I have been watching the homeless in our area and have noticed how many have dogs. In doing a bit of checking on this, the dogs seem to be for a couple of purposes, companionship and protection. This set me to thinking about all the potential use for dogs for prepping.
For me the big need of a dog is to alert me to problems. My hearing keeps getting worst; I have to wear hearing aids part of the time. Even a small dog will work for this purpose. A small dog has pros and cons. They don’t eat much which is an advantage, but they provide no real protection.
If you look at history, dogs had many uses beside companionship and protection. They were used as pack animals, to pull carts, as hunting dogs, to herd sheep or cattle and as guide dogs for the blind. Uses of dogs included the following
- Dogs were sometimes used for rodent control, some smaller breeds are very good ratters.
- Turnspit dogs were used as a source of power, they could turn a treadmill connected to a roasting spit. Similar arrangements were used for household duties such as churning butter.
- Working dogs were used to pull carts or sleds for delivering supplies
- Herding dogs are still used by stockmen around the world for herding sheep and cattle; different breeds are used for the different jobs involved in stock work and for guarding the flocks and herds. A well-trained dog can adapt to control any sort of domestic and many wild animals.
- Hunting dogs assist hunters in finding, tracking, and retrieving game.
- Guard dogs and watch dogs can provide you protection and alert you to dangers.
- Tracking dogs help find lost people and animals or track down possible criminals.
- Police dogs, called K9 Units, are usually trained to track or immobilize possible criminals while assisting officers in making arrests or investigating the scene of a crime.
Dogs can assist you in many ways. The type of dog you choose will depend upon your circumstances and future plans. You don’t want a herd dog that wants to run all day in a tiny apartment. Choose the type of dog that will fit into your environment and spend some time training them for the work you have in mind for them. Once you have decided on what type of work you have in mind for your dog, do a bit of research, talk to experts and then choose your breed.