Shelties are a great dog to add to your family. They are protective, easy to get along with, and all that energy helps them to play and keep up with the kids. If you are considering getting a dog and trying to determine if a Sheltie is the right addition for you, you may be curious as to whether a Sheltie is a good guard dog or not.
Shelties are not good guard dogs. They can help alert you when someone is approaching or if they sense danger, but they rarely will interact with or handle the perceived danger at all. Shelties are often considered good watch dogs, but not good guard dogs because they are not assertive or dominant. Shelties can be trained to guard your home or your property, but they will not perform as well as some other breeds.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of working with a Sheltie as a watch dog and how you may be able to train them to perform some of the tasks necessary for a guard dog.
Are Shelties Good Guard Dogs?
Shelties are loyal companions who will stick with you until the end. But they are not very good when it comes to being a guard dog. They are not aggressive at all and are not very good at dominating over other people or other dogs. This is part of why so many families love to have this breed as a family pet but can make it difficult to pick the dog to guard you.
At first glance, it seems like a Sheltie will be the perfect dog to be a guard dog around your home. They have quite a few of the characteristics that most dog owners would look for in a guard dog, including loyalty, intelligence, alertness, and sociability. But there are a few areas where the dog does lack that makes this breed more of a watch dog rather than a guard dog. These include being moderately aggressive and having dominance.
While you can do some training to help a Sheltie become more of a guard dog, they will still not do as good of a job as you may see with a Rottweiler or a Doberman. These dogs are more dominant and aggressive than the Sheltie, providing more protection for your home than you will find with a Sheltie. If you want a family-friendly dog that may be able to scare away people with a bark, then the Sheltie is perfect. If you want a dog that will actually scare others away, then the Sheltie is not a good choice.
Are Shelties Protective?
While Shelties are not really good guard dogs because they will not keep the intruder away or really attack anyone, they can be protective of you and your family. They were originally bred to help take care of livestock and even chickens, making sure that predators were not able to get close and get to the animals.
The Sheltie is able to protect you though. If they see an intruder or someone they do not trust coming near you, then they will give a quick signal to let you know. The bark of a Sheltie is sometimes threatening enough to intimidate someone who is not supposed to be there. It is at least loud enough that you will be alerted and the intruder may turn the other way and not bother you.
While the Sheltie will protect you with their loud bark and at least alert you that there is an intruder present nearby, they will not do any damage to the intruder or attack them. In fact, it is very rare for the Sheltie to engage with that threat at all. You will have to be the one who steps forward and does it.
They are a protective dog to use and they are very alert compared to some of the other dog breeds you may choose. This can be enough to keep you safe. No one will be able to sneak up on you or your home without the Sheltie hearing it and providing you with some kind of notice. And for many pet owners, that is exactly what they are looking for; a dog who is more protective rather than one who is a guard dog.
Can Shelties Guard My House?
It is more likely that the Sheltie will notice someone coming and then alert you of this. If no one is home at the time, the Sheltie is most likely to just bark at the intruder. For someone who is meaning to cause harm on your property, the barking may be enough to scare them away and the Sheltie has effectively guarded your home.
However, this is a little different than what a regular guard dog will do. If you are really concerned about the safety of your home, then another dog breed may be best. True guard dogs will show assertiveness and dominance to make sure the perceived threat is kept as far from your property as possible. This includes actions, which the Sheltie is often not willing to take at all.
Can Shelties Protect My Chickens or Other Livestock?
There is some training that you can do to help train your Sheltie to offer some protection to other animals on your form or around your home. The Sheltie is not naturally inclined to do any of this though so you will have to prepare for a lot of training. In fact, the barking that your Sheltie may do when they see someone nearby may actually scare the chickens and other livestock.
If you plan to keep your Sheltie near any other animals, then you need to at least train them on how to react and behave around these animals. Do not let them get skittish or bark all the time. Once they are comfortable around the other animals, you can then move on to teaching them how to guard those animals.
Can I Train My Sheltie to Be a Good Guard Dog?
It is possible to train your Sheltie to become a better guard dog. While you may see that their dominance and assertiveness is not as much as other breeds, there are different training methods that you can use to help make sure they are a good guard dog for your family. Some of the steps you can use include:
Train Them In Their Tasks
If there is a specific task that you would like your Sheltie to do as a guard dog, then train them how to do that. You can train them on the proper way to act when someone comes to the home, or if you would like them to protect the kids or other animals in your home, you can teach them how to do this. You will likely need to do this one step at a time. But since Shelties are smart dogs, they will catch onto the work quickly.
It is important to socialize your Sheltie. And if you would like them to become more of a guard dog, then consider giving them some time with other dogs that are used for this purpose.
Your Sheltie may be able to gather up some of the skills and techniques from the other dog when they get to spend time with one another. The more that your Sheltie can spend around other people and even other types of dogs, the more their confidence will build up and the better they will be at protecting you and your family.
Build Up Self-Confidence
One thing that a Sheltie is going to lack when it comes to being a guard dog is self-confidence. They want to impress you and make sure that they are doing things well, but they will not take the lead and they do not have the level of self-confidence that is necessary to do this either. Teaching them to be more self-confident, often with some of the socialization that we talked about before, will make a different.
Praise Them Often
Your Sheltie is going to need a lot of praise to make sure that they understand how to behave and how to act as a guard dog in your home. If you are going through some of the training methods above, make sure to reward your Sheltie so they know they are doing a good job and will continue to listen to you.
Your Sheltie as a Member of the Family
Whether you choose to train your Sheltie to be a good guard dog or you just want a good companion to be around the home with your family, you will find a loyal, intelligent, and alert friend in the Sheltie.
They can be trained easily, which can help enhance their skills as a guard dog if you do need help with this. But you will find that even without the training, they are protective and loyal until the end.