Susan Braden - Breeder Of The Karelian Bear Dogs & The Norrbottenspets

Is a Karelian Bear Dog for you?

First I want to make something very clear, just because this breed has in it’s name, “bear dog” does not always mean every Karelian will have the bear sense gene, which is the aggressiveness that is needed to work bears.  Very few Breeders of the Karelian Bear Dog have the chance to show a live bear to their dogs, therefore that aggressiveness and correct work on the bear is difficult to guarantee in every individual pup they sell.  That is why field tests and selective breeding may maintain this quality in the Karelian Dear Dog.  Karelians are not attack dogs!  They are considered an alert dog that protects, not a guard dog. 

Karelian Bear Dogs are hunting dogs, you may be a non hunter, but they are always a hunter.  You can not take away the prey drive instincts they have for chasing prey.  Their keen senses are always at work, constantly searching and analyzing the scents that are around them.

Karelians are working dogs.  These dogs are usually territorial, strong, and confident.  They need a strong confident leader to master their temperament.  They primarily were used for their abilities to hunt and or track game for humans using their sight and smell.  *These dogs require non-traditional training techniques as movement or scent easily distracts them.  

Karelians get along very well with other dogs if raised together.  However most are territorial and would not allow strange dogs to come close to their house.  The Karelians love everyone in the family, and are absolutely reliable with children, They can be trained and taught to tolerate other animals around the home, including chickens and cats. Human aggressive Karelians are the results of irresponsible breeders and or poor breeding ethics, stay away from them.

You need to ask yourself if you are getting a Karelian for the right reasons.  Most people like the novelty of owning a bear dog, but are not willing to put the hours and devotion that it takes into training and exercising a hunting dog. You have to know what this breed is all about so you will know how to work with it’s instincts and not against them.

Tell your Breeder what kind of environment you live in, why you are wanting a bear dog, how much time you have for bonding and training, what other animals you have living with you, how many people live in your home, will the dog run freely, how close are your neighbors, and any other information you think they need to know.  Then the Breeder should evaluate all your information, and decide if a karelian is right for you.  Breeders who love and know their breeds will make the right decision in honor of their pups.

Please do your part as a responsible pet owner and research this breed before you adopt.

*I want to give some advise and share my opinions in these short quotes, these are based on my years and experience of raising and training Karelians:

Karelians are a free spirit animal.

You need to take the time to learn how to read their body language, and to get into their heads. 

They usually don’t mature until 2 years of age or older.

 They need to be fed a nutritious diet, given lots of exercise, and allowed time to be free to hunt and explore. 

You need to bring them into your home, and teach them the pecking order in your clan, them being the bottom of the order, or they will dominant.

You need to research and study the stage development and behaviors of puppies while they are going through their growth stages.  Know what he/she is going through, and how to help and train them during these times. 

Never raise two pups together, they will bond with each other and not with you.

 Do not give the command, “come” to your dog when she/he is walking or running in the opposite direction.

Karelians come when they want to.

Karelians have selective hearing.

Karelians can easily jump a 6ft. fence.

Never underestimate the intelligence of a Karelian.

They will chew up at least one time, one of your most favorite or valuable items.

You will say at least a dozen times, “What was I thinking getting another Karelian?”

You will never meet a more challenging dog in your life.

Once you have owned a Karelian, there is no other breed that compares.

You either will love them or hate them, no in betweens.

Karelians are unique and have many amazing antics.

Karelians need a job!

Karelians learn quickly that their owner has no control over them when off leash.  

Stop yelling come, come, come, at your dog without backing up the first command with some form of control, only conditions the dog to ignore you.

Female Karelians have a higher prey drive, are a little more persistent (hard headed), their perimeter around you when in the outdoors is further out.

Karelians become anxious when you leave them behind, they get upset, and may chew or dig things up.

A Karelian with no training is a dog placed in a leadership position.

A Karelian can bark for hours and even days at a squirrel in a tree.

I know all this mostly through trial and error.  I have trained many Karelians for various duties, I keep my dog trainer’s number on speed dial. 

Ask for help.

It makes no difference to the purebred Karelian or to the mixed Karelian what their papers read, they just care that they are loved.

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