Residential burglary can happen to anybody. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has recently reported more about 1.7 million break-ins across the US. However, the rate has declined by 10.5% in 2014 due to the growth of DIY home security market. By 2020, NextMarket Insights projects that self-installed security alarms and other devices will value at $1.5 billion.

Despite the availability of affordable burglar alarms, many still prefer a traditional method of securing their property: getting a guard dog. “You are concerned for your family’s safety, and you want a nice pet, too. Fortunately, you can have the best of both worlds,” one police officer shared.

To decide which is better between a guard dog and a home security system, here are points to consider.

Dogs are unpredictable

Guard Dog vs Home Security System

One advantage of getting a guard dog is that this domestic animal is unpredictable. It may or it may not bite. The American Kennel Club (AKC) recommends certain breeds of guard dogs for families. “They’re loyal, brave and extremely protective of their territory,” the AKC notes. The Bullmastiff manifests great alertness and endurance. The Doberman Pinscher, the 14th most popular dog breed, is fearless and highly trainable. Meanwhile, cat-like Akitas are profoundly loyal and alert. Other top guard dog breeds include the Giant Schnauzer, German Shepherd and Rottweiler. However, be warned that an untrained guard dog can cause you more problems than solutions.

Dogs are unhackable

An essential difference between a guard dog and a home security system is the vulnerability to system hacking. Sophisticated thieves are well-equipped with knowledge and technologies to hack home security systems. Thus, it is advisable to regularly change your passwords and upgrade your security software. Having a guard dog means you don’t need to deal with IT intricacies. These loyal companions are unhackable and unpredictable.

Dogs are Loyal Companions

Guard Dog vs Home Security System

You can’t bond with your motion sensors when you’re feeling down. With a dog, you have home protection and a companion. Scientists at the Claremont Graduate University in California found that dogs are really capable of loving their owners, confirming their reputation of “man’s best friend.” The scientists also revealed that dog owners experience a surge of oxytocin, or love hormone, which is associated with a feeling of calmness and closeness.

Dogs don’t Provide Video Monitoring

Guard Dog vs Home Security System

Dogs can be trained to attack intruders. In fact, criminals tend to avoid houses with aggressive protection dogs. As much as your Doberman or Rottweiler can be helpful during an attack, your pet is of no help during investigations. A video monitoring system will not only provide recorded scenes of break-ins. It can also alert you when burglars are attempting to enter your property via smartphone notifications. With innovations in home security systems, you may now check your house remotely 24/7.

Dogs don’t Provide Alarm During Natural Disasters

Guard Dog vs Home Security System

Criminals are not the only elements that threaten the safety of your loved ones and properties. Due to climate change, typhoons are stronger and result to more floods, landslides and immense property losses. A loyal dog may be able to deter thieves, but not all can alert you when a fire or flood occurs. Whether you live in a disaster-prone area or not, it’s advisable to have fire and leakage alarms installed in your house. Choose quality alarms that can send you alerts through your gadgets in cases of emergencies. Ask about a DSC alarm or a Honeywell security alarm from your top security system store.

Dogs can Cost you More

Guard Dog vs Home Security System

Many families prefer getting a guard dog instead of installing an alarm system because of outright costs. You can get a protection dog for free from charities but you’d need to shell out dollars even for a simple alarm. However, if you do some serious pencil pushing, you’d realize the long-term expenses that goes with being a pet owner.

First, guard dogs need to be trained. The services of reputable dog trainers don’t come cheap (approximately $140 to $175 per hour). Second, laws require that dogs be vaccinated. An anti-rabies vaccine costs around $19 and needs to be updated at least every year. A vaccination package that includes inoculation against distemper, bordetella, lepto and round worms costs about $65. Third, there are fixed expenses in caring for a pet such as food, medicines and grooming for certain breeds. Finally, you’re responsible for any damage or loss caused by your pet. You might even face criminal and/or civil liabilities if your dog bites a person or destroys a neighbor’s property.

Dogs don’t Save you Any Penny in Insurance

Guard Dog vs Home Security System

Most home insurance companies, such as MetLife, don’t offer discounts on premium payments to homeowners who own guard dogs. One reason is that dogs are unpredictable—they can bite anybody, intruders or not. This makes them a liability. Some insurers even raise the premiums when they learn about the presence of watch dogs. Meanwhile, having a home security system can earn you discounts and promos from your home insurer.

“Although we don’t have any credible statistics about the difference in burglaries based on if the home is protected by an alarm versus a dog, insurers feel it’s better for homeowners to get an alarm. Dogs should be for the family’s pleasure,” says Peter Moraga of the Insurance Information Network of California.

Dogs can be Harmed or Stolen

Guard Dog vs Home Security System

In December 2015, a couple in Nebraska found their home attacked by burglars and their pet Rottweiler fatally shot. “When you have a dog, you own that dog. That’s a family member,” the owner said.

Pets may be of great help in ensuring your home safety, but you have to remember that doing so will put their lives at risk. Burglars who have been monitoring your household can come prepared in dealing with your guard dog.

Owning a guard dog has its positive and negative sides. Unlike equipment and devices, pets are unhackable and can seriously attack intruders. They are loyal companions who will protect their owners with their lives. However, having a pet can be costly and risky. You’d need to allot money for its food, grooming and vaccines. A dog, especially an untrained one, can bite anybody, burglars or not. Most importantly, a guard dog can easily become a part of your family. Using them as your ONLY protection can put them at serious risks. If you can afford it, why not get the best of both worlds? Have a trained guard dog AND a home security system!