Dogs make great companions. Especially for the elderly who may need assistance in their daily lives. However, guard dogs are not only helpful in the elder’s daily responsibilities, but they ensure they are safe since they have an instinct to watch out for predators. Or in this case, intruders in the home.
In this article, it will highlight the benefits of owning a standard schnauzer and why it would be an excellent personal guard dog for the elderly.
Standard Schnauzer – the perfect guard dog for the elderly
This breed of dog is between 17 and a half to 18 (females) and a half to 19 and a half inches (males). They are considered medium-size dogs that are a great fit for the elderly to have at home. This dog is usually salt and pepper or all black.
Males are 40-45 pounds, and females are 35 to 40 pounds. They need to be groomed weekly, as they have fast-growing hair. A standard schnauzer will deal with boredom or restlessness by running indoors and playing with toys.
Since they are highly energetic dogs, they are a good pet to have around for the elderly person to play with or take on walks.
Schnauzers are not only energetic but are specifically bred to be guard dogs. Their social needs are moderate in comparison to other dogs who thrive off human affection, but they are easily trainable and caring to their owners. They thrive by protecting them and are always prepared to wean off any threats to the elder’s property.
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Standard Schnauzer Personality
This dog breed is intelligent and dependable animals. The standard schnauzer needs to exercise at least 30 minutes a day. The elderly can play with them indoors or take them on walks.
If the owner does not tend to the dog’s exercise needs, the dog will exercise themselves! This may not be good because they may run around the house and potentially wreck the furniture or play with their toys like crazy.
They are very energetic dogs, but they are highly intelligent, as they are described as having a high-spirited disposition. Fun fact, in Germany this breed is used for personal guards in the home or companions.
Schnauzer’s are very devoted and emit bravery from their intelligence which enables them to be efficient guard dogs in the home.
Living with a Schnauzer
This breed of dog needs extensive training when little for the schnauzer to become a reliable guard dog for the elderly owner. This is because their high level of intelligence may be good for obeying the owner’s commands, but also avoiding them.
A Schnauzer can have a mind of their own with a lot of pride so they sometimes can feel like abiding by their own rules. This is why training it at a young age with guarding rules is important, but also to allow them to do their own thing to balance out the training to make them obedient.
Owning a Schnauzer comes with some daily responsibilities. This includes some tedious tasks such as trimming their fur or paying for a groomer weekly or monthly. Tools like a mobility harness and a pooper scooper can come in handy for everyday use with a Schnauzer.
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Schnauzers and Guard Dog Duties
A guard dog mainly as a protector for the residential home and property. They will scare off a person, animal if they are intruding or are dangerous to the home or owner. If the elder feels scared from trauma in their past or is simply wanting a companion, this is ideal for them to buy or adopt.
Schnauzers love their owners so much that they will protect them against any harm that comes their way. Whether that’s scaring off a big dog on a walk (barking) if they are growling, or if a burglar tries to break-in in the middle of the night, they are always prepared to take action.
Schnauzers differ from watchdogs as they will bark but will do what they need to serve their purpose of fending off danger to the owner. Watchdogs will bark just to alarm everyone around them they are in danger which can help immensely but may not protect fully against an intruder.
They must not get distracted easily. Since a Schnauzer is intelligent, they are responsive to emotions, threats, or something that seems off-putting. This is why a guard dog is appealing for elders to have as protectors and a companion in the home.
Benefits of Owning a Guard Dog Among Elderly
The elderly can feel at peace with having a dog not allow intruders in. Additionally, studies have shown dogs lower stress. This is beneficial especially for the elderly who may be taking meds that have side effects, where a dog can calm them down.
There is a psychological impact from human to animal relationships. This includes an increase in social interaction, life satisfaction, mental sanity, with improvement in social competence, depression, and the elderly psychological well-being.
Any dog comes with the responsibility of taking them out or daily walks. As mentioned above, a schnauzer requires 30 minutes a day of physical activity, thus providing the elderly an opportunity to get outside and participate in a walk around the block.
Going on walks can release endorphins, a brain chemical that improves well-being and significantly reduces stress. Getting old may pose some health issues and increase stress along with it, so light exercise is important to keep their sanity.
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Studies have shown dogs have a positive effect on cardiovascular health. Those with their dog present had lower blood pressure and slowed heart rate during and after a stressful event.
A dog’s presence who acts as a guard animal to the elderly can calm down the parasympathetic nervous system, thus lowering blood pressure from easing the fight or flight response that is activated by perceived threats.
Assist the elderly if an animal or intruder is at the door by barking loudly. Then, if the burglar or animal does enter the home, the guard dog can attack or restrain the intruder upon entering.
Instead of just barking like a small dog would, they take necessary action to protect their elderly owner. Better yet, the dog will protect the owner at all costs, even if it means they will get hurt in the process.
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Things to Consider Before Buying a Standard Schnauzer as a Guard Dog for Elderly
- Groomer. An elderly person may not be able to groom the schnauzer weekly, so they may need to bring the dog to a groomer or hire one to visit.
- Size. Guard dogs are typically bigger, as this breed of dog is medium. However, they need daily exercise and one is taking them for walks. It might be a good idea for seniors to hire a dog walker if they are unable to manage a dog on a leash.
- Residential home restrictions. If the elderly are living in a residential home, pets are usually not allowed in the facility. Always check with the rules and regulations of the living building first.
- Allergies. Make sure to rule out any allergy-related to a dog so the elderly person can take care of the pet regarding their health.
If the elderly is too old to be functional in taking a medium-size dog on daily walks, it may be best to hire a dog walker.
Guard dogs are to keep intruders out of the home, or unwanted animals out. Snauzzers like to play indoors too, so the elder could buy toys for them.
Finances are important to consider as well. Must be able to take the Schnauzer to the vet every 6 months with a costly fee.
The elderly owner must be able to pay attention to the dog’s weight, diet, and behavior to watch for any health problems that need medical attention. Must buy all necessities a dog needs daily.
A guard dog is trained to bark loudly when an intruder trespasses into the home. If the elderly have a hearing disability, it will be very difficult to be alarmed in an emergency.
However, it is still beneficial as others will hear and even safer for the elderly to depend on the dog to protect them in case of an emergency.
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As mentioned above, a standard schnauzer is a great fit for a guard dog for the elderly. Not only does a guard dog provide emotional, physical, and health benefits, it provides safety.
The guard dog will loudly alarm the owner and neighbors around them by barking loudly. They are not afraid to attack a dangerous intruder or animal that comes into the home, because their primary goal is to keep the elderly person safe.
The size of this dog breed is ideal for guarding the property and owner individually. They are small enough to live in an apartment space, but not too big to take up too much space.
Balancing their energy will entail taking them on walks or playing with toys indoors. But, their strong-willed, intelligent demeanor is ideal for guarding as they are bred for this reason.