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How Can Dogs Keep You Safe?

A dog is a great companion. They are affectionate, loyal, and fun to play with, but can they keep you safe?

How can dogs keep you safe? Regardless of the size of dog you choose, know that a dog can definitely keep you safe. If it is not capable of attacking an assailant due to it’s size, it will certainly make enough noise to draw attention to the situation. Moreover, dogs instinctively protect. They don’t run in the face of danger, but instead confront it.

There is a reason why they call dogs, “Mans’ best friend.” They are unique in that they are affectionate and protective. Let’s take a look at how dogs can keep you safe.

Dogs Are Instinctively Protective

One thing you just got to love about dogs, is that they are instinctively protective.  The bond that exists between a dog and those they love, runs very deep, and they will protect their loved ones, even if it means risking their own life.

There are countless stories of dogs who have risked their own lives for the sake of their loved ones.  A simple search on YouTube will provide numerous examples. Below is just one such store told in just under 2 minutes.

Again, this is just one story amongst thousands, but it does demonstrate that dogs won’t run away when you are in trouble. On the contrary, they will put themselves between you and danger, and may even attack the one trying to cause you harm.

Not only are they instinctively protective, but they actually do care for people and love being a part of the family. Because of this bond, dogs choose to protect their loved ones.

Your dog will notify you of any danger or potential danger.  It’s in their blood.  Like a sixth-sense that they have, because they are always on alert, looking for opportunities to let you know of any potential danger.

We have two dogs, a black Lab named Riker, and a Vizla-Shepherd mix, named Lilo.  Both dogs sleep in our bedroom at night.  Even though we have an alarm system that we arm at night, our dog, Riker, will growl or let out a bark waking us up to alert us of (what he considers danger), in the middle of the night.  Mind you, he probably heard someone walking down the street talking on their cell-phone, but because it was out of the ordinary, he brought it to our attention.

When Riker wakes us up in the middle of the night, we assure him that everything is OK, and we praise him for bringing it to our attention, (although I REALLY wish that he had a little more discernment in what he brings to our attention at 2:30 in the morning!).  Fortunately, for us, Lilo seems to have more discernment than Riker, as she rarely barks, though she is very alert.

Your 5 Senses Compared To A Dog’s 5 Senses

Let’s take a look at the the 5 senses that both dogs and people have, and compare them with each other.

The Sense of Smell

The average person has about 6 million different scent receptors in their nose that can detect about 1 trillion different odors. But did you know that the dog has about 300 million scent receptors and that the part of a dog’s brain that is devoted to smell, is about 40 times greater than ours?

This is why your dog sniffs everything all the time. It’s one of the major ways in which it receives and processes information.

The Sense of Sight

Most people think that dogs are color blind. That’s not true. They can see color, just not to the extent that the human eye can. Though they may not see color like we do, they certainly can react more quickly to motion. They can distinguish motion at a distance far better than we can, anywhere from 10 to 20 times better than the human eye.

The advantage that a dog has over people is that the dog can detect motion far better than the human eye. This is due to the size of the pupil in the dog’s eye, which is much larger than the pupil we have. If your dog warns you that there is “someone out there,” trust him. His eyes can detect motion, even in dark places where you can’t see, because his eyes allow more light so that he can see better.

The Sense of Hearing

People have ears that are designed for close conversation. Though we can hear things far away, we have a very difficult time determining exactly where a sound came from. The dog, however, has an ear canal that is longer than ours, and can tilt their head to funnel the sound in better. A dog can use this ability to determine exactly where a sound came from.

For example, if you were in a wooded area, and someone 400 yards away called out to you in a loud voice, you might have a general sense of where it came from (within 180 degrees), but a dog would know exactly where it came from, and could hone in on the source.

Not only can they hear higher pitched sounds that we can, but their hearing is 4 times greater than ours is. This is why your dog might let out a bark out of the blue. They can hear what you can not hear. A dog that can hear what you can’t hear, can warn you of any potential danger.

The Sense of Touch

Like people, the first thing that a puppy responds to is touch. Just after birth, it can feel the love from its mother as she licks the puppy clean.

Interestingly enough, the snout of the dog is one of the most sensitive parts of the dog, and a dog will use it’s nose in a similar way to the way in which we use our hands.

It’s not surprising then, that your dog uses it’s nose to show affection. This is probably why my black lab shows affection by pressing his snout hard on my nose, (to the point where I can’t breath!). I think that Riker thinks that the harder he presses, the more affection he is showing, . . . much like we do when we give someone a big hug.

The Sense of Taste

The average person has about 9,000 taste buds. This allows us to savor our food. We take time to enjoy a nice juicy steak because we take time to enjoy each and every bite. A dog, however, has about 1,700 taste buds. Instead, he relies on his nose to tell him how good the food must be. The stronger aroma, the more attractive the food is to your dog. This is why they will “woof” a juicy steak down and think nothing of it.

Personally, I find this frustrating. When I give them a nice piece of cooked juicy steak, it feels like they don’t appreciate it because they don’t take the time to savor the taste, but that’s because they don’t have the ability to savor the taste like we can.

Small Dogs Can Be Very Intimidating 

Have you ever seen a small dog confront a larger dog, one that is 8 to 10 times its size, only to see the larger dog back-up because the small dog intimidates the big dog with it audacious yelping? How is it that something so small can intimidate such a large dog? 

I know some people who are “vertically challenged,” (I even married one), who are way more intimidating than people 1 to 2 feet taller than they are.  In plain words, why is it that short people tend to be very intimidating?  In growing up, they probably found that in order to be heard, they needed to be in-your-face-aggressive, and take a stand.  

I am convinced that the same applies to small dogs.  Small dogs find that in order to be heard (or considered), they need to be in-your-face-aggressive. When they do, those they confront become intimidated, even those who could easily overpower them.

A small dog can easily intimidate an assailant by simply barking.  Given that a thief does not want to get caught, he will always take the least path of resistance.  When your dog, (regardless of size), makes you aware of someone lurking outside your window by barking incessantly, that potential burglar will leave your house for one with less resistance, . . . one without a barking dog.  

A small dog can also intimidate those who may wish you harm while taking your dog for a walk.  Though they may be small, they do provide a lot of noise which draws attention to the situation.  As you well know, a purse snatcher, thief or kidnapper does not want ANY attention that your small dog would certainly bring.  Small barking dogs will keep potential thieves away from your home.

Large Dogs Are Even More Intimidating

Though a very small dog will certainly draw attention by barking incessantly at a potential intruder, larger dogs (with a deeper sounding bark), are even more intimidating.

The deeper the bark, the larger the dog appears in the imagination of the potential intruder. 

Dogs with greater mass are more intimidating, because they can attack and cause immediate injury. The last thing that an intruder, (or assailant), wants to confront, are the teeth of a large dog. They envision the dog biting deep into their limbs and not letting go, especially if the dog is a Rottweiler, or a Pitbull.

When taking your large dog for a walk, how often do you find people crossing the street so that they don’t have to walk by you. Why is this? Your dog intimidates them, (even though they may be the most loving and caring dog, the stranger does not know that).

Closing Thoughts

From what we have discussed, it is clear that dogs do keep people safe, but more than that, they want to keep you safe. Dogs were designed to keep you safe. If you are considering getting a dog, be sure that the size and temperament of the dog is a good match for you and your family. Rest assured, regardless of the size of the dog, if it is not capable of taking on an intruder or assailant, it certainly will warn you should danger confront you.

Rebecca Chesonis

Rebecca Chesonis is a business professional with a lifelong love for dogs. She has owned and worked around dogs since she was a child. She has a love for all breeds, and a particular fondness for large dogs. She loves to write articles and create videos that will help you take care of your dog and find activities to make life with your dog even more fun!

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