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Prepper Pups: Your Dog is Your Best Friend in SHTF Scenarios

Monday, 24 February 2014 13:08 Written by  Jeremy Martinez

There is great debate among preppers as to whether the family dog should be included in evacuation scenarios. Those who do decide to take their four-legged friends must incorporate them into their overall survival plan. A dog can serve as a Swiss army knife of sorts, if properly trained for the situation. Failure to prepare will not only put your dog at risk, but your entire family as well.

The Hunter

Virtually every dog has natural instincts you may not be aware of. The wife's Toy Poodle that you're not necessarily that fond of can be one of the best hunting dogs you can own, according to Yorkshire Terriers—another breed predominately stereotyped as "girl" dogs—were originally bred to hunt and kill rats in British factories. Despite the cliché "you can't teach an old dog new tricks," nearly any dog, regardless of age, can learn to be a hunting companion.

You'll first want to get the dog accustomed to the sound of gunfire. Some dogs may be "gun shy" at first. Discharge your rifle from a distance to see how the dogs reacts. If it's not startled, move closer and closer. Associate the site of a shotgun with something positive by placing it near the dog's food bowl while it's eating (while children are not around).

Your dog will also need to be re-trained on several behaviors that used to be deemed acceptable, like indiscriminate barking and disobeying orders. Check out training collars offered by companies like SportDOG to help reinforce commands and correct unwanted behaviors. Game and Fish Magazine recommends combining this method with consistent petting and positive praise.

The Surveyor

A dog's view of the world is shaped by what it smells, as opposed to humans, who rely primarily on sight. Their sense of smell is upward of 10 million times more sensitive than a human's, according to Dog Breed Info. Beagles have a reputation of being one of the best hunting dogs on the planet. A human nose has about 5 million olfactory (scent) cells in their noses, compared to nearly 200 million for Beagles.

A properly trained dog can both warn you of dangerous predators and lead you to food, water and other necessities. Purchase a bottle of bear urine to expose your dog to the scent. Most dogs will naturally be fearful and run, but make certain to associate this scent with danger.

A dog can even tell you if humans (undesirables) have recently been in a certain area. Researchers at Queen's University Belfast (Ireland) called it "astonishing" when their study showed that dogs could determine the direction hikers traveled based on scent from barely visible tracks. This skill would also be helpful for tracking down lost members of your own clan.

The Protector

Dogs have a natural instinct to protect and please their masters. This trait could eventually save your life in a SHTF scenario. The story of William Morse and his Lab-mix Hoagie is a prime example.

According to ABC 7 in Los Angeles, Morse and his wife took the dog with them on a camping trip. A mountain lion came out from nowhere and charged at the couple. Hoagie, whom the couple recently saved from the pound, instinctively jumped in and fought the wild cat long enough to save his masters. The dog suffered major injuries, but survived.

Your dog can be an integral part of your team if it knows the situation. As Winston Churchill famously said "failure to plan is planning to fail."


Jeremy Martinez is a freelance writer, world traveler, and prepper.

Last modified on Monday, 24 February 2014 22:01
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