Dogs are an absolute boon, and some of them make pretty good burglar deterrents, too.
Not all of them though - frankly, if any would-be crook is put off by a Pomeranian or pug, they’re probably in the wrong job. But here's the rub - dogs are pricey, need a lot of attention and space, and are prone to chronic bouts of wind.
Quite simply, they're not for everyone. But according to research from esure, 2.5 million British households are enjoying the benefits of having a canine security guard, but manage to sidestep the pesky expense of dog food, vets bills and pet insurance.
This innovative tactic involves buying all the paraphernalia associated with the ownership of a big, terrifying criminal-devouring dog, and littering it about their garden. This will usually include a bowl - ideally bearing a 'hard' name such as Tyson, Killer or Mr Snugglewoof - squeaky toys, bones and so forth. But here’s the ingenious bit: they omit the all-important, yet costly and time consuming 'owning a dog' aspect. Who'd have thought it?
Other, slightly more orthodox security measures discovered by esure include getting neighbours and friends to move their car into different parking spots whilst they are away and using social media to spread false information about their whereabouts. In the same month that the government announced plans to place people's right to defend their property in statute law, the research also revealed that 57 per cent of people surveyed would be prepared to ‘get medieval’ and tackle or use violence against an intruder in their own home. It’s also reckoned that the average British household spends around £402 per year on gubbins to keep their home secure.
Nikki Sellers, head of home insurance at esure, chuckled: "As a nation, we are well known for regarding our homes as castles and it appears that burglars are starting to get the message. Many hard working Brits will be embarking on well-deserved holidays at this time of year so the last thing they should have to deal with is an intruder in their home."
She continued: "By taking a few precautions, such as investing in a timer for lights and cancelling deliveries, householders can avoid a potentially distressing experience and focus instead on enjoying their summer holiday."
What measures do YOU take to stop your home being burgled when you're on your hols? Email the editor with your best suggestions...