Survival Dogs – Lifesavers or Burdens?

Dogs-Regan-2-010A friend of mine got a dog and started training it for survival. He searched the Internet for specialized dog training books and articles, and found quite a lot of useful information. He also posted on a couple of survival forums, asking for help from preppers who`ve gone through the whole process and can give him some good advice.

Little did he know he`d start a whole pro/con survival dog discussion. In fact, there is at leats one thread on this topic on every major survival or preparedness forum. Going through some of these threads, I noticed most people are pro survival dogs, but not many own one. Which is too bad, because there are tons of dogs (that you don`t need to spend a fortune on) that need adoption, are easy to train and more loyal than most people around you.

As you can easily see, I am pro survival dog. My son got a puppy a few months ago and we trained him some useful survival tricks, such as barking three times whenever he senses danger, seeking for help when we blow the whistle three times, and even some basic hunting tricks (even though we haven`t tested with real prey).

I strongly believe a survival dog can be a real lifesaver, and not a burden, and here`s why:

#1: They can sense danger and let you know of it

Unless you`ve got some sort of supernatural powers, you can`t sense danger life dogs do. And when I say danger, I`m not referring only to burglars or murderers. Although it`s extremely useful to know when a “bad guy” is approaching, especially after a disaster when looters start sniffing around. I`m talking about sensing disasters such as earthquakes, flash floods or hurricanes.

Animals are far more connected with nature, they still have that 6th sense that warns them about major dangers. For example, when that 60 ft tall tsunami hit Japan in 2011, dogs were the first to sense the danger and climb the highest surfaces around. It`s in their nature to sense these things and protect themselves. And their owners, if they pay attention to the right signs. Usually, they bark like crazy, run around the house, their eyes get wider and wider and you can hear them “communicate” with other dogs in the area.

#2: They can run for help when you`re in trouble

If you (or a family member) get hurt and can`t look for help yourself, you can send your dog to deliver the message. Kind of like what Lassie did for Timmy. If trained well, dogs are very efficient when it comes to finding help. They move fast and don`t quit until they`ve accomplished their mission.

And even though they may not seem like the best messengers in the world, judging by the lack of dog language – English translation, they`re very good at getting the message through. They pull your pants, push you in the direction they need you to go, bark and point in that direction etc.


#3: They can protect you

Have you ever seen how a dog reacts when its owner is attacked, even as a joke? It takes about one fraction of a second to turn from Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. It`s almost impossible to believe the cute, fuzzy pet you play catch with can become a raging beast, but when it comes to defending you — his owner & friend — no “enemy” is too big, too strong, or too dangerous.

That`s why it`s crucial to have a survival dog with you when SHTF. Looters, burglars, thieves… they can`t go anywhere near you or your family, unless they`ve got guns. Sure, some of them do and they won`t feel any remorse about killing a dog. But, on the other hand, most of them give up instantly when they hear a dog barking crazily at them. After all, there are other houses to loot that don`t have a mad dog ready to tear them to pieces.


#4: They can get you food

I think this is one of the most important skills you can teach a dog. Hunting. If you can do that (and it`s not that difficult), then you can rest assure you`ll be able to feed your family when SHTF. If you don`t have a wooden area anywhere near (where you can find prey), then you should take your bug-out vehicle to the nearest one and hunt there with your dog.

I suggest you to practice the “hunting game” any time you get the chance to, with any sort of toy prey you can think of. This is a survival drill for dogs. They`ll get better and better every time.


#5: They can keep you company when you`re all alone

You may never know when you end up in an emergency situation all by yourself. Some say it`s better this way, because you can move faster and you`ve got more chances to survive. Which may be true up to a point: the point where things cool down a bit and you realise you`re all alone. No one there to help you, no one there to talk to, no one there to keep you warm.

It`s amazing how much difference a dog can make in this kind of situation. Just the feeling of having another soul there with you can give you hope and strength to go on. Sometimes, all you need is a companion. And there`s no one better for this job than your loyal four-legged friend.

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