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Guard Dogs: Frequently Asked Questions and Signage Regulations

Q. How do I know if my dog is a guard dog?

Guard dogs are trained canines that offer effective and trustworthy safety and security. These dogs are trained to enforce private property boundaries, identify intruders, and alert their owners about potential security threats.
Most dogs can be trained to become guard dogs. However, certain breeds are more suited for this job. These include Appenzeller Sennenhunds, Australian Shepherds, Bluffmastiffs, Doberman Pinschers, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, and more.

Q. How do guard dogs differ from attack dogs?

Trained to provide safety and security, guard dogs and attack dogs differ in one major respect - while guard dogs safeguard you and your property from unwanted/unexpected intruders, attack dogs are typically used by the police or military and are highly trained to cause serious damage if and when required.

Q. Am I legally required to post guard dog signs?

While it may not be a legal requirement, posting a clear guard dog sign can certainly save you some trouble if the dog ends up injuring someone who chooses to ignore the sign. Guard dog signs are not only meant as a warning to potential intruders but also alert unsuspecting visitors and neighbors about the presence of dogs who might attack.

Q. Do I need a separate sign if I have a guard dog among other dogs?

Since guard dogs are well trained and potentially more dangerous than other pet dogs, it may be a good idea to post signs that convey the presence of guard dogs specifically on your premises. This can also work as a better deterrent for intruders compared to regular dog signs.

Q. Can the absence of dog signs work against me in a legal pursuit?

It is always a good idea to let others know about the presence of dogs on your property, whether these are guard dogs or regular pets. Dog signs work both as proactive security tools and liability cushions if your dog attacks or harms another human or animal. An absence of signs can certainly weaken your case and may even put your dog's life in jeopardy, depending on the severity of the injury inflicted.

Q. Is the dog owner legally liable if the guard dog bites someone?

Yes, dog owners are usually responsible for the acts of their dogs and may be sued if the dog attacks or bites another human or animal. However, they do have certain defenses to fall back on in most situations. If the owner can establish that the injury occurred because of the victim’s provocation or carelessness or that the victim was trespassing, he/she may be able to prevent any legal liability. You may find more useful information about this here.
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