The Golden Retriever is one of the most popular dog breeds in the world. Their routes trace back to Scotland, United Kingdom. They make an excellent family pet, especially, if you have young children and your house is big and there is a spacious yard or a park. Your family will adore him as he is loyal, intelligent, and good with kids and other dogs.
Have you ever wondered whether your Golden Retriever can guard your house and protect your family if someone decides to intrude or attack? Let’s find out!
Characteristics Of A Golden Retriever
Male retrievers’ height is approximately 23-24 inches whilst females’ height is 21.5 to 22.5 inches. Males weigh between 65-75 pounds and females 55-65 pounds. You can expect them to reach their full height by the time they are 1, and their mature weight by 2.
Golden Retrievers are very friendly and intelligent dogs. Not only do they make great family pets, but they are also extremely capable working dogs, service dogs, and therapy dogs. They are naturally gifted athletes and they often succeed in dog sports.
Originally, they were bred for a physical job, that is why they need everyday physical exercises such as long walks, agility training, or free time in to run around in the park or a yard. They need a job to do, too, for example, waking you up every morning.
Golden Retriever is a perfect breed for novice owners as they are easy-going and loyal. They are calm by nature however, as a puppy, they are playful and silly. Some of them retain those qualities until they are 3-4 years old, or even have them when they are much older. When they are young, the Goldens need socialization - being around people and going to many different places.
Golden Retrievers are family dogs and like to be around family members and do not like being left by themselves for too long - for example, in the backyard. This can make them anxious. With all the characteristics and qualities outlined above, can a Golden Retriever make a good guard dog? Let’s first look at the traits that make a good guard dog.
What Traits Make A Good Guard Dog
- They will attack and defend
Most dogs have an instinct to protect their owners - even though they have the right intentions, they often back down and do not take any action when they feel the person they want to protect their owners from means harm. They don’t follow through because dogs have always been taught by their owners not to attack a human.
On the other hand, a good guard dog will do everything and anything to protect its owners when they encounter an intruder or anyone who means harm. A guard dog’s instinct to defend is way stronger than a non-guard dog’s.
- Territorial and protective
Dogs are territorial by nature but guard dogs are even more. Territorial dogs protect what they think is theirs - front yard, back yard, house, or even their food, toys, and bowls. They bark intensely and are ready to defend when someone passes by or trespasses their territory.
This protective aggression can be aimed toward both humans and other pets or animals and they are most likely to bark at anyone apart from a family member. By barking, they are warning you of their intentions to attack and defend.
- Fast, strong and powerful
The best guard dogs are the biggest and strongest. They are courageous and capable of tackling a human as their body can produce a lot of power by combining speed and strength at the same time. They will chase down an intruder with ease because they have excellent stamina.
- Intimidating appearance
Some of the guard dogs have an intimidating appearance. This helps to scare off criminals. Just by looking at the aggressively barking dog, they are highly likely to assume that the dog is going to attack when it is not. In fact, quite often they only look like fearsome dogs whilst having a soft side in them. This can be an advantage if you have kids or a big family.
Guard gods are intelligent and smart. They are capable of learning many commands and words. They are born with the ability and trained to recognise any usual activity, smell, noises, voices, body language, translate a situation or emotion, and “read'' human's intentions. They can easily sense when something is not right and there is danger.
This helps them evaluate situations and react quickly if needed. Guard dog breeds are courageous - they are not afraid to do something about the potential threat and resolve the situation. Proper training helps them become even better at that.
Even though guard dogs have innate talent, it doesn’t mean they don’t require proper training. It is important to train them so that they achieve their full potential and grow to be smart, confident and well-rounded dogs.
Training stimulates a dog's mind and builds a stronger bond between them and their owner. It will take time and patience but a well-trained guard dog will not only protect you and your family but will also behave and be a great companion.
Most guard dogs are not trained to attack, though. Attack dogs that are specifically trained to attack are used by police and law enforcement services only. Therefore, an average dog owner won’t need to train their guard dog to attack in real life.
Why Golden Retrievers Don’t Make Good Guard Dogs
We have listed the characteristics of a good guard dog above, and will now explore why Golden Retrievers are not necessarily the best guard dogs:
- Bred for retrieving
The main thing to keep in mind is that the Golden Retriever is not a typical guard dog breed. They were bred for retrieving birds and being strong swimmers but not guarding and defending humans’ houses and territories.
- Lack guard instincts
Goldens’ drawback is that whilst they may bark at strangers they will not attack and defend, and their bark is not as loud and aggressive as a real guard dog’s bark. They do lack guard instincts.
- They don’t look terrifying - they are beautiful
Golden Retrievers don’t look terrifying - they are actually very beautiful, with a golden coat. It is questionable whether they can scare an intruder.
Can I Train My Golden Retriever To Be a Guard Dog?
Yes, of course! Training can be started at any age. If you are ready to be patient and consistent with your training, there is no reason why not. Some of the Golden Retriever’s characteristics match the characteristics of a good guard dog so go for it. Just keep the above-mentioned drawbacks in mind.
Start with basic commands such as sit, stay, leave it, heel, and lie down. Once they nail these commands, ask a professional trainer to assess your dog’s skills and potential to be a guard dog. For example, if your retriever likes to play, it will be easy to train him, because everything will feel like a play to him. Or if he is alert when a stranger approaches him, he will also be a great candidate for a guard god training.
When you are ready to get started, get plenty of tasty treats for your Golden Retriever - this will a perfect reward for him because he loves food.
There are several methods you can use to train your golden retriever. The first one is boundary training. This involves daily perimeter walks of the area you want him to protect, tethering him to a long leash and making sure that the leash is long enough for him to walk around the whole perimeter of the area you want to protect.
The verbal cue method involves creating a situation where he is likely to bark. Once he knows the “bark” command, take him to the area he needs to defend, and ask someone he doesn’t know to approach him and give him a command to bark. This is how he learns to bark at anyone not familiar to him.
To conclude, Golden Retrievers don’t make great guard dogs because they were bred to retrieve but not guard. The Golden Retriever was bred to be a bird dog. However, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be trained to be guard dogs. Even though Golden Retrievers are not used for service or law enforcement jobs, they are capable of adopting most qualities of a good guard dog.
That being said, Golden Retrievers can make better watch gods than guard dogs, because they are more likely to bark than attack when they see an intruder. A watchdog’s role is watching and alerting you of the presence of a stranger.
Once you started their training, it is a lifetime commitment, and you should be able to dedicate time to it daily. Ideally, start training them when they are a puppy. If you are willing and able to put your time and money into training your Retriever, he will become extremely intelligent, caring and loyal, and will be able to protect your family