Dixie the Dog: 3-point Home Protection

By on June 9, 2017

We’ve had Dixie for 2 years. Now that she’s no longer breeding, her life is filling up with adventures and a strong sense of home and a great sense of humor.

In my forthcoming book and home security consulting, I suggest how people can implement 3 strategies to strengthen their homes and apartments against break-ins:

  1. Eliminate Surprise. Know when someones on your property, or your apartment’s fire escape or balcony.
  2. Deter Access. Don’t allow easy access through your doors or windows.

And, if someone does gain illegal access:

  1. Have a Plan. And a backup plan. Know what you’re willing to do to defend your home, and protect yourself and family.

Fortunately for us dog lovers, most dogs can do one or two or all three. The rest is up to you!


3 Questions Answered by Inmates

Police finally caught up to high-end residential thief, Jack MacLean. While in jail (the first time), he wrote a book called, Secrets of a Superthief. In it, he publishes a survey he conducted with 300 fellow inmates incarcerated for similar crimes. Of MacLean’s 125 questions, three are about dogs. From his book:

Would dogs scare you away?

65% said that dogs of good size and unfriendly persuasion would scare them away
35% said no dog would scare them away.
[MacLean reassessed these answers and concluded that over 95% would indeed be scared away. There’s also this source, “a police officer in a K9 unit agreed with MacLean’s reassessment of criminals who say they’re not scared by dogs: almost all of them are lying”. 

What kinds of dogs scare you away the most?
35% Dobermans
30% Pit bulls
25% all dogs
10% German Shepherd Dogs

What would scare you away from a residence more than anything?
59% people in the house
32% almost any dog
9%  from night-time only burglars, who’d be deterred by spot or flood lights lighting up a yard.


Dixie, a Giant Schnauzer & Smaller Alarm Systems

Most of my life, I’ve had great dogs, rescues mainly. They have abilities that people don’t possess to detect the presence of animals or people outside. Many are sensitive to any menace a person may have. And they’ll let you know it.

Dixie, top of blog, is an 80-pound Giant Schnauzer. All guard dog. I think her specific breed lines and early training make her only a little different from the mutts I’ve had. For instance, when I adopted her two years ago, I noticed that when walking off-leash, she walks 3 feet behind me to my left. If I let her run, off she goes, like a goofball. But it’s not long til she falls back into flank position. (That’s probably training)

Inside, she’s like most stalwart dogs….


Pixie, an elderly Rat Terrier mix, is still a notifier of events of outside the house.

Zone 1, Eliminate Surprise, she’s got it covered. She’s attention is keen and her bark, fierce.

Zone 2, Deter Access, covered. Her nose marks on the window and paw marks on the sill, say that entry will not be easy for a bad guy.

Zone 3, Defense, I hope this part is never tested. But I’ve seen Dixie set dogs straight who thought they wanted a piece of her. She firmly stands her ground, makes herself big(ger), and puts her notable pearly white incisors on display.

Granted, Dixie’s an uncommon breed. But I know small 8-pound dogs, like Pixie, a Rat Terrier mix, and Beeker a rescued Chihuahua who both live to detect, listen, smell, and call out strange sounds outside. That’s enough to get your attention and that’s a important contribution. As a police dog trainer, and owner of Crosswinds K-9, Phyllis Tustin says, “with proper training, most any dog will do” for home protection.


“If I had a dollar every time an animal growled when I was right outside the window, and the owner said, ‘Shut up, go lay down!’, I’d be a millionaire.”  Jack MacLean, author, Secrets of a Superthief

 “Respect when your dog barks….they do not bark at nothing. When your dog barks, don’t yell to them, ‘Quiet! Go lay down!’  Instead, get up and look.” Phyllis Tustin, police dog trainer and owner of Crosswinds K-9.

Suzy Meyer, Author
Pittsburgh, PA

I'm a landscape architect, gardener, and of late, a certified NRA instructor. I enjoy practicing T’ai Chi, playing bocce, and walking through watersheds.. This blog is my journey full of learning curves to calm the chaos.


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