Three Pets That Make Unconventional 'Watchdogs'

Posted by Allie Layos
SVF Foundation

Step aside dogs -- here are some other animals that are joining the protection detail.

When people think of protection animals, most think of dogs, but there are a number of less conventional pets with similar instincts.

Here are three that have long been recognized by farmers as excellent "watchdogs" and guardians, and may be just the protective pet you are searching for.



Anyone who has ever owned a goose knows that they make excellent "watchdogs." Their hearing and eyesight are much better than that of humans and they aren't quiet when they see someone new.

They are alert, brave, and naturally territorial. Unlike dogs, geese can't be bribed with treats, and their honk is loud enough to alert even a sleeping human. They make such good alarms, in fact, that police officers in China have begun using geese to guard their stations at night instead of dogs.


Mother Earth News
Mother Earth News

While not every llama has the protective instinct, a good guard llama can be invaluable.

Llamas have been used as guardians of smaller farm animals for years, because they don't just alert you to an intruder, they often take care of the intruder themselves. Some llamas will herd the animals into a tight group and some will lead them away from danger. Others will attack or kill the intruder, including foxes, coyotes, or dogs.

A 1990 study by Iowa State University found that 80 percent of sheep owners rated their guard llamas as "effective" or "very effective." However, llamas fare best against single intruders, not packs.

Guinea Fowl

The Fowl Blog
The Fowl Blog

Guinea fowl are noisy, but that noise works in their favor when used as "watchdogs." If you have a flock of guinea fowl, you will be alerted to the arrival of any stranger.

Guinea fowl are also fearless, and are not afraid to take on cats, dogs, snakes, and even people, if called for. Many guinea fowl breeders believe their birds are able to distinguish between familiar and unfamiliar faces, and alert them appropriately.

But be forewarned: if your birds don't pick up on this naturally, they're not considered very trainable. Some guinea fowl sound the alarm so often that their owners have begun ignoring them.

If you are looking for a protective pet, think outside the box. Geese, llamas, and guinea fowl are just the start. Many other animals have instincts that can work for you. You just have to recognize them.



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Three Pets That Make Unconventional 'Watchdogs'