Home security is something that everyone thinks about on occasion. It seems like there are crimes reported every morning, often involving home invasion. And the idea of a big, burly protection dog might sound like a great solution.
But finding one that will not only protect but also be safe around family and friends can be a tall order. Indiscriminate breeding, bad training, poor environment or uneducated/unprepared owners can turn these wonderful animals into truly dangerous beasts.
Factor in the media coverage when one breed of dogs bites a human (though thousands of dog bites occur every year without the media blitz), and the population of an entire breed unfairly can be labeled unsafe. Just look at the poor pit bull.
There are several things to consider before buying one of the "dangerous" breeds.
(I put dangerous in quotes because I find the label inaccurate, ignorant, discriminatory and akin to human profiling).
First, are you truly prepared to own one of these breeds? Stigmas aside, they were originally bred to have protection as one of their jobs. This means that they tend to be more dominant, intelligent and have higher levels of aggression. Plan on doing a fair amount of training with one so that you have a well-mannered, safe and obedient companion.
Second, you will have to check your homeowner's or renter's policy to see if they will allow you to own one of these breeds.
Third, any dog is a deterrent to bad guys, even the mighty Chihuahua! The Chi can't do much physical damage, but he will raise a ruckus that will wake everyone nearby. Criminals don't like that.
Lastly, don't look for a mean dog. Rescues are full of poor souls whose owners tried to make them mean and tough, only to find out that the dog didn't differentiate between bad guys and the family or you in the middle of the night.
Choose a dog that fits in with the family, regardless of the breed. Give it tons of love, and your safety will increase exponentially.
Jim Beinlich and his wife, Bianca, own Cool K9's Dog Training in Colorado Springs. Find them at www.coolk9s.com or www.facebook.com/coolk9s.