidating. If someone sees a Great Dane, they may be scared by the sight of the dog. They may not realize that your dog is quite patient and calm.
Still, when it comes to a watchdog, their appearance can be enough. But if it’s not enough to scare someone off, most Great Danes do know when it’s time to bring out their aggressive side. They can quickly protect their territory and their owners.
Training a Great Dane to Be a Guard Dog
Just because Great Danes don’t have all the traits of a guard dog doesn’t mean they can’t train to become one. With the right training, you can teach your Great Dane to develop some of the skills they need to be a good guard dog.
Of course, they already make great guard dogs for your home, but you can still use training to further those skills and instincts.
Depending on where you live, you can use a few different methods to train your dogs. You can test out a few methods to see which works best for you and your dog. No matter which method you choose, you want to emphasize your dog’s size rather than their calm demeanor.
Within a couple of months, your dog should be ready to be the best guard dog it can be. You can check out this link for more information on how to train your Great Dane to be a guard dog.
Show the Ropes
Whether you have a yard or not, start the training process by showing your dog the boundaries of your home. These are the boundaries of their territory, so they should know them well.
The better your dog knows their territory, the better they will be at protecting it.
- First thing in the morning, put a leash on your dog and take them outside. Take your dog for a walk around the boundary of your home or yard and let your dog sniff so that they can get to know the area. Repeat this every day through the whole training process.
- In the evening, take your dog out for a walk again. Walk the same path around the boundary of your home. Let your dog focus on the area, just as you would in the morning.
- You should start training your dog as soon as you can. Aside from boundary training, obedience classes can help your dog learn to listen to you.
- As you train your dog, praise them with treats or verbal signs of affection. Whenever you see your dog guard you or your home, give them a treat. That will encourage them to keep doing that.
- Avoid punishing your dog when they do something wrong. That can cause your dog to become too aggressive. Instead, focus on positive reinforcement.
Following these steps will help your dog get acquainted with their territory and what you want them to do in certain situations. Then, they will be better able to protect you when they need to.
Since Great Danes don’t bark that often, this can be a hard method, but it can be worthwhile if you have the patience. Teaching your dog to speak on command can be helpful if you want your dog to be more of a verbal guard dog.
After all, a Great Dane’s bark can be scary enough to ward off strangers!
- Watch your dog for a few days to see what makes them want to bark. Make a note of the triggers so that you can use them later.
- Once you know what triggers your dog to bark, you want to show them that trigger. As you notice your dog starting to bark, tell them to speak, or bark. Use a firm tone.
- Give your dog a treat for barking. Repeat this method for a few minutes each day.
- After a few days or weeks, ask a friend to help. Have your friend approach your dog, and when they get close, tell your dog to bark.
- When your friend gets close enough, they should act scared and run away.
- Every few days, have your dog do this with someone new so that they don’t get used to the same person being the “intruder.”
This method can be tricky, especially once you involve another person. You don’t want to teach your dog that a friend is bad.
Switching up the person can help your dog realize that it’s about the situation rather than the individual.
Combine the Two
As you train your dog, combine their territory with interacting with others. Introducing your dog to others will help them become more confident around strangers, which can help them hold their ground.
You can use verbal commands or visual signals to make your dog bark at strangers.
The boundary training can come in handy when someone approaches since your dog will naturally want to protect their territory.
Great Danes are large, and their size alone can make them intimidating to strangers.
Their loyalty and patience make them good for protecting you and your family from intruders. The right training can further those instincts to make them good guard dogs.
For more information about how to care for a Great Dane, make sure to take a look at my book “The Great Dane Puppy Handbook“.