For a dog, to protect the family and home is instinctual.
When your dog starts barking, there’s a reason. Their hearing capabilities far exceed ours. When they bark, they’ve heard something out of the ordinary. It could be something as innocent as a strong wind, or children playing outside. Dogs have different types of barks, and we've had them long enough that I’m attuned to the different sounds they make. For instance, when my wife comes home from work, the sound of their bark conveys excitement and joy.
One night brought a bark that I haven’t heard from them before. It was aggressive and fearful and they started running around the house. My two dogs were barking for approximately 90 seconds and they abruptly stopped. They stood frozen in the living room for about 10 seconds. That’s when we heard a very loud, forceful sound at the front door. The dogs resumed their bark as someone attempted to kick in the door. By my recollection, after four failed attempts, the perpetrator fled and there was silence again. My wife was, of course, quite shaken following the incident. We went around the house to ensure all doors and windows were secure.
Once we made sure everything was locked up tight, I was able to persuade my wife to go to bed and try to get some sleep. Everything was quiet until about 3:30 AM. My dog suddenly perked his head up. He was quiet and alert. He didn’t make a sound. He started glancing back and forth between me and the front door. When I reached the door, I listened intently. There was a rustling sound. I very quickly opened the door. That scared the would-be burglar and he took off through the field across the street. There hasn’t been any suspicious activity since.
My dogs used two different forms of communication that night to let me know that something was wrong. Their animal instincts were able to pick-up on a threat before a glass break or motion sensor would have caught it, giving my wife and I more time to be on alert. They let us know that something was amiss, and their barks gave warning to the would-be intruders.
However, there are limits to how well our dogs can protect the family homestead. They can't call 911 if an intruder actually breaks-in and they could actually end up in harms way if they came face-to-face with a burglar.
Your pets are part of the family. In most cases, there’s nothing they wouldn’t do to protect their home and the people they love. We should return the favor to them by making sure they are protected when you are not home. Check out this video blog on pet safety for some great tips on ways to keep your furry friends safe while you are away.