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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Preparing for Storms with your Dog

Preparing for Storms with your Dog  

 With the recent high level of tornado activity and the start of hurricane season upon us I thought it would be a good idea to tell you how to calm a dog or other pet during a disaster or storm.

I'll also post below the Family Disaster Dog Go Bag List for those who may of missed it before.

This is the season to be ready for a disaster to happen, especially if you live in tornado alley or on the coast where a hurricane can happen with little notice.  You should have at least a 3 day supply of food, including quality dog food for your pet, first aid items, clothing and water in a carry bag near the front door in case you have to evacuate. Your dogs can carry these supplies if you need help due to age or disability, and your dog can carry extra supplies so your family can survive longer.

Now is the time to work with your family dog and show them how to carry a backpack with these supplies along with their own dog food. Train now while you have time.

You'll have a better chance of survival because you and your dog will know what to do.

Loud noises, sudden actions and frightening experiences can turn a well mannered peaceful pet into a nightmare to handle or calm.

Once out of control you or the animal can be seriously injured so the smartest thing to do is to be prepared by knowing what to do. 

Regardless if the animal is a dog, cat, rabbit or horse it can be calmed down when it is frightened or stressed with the use of voice and body movements.

Owners or handlers can unintentionally make an animal harder to handle if they do not know how to calm the animal.

Assess the Situation

The first concern before touching the animal is to try to determine what is making the animal upset.

Is the animal scared or mad because it does not want to do something being asked? Is the animal hurt? An injured animal can be very dangerous and difficult to handle and calm down.

Be careful as you slowly approach the animal. Do a quick visual assessment of what is going on in the animal’s surroundings as you approach. Try to see what might be causing the excitement. A caged animal may be caught or snagged on the fencing causing the animal to lash out as if hurt or mad.

Taking Action

Once the situation is apparent then a safe course of action can follow.

If the animal is upset due to something frightening or the animal is being asked to perform and refuses by turning mean or upset, STOP what is being done or remove what is frightening at once.

This often solves the problem and if the animal must become accustom to the situation then introduction the situation slowly to avoid fear driven reactions.

When an animal is otherwise upset and unruly a gentle hand and voice go a long way. Talk to the animal in a reassuring voice but only approach if the situation is safe.  Approach slowly but causally like all is well.

Once the animal can be approached in a calm manner without a reaction then attempt to lay a hand on them but otherwise keep hands and arms a safe distance away. When the animal can be petted and touched continue to pet and speak with them in a gentle manner until they can be touched all over. 

Avoid fast movements and loud noises until the animal feels safe. Always allow animals plenty of time to adjust to new surroundings and actions so they do not become unsure or frightened.

Animals are only mean or upset when frightened or injured because they really do not understand what mean is unless they are trained to be mean, especially dogs. In the wild they are not mean unless provoked.

Prepare for a Storm by Making each person and pet a

"Family Disaster Dog" Go Bag- 72 hour Bug Out Backpack

Place these items in a dog backpack after you have gotten your dog used to carrying the backpack by rubbing the pack over the dog and gently placing it on the dog without anything in it.  Allow the dog to wear the backpack  a little bit. to get use to it.

Slowly place the items in the bags. Go slowly so your dog doesn't get scared. Once they are comfortable with the packs then you can pack it and take them for a walk.  Be sure to tighten the straps slowly, and not to tightly.

Most dogs feel proud to have a backpack, they really like them.

Dog or Pet 72 hour Ready Bag-Go-Bag and Bug-Out Bag 
Click  above for examples

Here's Daisy wearing her bag, she carries a small frying pan too :) 

Here's Dumpster who came to one of my book signing events. He's trying out a dog bag for the first time and went home with one of his own.

All size dogs can help us evacuate

(The links in the below list are from amazon to help support the cost of maintaining this site free to everyone, we only make a tiny bit from any sales generated and greatly appreciate your support. We thank you.)

Here is a good choice to help you get started making your dog's a go-bag. 

Recommended Items for an Emergency Evacuation Bag
(It is recommended by all emergency response agencies that each person and pet in a household, school and workplace have 1 set of the items listed and 1 bag plus have a travel bag in each vehicle. I know this sounds like many things and maybe overwhelming to some but when you evacuate and have to sit out the disaster for days or weeks, you will be happy to have have the extra supplies. Shelters often run out of food, especially in today's Covid19 situation.)

This is not the usually list of items needed in a bug out or go bag for pets. I've added extra items based on my SAR and Red Cross training plus personal experience. These items go into your dog's backpack with copies of dog Id, health record and your contact information, next of kin or emergency contact.

You keep copies of paperwork in your own backpack too.

Waterproof everything by placing each item in its own sealed baggie even if the dog backpack is waterproof.

Items to place in Dog or Cat Bug-Out Go-Bag are:

A current color photograph of you and your pet together (in case you are separated)

Food, water – 3-day supply for each pet and yourself
(you can hang water bottles from your dog's pack or harness)
Bowls - non-spill  w/lid if possible
Collar and leash -for dogs and cats

Muzzle (the muzzle I choose at this link is the type I know will work for a dog biting its handler/owner/groomer/vet due to fear or injury. The other types of muzzles that allow a dog to drink water and open its mouth are not the safest to use when a dog is upset and trying to bite everything they can reach, cats too!) 

In a pinch, when no muzzle is handy a pair of woman's panty hoses or stockings works as a good muzzle. Wrap the stocking around the dog's muzzle and tie behind the ears. The material will stretch so make sure it's tight enough the dog cannot open its mouth and you can still slip a finger under the nose area. This is only for an emergency when the animal is scared and needs to be touched or moved for medical or safety reasons. This muzzle is not to be left on the dog for longer than 15 minutes without loosing it for proper oxygen to the pet 

Leg Stockings are compact with many uses other than a muzzle. They work well as a filter to strain dirt from water, a bandage and Ace wrap for injury support, plus they can keep you warm and even be used as a mask.

Instead of Poop Scoop Baggies just pack some regular sandwich bags so you can use them for other purposes too.

Treats and Toy, at least 3 days worth of light weight high quality dog food.
1 small lightweight blanket, towel, or newspaper for warmth

ID tag should always be on pet's harness or collar
Extra name tag should be on the backpack, be sure to put a nameplate on your bag too, on attached so it will not come off. With your cell phone number.

In case you can drive away in order to evacuate or bug out. Pet carrier ( link to my favorite type for safety) or crate for each pet labeled with pet and owner’s information (keep near your bag).

Allergy medicine or other special medicines with instructions

Pack the items below as a Pet First Aid Kit in its own small waterproof container or baggie that will fit in the dog's backpack.

Scissors-other pocket knife
Band-aids don't stick to dog fur but a few for your friends can come in handy.
Several Gauze pads and medical cotton squares
Alcohol Wipes
Instant cold pack (to big to carry-cold mud works in a pinch)
Medical and Adhesive tape
1 small bar Soap
1 small tube Antiseptic cream
1 small bottle Eye drops
10-20 Cotton balls
Powder Gatorade or electrolytes
Large Tea Bags (stops bleeding)
Vet Wrap (like an ace bandage for animals and sticks to itself,very handy)
Glow lite Sticks (hang one on your dog and self at night to be seen)

Wrap some pieces of duck tape around one of the bottles for later use
Make sure to waterproof every item.

Snake Country 
If you are in snake country put a small container or baggie with the cooking spice Adolf's  Meat Tenderizer which contains a fruit extract which neutralizes snake and spider, Scorpion types of venom. I've used it several times with rattlesnake bit dogs.

I keep Concentrated Pet Food Paste on hand at all times and pack it in our go-bags. This is in a tube and looks like thick dark brown honey. Dogs and cats love it.

Pack 2 or more tubes depending on the size of your dog of Nutri-Cal Concentrated Dog Food. This a source used for sick animals that cannot eat. 1 teaspoon per 10lbs body weight will keep your dog alive after you run out of dog food. This is a good standby to have. 1 tube will keep a small dog well fed without any other food source for 4- 5 days.

If you have room in your dog's pack we at Family Disaster Dogs recommend adding these items to your dog’s Go-Bag or Bug Out pack.

Survival Kit
A compass and a map of your area
A small flashlight with extra batteries or another light source
Water Purification Tablets
12 Hour Emergency Bright Sticks
16 Hour Hand Warmer
Mylar Emergency Blanket
Extra Collar & Leash Set
Reflective Dog Vest
Rain Coat and Boots will give your dog some protection in a nuclear fall out as will a full
Body rain suit for your self. in your dog's backpack.
Tie-Out leash or chain 10-15 ft long

You can get more information about go-bags and packing your dog for evacuation at our home site go to the link above.

Here's a good choice of bags for traveling with pets. 

Pet Travel Bag

Your Dog's Ready When You Are!!!

Here's my video and book preview below

Click above to read a free preview of my book, thanks for visiting !

Stay safe out there!

Saturday, January 22, 2022

3 Great Methods Of Disciplining Your Dog Correctly

Image Pexels-CCO License

No matter how lovely the disposition of our dog is, it’s true to say that they only really behave if we teach them to do so, and show the correct boundaries. This doesn’t mean we need to use aggression or force in order to teach our dogs what not to do - in fact, that can constitute abuse, and even if it didn’t, is painfully ineffective a technique to start with.

Dogs learn through repetition and reward, and also routine. They learn in seeing the boundaries they must not cross, and slowly developing a sense of obedience to you as an owner, provided you cultivate that authority correctly. This is important even in small dogs, which many people tend to neglect because of how seemingly harmless they are - leading to unwarranted aggression whenever pet or attended to. 

What appropriate advice is there for disciplining your dog correctly, especially when bringing a rescue pet home? This is worth planning ahead of time, so you can utilize all of your practices and hire potential training services well in advance. With the following advice, you’ll be more and more able to achieve proper ownership:

See A Worthwhile Trainer

Trainers can help get to the core of the behavioral patterns of your dog, out-training bad habits, and training new and better responses to your commands. Trainers can also allow your dog to learn in proximity to other dogs, which is essential for them to adapt so they don’t feel dismayed or react aggressively when seeing them. A worthwhile trainer can also help your dog learn to become more confident, and more obedient to your commands. It’s a growing process, but it works well.

Keep Consistent In Your Lessons

It’s important to stay consistent in the lessons you give your pet. If they are told not to jump on the sofa one day, but another day you’re happy to allow that, then they get mixed messages, and cannot understand why you’re disciplining them for doing something you have otherwise accepted before. Of course, they don’t rationalize in this way, but they do have trouble adapting to your authority if they don’t have clear guidelines to do so. This is why giving them a clear alternative you point your focus towards, that is your large dog bed properly placed, can make such a big difference and retain that consistent obedience.

Provide Clear Instructions

It’s important to provide clear instructions as to why you are unhappy or happy with your dog, and why that’s the case. For instance, dogs learn new tricks when performing an action, given vocal positive feedback, and a treat. You can also use this technique to show them when you’re not happy, such as using an authoritative tone, no treat, and pointing to the part of the sofa they’ve scratched. Consistent repetition of this can help them learn to gauge your reactions, and they will subconsciously understand how to alternate their behavior given enough time.

With this advice, you’ll be sure to discipline your dog correctly, with care, attention, and diligence. This is how great pets, and great owners as a consequence, are made.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Coming soon to Family Disaster Dogs Online-weekly posts to Train a Dog to Find People

 Hey everyone, 

Here's hoping your 2022 is off to a great start!

Over the next couple of  months I will be posting weekly about how to start training a dog to find people for the fun of it, for sport and for search dog work.

The upcoming posts will be a great way to have a fun activity to do with your dogs! 

Plus, friends and family will be amazed at how quickly your dog can find them !

Some dogs need an activity that helps them to destress and relax just like people do. The upcoming posts will give you and your dog a great way to do just that!

Reactive dog? Hyper Dog? The skills you'll learn are a great way to redirect that energy in a safer calm controlled situation. 

Here's my dog and I getting ready to track a hidden person down!

Copyright A.Higgins

Did you know there are dog sports that use the skills search and rescue dogs do? 

In the sport of K9SAR, dog and owner/handler teams practice and have fun finding hidden people with a dog. Here's a cool site to learn more about the sport which is slowly gaining interest in the USA and much more popular overseas. If you would like to get involved in the sport, feel free to contact me. I can help you train and participate. 

All breeds and age of dogs are welcome.  

Mainly though, I will be posting because with the increase in natural disasters we are seeing worldwide I want to help everyone learn an easy way to find family or friends in the event anyone was to go missing.  

Also I want to encourage and help anyone interested in learning how to volunteer for Search and Rescue get started. 

Although the posts will give everyone a fun way to spend time with dogs, family and friends additionally, those who wish to advance into dog sports and search dog work will learn how to get started. 

Let's have some fun this year, and follow our dogs!

Be sure to sign up for the newsletter and upcoming posts at the pop-up window. (reload page for pop up). Feel free to use the contact page above in the page menu to learn more. You can find Family Disaster Dogs on Facebook with a simple search to follow, like the page and join the group.

Stay safe out there,


Founder and author of Family Disaster Dogs

Friday, January 7, 2022

How to Move On from Losing a Pet

 Losing a pet is never an easy thing, especially when they are members of the family. It can be very difficult to move on from this loss and get back into your normal routine. However, if you're having trouble moving on, there are some things that may help make it easier.

Photo by Johann from Pexels

#1 Accepting the loss

The first step is to accept the fact that your pet is gone. It's hard, but it's important to remember that they are no longer with us. This doesn't mean you have to forget about them, but rather that you need to come to terms with their death.

It may help to talk about your pet with others who understand what you're going through. There are also support groups available for those who lose a pet. This can be a great way to share memories and get advice from others who have been in the same situation.

In addition, writing about your pet can be a great way to help process the loss. This could be in the form of a letter, journal entry, or blog post. Finally, talk about your pet with others who understand what you're going through.

#2 Explaining what happened to kids

If you have children, it's essential to talk to them about what happened. They may not understand why their pet is gone, and they may be scared. So it's important to answer any questions they have and let them know that their pet is in a better place.

It can be helpful to find a book or video that talks about loss so your child can learn more about what happened—letting them know that their pet is in a better place. One of the best ways to help move on from losing a pet is by helping your child remember all the good times they had together. This could involve making a photo album or scrapbook, writing down memories, buying one of the many pet caskets available for a proper funeral or even creating a memorial garden.

For some, memories can make it harder to move on from losing a pet. If you're having trouble with this step, consider getting rid of your pet's things and keeping only the items that are truly important. This could be something like an old toy or blanket they loved playing with before they passed away. 

Having these belongings may just remind you too much of all the good times you had together and make moving forward tricky for people who have lost a pet. One way to help get past this stage is by creating new happy memories with other family members and friends without your pet around.

#3 Give yourself time and space

It's important to remember that you don't have to rush the healing process. Grieving for a pet can take time, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. It's okay to be sad and feel like your life is turned upside down.

In addition, try not to overload yourself with work or other commitments in the early stages of grieving. This may just make things harder for you. Instead, focus on taking care of yourself and doing things that make you happy.

If possible, try to avoid placing blame on yourself for what happened. It's natural to go over what we could have done differently, but this won't help anything. Pet loss is a difficult thing to cope with, and it's normal for it to take time. 

#4 Moving on

It's okay to still think about your pet. They will always be in your heart, and they can help you remember them by keeping their things around the house or visiting the place where they passed away. Remember that this doesn't mean you don't love them anymore, but rather that you're trying to move on from losing a pet so life can get back to normal again. You may feel guilty for forgetting about your pet too quickly, but know that everyone heals at different rates, and there is no "right" way of doing things when moving on after losing a loved one. 

For some people, having something physical like an urn or memorial garden can be helpful during this stage of recovery. This could keep memories alive even if we aren't thinking about them all the time. Also, remember that it's okay to cry and be sad when you think of your pet. They were a massive part of your life, and there will always be a hole in your heart that they used to fill.

#5 Getting a new pet after losing one

It's okay to think about getting a new pet after losing one but know that this isn't for everyone. Some people feel like they need another animal in their life right away, while others may not be ready for a long time. If you do decide to get a new pet, take your time in picking out the perfect one and make sure it's the right decision for you. It can be helpful to go through an adoption agency or visit multiple shelters before making your choice.

While it won't replace the pet you lost, a new furry friend can help with the healing process and provide lots of love and happiness. Just make sure to give yourself plenty of time before taking on such a big responsibility. In addition, don't forget to talk about your old pet with the new one. They may not understand what happened, but it can be a great way to help keep their memory alive.

It's okay to still think about your pet, and there is no right or wrong way of moving on after losing them. Getting a new pet can be helpful for some people, but make sure it's the right decision for you before taking such a big step. memorial garden

There are many different ways to help move on from losing a pet, but the most important thing is that you don't try to do it alone. Lean on your friends and family for support during this difficult time. They will be there to help you get through it. Pet loss is never easy, but you will eventually start feeling better with time and patience.

Author Amber Higgins

Author Amber Higgins
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Welcome UK and Worldwide Visitors

Welcome UK and worldwide visitors and friends to Family Disaster Dogs online! Although I'm an American author and dog professional the worldwide web has given me the opportunity to connect with some wonderful folks who have contributed pictures for my books. The "Start Mantrailing" book features RRI K9 North Scotland trained Search and Rescue Dog "Amber" on the cover and her teammates training in the book, plus American dogs using my training methods. A portion of sales of the Start Mantrailing book or copies were donated to RRI North Scotland. The children's picture book "My Puppy Can Find Me" has my daughter and bloodhound as illustrations by UK cartoonist Scotty King. You can find the books on Amazon UK or use the contact page to order from me. When you click the links will take you to your own county pages of this site.

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  What is a family disaster dog? It is a dog trained to find and rescue you! The Family Disaster Dog Book  shows you how easy a pet dog of a...

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