Amazon Echo can now bark like a dog to scare intruders — here’s how

Alexa Guard Plus
(Image credit: Amazon)

Alexa Guard Plus has launched in the U.S., following its reveal in September 2020. The subscription service adds a range of security tools to your Amazon Echo or Echo Show smart speaker, potentially making it a cheaper alternative to the best DIY home security systems.

While not quite as fully-featured as a dedicated hub and sensor kit, Alexa Guard Plus is pretty diverse in its security features. It makes particularly extensive use of your smart speaker’s microphones, to detect sounds of accidents or break-ins, and can deploy a siren to scare off intruders. It can even make Alexa bark like a dog to deter would-be thieves.

If you tell the voice assistant that you’re leaving the house, Alexa will enter Away Mode, and start listening out for audible signs of trouble: like a smoke alarm going off, breaking glass or unexpected footsteps. It can then send an alert to your smartphone, detailing what was detected and on which speaker.

If Alexa suspects an intruder is already inside your house, it will play a siren, and you can connect other smart home devices like lightbulbs and security cameras to include them in the Alexa Guard Plus arsenal. So if an outdoor camera detects motion while you’re away, Alexa can turn on the lights to make it seem like somebody’s home, or start those criminal-scaring barks.

But Alexa Guard Plus isn't all bark with no bite, as it also lets you call emergency services via your Echo, should you find yourself in a dangerous situation at home and it’s not safe or timely to pick up your phone.

The subscription costs $4.99/month or $50/year, which is far less than our current home security top pick, the Abode Essentials Starter Kit. Just bear in mind that Alexa Guard Plus is not a full security kit, and lacks useful tools like keypads and security fobs. It might therefore be better at supplementing an existing home security setup with its handy smart alerts and hands-free emergency calling feature.

Then again, besides being cheaper it also seems a lot easier to set up than dedicated systems, and if you already have an Echo speaker then that’s most of the work done. So Alexa Guard Plus certainly has the potential to be a popular upgrade for existing Alexa users.

James Archer

James is currently Hardware Editor at Rock Paper Shotgun, but before that was Audio Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he covered headphones, speakers, soundbars and anything else that intentionally makes noise. A PC enthusiast, he also wrote computing and gaming news for TG, usually relating to how hard it is to find graphics card stock.