Can a Pitbull Be a Guard Dog? + How to Train Them

Pitbulls are mostly adopted and raised as house pets and companions as they they are friendly and affectionate. However, they have various other traits that would make them ideal as guard dogs. It will all depend on how you raise and train your dog.

So, can a Pitbull be a guard dog? A Pitbull can be a guard dog because they are extremely loyal to their owners and protective of their territory. They’re also large with strong muscular builds, so they will appear intimidating to intruders, and they’re highly intelligent, so they can be easily trained to bark or attack on command.

Keep reading to learn more about what makes Pitbulls good as guard dogs and how to train your Pitbull to be a guard dog.

Are Pitbulls Aggressive?

Pitbulls are not aggressive by nature, but they’re often assumed to be aggressive because they were originally bred and trained to fight with other animals. 

However, just like any other dog breed, their behavior will mainly depend on their training and living conditions.

Pitbulls will be affectionate and loyal to their owners with proper socialization and training. They are highly unlikely to become aggressive unless they were provoked or trained to do so on command.

What Are the Signs of Aggression in Pitbulls?

There are some clear signs you can look out for to tell that your Pitbull is becoming aggressive such as:

  • Your dog will start grinding and baring its teeth
  • Your dog will start barking and growling loudly
  • Your dog will lower its head and avoid direct eye contact
  • Your dog will begin pulling its ears back until they’re entirely flat against its head
  • Your dog will keep its tail raised upright in a rigid position
  • Your dog will start moving its tail back and forth rapidly

Are Pitbulls Good as Guard Dogs?

a pitbull barking behind a fence to show how can a pitbull be a guard dog

Before answering whether Pitbulls are good as guard dogs, you need to understand the difference between watchdogs and guard dogs:

Watchdogs are trained to watch out for their territory, and they will only bark when strangers approach or anything unusual happens. 

Many dogs have instincts to behave this way and do not need any training to do so. 

On the other hand, Guard dogs are trained to watch out for their territory, but they will aggressively attack when any strangers approach or anything unusual happens. 

Most dogs have the natural instinct to behave this way; however, they need special training to control their behavior.

When it comes to Pitbulls, they have both instincts that make them good as watchdogs and the other traits that make them good as guard dogs.

4 Traits That Make Pitbulls Good as Guard Dogs

Now that you know the difference between watchdogs and guard dogs, let’s take a closer at the main traits that make Pitbulls good as guard dogs:

Their Size

Pitbulls are relatively large-sized dogs with muscular buildswhich makes them appear more intimidating to any intruders

At full growth, the average Pitbull would weigh from 30 to 60 pounds and stand at 1 to 21 inches at the shoulders, with the females being smaller.

Their Strength

Pitbulls are very strong, especially when it comes to their bites. They can easily hold on to their target even when running at great speed and will do significant damage upon attacking.

While their teeth are not very sharp, they have strong jaws, and their bite force can measure up to 235 PSI which is relatively strong in the dog world, although it’s not the strongest as some people believe it to be. 

Their Intelligence

Pitbulls are smart dogs, making them very easy to train to attack on command.

They can quickly learn and respond to commands with little practice. They are also wise enough to be able to sense any danger or threat coming toward their territory.

Their Loyalty

Pitbulls are known to be loyal to their families, and they can also be very territorial.

So, their instincts will drive them to become aggressive to protect their family against any danger. A Pitbull will not hesitate to attack an intruder if they feel their family is in danger. 

How to Train Your Pitbull to Be a Guard Dog?

Although Pitbulls have natural instincts to protect their owners, they need to be properly trained to become guard dogs to prevent them from attacking innocent people or even turning on their owners.

Keep in mind that you should start your dog’s training early on in its life to make the process easier and ensure that your dog will grow up to be well-behaved.

Now, let’s break down how you can train your Pitbull to be a guard dog:


You need to start socializing your Pitbull when it’s young, as this will teach it not to perceive most humans and dogs as a threat and prevent it from developing aggressive tendencies as it grows up.

To properly socialize your Pitbull, you can take on daily walks in busy parks to expose it to different scents and sounds and get it to interact with other humans and dogs in a safe environment.

Obedience Training

You also need to start your dog’s obedience training early on in its life and make sure it can follow basic commands like “stay,” “sit,” “stop,” and “down” before teaching it to follow any defensive or offensive commands.

When training your Pitbull, make sure to use proper discipline methods to encourage or punish certain behaviors.

If you want to encourage good behavior, you need to use the positive reinforcement method, which involves rewarding the dog with treats or praise whenever it displays good behavior.

However, if you want to punish bad behavior, you need to ignore the dog or withhold treats whenever it displays bad behavior.

 It’s highly recommended to avoid using aggression such as beating or yelling as a punishment method because this will make the dog feel threatened and cause it to turn on you in self-defense.

Teaching the Dog to Bark on Command

You need to teach your dog to bark on command or whenever there’s an intruder around.

To train your dog to bark, you need to establish a command word such as “speak” and repeat it whenever you notice your dog barking so that your dog will start associating the act of barking with the command word.

You can also create a mock scenario to train the pitbull to bark at intruders by asking a person whose face is not familiar to the dog to act as an intruder, then point to that person while repeating the command word.

You need to keep your voice firm and maintain eye contact when saying the command. 

You also need to reward the dog with treats and praise whenever it successfully follows the command to encourage it to continue doing so in the future.

Teaching the Dog to Attack on Command

You need to teach the dog to attack when commanded or whenever there’s an intruder around. Make sure to wear thick clothes and a glove that covers your entire hand when training the dog to attack to protect yourself and prevent any serious injuries.

To train your Pitbull to bark, you need to establish a command word such as “attack” or any other word that you want your dog to associate with the act.

  • Start by tapping your dog’s face with your gloved arm until it becomes irritated and attacks the glove. 
  • Once it strikes the glove, say the command word loudly and keep repeating it until your dog has a good understanding of what it means and what you want it to do.
  • Next, you can create a mock scenario by placing a human-sized doll at a distance to act as the intruder, then point at it while repeating the command word. 
  • You can also get someone whose face is not familiar to the dog to act as the intruder, but make sure they’re wearing protective clothing to avoid injury. You need to keep your voice firm and maintain eye contact when saying the command. 
  • You also need to reward the dog with treats and praise whenever it successfully follows the command to encourage it to continue doing so in the future.

To make sure your dog is always ready for serious situations, you should revise the commands with them every 6-12 months to make sure their recall and reactions are good. 

To do that, you simply work on it with your dog as if you’re training them for the first time. 

Related Questions

Are Pitbull Guard Dogs Safe to Have Around Family?

Pitbull guard dogs are safe to have around family as long as they are properly socialized and trained from a young age. However, it’s not recommended to leave children with a Pitbull without supervision as they might play too roughly with the dog and accidentally provoke it to attack.

Will A Pitbull Attack its Owner?

A Pitbull will only attack its owner if it wasn’t properly trained or if it was provoked. Pitbulls are not aggressive by nature and they are typically loyal and affectionate as long as they’re provided with good living conditions. They will become aggressive and attack to protect others or in self-defense.

Are Pitbull Attacks Fatal?

Pitbulls attacks can be fatal to dogs and humans as they have a muscular build, strong jaws, and a powerful bite. They are capable of causing severe injury when attacking, which often leads to death. 

Pitbulls are reported to be responsible for over 7% of fatalities due to dog bites in the United States.

What Other Dog Breeds Make Good Guard Dogs?

Some of the dog breeds that would make good guard dogs include Rottweilers, Bull Mastiffs, German Shepherds, Dutch Shepherds, American Bulldogs, Boxers, and Great Danes. These dogs have all the traits and instincts needed to protect their family and territory from any threats or intruders.

Helpful Resources 

How to train a dog to protect you

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