Off-Grid Defense: Spooky Pets For Home Protection

We all know that dogs are great for home protection, but that’s just it – people know that dogs are a potential danger to anybody who seeks to harm your or your property. That means that some people may be discouraged from bothering you, but others may just plan to get rid of your dogs before robbing you.

That’s when it may pay to have other animals that may not be quite so conspicuously aggressive until it really counts. That’s what we’re going to talk about today.

One of the top trainable animals that we discovered was (strangely enough) the octopus. Another was, of course, the dolphin. However, unless our world changes much more drastically than even we are anticipating, those two aren’t going to do you much good. Interesting, though.


Survivopedia Snakes as spooky petsYeah, we know. Snakes aren’t exactly on the top of the list of most lovable pets for most people. However, a snake kept in a cage right beside your door is prohibitive to many people for exactly that reason.

This is actually an old crazy cowboy trick that we heard about a while back. The guy had the rattlesnake (not our first choice of pets, or even our 100th choice) in a slatted box lined with screen that was nailed at about face-level right beside his door.

An attacker may not see the screen at first, and even if he did, he may just think that if somebody keeps a snake, they probably have even crazier things INSIDE the house.

Good mental tactic. We’d recommend going with a king snake or some other non-poisonous yet scary-looking, loud serpent.


You’ve most likely seen the movie “Babe” or another similar to it and know that pigs can be trained.

{adinserter usf}What you may not know is that pigs can get mean, too. They’re extremely intelligent and have a sense of loyalty to family members.

They’re also used by some factions to sniff bombs or even to guard perimeters. Just because they’re big and unusual, they have a certain intimidation factor that may keep people out of your yard.

Beware, though, that they WILL eat your garden.

Wolves or Part-Wolves

Right up front, you should know that special permits are required if you have a wolf, or part-wolf, as a pet.

Pet may not be exactly the right word for the relationship that you and your wolf would have thought. They’re extremely independent and many will tell you that their personalities more closely resemble cats than dogs.

They are, however, amazing guard animals because they protect their domain and their packs. Just know that wolves aren’t for everybody and you should be fully trained in wolf care and behavior, as well as licensed, before considering having one for home defense.


Survivopedia Birds as spooky animalsPigeons, crows and ravens are all extremely trainable though you need to know what you’re doing. African greys are perhaps the most trainable bird of all.

They can be taught to pair words with actions, and to complete the action while saying the phrase. This may make a good pet to lend you the element of surprise needed to reach your weapon or get away.

Other birds that may be of help – falcons because you can also hunt with them, and ostriches, which can be aggressive and intimidating while also giving you meat and eggs.

Chimpanzees or Orangutans

Clyde, the orangutan made famous for co-starring with Clint Eastwood in the Every Which Way but Loose movies, was an orangutan. They are extremely trainable and also make great companions.

Chimpanzees, the smaller of the primates, share 98% of their DNA traits with humans and have actually beaten college kids on memory tests.

Primates are high maintenance but are great to have around if you’re willing to invest the time. Again, you’ll need proper licensure and training if you’re going to use a primate as a pet for home protection in a survival situation, or for any other reason.

There are many animals that make great pets and will help to protect your property and we still advocate the use of dogs as a first defense because it’s what they do. They love you, they protect you, and they keep your property as safe as they can manage. If you’re going to use dogs, make sure that you train them properly and use ones that are going to be scary.

Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and Dobermans all make the list, but don’t underestimate your Chihuahua, either. They’re extremely loyal, aren’t afraid to defend you, and will make their displeasure aggressively known if somebody tries to harm you. They’re small but can buy you the time that you need to reach your weapon or get away.

Regardless of which pets you choose for home defense in a survival situation, remember that you will have to feed them, train them, and care for them even after things get tough. They may be your best friends, but they’re also going to be mouths that need fed so keep that in mind when choosing.

If you have any other good suggestions, let’s hear them in the comments section below.

BPH1.1This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia.

Written by

Theresa Crouse is a full-time writer currently living in central Florida. She was born and raised in the hills of West Virginia, where she learned to farm, hunt, fish, and live off the land from an early age. She prefers to live off the grid as much as possible and does her best to follow the “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. For fun, she enjoys shooting, kayaking, tinkering on her car and motorcycle, and just about anything else that involves water, going fast, or the outdoors.

Latest comments
  • I think that if you can get you’re hands on a dangerous animal that will not hurt you or you’re friends you should. I also think that you need to find an animal that can survive in the climate that you live in. I live in northern minnesota and it’s cold 6 months out of the year. I would have to have an animal that could handle that. Any suggestions?

    • I would suggest a malamute, husky, or akita for where you live. They usually have enough fur and undercoat to keep them warm.

      • Belgian malinois can take cold weather, they have a good coat, are extremely protective and territorial, though they are high energy, and need a experienced dog owner or someone willing to take obedience lessons together with the dog.
        Dobermans are excellent protection dogs, as well, if you keep them inside most of the time.

    • Polar bear, comes to mind for Minnesota winters. saw a PBS special on Wolverines too.

    • Hi Matt,

      Hopefully this message will get to you, so check out the caucasian shepherd. While I have read they absolutely need training, this might be the perfect breed you are looking for.

  • Pigs can be used to clean up the evidence too. They will even eat the bones.

    • Research and consider geese. They’re popular for home and farm defense and an alarm system, and are quite territorial. Their bite is also pretty painful.

  • Another dog that can be rather intimidating is a mastiff. A friend of mine had one that stayed outside and stayed close to home. A cop came to their door once when they weren’t home and he happened to see the dog peek around the corner of the house. Now, Bo was shy, but the cop didn’t know that and neither would anyone else who didn’t know him.

    Another dog to not underestimate is a Yorkie. They will go after a bear! Even small poodles have been known to ward off the bad guys. Just depends on the dog.

  • While not intimidating or even particularly aggressive another choice for people that live outside of the city is peacocks and ginea fowl. When allowed to roam they can become quite territorial and when any creature or human enters thier territory they will send up a fairly loud and distinctive threat call. The call can be heard for quite a distance.

    • I have to disagree. Guinea fowl never shut up. They will drive you nuts.

  • I have a quaker parot and his hearing is better than the dogs. The dogs get lazy and listen for the Parot to tell them when an outside visitor is near. The parot is outside and the dog is inside. The parot can hear my car tow to three blocks away from the house and he squaks to let the dogs know. The dogs can tell by the squak what the bird is saying. He will also trick the dogs sometimes for fun, just to embarrass them I guess, in front of me when the door is open. The bird talks, squaks, and bites. What a pal. A bag of food lasts for months. They will only like one person at a time. He puts up with my wife and is friendly with her when I am not there. If he and I are talking or I am handling him and she comes up, that can get me bit. He will go after her and bite me in the process.
    The parot is a good outside warning system.

  • I love my Chow Chow’s they are relativly small, very intelligent, loyal and brave.

  • 1. Buy a pair of size 14-16 work boots.
    2. Put them on front porch with a copy of Guns & Ammo.
    3. Put some giant dog dishes next to boots & magazines.
    4. Leave note on your door: “Bubba: Me & Bertha went for more ammo & beer. Back soon. Don’t mess with the pit bulls; they messed the mailman up bad this morning. I don’t think Killer took part; hard to tell from all the blood. I locked all four of ’em in the house. Better wait outside. Be right back. ~Cooter

  • Don’t underestimate the value of your average mutt!! Typically a rescue dog will become as/more loyal than a puppy you bought. I prefer a mid sized dog, 30-70lbs, and either a retriever or lab mix. They are large enough to present a physical threat, yet typically very gentle with children. They also become attached and protective if children.

  • Also consider the liability you are assuming with these animals. Anyone remember the Connecticut lady whose friend had her face ripped off by her pet chimp? Yeah, good luck getting insurance for that. Crud, even common domesticated animals like dogs can be a serious liability. Stick with the smart animals that are highly trainable, train them well, and stay away from the exotics (too much costs involved). If that sounds like too much work, you might reconsider taking on that liability.

  • I have a pack of dogs but the thing that I have to lock up if we get visitors is the ram. Rams have been known to kill people and they get fearless if they are handled like a pet. If someone turns up unexpectedly I have to tell them to stay in the car while I lock up the ram. Funny thing is….they are more scared of our docile buck. For some reason, people see a horned buck goat and they won’t go in the paddock, and so, they turn their back on the ram, the real threat.

  • Geese are very good and with the hiss and aggressive posture and bad bite , very good yard defense . Birds in the house macaws can be very impressive . Mine only likes me and will attack if he doesn’t know someone , but the best parrot to have is a mature amazon . Fearless will go after you flying and biting . I have the scars to prove it

  • I’m sure this was a well-intended article, but I believe the practical value of using snakes, orangutans and such for protection leans towards the absurd. In a 40+ year career in law enforcement following a few years in charge of security for a federal high-level intelligence gathering operation, I never once saw anything along this line that could have been viable. As an inner-city cop I had a liquor store on my beat that was robbed frequently. On one occasion the clerk, having just been robbed at gunpoint, fired several .45acp rounds at the suspect as he fled the store. He didn’t hit the man, but four of the rounds passed through the aluminum frame of the screen door. The owner bemoaned the fact that he would now have to replace the door. I told him not to; but leave it in place for everyone who walked into his store to see. To my knowledge he was never robbed again. Sometimes a little psychological inventiveness can go a long way.

    • Thank goodness! I was beginning to think I was the only one who thought this article ridiculous. Like your idea of leaving the bullet holes. A permanent chalk outline of a body on the driveway might work. lol

  • A lot of good ideas. I had a neighbor who came home to find the door to her home open. She called the police and they sent in their German Shepard to search the house. All of a sudden the dog started howling and crying and came out all bloodied. It had been attacked by the occupant’s parrot. Maybe another animal to consider if you are into birds.

  • I really like and appreciate this website. But……….I’m highly saddened and upset that you would even endorse or suggest for people to get a wild animal! It has absolutely NO bearing on whether they’ve been raised their whole life by humans! They are wild! They have NO business being held captive under any circumstance! And you’re right about the DNA of primates, however this simply makes them more intelligent and very aware of their captive situation! And we have the arrogance to force them to live in a manner in which they didn’t ask for!! Then when they’ve had enough and turn on their captor they “just don’t understand what happened” Duh! So now, we not only have to worry about being attacked from the outside, we get to worry about getting attacked from inside! Then they either have to be put down or locked up in a cage the rest of their lives possibly being neglected and abused! This website has been reputable in the past. I’m very disappointed to see an article like this making unrealistic and harmful suggestions!

  • I have cats and think they would be better at giving me more time to get a weapon if needed. If an attacker has a gun-no animal is safe-so I figure I can toss one of my cats at the attacker-20 razor sharp claws should keep them busy a minute or two. Maybe even send them running away screaming in pain.

  • BTW no primates share 98% of DNA with humans. It is closer to 70% in reality. This means billions of differences.

  • Just keep in mind that many dog breeds will kill your chickens and small livestock if not properly trained. Dobermans make excellent inside dogs. They can be trained easily.

  • Did we forget about Pit bulls?! Pit bulls should have been mentioned at the top of the list of dogs. By experience of owning them throughout my life, they have proven to be wonderful comedians, lovable loyal companions, smart and yet more protective than any other breed we’ve owned. The media hype about PB’s is for the most part as false as the hype about obama being a wonderful guy. (They get a bad rap because they are exceptionally strong and there are idiots who train them to fight. Idiot + Pit = disaster) Orangutans, Chimps, and wolves, have been known to turn on their owners, disfiguring, and/or killing them, and believe it or not the Golden retriever has the monopoly on dog bites not the PB! Yet you won’t here that in the news ever! Believe me a Pit would be a great choice. Just raise them in love, train them well and don’t raise them to fight and you will have an amazing friend who will probably give his life to save yours.

  • my uncle had a donkey that turned out to be the best watch/guard animal ever! if anyone came around after dark that thing would put up a wicked racket and i saw him chase more than on unwanted visitor out and more than a few dogs too! they’re quick, agile, they kick and the suckers bite!!!

    • Some farmers here in Australia are getting donkeys to protect their livestock from dingoes. Apparently even their braying will keep the dingoes away.

  • Emus would make excellent yard guards. You just need to raise them from hatchlings.

    • I would think a large bird like that would be a target for hungry looters personally. I would view that thing as right above a turkey as far as eating. One crossbow bolt, arrow or rifle round and its supper time.

      • Yes, that’s true but a gun or crossbow would do the same for any animal. Emus are real kick butts from what I have seen, especially if you aren’t expecting them to be there. Personally, I wouldn’t want one because i wouldn’t want to have to deal with it everytime I went outside.

  • Ive owned several dogs in my lifetime. My family raised English Setters, Labs, and I have had a Doberman, a Doberman / German Shepherd cross, a Belgian Malinois, and my latest dog, is a Black Mouth Cur. If I had to endorse one dog breed or type it would be the Black Mouth Cur. They are the quintessential frontier dog, (think Ol’ Yeller.) They can hunt anything from squirrel to mountain lion and hogs, they can herd, they are very defensive and protective, and good with kids too. Mine is a 35 pound female. Once, my neighbor came by to ask for a hand with something, my wife let him in then came downstairs to fetch me, leaving my neighbor in the living room. I came upstairs to find my cur had placed herself between him and my 3 year old daughter, and was growling and barking at him. The dog showed good sense and duty and didn’t bite the guy, but looked like she would had he advanced. He thought she was a great dog after that display, and stays on the porch now when he comes calling.

  • Did none of all you crazy dog people not read the article. The author ruled out “dogs” in the firs paragraph. Read the title.

  • Having the good fortune to live on my cousins farm every summer I have many experiences to share. When it comes to watch dogs I think of an animal that isnt a dog. The grey goose. It is large and can bee mean to those it doesn’t know and will not hesitate to defend its territory. its bite is painful and lighting fast. The best part is that it is a low maintenance animal It feeds mostly on weeds and it is good in the garden It wont bother most vegetables. Even coyotes stay clear of this bestie. If food get short it makes a fine meal. Just a thought from an old farm Grampa

  • Housecats should not be totally discounted, however, they would be the exception rather than the rule. They do silent alerts though for intruders if you are with them. My mother however had a cat years ago who actively defended her condo from all intruders and visitors. She had to keep him locked up if she had company. The cat was never abused, he just was extremely territorial. I have heard of other cases where cats would attack strangers in their territories.

  • having the privilege of taking my school vacations on my cousins farm for many years I learned and painfully that a large grey goose is nothing to be ignored. they are territorial and defend it noisily and with plenty of action. they will turn back dogs and even a bull that got out of the pen and strayed into the garden to munch. the beak offers a painful bite. many who are not familiar on how to deal with this animal will find its aggressive manner a deterrent they should have heeded. they dont usually bother people they know and eat the weeds in the garden if you have a mated pair they will provide eggs but good luck at getting any when people find how well they watch the home you will have no problem selling them. they are good to eat as well and require little care or special food. stay away fro exotic animals they can be unpredictable and require special permits and have costly vet bills that come with them. ………Grampa

  • If you are using a snake as a pet for home defense,then during SHTF turn it in to a booby trap.