RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - In tonight's special neighborhood crime watch - how you can turn your dog into a guard dog!
When it's late at night, and you're home alone, your first line of defense against crime might just be a four-legged friend. But what's the secret, to turning your dog, into a guard dog?
Experts say you don't have to go out and buy yourself a 150-pound attack dog. Even the smallest animals can be trained to keep burglars and other criminals away.
JR and Sophie are standard poodles. Not exactly the type of breed that comes to mind, when you think about toughness, but their owner, Val Vendryck, knows better.
"They're wonderful watchdogs. Even when there's petty crime in the area or vandalism, anything like that, you know that these dogs will hear it and they'll bark," said Val.
With a sense of hearing that would put humans to shame, the poodles now are learning what to do "after" they notice something unusual. That's where Jemi Hodge comes in. She won't ever train the dogs to attack. Oddly enough - she'll train them to be quiet.
"A quiet, standing still dog is much more intimidating to a bad person than a barking, lunging, foaming at the mouth Rottweiler," said Jemi Hodge of Jemi Hodge and Associates.
Just watch what she does with August - a 10-month old Cane Corso, who happens to be a 145-pound force of nature.
"Put my foot on the leash, all the way up, till he lies down. And then I can walk away from the dog and I have total control," Jemi said.
Techniques like that are meant to work on small dogs too, which don't have to take people down, as long as they can back them off.
"Quiet and standing still, means they're trained. And bad people don't know what dogs are trained to do," Jemi said.
Behavior like that, Jemi says, not only makes a would-be burglar find another target - but it's bound to make homeowners, like Val, feel more secure.
"I think once they're trained, it comes naturally. They will warn me, no question about it," Val said.
Jemi says you can get any type of dog you want and train it to become a good guard dog. The best ones will alert you to the problem and then quiet down so you can then focus on the situation.