Houstonians love their dogs. They roam our homes and our yards at will. Our pooches jog and watch TV with us. They sleep peacefully at the foot of our beds at night. Dogs protect our homes and increase our security, keeping criminals at bay by their presence.
Yet Fido may be causing you extra expense. Dogs frequently trip home security systems, causing a false alarm to be reported to responding agencies. The City of Houston has steep fines for bogus alerts. You’re allowed 3 “free” security system false alarms but after the 3, fines start at $50 and increase with occurrence.
Most home security false alarms happen when Fido runs afoul of motion sensors. Your security system may also alert the authorities when Fido jumps on a window sill to look at another animal passing by or jumps up on the front or back door to greet a visitor or your child returning from school when you aren’t there. Vibrating the window or door sensors triggers the false call.
The good news is that there are options for preventing false security alarms. Some are expensive security add-on equipment and others are easy with little or no cost.
Dog-friendly Home Alarms
There are several options when it comes to “pet-friendly” motion detectors. Both are expensive. Passive infrared (PIR) detectors sense the temperature of moving objects in a room. Temperature changes from movement triggers the alarm. Dog-friendly PIRs have a higher temperature calibration point than standard motion detectors.
Dual technology motion detectors most commonly use PIR and microwave to get a complete picture of the object. The alarm is raised when both detectors are tripped. Dual technology motion detectors start a little south of $100 per detector, making it more expensive than PIRs. Dual technology motion sensors can be adjusted to disregard certain weights and heights.
Low-Cost False Alarm Fixes
There are several no-cost actions you can take to prevent your dog’s false alarms. You need to know the size, weight and height of your dog for the fixes to be effective.
- Position or calibrate your motion detectors to sense above your dog’s height or weight.
- Place furniture, such as couches, chairs, and other objects that your dog can jump on, out of range of the motion detectors.
- Do not position motion detectors to monitor your staircase. Going up and down stairs significantly changes Fido’s height.
- Block access to windows with well-placed furniture. Do not use a front or back door as the center point for motion detection.
- Use baby gates to keep your dog away from doors and stairwells. You can also use the gates to keep Fido out of areas that you want fully covered by your motion detectors.
Tweaking your security system’s current motion detectors or after new ones are installed can greatly reduce dog-caused false alarms when you’re away. And if you have doubts, you can always call Houston’s Safeguard Home Security for help.