Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the advantages of owning a personal protection or guard dog over purchasing a gun. My own recent experience at a shooting range proved first hand many of the reasons why, when it comes to personal safety and home security, trained dogs have the edge. Don’t misunderstand. As a security professional, I’m all for anything that makes a family safer; guns have their place in the matrix. But when it comes down to it trained dogs trump firearms.
At the range I had the opportunity to shoot both a 45 GLOCK and 44 Smith & Wesson. Much like the training course each client receives when we deliver a protection dog, it’s important to be properly educated before firing a gun. What struck me most is the awkwardness of handling a firearm. Under stress, in a situation when someone is being attacked, a gun user would need to be very well practiced to accurately disable his or her aggressor. It’s not impossible since there are many gun enthusiasts that practice frequently. However, most people don’t have the time or desire to get to this level. With a protection dog, the situation is different. At delivery, our trainers teach you everything you need to know. After we leave, you are free to call us 24/7 with any questions. The first few days after we leave may feel awkward but shortly thereafter you will feel completely comfortable. In a way, by daily walks, feeding and obedience, you are “practicing” with your dog- everyday. So if a situation should occur, giving your dog commands will feel as natural as shooting a target 20 feet away feels to some people.
Another great advantage of owning a protection dog revolves around family safety. Many people are uncomfortable with the idea of keeping a loaded gun in their home (especially with children) for obvious reasons. Leaving the gun in a secure place, unloaded, is a frequent solution. You may feel more secure with the unloaded gun but from a practical standpoint you will most likely not be able to find, load and discharge the gun if someone breaks into your home or assaults you. Guns offer peace of mind; this doesn’t necessarily equate to increased safety.
Laws in the US may increase gun ownership control, making it even more difficult to possess a gun. Concealed weapons permits are controversial and many states will only issue these under extreme circumstances. Therefore, while it is possible to bring your dog with you in public it is increasingly more difficult to carry a firearm. Also, a protection dog is significantly more discreet.
Unlike a gun, protection dogs serve the dual purpose of having all of the attributes of a family pet. We never sell dogs that aren’t fond of children or other animals. So the upside is that in addition to having true personal security, you’ll also have an affectionate and fun companion. A companion with a natural instinct to guard, the training to back it up, who will not hesitate to protect- or even take a bullet for you. None of this can be said for a gun. Importantly, your protection dog can never be turned against his or her handler. Sadly, there are some who have had their own firearm turned against them while trying to protect themselves.
I once read a study where they asked individuals that if given the choice would they rather be shot, stabbed or bitten by a dog. Overwhelmingly, most chose to be shot or stabbed. The concept of being bitten by an animal was chosen as the most frightening. The first two choices were seen as less painful and less likely to inflict the most harm even though all three can be lethal. I’m not surprised and I completely agree. It is an instinct to have extreme fear of animals that are poised to bite- wild animals or those trained in defense of their handler.
All in all, you make the decision for what is best for your family. But from my perspective, a gun may make you feel safer but a protection or guard dog will undoubtedly make you safer.