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how good/bad is you're border collie as a watch/guard dog?


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Mine are more alarmists than anything. Of my three, if someone were to try to come up to them or me, one would run for the hills, one would welcome them, and the third could react poorly.

 

We live in a pretty quiet neighborhood. All the neighbors here know we have dogs, the UPS, Fed Ex and USPS drivers too. Rarely do we get unannounced visitors. Tex was out in the front yard with me and my husband one evening. We were on different sides of the house and Tex was going back and forth 'supervising'. While he was with my husband, a salesman pulled up, got out of the car and started walking towards me. Seemed friendly enough. Then Tex rounded the corner of the house. Not racing, but moving steady and quiet. I smiled at the guy and said "Stop now. Do not move" and walked toward Tex. I took his collar with a "hey buddy" and he was fine. I think we all got very lucky that night. I kept my cool. The salesman listened. And my dog trusted me. But it could have gone very badly.

 

My neighbor's GSD is a great watchdog. Molly just gives a look that says "Really? I wouldn't come closer if I were you." That's generally enough of a deterrent. If pressed she'll get up and bark. I don't think she'd bite a fly though. She thinks she's a lapdog.

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Guard dog? Not so much. Watch dog? Somewhat. Alerts me to odd sounds he feels are worth investigating. He's more of a one off woofer. He gives the odd woof now and then. Which is usually the neighbour getting home from work. His car door slamming. I've come to ignore the woof. 99.9% of the time. When it's a solid bark. I know it's time to go look for his source of concern. A small part of me sometimes wishes he would give me a bark warning that someone is at the door knocking. But then I realize. The crazed barking would drive me insane. So I appreciate his lack of door concern. Most of the time.

 

Truthfully. I think if someone broke in. He'd run for a toy. Try to get in a good game of fetch before they make away with the tv. He's maybe a little too rexlaxed for his own good. It's a catch 22.

 

Love him regardless though.

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My old BC had a special sense about people. Normally he was very friendly. However, I had a older, gray haired,

neighbor he growled at one day when our paths crossed. This was very strange behavior for Choco. Later we had some evidence that someone had been hanging around outside one of our windows. I called the police dispatch and said I had no reason to suspect my neighbor other than my dog growled at him. They ran the neighbors name and told me to trust my dog and keep my windows locked. The guy had quite the rap sheet, including trespassing. One other time when I was walking Choco, he kept turning around and growling at a guy about 1/2 a block behind us. I finally rounded a corner and stood behind a small apartment building out of sight. After a while, when I peeked out, the man was just standing on the sidewalk looking around (for us?). I waited until he moved on and took a different route home. On the other hand, Choco would have eagerly greeted any 5 year old thief, I am sure. He absolutely loved kids.

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Bonnie-if anyone walks onto the property all of our dogs bark. Sometimes Bonnie will also bark if somebody drives in. Guard dog? Big, fat no. When she barks, anybody with eyes can see she's scared out of her pants. She's cringing, and if they begin walking up to her, she runs, barking over her shoulder as she goes.

 

Duke-wonderful watch dog. Our dogs only occasionally bark when a vehicle comes and I don't know what triggers barking at some and not others. But if the person gets out of an unknown vehicle, he's barks, then begins growling, and circling them on a crouch until I call him away. At my sister's house last winter, the UPS guy parked on the street and walked up the drive. Duke had him backing back down the drive before I came out of the house called him away.

Three days ago, somebody was coming to buy a goat, but they didn't say what time. I left to go get some fruit and he called before I was a mile down the road, saying he'd arrived. Turned around and went back, and Duke had the guy standing at attention with his back to a post in the hay barn. As soon as I called him to me, then went up and greeted the man, Duke was fine and begging for pets etc. I really liked that-fierce but settle down when I tell him it's alright.

He is fine with the UPS and FEDX guys, dumpster guy, etc. but let and unknown vehicle roll in when nobody's outside to tell him it's okay and he ain't letting them past. However, I'd like to know what would happen if the person either said, "Oh,cute little puppy, come here and get a treat" or threatened him and chased him. Would he hold his ground? I kind of doubt it.

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I think I'd rather have a dog who would bark and then run. I mean, maybe if we're both cornered and can't get away, or if the dog runs and I can't follow, I'd be happy to have them stand their ground. But a dog who runs and barks will both raise the alarm and not get hurt.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Misty was not a guard or watch dog by any stretch of imagination , but Happy? I would literally trust my life to her, she's a "meh" watch dog but as a guard dog? if someone or something tried to hurt anyone in her family she will and has stepped up without hesitation to protect. example: one walk a loose dog tried to attack my pack, Happy did nothing till it made a move, then she flew in between the dog and my pack had a go at the dog till it ran away. if workers come to my house, Happy will follow them everywhere and just lay nearby and watch, she wont make any move unless they try anything. someone tried having a go at my brother once while Happy was around, that person never got a chance to lay a hand on my brother, she didn't bite but didn't need too. growing up if I needed to walk anywhere my myself at night, I ALWAYS took Happy along, she was my personal guard. even now and nearly 15 years old, if I want protection somewhere, Happy comes with me.

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  • 5 months later...

Molly is actually really good about not barking at everything. She does, however, not necessarily find the same things worthy of alert as I do. Like someone at the door she may or may not bother barking at - but 'the neighbor got a new boat' is totally worth telling me about (she'd never seen a boat and it was just THERE, clearly I needed to know aliens were invading)

Crack me up

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Tess is very good at letting me know there are bad guys around. I trust her judgement.

As a guard dog, I don't know. We do bite work and she's fearless, not bothered by whip or ratling bottles. The few times we did defense work she imediatly diferentiates it from biting tug or sleeve, and turns into a snarling lunging devil. I have noticed that, although she does have the bc sensitivity, when she's aroused she forgets about being sensitive and gets down to business, so I kind of think if the need ever arises she might just rise to the chalenge and go after the bad guy, for real.

Bite work? As in Schutzhund? That I'd like to see. Or is there more to herding than I know. I've only ever had gsd's so when I see "bite work" I'm thinking schutz. Enlighten me please if so inclined.

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For us it's just a game we play sometimes. Where we train there's a lot of gsd's and they do a bit of bite work at the end of most classes. I always thought "that's the one thing a bc won't like to do", but it turned out Tess has great fun. We just do basic stuff and she sure doesn't have a malinois or gsd impact, but she has a good bite and doesn't let go and is quite entusiastic. For her I think it's basically an extension of tug, which is a game she loves. Not much prey drive, lots of play drive. Although I've seen her go into "defense" mood if the situation is presented more in a threatning than playfull way, I'm always carefull about not pressuring her as she's not exactly Schutzhund material, and the real value for her is just developing her self confidence and we having fun together.

 

I see a fundamental diference between her and the gsd's. Many working line gsd's will turn the "on" button as soon as they understand there's some bite work in the horizon, and they just want to bite. Tess needs to be enticed and aroused, she needs the person who is working her to be really into it and to make things fun and exciting, otherwise she may loose interest. She really needs to feel the game is ON.

 

I have heard of bc's doing Schutzhund though.

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NOTHING moves on this farm without one of the five making alarm. Meg (youngest ) and Xena (eldest bitch) are especially prone to making alarm. So I guess they are excellent watch dogs. Guard dogs? I don't know, I would not rely on them to protect me in an emergency, but recently a few incidences happened that has people thinking twice about just entereing our yard. A friend of my dad's a mechanic from town one afternoon just stopped by and entered the yard, dad and me was in the kitchen and when I went to investigate the hullabaloo that had broken out outside, the guy was doing a dance trying to avoid four pairs of snapping jaws. He has since taken to stopping outside the yard gate and hooting to draw attention. It's a farm, there are no bell or anything at the gate.

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I looked up some video last night- one dog was very cute, looked like she was herding sheeple doing blinds, another looked like he was hanging on tight.

Do you have any pics? I think even for gsd's it's often just an extension of tug-but then, they tug with attitude.

I'm only asking because a schutzhund club just popped up 10 minutes away. Ironic that now that I have no gsd for the 1st time ever I get easy access to schutz. ;-(

 

For us it's just a game we play sometimes. Where we train there's a lot of gsd's and they do a bit of bite work at the end of most classes. I always thought "that's the one thing a bc won't like to do", but it turned out Tess has great fun. We just do basic stuff and she sure doesn't have a malinois or gsd impact, but she has a good bite and doesn't let go and is quite entusiastic. For her I think it's basically an extension of tug, which is a game she loves. Not much prey drive, lots of play drive. Although I've seen her go into "defense" mood if the situation is presented more in a threatning than playfull way, I'm always carefull about not pressuring her as she's not exactly Schutzhund material, and the real value for her is just developing her self confidence and we having fun together.

 

I see a fundamental diference between her and the gsd's. Many working line gsd's will turn the "on" button as soon as they understand there's some bite work in the horizon, and they just want to bite. Tess needs to be enticed and aroused, she needs the person who is working her to be really into it and to make things fun and exciting, otherwise she may loose interest. She really needs to feel the game is ON.

 

I have heard of bc's doing Schutzhund though.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Similar here...decent watch dogs. Juno, the one year old, barks at the wind or anything else for that matter. Tio only pipes up twice a day at the noon and 5pm neighborhood chime... Watch dogs...? Don't think so. We go walking in the bush and if there is a noise or rustling they ....BOLT,,,, in the opposite direction. Wimps.

 

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Twitch normally barks at anyone that comes up the driveway.

 

Never thought of him as a guard dog till last deer season. I left early on a cold morning to go hunting, around 11 ish I headed home. When I got home the wife was in the shower, I was completely covered head to toe (and my face). Opened the front door, his bark turned into a growl, hackles went up and I had a pissed off dog with big teeth charging at me, yelled out his name and he stopped in his tracks and looked at me kinda funny, pulled down the face mask and got nothing but tail wags and licks. Im sure had I not said anything though Id have gotten bit. Def feel a bit safer when I have to leave the wife at home...

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  • 2 years later...

Now that Zara is 4 she will bark and be a guard dog against ANY animal! But if it’s a human she doesn’t care might lick it to death! And isn’t interested in other dogs apart from my Doberman who’s best buds 

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Not mine. She will bark at anything she sees or hears that she finds suspicious, but if she sees that it's a person, she will wiggle up to them, wagging her whole body, and want to be petted. If anybody tried to break into the house, she would bark at first, then upon seeing that it was a person, she'd want to be their best friend. Honestly I think that if a person or animal started attacking me, she would run.

That's fine by me. If I wanted a weapon then I would have gotten a weapon not a dog. I wouldn't ask my best friend to risk her life for me, I'd rather she run and save herself. Some would say that's a stupid or unrealistic way of thinking but that's how I feel. It is what it is. 

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4 hours ago, Baderpadordercollie said:

if she sees that it's a person, she will wiggle up to them, wagging her whole body, and want to be petted. If anybody tried to break into the house, she would bark at first, then upon seeing that it was a person, she'd want to be their best friend.

Yup........thats my Taffy. I call her wiggle butt. She loves people, especially women. 

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Yes.......when I take her into a place with a lot of people they can't help but want to pet her. They think she is so cute wiggling all over for attention. And your right it is adorable to watch her. 

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Mancer barks at any outside noises or movement. Often I have no idea what she is even barking at. There have been two instances where she has barked at guys trying to pet her who she just apparently didn't like for some reason. But she was backing away from them as she barked, as opposed to being in attack mode. Not sure if she would try protect if needed, but I tend to doubt it because she's only 29 lbs and generally submissive. Plus as others mentioned it wouldn't be genetically expected of her.

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My mother's dog is very protective of the car for some reason. If we're loading or unloading the car we really have to watch her, because she won't let anyone near the car. She will pin them to a fence and not let them move. 

My dog, Molly,  absolutely loves people. She won't take any shit though from dogs that attack her or other pack members and I think that might extend to people attacking the pack or her people. Luckily I have never had anything happen to test it. :) 

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I think it's hard to predict how good a watch dog any dog will be until it's put into the situation where it thinks it needs to take action.

As a kid growing up, our two Border collies were the sweetest, most submissive dogs on earth. Until once, a workman coming into our back yard opened the gate, knocking my youngest brother (a toddler at the time) over. That sweet little Border collie immediately went for him. Fortunately someone was nearby to call him off. 

When I was in grad school, I would have sworn that my Border collie at the time would have been the sort to help the burglar. Until one night, some friends of one of my roommate arrived in the middle of the night for a visit. Not wanting to wake anyone up, they tried to creep into the house in the dark. I'd forgotten Chris had friends coming, so I hadn't locked Molly up in my bedroom. So the household was roused in the wee hours by the most ferocious volley of barks. I got up only to find these two guests, cowering in the corner to which they'd been pinned by this furious dog.

As far as random barking (or alert barking), I have trained most of my dogs not to bark without reason. (It hasn't worked with the one I acquired as an adult). In fact one set of former neighbors asked whether I'd had Duncan "debarked", because he liked to watch them garden through the fence, but never made a sound. They will bark when someone is coming (or if they *think* they hear someone coming, or if they hear a car or a dog barking on a movie I'm watching). But they'll stop if I tell them "thank you" and have them lie down. Ross does have a special command: "watchdog!", which causes him to bark furiously. He enjoys it so much that he'll listen and pick the word "watch" out of conversations I'm having with my spouse, just so that he can have the pleasure of exercising his voice. The person I train with suggested I use "watch" as a command while training my dogs to shed. Um, no, that didn't work while shedding with one dog while Ross was watching from the sidelines - he'd start to bark furiously, breaking my concentration and ruining the shed. We now use "Ready" to convey that I'm trying to set up a shed.

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10 minutes ago, Alchemist said:

I think it's hard to predict how good a watch dog any dog will be until it's put into the situation where it thinks it needs to take action.

As someone pointed out before, there's a difference between a watch dog and a guard dog. All watch dogs really do is bark and alert, therefore pretty easy to tell if a dog's a good watch dog -- or an overly good one that actually just barks at any- and everything. I've got one of those and I actually don't think she's a good watch dog because I can never really tell if someone or something's approaching or she's reacting to the neighbors or sometimes I swear it's figments of her imagination. :rolleyes:

But she's too much of a scaredy-cat and actually too friendly to people to be any kind of a guard dog. Guard dogs are supposed to be protective and territorial, not simply to alert.

 

 

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2 hours ago, Alchemist said:

 Ross does have a special command: "watchdog!", which causes him to bark furiously. He enjoys it so much that he'll listen and pick the word "watch" out of conversations I'm having with my spouse, just so that he can have the pleasure of exercising his voice. 

"Speak" is one of Brèagha's favorite tricks. Then there's "talk to me" which is the cue for her to do her growly talk. I heard recently that if a dog barks while they're doing tricks, that means you're pushing then too hard and they're stressed. I don't think that's true of Bree, as she seems to enjoy barking, and barks when she is happy and excited as well. All of her tricks that involve running and jumping, it's bark, bark, bark the whole time she's doing them. I don't push her. That's just how she is when she's excited; she never shuts up. ;)

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5 hours ago, GentleLake said:

As someone pointed out before, there's a difference between a watch dog and a guard dog. All watch dogs really do is bark and alert, therefore pretty easy to tell if a dog's a good watch dog -- or an overly good one that actually just barks at any- and everything.

Yes, this. I want an alert dog, which I have in Hannah; a guard dog is not necessary.

Jan does not bark when she hears something unusual outside, but she will stand up in bed (yes I let my dogs sleep in my bed) and listen if she hears something close to the house (the latest of which was a fox in ‘her’ backyard). 

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