Family-Disaster-Dog-Lessons

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Understanding Your Dog's Protective Instinct

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We all know that dogs have a protective instinct. It’s an instinct that has been nurtured over thousands of years of evolution; a desire to protect the people they care about, the humans that they see as their family. For many people, the protective instinct is one of the foremost reasons to getting a dog, and this is all the more true if you’re thinking of disaster-preparation.

To truly get the most of your dog’s protective instinct in the event of a disaster, you first need to understand that instinct. How does it work? How can you utilize it to your benefits? Is that instinct transferable to different people or properties? Read on to find out all the answers you need…

What Exactly Are Dogs Protecting?

Given that many people use dogs to guard their home, it’s easy to think that dogs are protecting the actual building. This is a concern if you’re disaster-prepping. You may wonder if your dog will offer protection if you have had to bug-out and transfer to another location.

Here’s the good news: dogs don’t protect buildings with any particular vigor. Sure, they will bark if someone they don’t like gets too close, but for the most part the building isn’t really the concern. Dogs aren’t territorial in the same way that cats are. You can see this in action in the way we live with our pets; cats are allowed to wander around the neighborhood, as they will always find their way back to their territory. Dogs… won’t; if your dog gets out, there’s a high likelihood you’ll have to go and retrieve them rather than them coming back of their own accord.

So What Do Dogs Protect?

People. The only reason your dog is particularly concerned about your home is because you’re in it. Dogs can also be protective of items they consider to be “theirs”, such as blankets and bowls, but for the most part their focus is primarily on people.

You can see this effect in action if you take your dog to pet-friendly vacation rentals; they will be just as protective of your temporary home as they are of your actual home-- because you’re there. This is well worth remembering if you’re concerned about losing your dog’s inbuilt protective instinct if you, for any reason, need to abandon your home. If you’re there, then your dog is going to continue to be just as protective as they would be at your home address.

Can The Protective Instinct Be Controlled?

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You can’t stop the urge of the protective instinct, but you can train your dog so they don’t react to it unless you command. Basic “sit” and “stay” commands are your best methods here, so you can be sure that the protective instinct doesn’t go too far. Your dog is, after all, primarily a pet, so you’re going to want to know you’re safe to take them for a walk without aggression issues materializing.

In the event of a disaster, your dog’s protective instinct might just be your best friend. Nurture this instinct correctly, train your dog to control it, and then you can be reassured all is well-- wherever you are in the world.

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