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Find the best farm watchdog with these training tips and advice | By Barbara Pleasant, Mother Earth News

Washington Co., WI – Finding the best guard dog can be valuable in providing protection for your home and family. My home security system is large and black — and she pants when it’s hot and sheds hair every spring. In return for regular feeding, periodic veterinary care, and grooming, I get a beloved companion pet that barks loudly when any strange vehicle enters my driveway. My dog also chases opossums from my deck and rabbits from my garden. But mostly, my watchdog makes me feel safe.
A diligent border collie keeps lookout over a homestead in Lawrence, Kan.

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I am not operating under an illusion: According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 16 percent of American households were victims of property crime in 2003. Especially in rural areas, the theft pattern goes like this: Thieves make a quick visit to a house or farm to check for security, then return later to take what they want. But a barking dog often turns off potential burglars at the scouting phase.

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It’s no surprise that, of the 68 million pet canines in the United States, most are expected to perform some kind of guard duty. Guard dogs look, listen and bark to sound the alert that something unusual is happening in their territory. After that, humans take over.

IMAGE: BRYAN WELCH Watchdogs don’t have to be large, imposing breeds — almost any dog can be trained to signal something suspicious. The Rottweiler mix above has a loud bark and a friendly smile.

Dogs have performed this duty for thousands of years. In Tibet, the little Lhasa apso, called the “bark lion sentinel dog,” was bred to work as an indoor watchdog. In Belgium, schipperkes earned the nickname “little captain of the boat” because of their work as ship guard dogs.

Click HERE to read more about finding the best farm watchdog with training tips and advice on guard dog breeds.

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