Watchdog Training: The Best Techniques To Keep Your Home Safe

If you want to keep your home safe, it’s important to train your dog. While dogs are known as man’s best friend, they can also be great protectors. Some breeds of dogs have been bred to be watchdogs and will naturally bark at anything they deem suspicious.

How to Prepare Your Dog for Guard Dog Training
Key Takeaway
Watchdog training requires patience, consistency, and expertise to be successful.
It’s essential to start training early and avoid common mistakes such as over-reliance on treats, inconsistency, and improper socialization.
Effective watchdog training involves obedience training, protection training, and proper socialization.
Understanding your dog’s unique personality and strengths is crucial to maximizing their potential.
Timely training and setting realistic expectations can help ensure that your dog becomes a reliable and effective protector.

Teach Your Dog To Recognize A Stranger

Teach your dog to recognize a stranger. This is an important step for any watchdog, because it helps you keep an eye on who’s coming into the home. If your dog does not know the difference between a familiar person and someone unfamiliar, he may bark at everyone who comes through the door.

Make sure your dog knows how to bark at unfamiliar scents. It’s also helpful if he can recognize specific people by scent alone. This way, when someone new comes over, he will know whether or not this is someone who should be allowed inside your home without prompting from you first (or incurring punishment).

Teach him where his boundaries are as well that way he’ll stay away from them when necessary! With some training, you can even have him ring a bell if there’s an intruder outside or make other noises that will alert others in case there’s trouble brewing nearby!

Training your watchdog to protect your home can be a challenging task, but with proper guidance, you can effectively teach your dog to be an excellent guardian. Check out our comprehensive guide on how to train your watchdog to protect your home for essential tips and insights to help you get started.

Train Your Dog To Bark At Unfamiliar Scents

  • Train your dog to bark at unfamiliar scents.
  • When your dog barks when he or she smells a strange scent, reward him with a treat or praise. You can use a command like “alert,” or “bark.” If the barking is excessive, stop the training and try again later when you have more time to train him.

Teach Your Dog To Stay Away From The Fence

One of the best ways to keep your dog safe during training is to teach him not to go near fences. This is especially important if you have an electric fence or one that has wires running through it, because they can be dangerous if touched by your dog. 

If you use a long line instead of a leash, make sure it’s long enough for you to keep him away from the fence while still being able to train.

Teach the “Speak” CommandTeach your dog to bark on cue by using the “Speak” command. Pair the command with a hand signal and reward your dog with treats when they bark on cue.
Use Scent TrainingEncourage your dog to bark when they detect unfamiliar scents by using scent training exercises. Place a drop of a new smell on a cotton ball and hide it somewhere in your house while your dog is outside. Bring your dog inside and give them the command to “find it,” rewarding them with treats when they bark at the location of the scent.
Use Treats to Encourage BarkingUse treats to encourage barking when your dog detects unfamiliar scents. Place a drop of a new smell on a cotton ball and encourage your dog to bark by saying “speak” while showing them the cotton ball. When they bark, reward them with treats.
Use a DoorbellTeach your dog to bark when they hear a doorbell using doorbell training. Use a separate bell to ring before the doorbell, just loud enough for your dog to hear, and reward them with treats and praise when they bark at the sound of the bell. Gradually increase the volume of the bell and then introduce the doorbell in the same way.
Hire a Professional TrainerIn some cases, professional trainers may be needed to train your dog to bark at unfamiliar scents. They will assess your dog’s unique needs and develop a tailored training plan that utilizes various techniques such as scent training and reward-based reinforcement.

Note: It’s essential to remember that new smells can also be calming and exciting for some dogs, so it is important to monitor their behavior when exposed to new smells and scents.

Choose The Right Breed For Watchdog Duties

When selecting a breed, you should consider several factors. First and foremost, you should choose a breed that is known to be good with children. In addition to this, it’s also important for your dog to get along well with other animals in your household. 

If you have other pets like cats or rabbits—then make sure the dog isn’t likely to chase them down or attack them.

It’s also important that the dog be comfortable around strangers who come into your home and yard unannounced. This might mean choosing an extremely friendly breed, like Golden Retrievers or Labradors. 

But if you’re looking for something more independent and reserved instead of friendly, then maybe try Corgis as they’re known not only as excellent guard dogs but also great watch dogs because they’re alert but not overbearing when strangers are present in the house or yard area where they live (but still stick close enough).

The key to successful watchdog training is to avoid common mistakes that could hinder your dog’s capacity to be an effective protector. Our guide on the do’s and don’ts of watchdog training provides you with expert advice and insights to help you prevent common errors that many dog owners make.

Train Your Dog To Be Brave

There are several ways that you can train your dog to be brave. If your dog is afraid of loud noises, for example, the best thing you can do is expose him or her to loud noises gradually. Start by playing music at a low volume and gradually increase the volume until your dog becomes accustomed to it. 

You should also take him or her outside on occasion so that he or she gets used to new sounds (such as traffic) in different environments.

Remember that dogs can learn how to overcome their fear of strangers through exposure therapy: introduce them slowly while giving clear instructions so they know what behavior you want from them. 

This can be done when taking walks around the neighborhood by introducing one person at a time and then increasing the number as they become more comfortable with each individual person’s presence.

New situations like going into an elevator or riding in someone else’s car—can also prove challenging for some dogs because they’re not used to these situations yet; but once again this problem can be solved simply by exposing them gradually over time until they become comfortable with those environments too

Gradual ExposureUse gradual exposure to help your dog become accustomed to new experiences and build confidence. Start with less intimidating stimuli and gradually move up to more challenging situations.
CounterconditioningCounterconditioning involves changing your dog’s emotional response to a particular stimulus. By pairing a negative stimulus with a positive outcome, such as treats or praise, you can help your dog develop a more positive association with the stimulus.
DesensitizationDesensitization involves gradually exposing your dog to a particular stimulus to reduce their fear response. For example, if your dog is afraid of loud noises, you can try playing a recording of the noise at a low volume while also providing positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise.
Interactive ToysInteractive toys, such as the KONG Classic and the Outward Hound Hide-A-Squirrel, can help build your dog’s confidence and bravery by allowing them to work through puzzles and challenges.
Aggression Rehab ProgramsIn cases of severe fear or aggression, a professional trainer or behaviorist may recommend an aggression rehab program. These programs focus on helping dogs overcome their fears and develop more positive behaviors through positive reinforcement and other training techniques.

Note: It’s important to consult with a professional trainer or behaviorist before attempting any behavior modification training or aggression rehab program. These programs can be challenging and require expertise to be successful.

Train Your Dog To Stay In Familiar Areas Of Your Home

While it’s important that you train your dog to stay in familiar areas of your home, it’s also crucial to give them a chance to explore. If you’re going to be making a lot of changes with respect to their access and/or boundaries, let them get used to the new routine first before imposing any restrictions.

Be careful not to allow your dog access every single room in your house (unless they have an escape artist streak). You might consider letting him or her roam freely in parts of the house where he or she has been trained not to chew on wires or jump onto counters.

If there are rooms where you can’t let the mutt roam freely (like the living room) but which he needs access too (like when guests come over), consider giving them a safe place inside those rooms a bed with its own crate placed away from traffic zones is one example where they can go if they get anxious while exploring different parts of the house!

If you’re looking to train your watchdog to become an excellent guard dog, it’s crucial to have the right resources and expertise to guide you through the process. Our article on expert advice on how to train your watchdog to be a guard dog provides you with insights and tips from dog training professionals to help ensure that your dog becomes a reliable and effective guard dog.

Keep Your Dog With You As Much As Possible

  • Keep your dog with you as much as possible.
  • Your dog should be an active part of your life, so make sure it stays with you at all times. This can mean keeping the dog on a leash and in an enclosed area of your home, or even staying by their side when you’re out and about.
  • Don’t leave the dog alone for long periods of time—especially if they’re prone to barking or getting into things!

Teach Your Dog Not To Fear People In Uniform

Your dog’s fear of people in uniform can get him into trouble. For instance, if he’s afraid of mail carriers, he may bark at them and scare them away. While you’re not going to have a stranger walk up to your property (hopefully), there are still other situations where this could be useful. 

For example, if someone does come onto your property without permission and is wearing a uniform like a utility worker or delivery person, then it would be beneficial for the dog to know not to react negatively towards them.

It’s best for everyone involved if your dog doesn’t associate uniforms with scary things.

Train Your Dog To Let You Know If He Senses Danger

Training your dog to bark at strangers and unfamiliar scents is the first step. This can be done by teaching him that when he hears a certain command, he should bark. The next step will be to teach him how to stay away from any boundaries or fences in your home. 

While some dogs are bred specifically for this purpose, others may not have been trained properly or might not have enough energy for such a task. In either case, it’s important that you find the right breed for watchdog duties so that your dog doesn’t get tired out too quickly or become bored with his training.

Finally, make sure that you keep him with you as much as possible so that he becomes accustomed to being around people and won’t feel threatened by visitors who come over (or even just strangers who happen by). 

If possible, try walking around with your dog every day so he doesn’t get bored at home alone all day long; this way he’ll stay happy while still helping protect everyone else!

Positive ReinforcementReward your dog for barking when they sense danger. Using treats or a clicker, entice your dog to bark and then reward them with a treat.
Teach “Speak” and “Quiet” CommandsTeach your dog the “Speak” and “Quiet” commands to signal when they should bark and when they should stop. Use treats or clicker training to reinforce these commands.
Use Motion-Activated DevicesConsider using motion-activated devices, such as the Nest Cam or Ring Video Doorbell, to help your dog alert you of danger. These devices can send you alerts and allow you to see and hear what’s happening at home in real-time.
Train Your Dog to Nudge or Lick YouTraining your dog to nudge or lick you can signal that they sense danger. Use treats and encourage your dog to gently nudge or lick your hand when they sense danger.
Train Your Dog to Alert You on CueTeach your dog to alert you on cue by using a specific sound or a word. When you say the cue, your dog should bark to signal danger. Use treats or clicker training to reinforce this behavior.

Make Sure You Bond With Your Dog Regularly

The best way to ensure that your watchdog is alert and attentive when you need it most is to make sure they bond with you. 

Spending time with your dog on a daily basis can help them feel more secure, and bonding helps build a relationship between the two of you. 

This will also give you an opportunity to get to know each other better, which will help you keep your home safe even when someone breaks in unannounced.

Timing is one of the critical factors that could affect the success of your watchdog training. Knowing the right time to start training can help you set the right expectations and achieve your goals effectively. Our comprehensive guide on when to start watchdog training gives you a clear timetable that outlines when to start training, what to teach, and how to measure your dog’s progress.

Make Sure That Family Members Spend Time With The Dog, Too

One of the best ways to keep your home safe is to make sure that family members spend time with your dog. Family members should spend time with the dog so that they can bond and train it, but also because it’s lonely for a pet not to have anyone around other than you.

Every dog is unique, and understanding your dog’s individuality is essential to maximize its potential. Our article on maximizing your watchdog’s potential provides tips and tricks to help you create a tailored training program that matches your dog’s strengths and personalities to ensure that they reach their full potential.


In the end, you can never be too vigilant when it comes to protecting your family. It’s up to us as a community to keep each other safe by being on the lookout for suspicious activity, reporting crimes and keeping our pets trained. 

But there’s no better way to protect yourself than by being prepared with a well-trained and brave dog who knows how to protect his home!

Further Reading

Here are some additional resources to help you with watchdog training:

Guard Your Home: How to Teach Your Dog to Protect Your Home: A comprehensive guide on how to train your dog to be a home guardian, covering topics such as barking, intruder awareness, and basic obedience.

How to Train a Dog to Guard Your Home: A step-by-step guide with practical tips on how to train a dog to guard your home effectively.

How to Train a Guard Dog: A wikiHow article that provides detailed instructions on how to train your dog to be a guard dog, including socializing, basic commands, and protection training.


How long does it take to train a watchdog?

The timeframe for watchdog training will depend on various factors, including your dog’s age, temperament, and breed. It can take anywhere from several months to several years to train a watchdog to protect your home effectively.

What are the dos and don’ts of watchdog training?

Some dos and don’ts of watchdog training include starting training early, avoiding punishment, socializing your dog, and setting realistic expectations.

What are some common mistakes to avoid when training a watchdog?

Common mistakes to avoid when training a watchdog include over-reliance on treats, inconsistency, improper socialization, and too much pressure during protection training.

What are some essential skills to teach a watchdog?

Some essential skills to teach a watchdog include obedience training, protection training, and socialization. It’s also helpful to teach your watchdog to alert you of any potential danger and to stop barking on command.

What is the best way to maximize your watchdog’s potential?

The best way to maximize your watchdog’s potential is by creating a training program that is tailored to your dog’s unique personality and needs. This includes focusing on their strengths, providing positive reinforcement and regular training, and socializing them with other dogs and people.