First and foremost, I take canine home protection ownership seriously. A responsible owner will accept and understand that a home protection canine must be a part of the family, respected by the owner and all family members, and have a thorough understanding of the canine’s place in the home. The required training must be taken seriously with a clear understanding of the canine’s role – to warn of and protect you and family members from any immediate physical threat to person or property.
I cannot stress enough the importance if having a plan in place as a canine home protection owner for areas of conflict. It is equally important that each member of the family understands the plan as well. This series will create awareness of your responsibility to have safety measures in place for the owner, the family and the canine. If a plan does not exist, there is need to consult with an experienced professional trainer in developing one.
In the event of an emergency call 911
There are two categories regarding tactics: Defense and Offense. It is easier to defend than to attack and depending on the situation and your training, defending is safer and reduces the possibility of injuries. A safe defensive position/room in your home or business should be identified as the “Rally Point”.
Rally Point Definition – a point or principle on which scattered or opposing groups can come together.
Certain rooms of your home or business are the best locations for a rally point based on number of entrances into a room and the what level is desired, as well as, window locations (best choice for escape) and a small room vs a large room (the bigger the space the better; it is more difficult for an intruder to clear a larger space (distractions and time) than a small space such as a bathroom).
Once a rally point is established, a practical situation for usage with your home protection canine would be if your canine is exhibiting a change of behavior: pacing back and forth, a woof or barking (woof definition – a low/soft bark in an aggressive manner with no intention to act). I’ve witnessed all three changes of behavior due to escalation of conflict. For example: A canine pacing without making any sounds to a person who has a feeling that something isn’t right: The woof noise/sporadic barking indicates that if someone is on the property but not close or insight; Continuous barking indicates an immediate threat and visual/area of threat is located.
At the first signs of potential conflict, the goal is for all capable persons to move towards the rally point room. I teach my clients that once they have full head count and police have been called, a recall to canine is initiated. I do not recommend leaving your canine to fight an unknown/threat if at all possible. In most scenarios leaving your canine exposed to defend itself against an unknown weapon or someone with serious intent to harm, is futile.
So by including your canine to the rally point – 1) it buys time for police to arrive without harm to anyone, 2) it allows you to focus on one entrance to room via the single door instead of guessing which avenue the unknown will gain access. If threat is approaching the rally point room, it is important to announce there is a canine in the room trained to bite on command and that you have a weapon as well, all the while having positive control of your canine.
Without positive control, if the door opens, the canine will gain ground immediately and may result in drawing you outside the room which eliminates your advantage.
Scenario Recap – It is crucial that you learn to read your canine (in tune with your canine to detect behavior changes), identify the threat, call 911, contain area while maintaining positive control of canine and wait for law enforcement.
Next Week Blog: Approaching your home when it appears someone is inside.