How to install a home security system when you have a dog

How to install a home security system when you have a dog | Alphahōm® Home Security Blog

It has become both cheaper and more simple to secure your home against both intruders and emergency, such as fire and flooding, but if you own a big dog, it’s not always as easy.


Motion Sensors. What’s that?

Almost all types of home security systems uses motion sensors as part of the solution to secure your home and property. These are small sensors that are installed in the rooms you want to secure and they do that by emitting invincible infrared beams that can register if a person walks through them.

Most motion sensors are using more than one parameter to determine if something is wrong and if the alarm should go off. Typically they register the body temperature of the person walking by them with their infrared beams, as well as register the difference in light that is caused by the very same person.

In more advanced home security systems the motions sensors are so-called “pet friendly” or “pet immune” which means they will work in homes with pets, whereas sensors without this function would trigger the alarm every time the dog or cat walked by the sensor.


Intruder or dog?

Now you would think that everything would be in order, as long as you make sure to get the “pet-friendly” motion sensors, right? Well, not quite.

In most cases you wouldn’t have problems if your dog is a small or mid-size breed, but you might get in trouble if it’s a larger breed like a German shepherd or a golden retriever.

Even the “pet-friendly” motion sensors are just “stupid” devices and they simply cannot differentiate between a human and a dog. The way they are made “pet immune” is by reducing the sensitivity and rearranging the angles of the infrared beams upwards, in order for them not to catch a smaller dog walking by.

The sensors sensitivity can only be reduced to a certain degree to make sure they will still register a human being and this is exactly the issue.

A larger dog like a german shepherd is so big that it would still be able to activate the motion sensor, especially if it decides to stand up on its hind legs when playing around or looking out the window when you leave it for work. This will make the dogs profile almost as big as a human being and make it impossible for the sensors to know the difference.


Home security alarm and big dogs

To use motions sensor to secure a home with a large breed dog will simply be a recipe for false alarms. Something that nobody should accept, as you will very quickly start to distrust the system.

It is therefore highly recommended to use contact sensors or vibration sensors instead in the rooms the dog has access to.

A contact sensor is a small device consisting of two parts. The contact sensor is easily mounted on doors and windows with double adhesive tape and registers if the door or windows is opened.

A vibration sensor is a small device that is mounted directly on a window and it will register vibrations in the glass if somebody tries to break the window frame or pane itself.

By using these two types of sensors, you can easily secure all doors and windows in the room or rooms the dog has access to when you are out and instead use motions sensors to secure rooms inaccessible for the dog.


Alarms and cats

Even though cats are much smaller than most dogs, they can still present a risk of falls alarms.

As long as the cat stays on the floor, there is no problem. However, if it decides to jump on a furniture close to a motion sensor, it will seem much bigger than it actually is. Much the same way as if you place you palm in from of your eye. You hand is (hopefully) much smaller than a dog, but the closer you bring your palm to your eye the bigger it seems and finally it will completely cover you sight. 

If you own a cat it’s therefore important that you install your motion sensors in locations with no nearby furniture for your cat to jump on to and trigger the sensor.

If this is not possible, then remember you can always secure the rooms with contact sensors or vibration sensors, just as you would do if you had a big dog in the house.

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