Many people own dogs as pets, and many don’t. For those who do not, I suggest that you seriously consider a dog as an adjunct to your defensive arsenal and alarm system. Conventional wisdom indicates that the bonding between humans and dogs occurred between 19,000 and 30,000 years ago and most domestic dog breeds are descended from the Gray wolf.
Dogs have been and continue to be used for hunting and defensive purposes for centuries. Most people have heard about rescue dogs who find people buried in rubble, bloodhounds who track escaped prisoners or help find lost people, drug dogs who sniff out illegal drugs, dogs who are trained to sniff out explosives, seeing eye dogs who help the blind, and police/guard dogs who protect property and people. They make a great addition to the arsenal of anyone involved in emergency preparation.
When I was in the 101st. ABN. Division in Vietnam, we would often get dog teams to work with us in highly booby-trapped areas and they often saved our bacon. When I was doing contract security at the U.S Embassy in Kabul Afghanistan we had dog teams sniffing all vehicles entering the Embassy compound. I have seen first hand how useful dogs can be for various defensive purposes. The term “Mans best friend” is more than a trite saying.
New uses continue to be found for this amazing animal. Brandon Bowe and Kristopher Knight of GPS Canine are training dogs as a protection against active shooters. These animals are especially gentle around children and other folks, but can disarm and subdue an active shooter immediately. This approach is especially attractive to institutions such as schools who, either by choice or law, desire not to have an armed presence on property, but are concerned about active shooter incidents.
They demonstrated this concept at the American Society for Industrial Security International (ASIS) convention in Atlanta recently and received some very favorable reviews. ASIS is the largest umbrella security organization in the world. GPS Canine employs former military or Law Enforcement handlers to insure that their canines are handled in a professional manner at the institutions they serve and also assist in observation and security assessments, surveys, risk mitigation, and access control measures as well. If you are in charge of a facility that might be able to use this type of dog, I highly recommend you contact them here.
So what makes this amazing animal such a valuable asset in so many scenarios? Dogs bond naturally to humans and a well-trained dog will literally die for you which is something most humans wont. They also have an extraordinary hearing capability. Because they can rotate their ears, they can locate sounds much faster than a human as well as hear sounds at four times the distance. Thats a valuable early warning enhancer. But where the dog really shines is smell. While the human brain is dominated by a large visual cortex, the dog’s is dominated by an olfactory cortex. The olfactory bulb in a dog is approximately forty times larger than that in a human relative to total brain size. What this translates to is that it is estimated that the dog has an olfactory sense ranging from one hundred thousand to one million times more sensitive than a human’s. Now THAT is an early warning system!
If you don’t own a dog yet, and have little experience with them, you need to do some research before getting one. You want an animal that is large enough to be a deterrent to predators, (sorry, your toy poodle Fi-Fi doesn’t count). But you want one that is going to bond with your family and become a member of it and at the same time be suspicious of strangers. The dog is also going to need room to fit in your bug out vehicle. You don’t want a trained attack dog like the SS used to guard concentration camps, but you want one that can be trained to defend you. You also need to understand that your dog is going to require time and care. licensing, shots, veterinarian check ups, food and water, grooming, training.
Different organizations have different lists of the best breeds for family defense dogs. German Shepherd and Belgian Malinois are used by militaries and police world-wide. There are a number of breeds that would be useful as a defensive dog for a family and you need to do a bit of research to find the breed that works for your situation. Considerations would include having children, their ages, and where you live and how much room you have.
Dogs have great value in areas that have strict restrictions on the possession of firearms. They are often a great deterrent to burglary and home invasion. Interviews with convicted criminals indicate that the two things they fear the most are a large dog and a human with a gun who is willing to use it.
Dogs can be especially valuable to the Lone Wolf prepper, that guy or gal who, for whatever reason, will find themselves alone either bugging in or bugging out in a SHTF situation. Lone Wolf has a lot of advantages in mobility, decision-making, and supply considerations. But you have to sleep, attend to personal needs, cook, clean yourself and equipment, and a lot of other things that leave you vulnerable. Thats when your dog’s ability to warn you of potential danger could be life saving. Besides the above resources, there is a prepper site dedicated to dealing with pets in a SHTF scenario. Check out Preps4Pets for some interesting info.
All in all, anyone serious about emergency prepping should consider the feasibility of acquiring a dog as part of your defensive and early warning capability. Take your time, do your research, and you might just acquire a life long friend as well as a good defensive tool.
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All photos either public domain, courtesy of GPS Canine, or sourced here.
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