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Seen At 11: Bark Or Bite, How Will Your Dog React When A Home Invader Strikes?

CBS 2 Put Four Families And Their Pets To The Test

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — We all like to think that our dogs will protect us from intruders, but how much faith should you really put in Fido?

Research shows that criminals are less likely to burglarize a home with a dog. CBS 2 recently put that research to the test, and set up cameras in four different homes.

At the first home, the owners of “Jameson” and “Cain” weren’t sure how their dogs would react when police Cpl. Bob Adams showed up, posing as an intruder.

“I think [Jameson] might go at him a little bit. Cain will just be like ‘hey, come on over and pet my belly,’” their owner told CBS 2′s Kristine Johnson.

As the intruder entered the house Jameson made some noise, but both dogs eventually backed off and “stood there” as Cpl. Adams made himself comfortable.

Jameson’s owners told CBS 2 that he might react differently if his owners were in danger.

“I think he’ll be a lot more aggressive, especially if he comes towards one of us,” his father said.

But, mom disagreed, and she was right. Jameson turned out to be all bark and no bite.

At the next house “Mason,” a Springer Spaniel known for his love of food, stayed true to his reputation and feasted on a dog biscuit that the intruder gave him. Later, when put to the test in front of his owners, Mason made some noise, but stopped short of biting Cpl. Adams.

“Rocky” the German Shepherd’s owners predicted that he would jump all over the intruder and try to make a new playmate.

“He’s going to bark, then jump all over him, and then probably look for a ball to play with,” they said.

Shortly after Cpl. Adams entered the house Rocky picked up a ball and was ready to play.

Are all German Shepherds cut from the same cloth? The owners of “Jake” told CBS 2 that he would do “whatever he can” to protect his home, but once Cpl. Adams got inside he steered clear and kept his distance.

With his owners in danger, the supposedly scary German Shepherd acted more like a pussycat.

Experts found the footage of these “break-ins” to be less than surprising.

“These dogs probably had a lot of experience with people coming in and out. They’ve had good experiences,” said Dr. Stephen Zawistowski, an animal behaviorist with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

While dogs will typically defend their turf against intruders, the body posture and disposition of the invaders has a big impact on the animal’s response. Adams entered the homes in a calm, non-threatening manner. A real burglar may display more nervous and erratic behavior, which could put the dogs on high alert, Zawistowski said.

“These dogs behaved like the dogs people want to have. Simply having a dog that barks is all you need,” Zawistowski said.

Experts told CBS 2 that when threatened by a burglar, a smaller dog may have a bigger reaction than a large dog .

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