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Gun or Protection Dog: Best Way to Protect Your Home

— December 11, 2019

It’s better to have both. A protection dog will act as your first line of defense and even if it is not enough to discourage an intruder, the firearm will act as a solid last line of defense.

Safeguarding your home, your family and your valuables is more difficult than ever. With a residential break-in occurring every 13 seconds in the United States, it is important to take necessary precautions against this very real threat.

But what is the best way to protect your home? 

This is a subjective question since the will of the intruder will ultimately determine whether your home is invaded or not. There isn’t much to be done against a burglar hell-bent on getting into your home or one who is willing to risk life, limb, and imprisonment without a second thought.

Still, there are ways you can minimize this frightening risk. Today we will shed some light on a recent home security debate: is it better to buy a gun or a protection dog? 

Let’s go over the pros and cons of both and see how they match up.

In this Corner: Firearms

There are few things more disconcerting than hearing the cocking sound the hammer of a gun makes. It could be all a burglar needs to hear before hightailing it out of your home. In many cases, just the sound of a gun to a burglar’s ears is security enough.

A firearm also provides immediate mobile protection for you and your family. You can have one close by at all times and reach it as soon as you hear an intrusion.

Buying a good firearm for home protection, such as a 12- or 20-gauge shotgun, is also significantly less expensive than a professionally trained protection dog. You can get a shotgun for about $400-$800 while the average price for a protection dog hovers at around $50,000.

There are definitely drawbacks to relying on a gun for protection though. 

For starters:

They typically only offer protection once a burglar is already inside your home. Depending on the state you live in, were you to shoot a suspected burglar outside of your home, there would be legal implications. You may not even be able to carry a firearm outside of your home in the state you live in.

Then there is the legal and moral implication of actually having to fire on an intruder. You may not be prepared to actually shoot someone in your home once the situation presents itself. 

Guns also pose a safety threat to the people in your home. Firearm accidents cause thousands of deaths every year, especially for young children who don’t understand how dangerous a gun can be in untrained hands. 

Lastly, it takes some time to become proficient with a firearm unless you have experience with them already. You’ll have to consider heading the range to learn how to become comfortable handling a gun. 

In this Corner: Protection Dogs

The first and most important advantage that a protection dog has over a firearm is the “deterrent” factor. A protection dog will alert you and the intruder by barking. They will be able to smell and sense a home invader before they get close to your door which may be enough to deter the would-be criminal altogether.

Protection dog Xantos; image courtesy of author.
Protection dog Xantos; image courtesy of author.

Burglars are always looking for the easiest targets. They will pass up a home with a dog that barks in favor of a home without anything that would alert owners to their presence any day of the week. 

This means:

Unless the culprit is incredibly fool-hardy or desperate, a protection dog will likely keep intruders out of your home in the first place.

A dog’s senses are much keener than our own. While it may take minutes for you to register subtle noises as burglary, a trained protection dog will pick up on it in seconds.

The downside to protection dogs as home security agents is that they can be coaxed or even made to sleep. They can be tricked into not barking or worse yet, drugged or knocked out to allow the intruder to enter.

Fully-trained protection dogs are also very expensive as mentioned in the previous section. It simply may not be financially feasible for you to purchase one.

Judges Decision and Concluding Thoughts

Let’s review. Dogs are much more expensive so on the financial front, guns win. Trained protection dogs are safer to have in the house and can keep burglars from getting into the house in the first place. 

Guns can be dangerous and pretty much only offer protection once the burglar is already inside your house. So score a couple for the dogs.

A gun isn’t likely to be incapacitated by the trickery of a burglar so the judges rule in favor of guns on this front. Lastly, protection dogs already come fully trained and there is not as much learning curve as opposed to learning to use a gun.

The final result? It’s better to have both. A protection dog will act as your first line of defense and even if it is not enough to discourage an intruder, the firearm will act as a solid last line of defense.

Dogs do offer more practical advantages, but they can be very expensive. Guns are cheaper but they carry more moral, legal and safety-related baggage. By far the best option, if you can afford it, is to have both. 

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