“Owners and family members should all assume the role of ‘alpha dog’ by taking control of their pet while they are still young,” says Blue-McLendon. “Puppies often view humans as dominant because of their greater size and age. Owners can further reinforce this image by controlling access to toys and food.”
Rewarding animals for good behavior helps them to see the owner as the leader or alpha figure, which provides them with greater control of their pet and may prevent attacks.
"Most guard dog owners do not realize that the presence of a dog is usually security enough and that specialized training may be excessive," said Blue-McLendon.
"Dogs are sensitive to their surroundings and will usually alert their owners to a disturbance by barking, which may be enough to scare away potential intruders."
Other security animals include some surprising ones – peacocks, geese and parrots, which can also offer some protection by using vocalized, "alarm calls" to announce someone's approach.
Pet Talk is a service of the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University.