Expert Advice On How To Train Your Watchdog To Be A Guard Dog

A watchdog can be an invaluable asset to your home, but only if you have the right training plan. Your dog needs to learn how to alert you when there is a potential threat, and also how not to become aggressive. 

If your dog does not know what he should do when someone comes onto your property, then it can be more of a liability than anything else. 

Here’s how:

Key Takeaways
Training a watchdog to be a guard dog is a process that requires patience and consistency.
Before embarking on any training, ensure that your dog has a solid foundation in basic obedience.
Consider factors such as breed, age, and personality when selecting a dog for guard training.
Guard dog training can include everything from socialization and obedience training to protection training.
Positive reinforcement and regular practice are crucial for success in guard dog training.

Hire A Professional Dog Trainer

  • Hiring a professional dog trainer is the best way to train your dog.
  • Hiring a professional dog trainer will help you learn how to train your dog.
  • There are many benefits of hiring a professional dog trainer, including:
  • You can learn how to train your dog in just days or weeks instead of months or even years on your own.
  • Your success rate will be much higher when working with an expert than it would be if you were trying on your own.

Keeping your home protected is a top priority for any dog owner. Our in-depth guide on how to train your watchdog to protect your home covers everything you need to know to ensure your furry friend is a valuable asset in keeping your home safe.

Don’t Wait For Your Dog To Mature

Don’t wait for your dog to mature. Even if you’re only able to train him when he’s still young, he’ll be much easier to work with than an adult dog who has developed bad habits. 

You can get started on the right foot by teaching your puppy basic commands and showing him that there are consequences for his actions.

You’ll likely find that it is much easier to train a young dog because they learn more quickly than adults do. 

As such, it’s worth the effort of training your puppy even if you don’t plan on using him as a guard dog until he’s older (when you may need more advanced training).

Spend Time Bonding With Your Dog

One of the best ways to train your dog to be a guard dog is by spending time bonding with him. Bonding with your dog is a process of mutual trust and affection, which will help you to understand him better. 

Studies have shown that dogs who receive regular attention from their owners are more likely to develop into well-behaved pets.

However, it is important that you remain consistent in your training methods so as not to confuse your pooch or leave them feeling unsure about what they’re supposed to do when faced with an intruder.

Before embarking on any new educative journey, it’s crucial to be prepared. Fortunately, our comprehensive article on the top 15 things to consider before starting watchdog training covers all the essential factors to help you include this kind of training successfully.

Teach Your Dog To Obey Your Command

To teach your dog to obey your commands, you will need to use either positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement.

The difference between the two is that positive reinforcement is rewarding good behavior with something they like (like food), while negative reinforcement isn’t as pleasant and involves taking away something unwanted until they stop doing it (“No! Don’t bite me!”).

Positive punishment is when you physically punish your dog for being bad by hitting them, holding them down against their will, etc., which can be very harmful if done incorrectly. 

Negative punishment involves taking away something good because of bad behavior: for example, saying “No” when they pee inside instead of giving them attention after cleaning up the mess.

Training MethodDescription
Lure-Reward TrainingUses a treat or toy to guide the dog into performing a desired behavior, such as the Ruffwear Kibble Kaddie.
Obedience TrainingProvides structured training on basic obedience commands, such as the AKC Canine Good Citizen Program.
Clicker TrainingUses a clicker to reinforce good behavior and indicate the desired behavior has been performed, such as the Karen Pryor Clicker Training.
Electronic Training CollarsAllows remote correction and redirection of a dog’s behavior through a variety of settings, such as the Garmin Delta XC Dog Training System.
Remote TrainingProvides remote training and rewards for good behavior, such as the PetSafe Remote Training System.

Allow Your Dog To Bond With Visitor

  • Allow your dog to meet new people.
  • Let your dog sniff hands and shoes.
  • Let your dog inspect the new person’s belongings.
  • Allow the new person to walk around, get comfortable with their surroundings, and make sure that everything is in place at home before you leave for work or go out for a quick errand.

When you come back home after being away from your dog for a while, let him know that you’re back by greeting him warmly with some petting, greeting him by name first thing after entering the house (or calling out if he’s outside), giving him an extra cookie as a reward for staying put while you were away these are all ways of letting them know they did well!

Want to make sure you’re going about your watchdog training in the right way? Check out our article on the dos and don’ts of watchdog training: avoid common mistakes for some expert guidance on the best practices for teaching your dog to be a dependable watchdog.

Start A Habit Of Barking At People/Object Within Close Proximity

When your dog is still learning how to become a guard dog and alert you of any danger, it is important to teach them the importance of barking. 

They should be taught that whenever they see an intruder or unknown person entering their territory, they must bark loudly enough so that you can hear them from where ever you are in the house. 

This way, if any stranger tries moving towards your home uninvitedly, your dog will immediately alert you about it through its constant barking.

Instinctual Training

Instinctual training is the most natural method of training a dog. It’s based on harnessing your dog’s natural instincts and behaviors, so you’ll be training him with his own responses to stimuli. 

This means that even though this is an effective way to train, it can take some time to get results due to learning curves associated with teaching an animal something new (or something foreign) from scratch.

Training your dog can also be difficult because it requires consistency and patience for both you and your pet but instinctual training will help set up a foundation for future obedience lessons by helping you learn how best to talk through commands with each other without having much experience working together yet!

If you’re looking to maximize your dog’s protection skills, you’ll want to check out our comprehensive article on watchdog training: the best techniques to keep your home safe. From basic obedience to advanced protective training, we cover everything you need to know to keep your home and family secure.

Protect Yourself First And Foremost

It’s important to train your dog to protect you first and foremost. If a stranger comes knocking on your door, don’t let your dog bite you! 

Your dog should also be taught not to bite others including friends, family members and even strangers.

Training Should Be Humane

You can train your dog to be all of the above! You just need to be patient and consistent. Your dog will become a good watchdog when you teach him or her how to alert you when someone or something is approaching. 

You can also teach them how to defend against intruders by making loud noises or barking that will scare away would-be burglars.

Your canine companion may not physically attack an intruder, but they’ll provide a psychological effect on any would-be thieves that could prove just as effective at keeping them away from your home: 

A person who knows there are dogs in the house will think twice before breaking into it!

If you want your dog to be more friendly and cuddly than fierce (and we don’t blame you), remember that guard dogs must also have social skills that allow them to get along well with people in addition to their guard duties. 

This means teaching them basic commands like “sit” and “stay” so they know how to behave around guests even if those guests happen not to be human beings!

Training PrincipleExplanation
Positive ReinforcementRewards good behavior with treats or praise, such as the Zuke’s Mini Naturals Dog Treats.
Clicker TrainingUses a clicker to indicate the desired behavior has been performed, such as the Karen Pryor Clicker Training.
SocializationExposes dogs to a variety of people, dogs, and situations, such as the Petco Puppy Training Program.
Force-Free TrainingUses no physical punishment or negative reinforcement, such as the Fear Free training method.
Relationship-Based TrainingEmphasizes building a strong bond between owner and dog, such as the Bond-Based Approach to Dog Training.

Prepare Your Family Members (Especially Children) Beforehand

  • Prepare your family members (especially children) beforehand.
  • Teach them that the dog is not a toy and should be treated with respect.
  • Let them know that the dog is there to protect you, and it’s a good idea for everyone to stay at least 5 feet away from him/her unless given permission by you or an adult.
  • If your child does get too close, remind them that if there’s ever a problem with the dog, they should come get an adult immediately.

Every dog has the potential to be an asset in their owner’s life, but how can we unlock their full potential? Our helpful article on maximizing your watchdog’s potential: tips and tricks for training provides expert tips and tricks to help you train your dog to be the best they can be, from basic obedience to protection training.

Think Of Your Own Security First

Before you decide to train your watch dog, you must first consider what kind of protection you need it to provide. 

There are three different types of protection that your dog can offer:

Personal Protection – Your pet should be trained to protect you first and foremost. This means that if someone enters your home, the watch dog should be able to keep them at bay until help arrives or they leave.

Property Protection – If someone tries to break into your home, then this is the type of protection that will come in handy here. The dog will do whatever it takes to fend off intruders so they don’t get past him or her and into your house where they could steal things or hurt someone else inside (i.e., children).

Family Protection – This type of training teaches dogs how best keep their family safe from strangers who come too close while they’re trying something out in their yard such as mowing grass or washing cars on weekends.

As You Train Your Dogs, Keep Their Personality In Mind

As you train your dogs, keep their personality in mind. Some dogs are more aggressive than others; some are passive. Some are intelligent, while others are stubborn or playful.

When training a dog to be a guard dog, it’s important to remember that each dog is an individual and he may have different skills and abilities than other guard dogs you’ve seen or worked with in the past.

Dog PersonalityTraining Approach
Energetic & PlayfulUse reward-based training techniques that incorporate toys and games, such as the KONG Classic.
Independent & StubbornUse positive reinforcement training methods that reward good behavior, such as the Treat&Train Remote Reward Dog Trainer.
Anxious & NervousUse desensitization training that gradually exposes the dog to anxiety-provoking stimuli, such as the Thundershirt Dog Anxiety Jacket.
Protective & AggressiveUse professional dog training service, especially if you are not experienced in dealing with aggressive dogs, such as Petco’s Dog Training.
Easygoing & FriendlyUse socialization techniques that expose the dog to a variety of new people, dogs, and situations, such as the American Kennel Club’s Good Citizen training program.


So, you’ve decided to train your dog to be a guard dog. Congratulations! Now that you have an idea of what it takes, it’s time to get started. 

Remember: the most important thing is that your dog feels comfortable and safe during training. Otherwise, he or she won’t be able to concentrate on learning new behaviors. 

It might take some time for him or her to adjust their natural instincts for guarding against strangers into something more positive, but trust in yourself and your training techniques: eventually your pup will become a force for good!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources for further reading on training a guard dog:

How to Train a Guard Dog: 14 Steps (with Pictures) This comprehensive guide provides step-by-step instructions and helpful tips for training a guard dog, from selecting the right breed to practicing essential commands.

Training a Guard Dog: Tips and Techniques This article offers useful guard dog training techniques, including obedience training, socialization, and protection training.

How to Train a Dog to Guard Your Home This informative guide provides a step-by-step approach to training a dog to guard your home, including selecting the right breed and teaching essential commands.


What breeds make good guard dogs?

Some breeds that make good guard dogs include German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, and Bullmastiffs.

Can any dog be trained to be a guard dog?

While certain breeds are better suited for guard dog training than others, any dog can be taught basic obedience commands and personal protection skills.

How do you train a guard dog to be protective but not aggressive?

The primary goal of guard dog training is to teach skills that will deter potential threats while still maintaining a sociable, well-behaved dog. Techniques like repetition, positive reinforcement, and regular socialization can help create an effective but friendly guard dog.

What are some essential commands to teach a guard dog?

Some essential commands for a guard dog include: “sit,” “stay,” “come,” “heel,” “down,” “watch,” and “bark.”

What are some common mistakes to avoid when training a guard dog?

Some common mistakes to avoid when training a guard dog include: failing to establish yourself as pack leader, using harsh punishment, and neglecting socialization and obedience training.