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Columns: No Limits, No Kidding!




How techy thieves know where you live, get in your house without tripping alarms, what they’re armed with and the horror your house dog faces.


July 2017

Col. Sam Harper, Dogsport Reconnaissance


My daughter forwarded me a science article about how vulnerable new technology has made us. She said my specialized training could help dog owners protect themselves and their pets. I thought about that for a millisecond and realized she was right.


The article said thieves steal your car because they’re going for the big haul - easy entry to your home but it skipped over the car theft. My first thought was so where are they most likely to boost a car? Answer, where theft is unlikely to be quickly noticed. Pondering our vulnerabilities, I drove over to a shopping center and scoped it out.


First tip. If you work at one of the stores, park in the employee parking or “further out” where there are fewer cars and yours is visible to other people.


Look at it from a thief’s perspective. Target is female employee or shopper (a man is more likely to have family at home) and women are usually inside longer. A walk-by glance in the car, partially concealed between rows of cars, reveals the driver’s socio-economic class, indicating probability of valuables in the home. OK, they know where you are and what you’re doing so one of them takes the car for a couple of reasons. The first is buying time in case you finish shopping too soon. Looking for it, realizing it isn’t where you left it, calling the police, filing the report, all of that takes time and no one is thinking about your house.


I know a big dog prevents car theft but that car-buddy system only good works in cool weather… The point here is that it’s not your car they want. They crack the car for easy access to plunder your home. Your address is on the registration in the glove box or on the visor but more likely today, the GPS is programmed to take them right to your home. Do I have your attention now?


They tandem deploy to your house and with your new-tech garage door opener, they’re concealed and inside your home in a flash. Their car is in the driveway (you have a visitor) so neighbors see nothing suspicious. If you don’t have a garage door opener, the thieves park both cars in the driveway to block view and in 30 seconds, they are inside through the garage or back door entry.


Your dog is there waiting to greet you, having heard your car drive in. Professional thieves are not surprised to find a dog in the house. The come prepared. A Tactical Flashlight produces 1,000 lumens of blindingly bright light that will send a yappy dog packing. My take is that they could be x-military.


Now here’s the worst part. You may want to click out now because I’m about to tell you why your house dog can’t stop them. Most professional thieves now come equipped with something worse than mace. Called Counter Assault and is marketed to hunters because it will stop a grizzly bear so yeah, it will instantly stop the most aggressive guard dog.


The pain is so unbearable they say a dog can’t even scream as they dig at their eyes. I’ve seen a lot of weaponry but when I thought of my old hound being sprayed with this, I had to go for another cuppa coffee.


So what can you do to prevent today’s smart thieves? 1) stand guard yourself and be prepared to act with deadly force if necessary, 2) call in a real pro to wire your home with advanced deterrent technology or 3) hire ‘round the clock 2-man guards. Two for obvious reasons.


A decade ago I would have felt comfortable with the first option but ego doesn’t replace good judgment. Realistically, for every burglar-alarm system, there’s a techie thief to disarm it.


So when I ran this by my daughter, she said “We’re back to the oldest form of protection, a guard dog.” So that’s #4, a poison-proofed, trained alarm dog inside your home AND to be sure he’s alerted, at least one natural guarding breed outside in your securely fenced property. She loves to educate me and frankly, it makes me proud when she does a good job. So I poured a cuppa java and said, “OK sweetie, give me some guard dog examples I can use for a column.”


She explained that there are breeds that were developed for exactly that purpose. I get that most personal protection and guard dog breeds are in the Working Group but I was intrigued by the ancient Flock Guardians. We talked about the “Devil Dog Dobermans” of the Marine Corp, got distracted with German Shepherd war movie heroes, and then she told me about breeds descended from the “Mighty Mastiff” as she called it. Put one of those big boys or his smaller cousins, the Bull Mastiff, Rottweiler, or Boxer in your home and they are effectively discouraging to potential thieves...


I found myself dozing, hand stroking my old hound’s ears. I think I’ll just keep him, service my old sidearm, and let you guys figure out what’s best for your family. EST 2002 © 1707



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