TRAINING YOUR DOG FOR SURVIVAL
Survival training is a part of life for the prepper. It is about teaching yourself new skills that will aid in survival. Things like building a shelter, starting a fire without matches and cleaning water are all common survival skills. Prepping to handle a post-disaster situation also involves your family members. You probably run drills or teach the kids what to do when you give the word that it is time to jump into action. Have you considered how you will deal with your family’s dog in a survival situation?
Many preppers decide ahead of time whether or not they will be keeping their dog with them. Many will agree that there are plenty of benefits to keeping a dog with you whether you are hunkering down or bugging out. However, if you are keeping Fido with you, it is just as important he gets some valuable and necessary training for survival as the rest of the family.
Your dog will know something isn’t right when disaster strikes. Many have a heightened sense that gives them advanced warning of impending danger, which is yet another reason to have dogs in the household. He will sense your fear and get antsy and nervous if you haven’t properly trained and prepared him for a stressful situation. A nervous dog may bite, run off or bark incessantly. These are all things you want to avoid. Proper training will achieve that.
WHEN TO BE SILENT
If you are hiding out and do not want your position given away, you need to train your dog to be silent when told. A basic hand command, like holding your hand up, is one way to train your dog to be silent when commanded. A barking, whining dog is irritating and can actually get you captured or killed. This is probably one of the most important things you can teach your pet.
There are obviously some breeds that are better for hunting than others, but most dogs can learn the art of fetching. If you are using archery or even a gun to hunt game, train your dog to fetch what you have taken down. You can also train your dog how to pick up a trail and lead you in the right direction. Hunting dogs require months and even years of training. It is best to work with someone who has experience in this area. If you will be using a gun, you need to get your dog familiar with the sound of a gunshot. You don’t want the dog to be spooked and run off in the opposite direction.
Your dog will be an excellent protector for you and your family if you can train him when to attack and when to stand down. A single word command is ideal. Saying attack and pointing at the person or wild animal who is trying to hurt you will give you the time needed to escape or find a weapon to give your dog a hand.
Sometimes you want your furry friend to make his presence known. If somebody knocks on the door or seems to be threatening in any way, a good bark from your dog may be enough to scare them off. Teach your dog to “speak” or bark when asked. A barking or growling dog can be very intimidating and the average person will leave you alone when your dog gives out its warning signal.
SEARCH AND RESCUE
One of the biggest fears any parent has is losing their child in a chaotic situation. If you have bugged out and you are in the wilderness or forest, it is easy for a member of your party to get lost. Having a dog that is trained in search and the ultimate rescue of another person is an extremely handy tool. This is a training that is best started at a very young age. There is no one specific breed that is best for search and rescue, but you will see German Shepherds leading the way in this field.
It doesn’t hurt to have a couple of dogs in your pack. Some dogs are natural hunters while others are going to be natural protectors. All dogs have a very strong instinct for survival. They can truly be man’s best friend in a survival situation and assist in their human’s survival.
Do what you can to get young pups and start training them early. Be smart about the breed you choose. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a purebred, papered dog to be trained. There are plenty of mixed breeds that have become rescue dogs simply because they were given plenty of training. You are going to want to avoid pocket dogs. They are not going to be very useful in your survival, but they are cute and cuddly and could certainly be a nice companion. Extra large breeds are intimidating, but can be a little tough to squeeze into your tent at night. Mid to large dogs are typically the best bet and there are so many to choose from. Shepherds, labs, hounds and Pyrenees are all good dogs to consider.
Pit bulls, rottweilers and dobermans are all nice looking dogs that many people like to have simply because of their aggressive reputations and their very strong protective instinct. Shop around. Talk with other dog owners and find a dog or two that works best for you. Start the training early and keep up with it. The last thing you want is to have your dog run off scared when chaos ensues.