Editor’s Note: This month’s Ask Annie is penned by Annie’s husband who writes as “Dogfather.”
My wife and I are starting a family and are concerned about home protection. She wants to buy a gun; I want to get a dog. What would you choose?
K9 or 9mm?
Don’t get a dog – if all you want it for is home protection. Only get a dog if you want a companion, a friend, another member of your family. Only get a dog if you are willing to make a commitment of money, time, and effort, not just now, but for the rest of your dog’s life.
Do you have the time and knowledge to train your dog? Training a dog is akin to raising a child. You need to teach your dog to respect you and follow your lead. Because you and your dog speak different languages you might need the help of a good trainer.
While it is natural for most dogs to be protective of their homes and families, how they do so is very important. You want your dog to defend, not go on the offensive indiscriminately. You’ve probably heard the horror stories of dogs attacking kids, as well as adults. I would bet that most, if not almost all, of those dogs were poorly trained, or not trained at all. If you’re not in control of your dog, it’s just like leaving a loaded, lethal weapon laying around for someone to come across.
So what advantage would dogs have over firearms when it comes to home protection? In a phrase, your dog has your back. For one thing, dogs can alert you to potential intruders before they even have a chance to set foot on your property. A good watchdog is just that, always watching – or more accurately, always listening, always sniffing the air.
When your dog barks to let you know someone’s out there, he’s also alerting that someone. Most people don’t like being bitten by dogs, and this includes criminals. The bad guys also don’t like the kind of attention a barking dog could bring as he alerts the neighbors.
Perhaps the biggest advantage a dog has over a gun is that he’s on guard when you’re not home. Those “Beware of owner” signs are no deterrent to a smart thief if he knows you’re away. A barking dog however, tells a would-be intruder he may be in for pain or unwanted attention, or both!
Protecting your home isn’t just about defending it. While I would always recommend having smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your house, dogs often smell a fire first, and their barking could save your lives.
The decision to get a firearm, a dog, or both, is one that should only be made after serious reflection. The Beatles sang, tongue in cheek, “happiness is a warm gun”. Personally, I feel happier, and safer, with man’s best friend.
Send your ‘Ask Annie About Animals’ questions to:
Wolf Song Enterprises, LLC
1657 S. Getty, Suite 28 Muskegon, MI 49442
or email your question to: WolfSongEnterprises@gmail.com
Annette Vida is a licensed veterinary technician with multi-species experience in day clinic, emergency clinic and mobile veterinary care facilities. She is also a certified dog trainer with 40 years experience. Annette has been involved with rescuing animals for decades and shares her home with her wonderful husband and many (rescued) animals. She owns and operates Wolf Song Enterprises, LLC, where she offers animal related consulting services and training. Her office is located at 1657 S. Getty, Ste 28, Muskegon, MI 49442. Call 231-740-3879 for an appointment—home consultations also available. www.WolfSongEnterprises.com