Not only is your dog a good companion, but he or she could potentially save your life in a survival situation. With the proper training, you can transform your cuddly puppy into a smart, disciplined survivalist. Training takes time and patience but there are some commands you can teach your dog that could help you out in an emergency or dangerous situation. Start out training your dog the right way with these commands your dog should know.
Teach your Dog to Speak
You don’t need to invest in a full-scale alarm system for your home because your dog’s bark can ward off any predators approaching your home. To teach this command, kneel in front of your sitting dog with treats clearly visible in your hand. Get your pup’s attention, and, in a happy tone, say his name while showing him a favorite toy, but not letting him have it.
Say speak, and give him time to respond. Repeat this process until he barks, and then reward him with a treat. Once he masters the trick, try it out in different areas without treats. Your dog’s bark could save you if there’s an intruder in your home, you’re stranded in the wilderness or you’re awaiting rescue.
Teach your Dog to be Quiet
Additionally, teaching your dog to be quiet when you don’t want your cover blown is equally important. Pick a command like “hush” or “quiet,” and use it consistently. When training him how to be quiet, wait for him to bark. Once he does, quickly get his attention with a second sound, such as a whistle or clap. Once you have his attention, use your command and give him a treat for obeying. Repeat this two to three times in a row and continue over the next couple days until he masters the command.
However, if you’re working with an unruly dog, such as a yippy terrier or high-energy breed, you may need to use an electric dog collar with a bark-limiter. Trigger the vibration, and use a vocal command to teach your dog to stay quiet. Amazon offers a wide range of electric collars for dog training and hunting. This method isn’t necessary for most dogs provided you are patient and willing to spend the time training them. Breed differences can vary with how much they bark, but I think most of the time unwanted behaviors can be trained out of your dog with time. Our dog is extremely high energy but she isn’t a barker. Your dog may be different.
Teach your Dog to Search
A dog’s olfactory abilities are 100,000 times stronger than a human’s, according to dog trainer Dina Zaphiris. This trait makes your dog well-suited for making rescues. Train your dog to recognize you and your family’s scent so he can make a rescue in the event of a disaster, such as an avalanche or being lost in the wilderness. Dogs as young as 12 weeks can learn these skills, and older dogs can still learn, too.
To teach trailing, use a partner and your dog. First, drop a piece of clothing with your friend’s scent and walk 10 to 20-feet ahead, dropping treats with each step. Then, have your partner hide in an easy-to-find location. Show the dog the piece of clothing and let him sniff it. Use a command like “search” or “find.” Your dog should be able to follow the treats and the scent to your training partner. Reward him with his toy, play or more treats. As he gets better, use less and less treats, and take your training to different terrains. Ohio Valley Search and Rescue has put together a comprehensive guide to help you teach your dog these life-saving skills.
These commands your dog should know are by no means the end of training. There are a million other things your pooch is capable of but these commands are a start. Where you go from there with your dog is up to you two.