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K9 Do's and Don't's for Preppers

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posted on Jan, 7 2013 @ 10:22 PM
This is my first thread in the Weapons and Tactics Forum. I searched through the last few years of threads and read all the ones concerning K9's. This isn't about whether or not a Canine is a benefit or hindrance in a SHTF scenario, that's a decision you each make for yourself. This for those of you who have decided that you either want one or already have one and will keep it with you. I do want to make a distinction between a pet and a working dog. A pet is a pet, that's all it is. A working dog is a working dog, it's not a pet. That doesn't mean you don't love it any less than a pet and I'm not saying a pet can't be trained to do working dog tasks.

I have over 20 years experience breeding, handling, training, and evaluating working dogs and Handlers for the US Military, US Federal Law Enforcement, and as a Civilian Contractor. I have lived, worked, deployed, and been stationed in an Arctic environment, to a Desert environment and everything in between. I'm not claiming I know everything (no one does) but I have seen a lot of what works and what doesn't when it comes to K9's.

OK first things first, regardless of what type of K9 you have, these items are essential.

1. First Aid Kit specific for a K9 (good ones can be found at and other professional websites) Also talk with your Vet about getting prescription meds in advance that don't come with the Kit. Antibiotics, Anti-inflammatory, pain relief, etc. Be advised these will have to be replaced before expiration date.

2. Food-assuming you have a bug out bag for each member of your family, each bag should contain a few days worth of dog food in each bag. Reason being it does no good to have all the food in one bag, if something happens to that bag or families members get separated the dog is SOL. Zip lock sandwich size bags each filled with one days amount of food will work well. My K9's are on dry food and it keeps for long periods of time. I also suggest getting your dog used to eating “Human” food for when the supply of dog food runs out. My K9's eat fruits, veggies, and anything else I do. What ever I eat they get a small portion and I adjust their dog food intake accordingly as to not over feed. This will help their digestion when they switch to exclusively human food. Water supplies must include the dog.

3. Protective Gear Booties, I suggest having them made or do it yourself if you can sew. Canvas bottoms with cloth leggings that go past knee joint utilizing Velcro strips to hold in place. Reason being the paw booties fall off all the time. Get 5 per dog so you have a spare. Make sure to get the dog used to wearing them, don't try and put them on for the first time in an emergency. The canvas pads must be water-proofed and thick enough to protect against broken glass, gasoline spills, and other hazards the dog might have to walk through. Also a vest for the dog. Have it made out of the nylon used in military molly type protective vests. Have it measured and fit snug but comfortable, attach Velcro packs for storing collapsible bowl and leash. Have a sturdy handle type loop sewn on back center. In case dog needs to be lifted over obstacles. Use quick release clips for getting the dog in and out of vest.

4. Other Items-Muzzle. GPS Tracker, can be in collar or on vest. (If the system is still operational) Brush.

For those that are planning on getting a K9 please consider these options. The climate you currently live in may not be the one you end up in if you have to Bug out. You may find yourself living outside in a cold weather situation for extended period of time and although a Pit bull might be a bad ass, he's going to freeze to death. Likewise a St. Bernard might be able to haul a lot of supplies for you but he's going to heat stroke out in AZ in July. Certain breeds excel at single tasks. But a couple of breeds are useful in several tasks. Multitask breeds include: Shepherds, Retrievers, Malinois, research breeds for traits and overall usefulness and climates.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you are not a qualified K9 trainer, don't try and do it yourself. Research Trainers and check references, most suck, I'm sorry to be so blunt but it's true. You can also buy a grown and certified adult dog. Again research and check references. Please get the K9 adjusted to gun fire. If you haven't done that before, get qualified help, doing it wrong can ruin a dog as far as being near gunfire.

Getting, keeping, maintaining, and using a trained working dog is time consuming and expensive. It's also rewarding as hell. And if properly maintained and used, can be just as valuable as a good firearm or quality knife. If you have a Pet, don't assume it will do working dog tasks: track, attack, long range alert, detection, hunt, retrieve, negotiate obstacles, or swim ( I once watched a bulldog sink like a stone and the handler had to jump in and rescue it before it drowned). I am not saying your individual pet won't do some of these things, but if the K9 hasn't been properly trained and practiced these skills there is no way to count on it in an emergency. Would you trust your life to a weapon you've never fired before ?

Any general questions I'll answer here in the thread. If there is something specific or private you want to ask, go ahead and U2U me, I don't mind.

posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 12:26 AM
reply to post by Carreau

This is a sound and reasoned OP. excellent advice about portioning the dogfood. On the question of apparel for the dog, is there one brand that is preferable over another, for those who don't sew?

posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 03:09 AM
One aspect of civilian training often overlooked is the command to be silent, very important when you want bad guys to just walk on by. Training a hot dog to pant quietly is so difficult.

Nice thread. S&F


posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 06:19 AM
Great thread. thank you. I've worked with search and rescue tracking dogs before and have long thought a dog of that type would be invaluable if one had to bug out. Being able to determine other human activity and direction of travel could possibly be life-saving.
Have you worked with any dogs for self-defense (attack dogs)? Do you have any good references to find information on the training of such animals?
Right now I have a year-old lab/mastiff mix who seems very trainable, I've taught him to retrieve and he seems to really enjoy helping with yardwork pulling tarps full of leaves and hauling firewood. We've taught him to not bark but only give us an alert "woof" I would like to train him to defend us but hesitate to teach any aggressive actions as he's quite strong at only 80lbs and pretty exhuberent about anything he does.
Thanks for the tips, great thread.

posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 07:49 AM

On the question of apparel for the dog, is there one brand that is preferable over another, for those who don't sew?

Unfortunately I have not found anything I would purchase. I have bought the raw materials and taken them to a sew shop with my dogs measurements and had them create what I needed.

Have you worked with any dogs for self-defense (attack dogs)? Do you have any good references to find information on the training of such animals?

Yes I have trained K9's for Patrol (attack) in the Military. As far as references I would need to know what part of the country or what country (if you are outside the US) since it wouldn't do you any good if my reference was 1000 miles away from you.

Note* as long as the trainer knows what he/she is doing there should be no issue in training a K9 for attack work. The dog should not bite anyone that is not a threat if trained properly. Some dogs will not be suitable for this task and a good trainer can preform tests to determine this before training starts and asks for money. You can do a search yourself online for these trainers or ask local law enforcement for their contacts.

posted on Jan, 8 2013 @ 03:46 PM
In my opinion i think a K9 would be more of a help than a hindrance.
1 They have much keener Hearing, and eyesight and will alert you to possible threats well before you need to react to an attack,
2 If you are holed up and someone iffy comes calling, they might think twice before venturing into a building when a dog starts Barking and Snarling, ( my little buddy is a Black lab Collie X he's not that Big but when he Barks and Growl he sounds like a mad Rottweiler) most people would not risk tangling with a large sounding, possibly Rabid unknown K9
3 A Dog can carry a Backpack too Ruffwear my little Buddy has one of these and he loves it, it's means that he can also carry secondary equipment, first aid, spare survival tin 24 hour Ration pack and the like, great if you lose or get your pack stolen, as a rule of thumb, don’t let your dog Carry more than 1/2-2/3ds of it's body weight.
4 A Healthy dogs Natural body temperature ranges between 99f and as high as 102.5f, a full 4 degrees higher than a human great hot water bottle eh, and you don't even have to boil the kettle.
5 Dogs are natural scavengers, and so therefore their ability to find food is a: plus, A: you wont have to haul tons of dog food about and B: you might just get a meal out of it too
6 This is definitely not for the feint hearted, while your dog is alive he wont go off rot or spoil so you have food with you at all times that you don’t have to carry, and yes in a real SHTF scenario when you get hungry enough you'll definitely think about it, because others will not hesitate to, just don't eat the liver it stores too much Vitamin A so therefore it's toxic to humans.

So for me the answer to the K9 Question is Yes!!

regards Ramadhiman
edit on 8-1-2013 by Ramadhiman because: corrected typo

posted on Jan, 22 2013 @ 01:01 AM
reply to post by Carreau

Carreau, if you're in the southwest, please p2p me. I have a malinois that spent 7 years in Iraq as
A working dog. I can't find a breeder out here, most chips don't know what a malinois is here
He's retired and it ifs my job to get him some pups before he moves on. Thanks for your service brother.
Im willing too travel as far as Colorado at this point.

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