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Survival K9 Training

Dogs can make a world of a difference in a survival or SHTF scenario. At the bare minimum they offer a much needed moral booster and companionship. This simple aspect can be the difference between dyeing and making it home.

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They also can offer a skilled partnership provided you put the work in prior to the event happening.

Dogs can bolster your defensive capabilities by acting as an alarm system. Most breeds will do this naturally but some will do better than others. We recommend training your dog to low growl when they alert to something instead of barking. This will alert you while remaining quiet enough that what they are alerting to might not be alerted to your location. You can always train them to bark on command as a deterrent method as well for situations when you are not worried about stealth. This is a common training situation in most protection dog training.

Dogs for protection is not a new thing but despite that many people still believe that their dog will protect them with no training. While this has happened and could be the case you have similar odds to winning the lottery. If you are looking for protection as an aspect of your canine partner, make sure you look for those traits and breeds when you are getting him as well as seek out protection trainers that can help you with the process.

A dog can improve your hunting ability by either alerting to animals such as tracking and pointing or retrieving downed birds. Consider training your dog in these important skills.

Get your dog a good back pack/saddle bags harness to carry their own supplies. This could also allow them to pull a sled with more gear as well. Make sure you ease them into this as slowly increase the weight they carry just as you would yourself.

Dog’s noses are one of their best assets and can be used to find supplies/food, missing party members, and much more. Teach them article search tracking or scent discrimination tracking to improve this skill.

Tracking is another scent discipline that can be of great use in a survival situation. This could be used to track live game or downed game, missing persons etc.

Now our final point is going to sound silly but is a real survival application. Dogs can help prevent hypothermia. Create a shelter large enough for you and your dog. Humans and animals warm their surroundings and if you enclose this heat it will keep you warm and fight off hypothermia.

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Survival K9 Training: Silent Communication

In a survival or SHTF scenario there will more than likely be times that you need to tell your dog to do something with out speaking. This can be done one of two ways. With dedicated hand signals, or situational context. Which you choose will depend on the situation you are preparing for and in all likely hood both are going to be used.

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Dogs are actually more likely to pick up body language and hand signals faster than verbal commands because it is their most natural form of communication. This could be used in a variety of ways but the most useful way would likely be with heeling and obedience. Sit, Stay, Down, Heel, and Here/Come, should all have a hand signal associated with them for your dog. This would allow you to communicate with your dogs under circumstances when you cannot talk or they cannot hear you due to noise.

This will be done the same way you would train or pair a command with their behavior in what ever training system you are using. The only difference is instead of a verbal command you would simply pair the behavior with a hand signal or a specific situation.

Now if you want the dog to do something in certain circumstances on their own, for example say when your dog is heeling and you stop you want them to sit. After they know what sit or their hand gesture for it means you would get them heeling and then stop, give them the command to sit and then reward them when they do so and repeat. Then once you feel they are getting the hang of pattern you will stop and give no command and just wait until they sit. Then you will reward them when they do. If they don’t give them the command again.

Hand signals and silent commands are specifically useful for hunting dogs and have been used under these circumstances longer than most if not all other disciplines as you can communicate silently and have less chance of disturbing the game you are stalking or disturbing them prematurely in the case of birds and other small game.

Hand signals for direction changes and other movement commands such as climb, under, or through, are useful when stalking game as well as bird dogs when they are farther out but can still see you.

Some good uses/ideas of situational context and silent commands that you might consider training with your dog on are….

(When they are heeling)
Sit when you stop
Down when you kneel
Stay when shown the “stop hand gesture” (if you want them to stay and you want to move)
Return to you if they are not heeling and you kneel or stop

Silent/body language/hand signal commands are useful in many situations ranging from obedience, hunting, and on to tactical and combat environments. Their usefulness like many things is only limited to the handler’s imagination and training ability. Your own situation and circumstances will dictate what direction or commands you will need but if you plan on having your dog be an asset and not a liability if you find your self in a SHTF scenario you should definitely consider working this into their training.

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Introduction to Medkits

This is the first post in a series of posts on medkits and supplies that is going to cover the different kinds/sizes of kits that we use and our basic philosophy on when to employ them.

Further posts will cover the contents of each kit individually for more detail. Always remember that skills trump equipment but some basic supplies are going to be required to treat most medical conditions and trauma to a sufficient standard to prevent further issues or depending on the issue possibly death. You should know how to use any and all of the equipment and supplies, that you carry in your kits, as well as know when and more importantly when not to administer any medications that you carry.

IFAK – Individual first aide kit. This is a small kit, able to fit in a small to medium size pouch. This kit has enough supplies to handle most basic traumatic injuries for one individual. This kit is carried on us in either a chest pack that we wear, in a belt pouch or broken up through out different pockets of our clothing.

Basic – This is a larger kit than the IFAK that is carried in our pack. This kit supplements your IFAK with additional supplies as well as carrying some basic medications. This is the bare minimum we carry when we are carrying a pack and the first tier of kit that we carry if we are the “medic” for our trips or are responsible for more than our selves when it comes to a medical issues such as untrained or unprepared friends or family members on a hike.

Extended – This is a larger kit that we carry when we are going on a multi day trip but still need to minimize weight or are in a larger sized group. It carries a hand full of more specialized items and additional supplies and attached to our pack that we are already carrying.

Base camp – This is a full size jump kit on steroids that is carried in one of our vehicles when we are doing anything such as long road trips or off-roading. It also lives at base camp when we are doing longer trips or expeditions. It holds every thing the others kits hold plus more as well as additional specialized items and equipment as well as some reference materials.

Special considerations – You will want to factor in any special medical conditions you or your family members and friends may have and if they require any special supplies or medications if they have an issue. You also want to be sure you know how to handle the treatment of any of their possible problems. Your canine companions also require some special items in case of emergency. Most first aide items are the same but most medications for humans are not safe to give to animals and vice versa.