Guard dog ethics

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Amanda
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Guard dog ethics

Postby Amanda » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:00 am

I am curious what the prevailing opinion here is in regards to guard dogs. Not livestock guardians, but inner city, industrial or junkyard style guard dogs. Is it fair to keep a dog (or dogs) this way? What type of dog would you choose? Are there breeds (more aloof types) or situations (saving from euth vs specific breeding) that would be more ethical to use? What criteria would you set as the minimum of care for such a dog? Should they have a dog partner or is one dog ok? I have a specific situation in mind, but I will save the details until after opinions are shared.

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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby Trademarkbark » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:09 am

In my area, Chow mixes prevail as "junkyard" dogs. Sometimes one, usually two to three, and they seem perfectly content with their life.
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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby Calypso » Fri Mar 06, 2015 11:19 am

I think if the dogs were able to have a good amount of space to move around, had human interaction, and had food and adequate shelter, it's not an awful life. Especially if it is a dog that would have been euthanized. I personally don't see the need to breed dogs who are aloof when people dump their aloof dogs every day - if you're looking for a dog with big teeth who don't want to get to know everyone in sight, there are lots of them in the shelter.

Not sure I can think of a breed in particular, other than maybe akita. Madison is not really a place to have a junk yard dog - or if they are here it's not where I go. I do think the traditional junk yard dogs - pitties, rotties, Dobes - are all dogs who love people so much there is no way they'd be truly happy without having their humans around them for good chunks of time. Akitas obviously like their people, too, but most of the ones I've met are more of the "Well, you're here. No one is dead. I'm gonna go back over here now" type, except for the one person they claimed as theirs.

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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby SherriA » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:00 pm

I hate everything about the whole concept of guard dogs, personally. I hate that they're primarily left alone. I hate that they're encouraged/trained to be aggressive towards people. I hate that they're at serious risk of harm if whatever they're guarding is ever invaded. I hate that anyone thinks it's ever appropriate to use a dog to threaten people.

I know most people disagree with me, but you asked for opinions and that's mine.
Last edited by SherriA on Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby connie » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:02 pm

I know a guy whose dad owns a big shop/warehouse -- I think he sells roofing materials, maybe -- and he's adopted, over the years, a number of stray dogs that were loose in the neighborhood, and kept them as 'guard dogs.' They live in the shop, they get fed, they have company when the shop is open but are confined to a yard so they don't bother the customers, and at night they are outdoors with access to a shed where they have beds. They deter people who might intend to come onto the property after hours: they're big dogs -- lots of Rott mixes found in that area -- and they aren't too fond of people when the shop owner isn't there.

That seems like a decent arrangement to me. The dogs get off the street, they are cared for to a decent standard -- the owner's son, my friend, makes sure of that, he's a dog person -- and they are pretty protective of their property. As Jill said, these are dogs that otherwise would have wound up in the pound, or worse.

I know another guy, a firefighter, who adopts strays in the neighborhood of his firehouse and either makes them firehouse dogs, or keeps them. Right now he has a 2-year old Golden/BC girl who is absolutely fabulous and who I WOULD SO LOVE TO HAVE IN MY GROUP! But he loves her too, she's not going anywhere. :wink:

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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby maxs_mommy » Fri Mar 06, 2015 12:05 pm

I would be very careful to even consider a "guard dog" who guards against people. The liability must be huge. I would want adequate food/ water/ shelter of course and I would not be happy with chained dogs. Contained dogs, yes. No chains. Ever. As for socialization, maybe an aloof dog would fare better than typical "guard dog" breeds who are really likely to bond with humans. Maybe Anatolian Shepherd or Kerry Blue's but those take a lot out of an owner? I would make very sure the dog was trained in protection so it had reliable triggers and commands too.
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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby whiteboxerboy » Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:08 pm

The guy who owns the body shop we take our cars to has classic cars & vintage mint condition Indian motorcycles of his own as well as client cars in for repairs. The shop is in an industrial area & is sketchy. He had a friend offer up his 2 Dobes for overnights when there were lots of break-ins happening (he lives upstairs from the shop) and sadly, the dogs were both shot. And the bad guys still broke in. :(
This is coming from the girl who doesn't leave her dogs outside unattended. If a junkie needs their fix I just don't think they'd be bothered by killing a dog if necessary.
If someone was to have shop dogs, I think there should be at least two dogs. And I think the most important thing would be that they get more than enough time with their humans EVERY DAY, including days the shop is closed/holidays.
Mostly, I'm not down with shop dogs, though. Sorry. My opinion is ditto what Sherri said.

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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby UpwardDog » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:06 pm

I think the devil is in the details. A chained , lone dog is probably not something I would ever feel ok with. Two dogs of breeds that are more independent and who get well cared for and good interactions with people by day and are just basically sleeping comfortably in a climate controlled environment and their purpose is to bark if someone were to break in, maybe. I think an alarm system makes a lot more sense though.

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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby QBert » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:20 pm

I've seen it done awfully and I've seen it done.... ok-ish... and even the best of them leave me a little sad sometimes, but all but the awful ones have lives much much better than many dogs I know who live in homes with their families and whose owners will tell you at great length how much they wuv ther little furkids and how spoiled they are.

I would never even consider a Kerry Blue or Dobe, personally - but then I've known two GSDs who were very happy and well-rounded dogs who were on their own about 12 hours overnight every night, and I wouldn't have considered a GSD a great choice for that scenario, so what do I know.

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Amanda
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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby Amanda » Sat Mar 07, 2015 2:29 pm

The scenario I was faced with is my stepdad owns a relatively large business in LA. He has talked for a long time about having a guard dog on the premises of his warehouse and I've always discouraged it. It's not really a great life for a dog. All concrete and no family time. He recently moved warehouses and the new one is already outfitted with a decent kennel run. I don't think that was its original purpose, but it works for this purpose. An employee of his gave him their ~1 year old male shepherd mix. He is highly territorial (vicious was the word used) and the man was worried he would bite a child (his own or a friends').

Capitan recently made the move to the warehouse and he is living in a pretty large enclosure with shade, and a sizable dog house. His other option was to be dropped at the shelter. He does bark rather menacingly at unknown men. He didn't seem to react much to me, but I was throwing calming signals and hotdogs, so I think he wasn't as triggered. My stepdad asked me to come evaluate him because so far he only responds to one employee who is a friend of his original owner so he knows him already. They need him to respect the guy that comes early in the morning so he can come and pick up his delivery truck without trouble from the dog. So far Capitan (not a typo- it's in Spanish- "Cappy-tahn") is living primarily in the run, but A lets him out for about 30 minutes before the workday starts and then again for 30 before the day is over. Once they can establish solid command response he will have run of the whole yard at night.

I also said that he needs a buddy. In a couple of months if they can establish a solid routine and Capitan is listening to the three guys he needs to listen to, then I said we will go to the city pound and pick up another death row dog. They will also add some turf to the run (I think it's about 1500 sqft of space), and a baby pool for the hotter days. And I also said that if the weather is too hot in the summers that he will need to bring him (them) into the building during the day into an air conditioned office.

Overall, it's not my favorite life for a dog. I wouldn't have helped them look for a guard dog, but since this one is already there and the other option is to drop him off with the tag line that he's a potential biter, I figure he's in better hands and has a better chance at a decent life as a guard dog. My stepdad doesn't fawn over his dogs, but he will make sure that proper care is given to him. And after I wooed Capitan in seconds, I earned their respect as a dog trainer enough that I have some clout. So I can say if his care is lacking and they will do something about it. He may be the most spoiled guard dog ever. Their business is in salvage and surplus goods. They get all kinds of goods and returns from big businesses. He already has two dog beds, a pile of toys, and a top of the line dog house.

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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby QBert » Sat Mar 07, 2015 7:40 pm

I hope it works out for him. The most successful arrangement I've known personally, the dogs got lots of attention throughout the day, they did basic obedience classes, and kept up their training, got play time and just-hanging-out time with their people, lots of interaction with customers and delivery people and such, they were part of a 'family' during the days, they just spent their nights alone at the business, inside a perimeter fence, with free access to a cozy doghouse in a well-thought-out location, sheltered from inclement weather. In the worst weather they stayed inside the building.

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Re: Guard dog ethics

Postby connie » Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:46 am

It sounds like the arrangement my friend Glen's dad has with his business/guard dogs. Glen has a Rottie he trains in agility, so he keeps an eye on the dogs at his dad's place, alert for any problems. If you can do that for Capitan, it will be a huge help to all concerned. And yes, I think a second dog for company is a great idea, once things get settled in Capitan's life and routine.

It's not my favorite life for a dog either, but for the dogs at Glen's dad's business, it beats living out of dumpsters and having people react to them by throwing things or calling AC.


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