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Are Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs? Reasons & Facts

Written by: Rachael Gerkensmeyer

Last Updated on July 5, 2024 by Dogster Team

golden retriever dog watching over his owner's house

Are Golden Retrievers Good Guard Dogs? Reasons & Facts

Golden Retrievers are beautiful dogs that most people love spending time with. As the third most popular dog breed in America, they make great companion pets for families of all ages. However, can they be good guard dogs for households? The short answer is typically not. This is because they are naturally loving and docile, and they do not have aggressive tendencies.

Some Golden Retrievers may be able to learn how to guard a home after some training. Stories abound about how Golden Retrievers have gone to great lengths to protect their family members. However, most Golden Retrievers simply do not have it in them. However, these dogs do make great watchdogs! Here is what you need to know about the protective abilities of Golden Retrievers.

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The Difference Between Guard Dogs and Watchdogs

Both watchdogs and guard dogs work to protect their homes and human companions. However, watchdogs typically alert their human companions of possible intruders and suspicious activities as they become aware of such situations. Guard dogs do more than just alert people of danger.

They will do whatever it takes to protect their home and family, even if that means becoming aggressive and attacking an intruder. Guard dogs are not always aggressive — they are trained to only use aggression and protective measures when a serious threat is perceived. They are generally kind toward people and other animals when a threat is not present.

golden retriever barking
Image Credit: Adrian_Sobotka, Shutterstock

The 4 Reasons Golden Retrievers Make Good Watchdogs

There are several reasons that Golden Retrievers make good watchdogs. First and foremost, they naturally like to communicate with their human companions. They will communicate when something seems amiss.

Here are other reasons that this breed makes a great watchdog:
  • They Are Loyal — Golden Retrievers are extremely loyal to their human counterparts and the animal companions that they spend their days with. Their loyalty makes them want to protect their companions and surroundings by sounding the alarm when a threat presents itself.
  • They Are Intelligent — These dogs are extremely intelligent. They know who should be on your property and who should not. They also know that by remaining silent if an intruder tries to get into your home, there’s the possibility of harm coming to someone inside. So, they do what they can to keep intruders out, short of becoming aggressive.
  • They Are Medium Sized Dogs — While the average Golden Retriever is not huge, they are big enough to instill some fear in those lurking around the house. The sight of a Golden Retriever barking can be enough to scare most people off.
  • They Are Highly Obedient — Once obedience trained, the typical Golden Retriever will follow commands quickly and effectively. They will not keep barking when you tell them to stop, which means that you can maintain control of a threatening situation. This breed will also go on alert when they are told to, which makes them effective at keeping watch, even in social settings that occur away from the dog’s home and property.

How to Encourage Effective Watchdog Performance

Your Golden Retriever might naturally act as a watchdog, especially when they mature. However, there are a few things that you can do to encourage your Golden Retriever to become an excellent watchdog. First, consider working with a professional trainer to teach your pooch how to watch for danger and how to respond when any danger has been detected. Just make sure that your trainer understands the difference between guard dogs and watchdogs.

Second, you can encourage watchdog behavior by rewarding your dog whenever they alert you of something going on outside that is not normal. Ensure that you don’t end up dealing with false alarms by redirecting your pet when they alert you of something outside that should not concern them.

English Golden Retriever
Image By: Rob Wee, Pixabay

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Final Thoughts

Golden Retrievers are awesome pets, whether they work as watchdogs or not. They are great with kids, they enjoy the company of friends, and they love going on adventures. If your Golden Retriever does not have any interest in working as a watchdog, it is best not to force them. Tap into their natural abilities to ensure a long and happy life for them. Some Golden Retrievers are better at agility or working as service dogs than as watchdogs.


Featured Image Credit: Luc Brousseau, Shutterstock

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