A survey of ex-offenders carried out by Co-op Insurance found that the second best deterrent for burglars looking to enter a home was the sound of a dog barking. Anyone with pets knows that it’s often the smaller dogs that make the most noise, and given that it’s the noise that puts thieves off any size dog will do, as long as it’s a barker! Sometimes it can be helpful to put up signs warning potential visitors (both invited and uninvited) to your home that there are dogs on the property, and this is often appreciated by postal workers and delivery drivers. Dogs are definitely good at protecting your property in towns, cities and in the countryside.
The fear factor from having a dog guarding your property comes from both the noise, which alerts anyone nearby to something happening (oddly, this is often more effective than the sound of an intruder alarm), and the unpredictability of the animal. While some dogs bark loudly due to the excitement of a new person they can sometimes calm right down when they see the person. Other dogs, usually trained to do so, will continue to bark until told to stand down by their owner. The unpredictability factor, as well as the noise, is what make geese a rurally appropriate alternative guard animal to dogs.
Geese are loud, very loud, and they are also incredibly territorial, more so than dogs. Geese are hard to domesticate, so they retain the wild instinct and will go for anything or anyone they feel is threatening their territory. Having personally been chased by a friend’s “pet” goose on many occasions, I can attest to the efficacy of geese as guard animals. They won’t quiet down when the threat is gone either, so there’s no chance they will stop honking until the intruder is miles away. If they get close enough to attack, their sharp beaks give out a nasty bite which will put intruders off ever coming back. Guard geese are very effective, but only really suited to more rural locations as it’s hard to have the space for geese in a town or city. They should also be young when they come to you, so they can bond with the owner before everything becomes a threat.
An animal you can have in a built up area is a snake. Many people are fearful of snakes, so won’t burgle a house where one is present in case it is not in a tank, or in case it escapes. Some people can’t even stand the sight of snakes and can’t be in the same room as them, so the fear factor is high with reptiles. Putting up a “beware of the snake” sign can be an effective way of keeping thieves off your property.
Parrots also make good guard animals. They often mimic the noises people make, and can be trained to bark like a dog. The burglar lurking in the bushes doesn’t know it’s a parrot barking; they’ll hear a dog and scarper quickly. A parrot or a snake is a good option for people living in flats and people who are allergic to dogs.
Sheep and llamas can also be good guard animals, as they will be curious as to what an intruder is up to, and llamas can spit! They won’t make such a loud noise as geese, but in a rural area the sound of a flock of sheep bleating at an unusual time will attract the attention of neighbours, especially if the sheep are otherwise unstressed and quiet. Donkeys and horses can also be good animals to have near the house, as the sheer size puts people off, and donkeys will make quite a racket if they feel threatened.
There are many animals that can guard your property, so whether you are in a rural area or a block of flats there is an option for you.