SUR­VIVE WITH YOUR K9

Thwart­ing the end of mankind with man’s best friend

American Survival Guide - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Ryan Lee Price

Your once-fa­mil­iar neigh­bor­hood is bathed in a morn­ing light that can barely break through the smoke and dust in the air. The streets in all di­rec­tions are lit­tered with the rub­ble of build­ings, burn­ing cars, de­stroyed bar­ri­cades and the de­tri­tus of a con­flict lost. The dog sit­ting at­ten­tively at your feet, ears alert, eyes al­ways scan­ning, sud­denly springs up­right and bolts to at­ten­tion, point­ing in the di­rec­tion of an aban­doned house with dark win­dows and a kicked-in door. His nose plies the air, and his ears twitch as if he’s hear­ing sounds that are well out of your range.

He turns to you with eyes filled with con­cern: It’s time to leave. It’s not safe here.

NO DOG LEFT BE­HIND

How­ever, hav­ing a dog is a big game-changer if you are forced to bug out af­ter a ma­jor catas­tro­phe or dis­as­ter, and hav­ing a dog along has a cou­ple of down­sides.

The bad news first: They eat food and drink wa­ter. Hun­gry dogs, even well­trained hun­gry dogs, will pri­or­i­tize food over you and your well-be­ing. They can be ner­vous and be­come un­pre­dictable. So, to keep them happy and loyal, they’ll need food. And guess who has to carry it?

Dogs cre­ate waste, make lots of noise and take up space in your shel­ter, bug-out ve­hi­cle and on the road. On top of this, if the sit­u­a­tion de­te­ri­o­rates fur­ther, your dog will be con­sid­ered food for lots of peo­ple, putting him in dan­ger—and, sub­se­quently, you, if you feel the need to pro­tect him. In ad­di­tion, there are cer­tain ter­rains (steep climbs, large piles of rub­ble, very sharp de­bris) a dog is not suited to tackle.

This be­ing said, dogs are as much a part of some fam­i­lies as their chil­dren, and un­der no cir­cum­stances could they con­sider a sce­nario in which their dogs would be left be­hind, aban­doned or sac­ri­ficed for the good of the group. That’s fine; no dogs left be­hind.

… DOGS ARE AS MUCH A PART OF SOME FAM­I­LIES AS THEIR CHIL­DREN, AND UN­DER NO CIR­CUM­STANCES COULD THEY CON­SIDER A SCE­NARIO IN WHICH THEIR DOGS WOULD BE LEFT BE­HIND, ABAN­DONED OR SAC­RI­FICED FOR THE GOOD OF THE GROUP.

A DOG’S PUR­POSE

A dog’s daily life harkens back to his wolf in­stincts. He digs, he buries food/bones, he hides his waste and he eats soli­tar­ily. He is acutely aware of his sur­round­ings and has a pack men­tal­ity. He sleeps in a den (if he has oth­ers with him), and his ap­ti­tude for de­fense is with­out equal in other do­mes­tic an­i­mals. A dog can be a very use­ful “item” to have in a sur­vival­ist’s tool­box.

Nev­er­the­less, to be hon­est, a typ­i­cal un­trained house dog is good for two things: per­sonal de­fense and com­pan­ion­ship. A dog can be trained to do most any­thing, how­ever: He can carry a ca­nine back­pack for some of his own gear or pull a sled, wagon or prim­i­tive travois. But a dog can sense your fear and get antsy and ner­vous if you haven’t prop­erly trained and pre­pared him for a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion. A ner­vous dog might bite, run off or bark inces­santly. These are all things you want to avoid.

K9 DE­FENDER

Ev­ery dog can bark, and ev­ery dog will de­fend his space against any­thing he deems hos­tile. If you are part of his pack (or vice versa), hav­ing a dog nearby can, and will, ben­e­fit you when it comes to de­tect­ing in­trud­ers, pro­vid­ing a stout level of pro­tec­tion for you and your group. Your dog will de­tect a vis­i­tor with his keen hear­ing and pow­er­ful nose long be­fore you will.

Pay at­ten­tion to your dog when your in­stincts tell you to. His de­meanor, phys­i­cal ap­pear­ance and ac­tions will change when he per­ceives a threat. He will stiffen up, stand taller and turn side­ways against the threat. The hair on the ridge down his back will stand up. His ears will drop back, and his head will skulk low into his shoul­ders.

If your dog is trained to at­tack on com­mand, he must also be trained to “turn off” com­pletely on com­mand. If you want a bark­ing alert based on what the dog smells or hears in the dis­tance, the dog must be trained to also stop bark­ing and re­main quiet upon di­rect com­mand. It is coun­ter­in­tu­itive in many cir­cum­stances to have con­tin­u­ous noise giv­ing away your ex­act lo­ca­tion for preda­tors to zero in on.

A WARM BODY AND FRIEND

In the basest of terms, your dog can be a warm blan­ket. A dog’s nor­mal body tem­per­a­ture is a cou­ple of de­grees higher than a hu­man’s and, in ad­di­tion to his fur coat, he makes for a warm com­pan­ion on a cold night. Be­cause dogs in­stinc­tively sleep in dens, where they take ad­van­tage of body heat to stay warm on cold nights, you can take ad­van­tage of that same thing.

Dogs have a won­der­ful sense of di­rec­tion. They use a com­bi­na­tion of senses and per­cep­tions to find their way and re­mem­ber where they came from. They uti­lize the vestibu­lar sys­tem in their in­ner ear to know speed and turns, and they un­con­sciously count how many steps they’ve taken from one place to an­other.

Dogs can pre­dict the weather (they can sense a change in baro­met­ric pres­sure). They are as­tute judges of char­ac­ter. And they can be used to keep chil­dren calm and dis­tracted.

CAR­ING FOR YOUR COM­PAN­ION

The beau­ti­ful thing about a dog is that he is ready to do any­thing at any­time. How­ever, one of the bad things about a dog is that he will con­tinue to do what­ever he’s oc­cu­pied with un­til he lit­er­ally col­lapses.

If you in­sist on tak­ing your dog with you in a bug-out sce­nario, you’ll have to take pre­cau­tions to make sure he stays a healthy, alert and func­tional mem­ber of the team.

Food: Dogs are scav­engers that can, and will, eat most any­thing they find that’s ed­i­ble. That buried left­over steak is pretty tasty to a dog two weeks later. Given this, dogs can eat what you eat (and vice versa).

A DOG CAN BE TRAINED TO DO MOST ANY­THING ... HE CAN CARRY A CA­NINE BACK­PACK FOR SOME OF HIS OWN GEAR OR PULL A SLED, WAGON OR PRIM­I­TIVE TRAVOIS.

Even so, in or­der for a dog to re­main heathy, he should stay on a steady diet of the same food—specif­i­cally, dog food.

If you are shel­ter­ing in place (or re­al­ize that this will be the most likely out­come), keep as much dog food on hand as you have food for your­self. The best way to store dry, kib­ble-va­ri­ety dog food is right in the orig­i­nal pack­ag­ing (un­less you have a ro­dent prob­lem; in which case, use food­grade con­tain­ers). The bag keeps the food dry and in the dark and even al­lows it to breathe slightly. This is im­por­tant, be­cause even dry pet food con­tains mois­ture in the form of fats and oils. In the bag, it can last up to two years.

Even bet­ter at stor­age is canned wet dog food. It can re­main un­touched for around five years be­fore it be­gins to lose its nu­tri­tional value. Find out how much your dog eats and cal­cu­late how much you’ll need. If he eats two cans a day, and you are plan­ning your sur­vival cache for three weeks, you’ll need 42 cans, which don’t take up that much space. (The best thing about hav­ing dog food on hand is that if the times get es­pe­cially rough, you can eat it, too.)

Wa­ter: Your dog drinks from the toi­let and rain­wa­ter out of muddy pud­dles in the yard. There­fore, he must have an iron-clad stom­ach and be im­per­vi­ous to bac­te­ria and par­a­sites ... not nec­es­sar­ily.

Out­door wa­ter sources—such as rivers, lakes and ponds—carry mi­cro­scopic or­gan­isms that neg­a­tively af­fect your dog, just as they do you. These pro­to­zoa, such as gi­a­r­dia and cryp­tosporid­ium, af­fect the gas­troin­testi­nal sys­tems of dogs if they are in­gested. Ex­po­sure to these pro­to­zoa can cause se­vere di­ar­rhea and in­testi­nal bleed­ing. Healthy dogs can of­ten carry a pro­to­zoan with­out show­ing symp­toms. How­ever, if a dog has an un­der­ly­ing ill­ness, is very old or very young, or has an im­paired im­mune sys­tem, a pro­to­zoan can be dan­ger­ous to his health.

Al­though the dan­ger is not su­per high for dogs when drink­ing from nat­u­ral sources, hav­ing a clean sup­ply of wa­ter is nec­es­sary to keep them healthy. Make sure to al­ways have a bowl of wa­ter handy so drink­ing from other sources is not needed.

Health: Be­cause he can’t talk to tell you what’s wrong, to keep your dog healthy, pay spe­cial at­ten­tion to his ac­tions. If your dog is un­usu­ally lethar­gic, looks tired or if some­thing just isn’t right, odds are good he has an ill­ness. With­out med­i­cal

PAY AT­TEN­TION TO YOUR DOG WHEN YOUR IN­STINCTS TELL YOU TO. HIS DE­MEANOR, PHYS­I­CAL AP­PEAR­ANCE AND AC­TIONS WILL CHANGE WHEN HE PER­CEIVES A THREAT.

re­sources, it is your job to find out what it is. To keep all your bases cov­ered, keep in your bug-out cache med­i­cal sup­plies specif­i­cally for dogs, in­clud­ing groom­ing sup­plies, flea and tick con­trol pro­tec­tion, anti-worm pro­tec­tion, nail and teeth kits, and spe­cial­ized medicines (Zy­mox, for ex­am­ple, if your dog is prone to ear in­fec­tions).

Pro­tec­tion: Dogs get cold. They get hot. Their feet get blis­ters. And if you have an es­pe­cially stub­born dog, you won’t no­tice any­thing is wrong un­til you see bloody foot­prints or un­con­trol­lable chills.

De­pend­ing on your lo­cal en­vi­ron­ment and range of weather, have on hand a blan­ket or vest to help your dog stay warm, es­pe­cially if he is sin­gle coated (such as ter­ri­ers, Box­ers, bull­dogs, Dober­man Pin­sch­ers and other short-haired dogs). Ter­rain can be rough on a

dog’s feet, so have boots ready if you en­counter glass, hot pave­ment, de­bris or jagged ground. A dog’s eyes can get af­fected by the same dust, blow­ing sand and smoke that yours do, so a pair of dog gog­gles will rem­edy that.

Treats and Toys: Your dog might not un­der­stand what is hap­pen­ing, so to keep him in a sem­blance of nor­malcy, try not to change his rou­tine and pat­terns too greatly. If your dog is used to a reg­u­lar treat be­fore bed or a ball in the morn­ing, make sure those are with you. A happy dog is a healthy dog.

DOGS HAVE A WON­DER­FUL SENSE OF DI­REC­TION. THEY USE A COM­BI­NA­TION OF SENSES AND PER­CEP­TIONS TO FIND THEIR WAY AND RE­MEM­BER WHERE THEY CAME FROM.

TAIL END

Whether or not to keep a dog dur­ing un­cer­tain times is a dilemma in it­self. A dog can help you sense in­trud­ers be­fore they have an op­por­tu­nity to harm you or your fam­ily. Be­cause peo­ple will be the great­est of threats, it makes sense to have a dog for pro­tec­tion. Dogs might also help you with hunt­ing and ul­ti­mately be the most es­sen­tial of tools in your arse­nal for putting meat on the ta­ble ... if you’ve al­ready trained them to do so.

On the other hand, a dog might end up com­pet­ing for the same re­sources of food and wa­ter for sur­vival if you have not trained him to hunt. In ad­di­tion, your dog might bring un­wanted dis­eases from fleas and ticks picked up in the wild.

If your dog is part of your per­ma­nent pack and will go to the ends of the earth with you, make sure you un­der­stand what is at stake, what you’ll need to keep him happy and safe, and how you plan to pro­tect your dog from dan­ger—as he tries to fig­ure out how to pro­tect you.

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