Karelian Bear Dog

Here in Northern Ontario, Canada people love blueberries and we have them in abundance. Sinatra and Mr. Bean even enjoy them. I had one dog who would sit right in the patch and munch away.

Unfortunately, this year a late frost killed off the blueberry flowers so that in August, when both people and bears go blueberry picking, the crop was very small. The bears were extremely hungry as blueberries are one of their main food choices.  As a result, the bears came into the city in large enough numbers that someone saw one nearly every day.  Sadly,  our Natural Resource Department has been short staffed for close to 10 years and they have reneged their responsibility for the bears. It fell to the local police to kill a number of bears just to keep people safe. This is a choice they made only when the bears seriously endangered people by displaying aggressive behavior like ripping up doors to get into a house.
What does this have to do with dogs? During the time this was all going on with bears digging into garbage right in people’s yard — tearing apart steel garbage containers to get at the bags —someone called the radio station and suggested we bring in some Karelian Bear Dogs to deal with the problem.
A dog willing to chase a bear?  Never heard of it.  After some research here is the lowdown on this formidable dog.


Bear on deck – not my deck thank goodness
K.B. Dog chases bear
K.B. Dog chases bear




Ursus americanus Canis lupus familiaris
Height 2-1/2 to 3 feet 21-24 inches
Weight 90 to 600 lbs 44.1 to 50.7 lbs
Colouring Black with some brown Black and white
Personality Solitary animals, though you will see a mother with her cub(s) as we did. The mother abandons cubs when they are 2 years old. Very social with humans but not other dogs, prone to separation anxiety.
Population Widespread distribution and large population due to admirable ability to adapt.

Smart enough to hibernate in winter.

Originated in Finland where it is highly regarded for its quick reflexes and fearlessness.


Looks for home with fireplace to past the winter. (kidding)







Frank does not make his jump

I believe my way of training is the best for my  dogs or I wouldn’t use it.   I think my method works best with dogs that are “people pleasers”, dogs like the Border Collie, the Shetland Sheepdog, the Labrador Retriever, the Golden Retriever.

See a list of dogs here



Some dogs were bred for a purpose (like getting rid of rats on boats) and they are not interested in doing tricks.  On the other hand,  personality plays a big part.  For instance my dog Sinatra (jumping in picture) is much more of a “people pleaser” than my other dog, Mr. Beans.   Mr. Beans seems to think that being cute should be enough.   He only recently began to show a keen interest in training.  I’ve no idea what finally clicked for him—most likely the type of treats which are now very small (for his small mouth) and soft (he has bad teeth).  (This kind of goes against the old adage that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks…because it is only now that Beans is in middle age that he wants to learn more than ever.)



What follows is a list of training sites.  It is not extensive.  I took my own training locally, and they hold training only periodically so I did not include their site.  The training was given by the local kennel club and if there is one in your area you could definitely start with them.   If you have a PetSmart, they also have training.  I list Cesar Millan first, only because he is the best known right now.  However, I am not promoting one method over the others (except mine of course!).



The following are not in any order and I have not tried them.


Dog Training Basics



It’s Pawsible



Peggy Swagger



If you know a site, please submit it


Streaming Video

Frank:  We have a bird feeder near the house which acts kind of like streaming video for Beans.  He can spend hours in front of the patio door watching tree sparrows and juncos come and go.  I think his brain is going to mush.  Too much screen time.


Beans:  You should take more interest in what is going on in our backyard.  Check out who came today.


Any nuts in that feeder?
Any nuts in that feeder?

Training your Dog – The Basics

I thought I’d share a document that I recently wrote up for distribution.  Hope some of you find it helpful.

Dog Training – Basics

If you want to download that’s great.  If you want to share it, please refer people to my website so they can get their own copy and see what else I might have to offer by then.  Much appreciated.

The Chow Chow

I live in northern Ontario which is known to be bear country.  Yesterday, while walking my two shelties, I saw a big black creature coming around the bend.  I knew it wasn’t a bear because they are in hibernation this time of year.  This dog was huge — and absolutely beautiful.  In addition he was one of the most calm dogs I had ever come across. The owner said that the dog was very independent and had a mind of his own.   When I encounter temperament like that I wonder if it’s training or part of the breed’s characteristic.  So I researched the Chow Chow.

black chow


The Chow Chow’s origin seems to be unknown.  Even though the dogs are seldom seen in China today, the Mongolian tribes in China did keep this breed.  The breed then appeared in England in the 1800s.


  • strong-willed
  • aloof and indifferent like a cat
  • excellent watchdog
  • wary of strangers


  • 17-21″ at the shoulder
  • 45-85 pounds
  • color varies from black to mahogany
  • mixed breeds can be white or even blue merle


  • younger Chow Chows are more pliable so training should start early
  • older dogs may be difficult to train

More about the Chow Chow


Chow Chow pictures