Australian Shepherds are amazing dogs. They are playful, cute, and are devoted to their owners. However, you may still wonder if they are good at protecting their owners as well. To help you out, I researched to give you the answers you need.
Yes, Australian Shepherd will protect its owner. Australian Shepherds are good watchdogs. Their herding instinct allows them to protect their owners in potentially hazardous situations. However, they are not the perfect breed for guard dogs. Other dogs beat Australian Shepherds in some key aspects, such as appearance.
You need to understand how your Aussie will act in a dangerous situation. If you think his behavior is not adequate, you should take some attitude. Also, if you’re planning to buy a dog soon, you need to know if an Australian Shepherd is the best choice for your profile.
Are Australian Shepherds Good Watchdogs?
Australian Shepherds are very loyal to their owners and will do everything they can to protect them. They are excellent watchdogs. This characteristic is mainly due to their herding instinct. Aussies were originally bred to work in farms herding livestock.
Similarly to other herding breeds, they were supposed to protect the animals as well. Bears or wolves, for example, were serious threats to the flock. Until now, this mindset remains. The difference is that, instead of animals, Australian Shepherds now deal with humans.
On the other hand, protection is not their primary task. Australian Shepherds will eventually bark at suspicious people at the gate, which helps a lot. However, they probably won’t behave too aggressively and won’t run towards people to threaten or bite them.
Australian Shepherds’ physical aspect also isn’t the most adequate to a guard dog. They don’t have the adequate size to make someone really feel scared. Their appearance also isn’t the best for this role.
It is much less likely that someone will feel endangered by an Aussie than by a German Shepherd, for example. Australian Shepherds look more friendly.
Australian Shepherds are fantastic if you want a familiar mate, but don’t want to leave security aside. They have a perfect balance, which matches this profile.
What Defines a Good Guard Dog or Watchdog?
Some aspects are crucial to define a good dog for protection. Australian Shepherds have some of these characteristics. However, they still lack other key attributes that make them be defeated by other dogs.
Breeds that are more protective than Australian Shepherds include:
- Doberman Pinscher
- Great Dane
- German Shepherd
First of all, you need to understand the difference between guard dogs and watchdogs. Guard dogs are supposed to protect one’s family or house rigorously. They were born to maintain safety. Guard dogs aren’t afraid of severely attacking and repelling an intruder at the gate in case of suspicious activity.
On the other hand, watchdogs generally don’t try to attack intruders. They only tend to bark, to call their owner’s attention. As the name suggests, they will keep an eye on the threat until it is gone.
However, they can attack if the person enters the house without their owner’s supervision or in case of a real attack.
Good guard dogs need to be intelligent and find balance. They have to be aggressive in dangerous situations but also need to be kind to the family and identify non-harmful people. You definitely don’t want your dog going crazy every time a friend comes to your house.
The perfect watchdog needs to be loyal while maintaining some guarding abilities. Friendliness is a crucial point. Being able to protect the family is just an aspect to differentiate him from other regular breeds.
To be considered an excellent protection dog, your friend needs to have attention to detail. Aussies score a point on this aspect. They are very alert when they hear loud noises, for example. Even irrelevant things, such as lightning, are enough to trigger them.
Dogs for protection also need to be intimidating. Size is a key aspect. The bigger the dog, the better he will repel intruders. Furthermore, greater sizes generally mean more strength and a higher chance of success in a battle.
Another important characteristic of guard dogs is not to look friendly. Just think for a moment, are you most likely to be afraid of a huge, lion-like dog or a cute poodle when passing by someone’s house? Of course, friendly dogs aren’t the best bet for protection.
The profile Australian Shepherds match the most are watchdogs. While they are incredibly friendly mates, they still are always aware of possible dangers.
When Do Australian Shepherds Manifest Their Guarding Instinct?
When your Australian Shepherd reacts to threats depends a lot on him. Some dogs show little interest in defending the property, while others are way too protective. In general, Aussies will behave as you would imagine for a protection dog.
It is not uncommon to see them barking at cars passing on the street, for example. Even though they aren’t a real danger, they may still find them disturbing. Some may also become unrest just because of passers-by.
On the other hand, others can be extremely calm. Some of them may even get to the point of rarely barking. They may try to see what is happening only when someone, in fact, stands in front of the gate for a long time.
Obviously, you probably need a balanced pet. Both extremes aren’t good. You need a dog that knows how to react adequately.
The ideal attitude needs to fit your needs as well. If you want more of a guard dog than a watchdog, it’s better if your Aussie behaves more aggressively. If your desire is the opposite, the scenario also inverts.
What to Do If an Australian Shepherd Behaves Too Aggressively?
If your Aussie doesn’t act the way you want, train him. Australian Shepherds are a brilliant breed and can easily be trained. Here are some tips if your friend is unrest and you want him to be calmer.
Teach your dog some basic commands: The first lessons every dog should master are simple commands. Every training starts with the easiest parts, and that’s the one for your pet. Instructions such as “sit,” “follow,” “stay,” and many others are also the most useful for you.
In addition to it, this is the first step to get your friend used to show respect for you. He needs to recognize you as the leader. After he absorbs this information, it will be simple for you to teach him more advanced stuff.
Ignore and praise: Barking is only a way for your friend to call your attention to something. If he barks at something irrelevant on the street, just don’t show up next to him. That way he will understand you are not worried about the situation and will stop bothering as well!
After you see he stopped with the barking, praise him. That’s the key to success. Once you give him something he likes, it is a sign he did something correctly. After some time, he will identify that was because he stopped barking, and will reduce the scandal.
The “quiet” command: This is the time to teach him an instruction to stop barking. Let him speak for a while and observe him. When he stops, say the word “quiet” firmly. Then, praise him if he completely stops to bark. Repeat until he associates the word with the action to stay quiet.
Socialize your Aussie: Talk to people in the park, invite more friends to your home or even bring your pet to their houses. This will make him get used to different kinds of people. He will become less afraid of them and he is likely going to accept normal people passing by.
Be patient: All of these steps won’t be effective if you don’t have patience. Your Australian Shepherd needs time to learn. Even though he belongs to a highly intelligent breed, it doesn’t mean he is a learning robot. Go through the steps with calm and let him take his time to understand what you want.
My Final Thoughts
If you have an Australian Shepherd and want him to protect you, he can do it. Australian Shepherds kept their original herding instinct and can provide you with good protection. They represent the right balance between family and security dogs.
On the other hand, if you plan to get an Aussie to be your guard dog, rethink. If you want an aggressive buddy to protect your house, prioritize other breeds. They’re probably the best fit for your profile. If you want a simpler watchdog, however, Aussies should be on your list.
In the case of poor behavior, train your friend. He just wants to see you happy and will do everything possible to make you feel so. If you follow the instructions and have patience, everything will happen as you want
What if my Australian Shepherd puppy is acting like an adult watchdog?
If your Australian Shepherd shows aggressive behavior from a young age, you need to act now. Don’t wait until he grows up to train him what not to do. The sooner, the better.
What to do if my Australian Shepherd struggles to learn lessons?
Maybe you have to wait a bit. Not all dogs learn new things at the same speed. Your Aussie can be an exception. If he still has difficulties after some time, remember, you can always call a dog trainer!
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.