Soledad can smell polar bears under feet of snow and alert Pedersen when she’s found a den, thus allowing the den and its inhabitants to finish their long sleep undisturbed. It took two visits to the porch (with spark-away) by the aggressive bear and it never showed up again on the porch. If a bear comes too close, Rex barks viciously and stops as soon as the bear runs off. It sounds cruel, but the point is to keep the bears away from high risk areas without resorting to killing them. In the 20 years he’s been working with bear dogs, Beausoleil says he hasn’t seen any dogs injured because of their work. In the past 3 weeks, we’ve had four bears within close proximity to people. One day of “bear intimidation” tactics training can cost $500 to $900, and Hunt charges as much as $2,300 for a trained Karelian. When it’s time to release the bear, a team of Karelians and humans stages a nerve-wracking goodbye party, firing rubber bullets as the bear is released and bringing out the dogs to bark and chase the animal. Hunt emphasizes that safety is her chief concern when sending dogs after bears, and she says they’ve had no injuries in the field either. By then, the bear has hopefully learned its lesson that that’s not a place it wants to return to. ), Typically if a bear shows up at a dump or digging through someone’s garbage, “you’d either show up, corner the animal, and euthanize it,” says Alan Myers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, "or you would dart the animal, put it in a cage, and take it many miles away. Bear dogs have also been helpful in solving wildlife crimes. Electric fencing only works, however, if it is operating before bears become a problem. To see what cookies we serve and set your own preferences, please review our Cookie Policy. Cali the Golden Retriever helps me demonstrate the benefits of my bear-proof food bag for backcountry camping. Just Watch These Border Collie Puppies Meet Sheep for the First Time, 9 Surprisingly Dangerous Foods for Dogs (Starting with Popcorn), Animal-Saving Volunteer Pilot Flies Shelter Dogs to Safety Each Weekend, Lorkie Breed Profile: Lhasa Apso Yorkie Mix, Revealed in Photos and Fun Facts. One of the benefits of electric fencing is that it not only deters bears, but it teaches them to keep away. The Wind River Bear Institute in Florence, Montana, has stepped in to help protect both bears and humans, and the key to their success is the Karelian bear dog. Halt! “It’s a huge, full-time job because that dog is there with you all the time,” Bryant says. A great Pyrenees our two could probably hold there own against a bear, so I would suggest them. While few of us ever worry about surprise bear encounters, for folks living near the Rocky Mountains, where human populations are expanding into wildlife territory, bears are a more menacing problem. A number of parks and wildlife teams use Karelians for the very same reason—to discourage bears from wandering into residential and park areas. When bears feel cornered, they are more likely to initiate an attack. “Over the years, Soledad and I have grown together in ways that can only be described as true partnership,” Pedersen says. The best thing you can do to avoid bears when hiking with your dog is to stay on the trail. Keep an eye out for bear scat, something your dog might also alert you of. DNA from the head matched DNA from the remains. The best way to keep bears out of your fruit trees and orchards is to enclose them with electric fencing. Sometimes they fire beanbag rounds or rubber bullets to scare the bear even more, and then the bear dogs are released. “It was in my DNA to want to communicate with dogs and bears and work to help them.”, SubscribePrivacy Policy(UPDATED)Terms of ServiceCookie PolicyPolicies & ProceduresContact InformationWhere to WatchConsent ManagementCookie Settings, We knew platypuses were incredible. For most of us, this means our dogs bark when our neighbors walk down the street or when something goes bump in the apartment upstairs. Bears are intelligent creatures. When bears get used to being around people it can be more dangerous than if they are fearful. keep the dog on leash … and think very hard about bringing a dog if its heavy bear country . It's not gonna end well. After the dogs have barked at the bear for a while, they open up the bear’s cage. Hunt realized that bears can be taught, just as we teach ourselves and our dogs new tricks all the time. Dog Repellent 1.5 oz It is made with 0.35% capsaicin, a naturally occurring pepper extract. “They were able to prosecute once again based on being able to find the carcass, which we never would’ve found without the bear dog,” Beausoleil says. Tips, stories, and reviews for people who love dogs, powered by, the world's largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers. (Also read about dogs that can sniff out cancer.). It is best to spray at night when bees are dormant in order to avoid agitating them. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, land managers at oil and gas fields and other work sites are required to establish mile-wide buffer zones around polar bear dens, preventing activity until their hibernation is over. It takes off like a rocket,” Myers says. “They’ll bark at this animal and scare the heck out of it [to] let them know it’s not where it’s supposed to be and it should never come back to this location,” Myers says. After more than twenty years at the helm of the institute, Hunt says she’ll be stepping back soon from the program, and Pedersen will be taking over as executive director. Make sure that whatever electric fence system you use, your fence is at least 3 1/2 feet high, with wire strands no more than 8 inches apart on a permanent fence, and 12 inches apart on a temporary fence. “I’m going to just work on breeding and raising the dogs and matching them and placing them in agencies (where) I know them,” she said. Those were the only two options and neither one of those was effective at all.”. “Bears are naturally afraid of canids,” Hunt says. Many state wildlife agencies in bear territory have some form of bear response plan, including the deployment of agency staff members trained in aversive conditioning techniques. “In most states, black bears are a game species. Photograph by Derek Reich Since then, law enforcement … Dogs can sometimes keep bears away from a camp, but very often, a dog initially chases a bear and then the bear chases the dog right back to the camp. They are used in Colorado around camping areas with great success. Of all wildlife you can encounter on a hike, bears are one of the most dangerous animals. They track it, bark at it, nip at its heels, until the dogs are called back by their handlers. Spotting a wild animal in its natural habitat is always an exhilarating experience. So I’ve put together a list of tips that will help keep the bears from showing up at your camp site. It’s complicated. Cleaning up grills after each use and keeping all pet food and bird feeders put away is another good idea. Double bagging and storing in airtight containers is also helpful for stopping bears. Maybe the best way to deal with a bear encounter is to try to prevent one altogether. With the body, law enforcement was able to prove the crime and prosecute the case. (Learn more: Two rare bear attacks show a rise in conflicts with people. At the same time, bears were becoming more comfortable venturing into human space, putting themselves (and humans!) Your best bet is to leave the bears alone, take away their food source, and watch from a distance. In 1996, Hunt founded the Wind River Bear Institute, headquartered in Florence, Montana, to train a special breed of dogs to be “bear shepherds”—to bark and scare away bears when they get too close to human settlements and to condition them to steer clear. Carrie Hunt is a bear biologist for the Wind River Bear Institute, and she noticed several unfortunate gaps in the way bears are managed and treated in zones where the two species intersect. Our website uses cookies. I tell you this to reiterate the point that you just can't keep them out with regular methods! He was aggressive towards people and vehicles as well. The results have been promising. Read on to learn more about these brave, skilled dogs and the people who train them. Karelians almost look like a blend of bear and wolf, but they’re warm, curious, and friendly with humans. When the wildlife department was tipped off that a grey wolf had been poached—the first in recent memory—it was critical to find the body. The idea was to teach the bears that the predators are better off doing their own thing and letting humans do theirs. They create obnoxious, threatening noise, and quiet down again when bears go back to minding their own business. “Why? Rex is a barking dog that resides in a small box kept on your counter when you’re not home. The big dog keeps the bears away. In some cases, wildlife officers will trap a bear that’s sniffing too close to a human home. Bear kegs are another method of keeping bears away from your campsite. FIND THE BEST PRICE 2. Also, block off any crawlspaces below your home by nailing wood panels across them. The wildlife officer will trap the bear at the site, and then bring in the dogs. Bears: I purchased a Spark-Away unit mid-summer at the height of black bear activity. The Caucasian Shepherd Dog is a massive, long haired dog that can easily break the 200 pound mark. Keep dogs on leashes and under controlsome dogs may act aggressively toward a bear, which would cause the bear to react in defense. “We’re taking that innate ability that they have and applying it for conservation, using them both for detection but also for conflict scenarios with large and potentially dangerous wildlife.”, Nils Pedersen, Director, Wind River Bear Institute. A bear climbed it one day, ripping right through the barbed wire on top of it. Orca (left), Dazzle (center), and Rooster—"bear dogs" with the Nevada Department of Wildlife—drive away a black bear in Nevada's Lake Tahoe Basin. NYC Subway Bans Dogs Unless They Fit into a Bag. A: While I'm actually very distantly related to dogs, we generally don't get along. “Officers searched hundreds of hours looking for it, and someone said, ‘You know what, geez, I wonder if the Karelian bear dog guys could find this?’” Beausoleil says. Now it’s time to get nasty. The Rex Plus Barking Dog Alarm scares off bears or other intruders. The dogs were able to track down the carcass in 40 minutes. After watching how wildlife rangers’ dogs could scare bears away, she was inspired. How to Keep Bears Away From Garbage Cans. “I’m going to try to expand the use of these dogs into new areas that have bear problems like the east coast of the United States.”, Hunt says she’s proud of her legacy. Though bears sometimes return even after such negative experiences, the rate at which they return is far lower than when they are just trapped and then physically removed. Another study published in International Bear News in 2014 suggest dogs may actually trigger bear attacks. Other than employing repellent tactics, you should also spray garbage areas with disinfectants regularly to reduce odors that attract bears. The Forest Falls, Calif., youngster was home alone one afternoon when a bear tried to climb in through an open kitchen window. Karelian bear dogs (pictured, Orca in Nevada) were originally bred in Europe to hunt big game. But they needed more evidence to bring the suspect to court. Or, maybe you've caught them sitting contentedly, munching on what they've found in your cans. Karahan Hostel, Yusufeli Picture: The pension's beehives. Karelian bear dogs (pictured, Orca in Nevada) were originally bred in Europe to hunt big game. Poly tape and wire are other options for electric fences to keep out bears. Photograph by Derek Reich Since then, law enforcement and wildlife agencies in the United States and Canada increasingly have begun turning to dogs as an alternative to keep bears away. Stop the neighborhood dogs from messing in your yard with Bear pee. He is on guard as long as he’s plugged in, barking when the bear is too near and … She began training Karelian bear dogs not to hunt bears, but to ward them off. “They want to go out and get that bear,” says Nils Pedersen, the wildlife dog program coordinator at Wind River Bear Institute’s satellite kennel in Fairbanks, Alaska. The study revealed 49 of 92 reported black bear attacks in Canada and the United States from 2010-2015 involved dogs, many of which were off-leash. (Read about sniffer dogs that find cremated human remains in the rubble after wildfires.). It was the family’s third bear encounter in a month. Karelian Bear Dogs: Instead of Sheep, These Dogs Herd…Bears, Meet the Dogs Rescuing Koalas from Wild Fires. (Total buzzkill.). “The bear boogies out. BH Black Mountain, NC. Electric fences must be 4 feet high with a quick pulse. Keeping predators away can be simple and nonlethal with a few tricks that will help prevent predators from coming into your yard, killing your livestock or pets, and becoming comfortable around people. If it continues to follow you, it might be eyeing you and your dog as a meal. - Check out Tripadvisor members' 180 candid photos and videos of Karahan Hostel You might want to look into other breeds that are considered good sheep guardians (like the … Use of Bear Tubes or Kegs. Bears learn to fear dogs and people during such incidents, which makes them less likely to become problem animals. Karelian bear dogs are quick on their toes and don’t scare easily; these traits made them useful to hunters of large game, like moose, boars, and of course bears. She earned an MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston and reviews books for The Dallas Morning News. They’re not large dogs (compared to a mastiff, say), but they’re stocky, powerful, and stay low to the ground. Repeat this daily until the bees vacate the hive. They're all yappy little dogs to me. This is when you remain calm, talk to the bear and try and scare it away. Ever had a bear try to claw its way into your house? Dogs may also harass a bear unnecessarily or pique a bear's curiosity. Kara knew what to do, however, and made enough noise to startle the bear and chase it away. Now we know they glow, too, Centuries of breeding have reshaped dog brains. This “invasion,” as it’s been called, has sparked conversations about how prepared wildlife managers in North America are for an influx of polar bears as they lose critical habitat from melting sea ice and take to land in search of food. evitaochel / Pixabay. Studies have found there is a very good non-return rate,” according to Myers. “The good thing about bears is that they’re smart enough to know [and] to learn quickly. It sounds harsh, but it’s meant to protect the bear’s life by discouraging repeat home invasions. Beausoleil, who handles dogs Indy and Cash, says while their main duties relate to bears and cougars, they’ve also been tasked with helping investigate poaching. Often, humans help join in the ruckus. "If the bear moves in, the dogs go at the bear as a pack of dogs, very fast, harassing the nose while others nip at its flank. The hypothesis: these larger, bolder breeds will fend off wolves and bears more effectively than common dogs like the Pyrenees and akbash. The dogs are more than 20 inches tall and weigh between 45 and 50 pounds. If you want to keep unwanted dogs away, Bear Urine is a great choice. When sprayed in an animal's face, the solution causes extreme discomfort in it and gives you time to safely leave the dangerous area. Prevention is much easier to handle than an actual encounter. Saturate them well. in harm’s way. But Soledad is also trained to do something else—she can sniff out polar bear dens. In some cases, rubber bullets and beanbags are used to further discourage the bear from hanging around, teaching them that areas with humans can be dangerous. For those with compost piles, be … You've likely risen many mornings to find your trash strewn about your yard or street. “This dog is an ambassador for teaching the public about how to get along better with bears and also teaching bears that they have to move away from humans.”, Carrie Hunt, Founder, Wind River Bear Institute. Bear dogs are especially helpful when a bear gets habituated to a particular spot, such as a garbage dump. Bears will go right through electric fencing once they are food-conditioned and know that food is available. The investigators went out to search for the rest of the elk’s body, but they came up empty-handed. 5. And the work helps fund the institute. By continuing to use our site, you agree to our use of cookies. Dazzle pursues a black bear in Lake Tahoe. Buy wood panels large enough to cover these areas, and nail them in place. Tips for Keeping Predators Away. How Do Dogs Choose Their Favorite Person? Our Yard Cover Shakin' Flake lawn dog repellent granules are ideal to keep dogs from digging up your lawn or garden. “It's also easier for a lot of agencies to just kill the bear,” Reich said in an email. These natural dog deterrents are also very effective to stop horses and even wolves! Now imagine what a several hundred pound bear can do to a small coop. Soledad is a huntress.”, Together they’ve released 500-pound black bears in Tahoe and pushed mama grizzlies with cubs out of campgrounds in the Rocky Mountains. In this post, we’ll share some tips on how to keep bears away when hiking and camping in the wild. After a few visits to a potential food source and receiving nothing but a painful electric shock, they will learn to avoid the fence (and … These Big Dog Owners Accepted the Challenge. Several years ago, bears that came in contact with humans were put down, even if no one was harmed in the encounter. Most of the tactics for keeping bears from showing up at your camp site have something to do with scents. That meant that human error or ignorance—a camper failing to properly secure his provisions, for example—could result in a bear casualty. Sometimes the bear might just have wanted to go in the same direction you were. If a bear approaches you, keep your dog calm, and step out of its way. Since then, law enforcement and wildlife agencies in the United States and Canada increasingly have begun turning to dogs as an alternative to keep bears away. This black-and-white breed is native to Finland, where the breed is considered a national treasure. When dozens of polar bears descended upon the northern Russian archipelago of Novaya Zemlya, no one was sure what to do. Watering Your Lawn. “I think that our personalities were complimentary to begin with...but the joy that this dog brings me cannot be adequately put into words. “It can work, it’s not a panacea….You really got to research it, be dedicated at it. Two rare bear attacks show a rise in conflicts with people, Also read about dogs that can sniff out cancer, Read about sniffer dogs that find cremated human remains in the rubble after wildfires. Disney’s Live-Action Lady and the Tramp is Here! Similarly, black bears’ ranges are expanding and oil and gas development is increasingly close to or in bear territory. Since the smell of food attracts bears, these are materials you can buy and are designed to prevent bears from identifying the food. This video from Animal Planet shows one bear’s harrowing release: Cecily Sailer runs creative writing programs for the Austin Public Library Friends Foundation. Derek Reich, a volunteer who assists the Nevada Department of Wildlife with its bear dog team, says that the time and resources required to train bear dogs has limited the growth of their program. Karelian bear dogs (pictured, Orca in Nevada) were originally bred in Europe to hunt big game. Other times it might now chose to follow you. “I am confident saying that thousands of bears have been spared the bullet using this nonlethal technique,” said Rich Beausoleil, a wildlife biologist with Washington’s wildlife department, which has eight dogs, in an email. Spray objects and areas around the hive as well as flowers, bushes and plants that attract them. Furthermore, training bear dogs is a lot of work, and not everyone’s up to the challenge. Certainly, for some humans living near bear populations, Karelians are truly man’s best friend. Keep a Bear Out of the Garden & Yard. But polar bears are an endangered species in Russia, and the federal government has refused to issue licenses to shoot them. Because packs of coyotes can steal cubs.”. You should also be aware of your surroundings at all times. They can also be amazing self-defense sidekicks, alerting us to danger or scaring off unwanted visitors. So what should you do to stay safe around these creatures? Ann Bryant, executive director of The BEAR League, a volunteer bear conservation group in Tahoe, ran into obstacles trying to use them in populated areas. “Anya and Dmytry were a huge hit at our public lectures and outreaches and were able to help us talk some bears out from under homes,” Bryant said in an email, but “it quickly became evident that allowing them to chase bears through neighborhoods and across busy roadways and through shopping center parking lots was not a good idea.”. Dogs must be kept on a leash while in the park and are not allowed on trails, in the backcountry, or left unattended at any time. The bottom wire must be no more than 8 inches off the ground. It's a lot of effort and resources put into an animal who may just be harvested in a hunt the next week.”. They can be applied as a perimeter treatment around the building or garden to keep dogs away from protected areas. Should polar bear hunting be legal? Don’t feed them or follow them trying to get a picture! Close off the areas below decks and porches in the winter. Sign up and get $25 off pet sitting and dog walking! Karelian bear dogs were bred to find and chase bears away from populated areas. Not one human, bear, or dog has been injured in the years Hunt’s been working and training her dogs. Keeping bees away can be as simple as watering your lawn. “I had this dream, and it became a reality because I never gave up,” she says. By talking calmly aloud while you are walking, most bears will hear you coming, and move away before you even get close to them. Keeping a guard dog such as a Great Pyrenees or Shepherd will prevent predators from coming too close to livestock. Bred to protect sheep flocks and homes from predator attack, and of … Cecily is also the proud momma of two hounds, Henry and Mabel, but Wony the Pug was her first dog love. Bear dogs now work with wildlife and land managers in the states of Washington and Nevada, as well as Alberta, Canada, and even in Japan. “Over the past 25 years of work where we do about 800 bear-shepherding actions annually, we’ve never had a bear hurt, never had a dog hurt, and never had a person hurt.”. What bear would want to raid a cooler while having to listen to screams and barks and noise-makers? One bear biologist, Carrie Hunt, has made it her life’s mission to find effective, non-lethal methods to prevent human-bear conflict. —Sean McQuade, via email . Kara Jackson has. But within 20 minutes of bringing in the bear dog team, one of the dogs found elk remains. The Wind River Bear Institute breeds, trains, and sells Karelian bear dogs as well as contracts them out to agencies that don’t have the resources to have their own program. Finnish breeders originally intended the animal to be a big game hunting dog, but Hunt realized they could be trained to manage wildlife, too. Rather than intimidating squirrels and cats, Karelian bear dogs keep bears—yes, as in brown, black, and grizzly—on their toes. These dogs have to become your life.” (See the rigors of war dog training.). Despite the enthusiasm for the program among some state wildlife managers, Karelian bear dogs aren’t the best choice for everyone or every setting. Dogs hate the smell of citronella, and trainers often use the oil in both collar and spray form to break aggressive behavior and persistent barking habits.In fact, just a whiff of citronella could very well keep your dog away from your garden. Safety-Sport Dog … A dog in bear country can be both a deterrent and an attractant. If you come upon a bear by surprise walk slowly away. In another case, officers were tipped off that an elk had been poached, and they went to the suspect’s house to investigate, finding an elk head. But for one breed—the Karelian bear dog—that sort of behavior is pure playground antics. How do these tough dogs deter bears and convince them to leave an area? The most common breed of bear dog is the Karelian bear dog, a black-and-white working dog that hails from the region between Finland and Russia called Karelia. It operates by radar and knows when a bear (or a burglar) is attempting to enter a house. Here’s how, ‘Puppy dog eyes’ evolved so dogs could communicate with us, If you’re chronically stressed, your dog could be too. The bears entered homes and public buildings, and people were afraid to go outside. Dogs aren’t just great companions. Several national parks, including Banff, Yosemite, and Glacier, have contracted bear dogs too. If you live in an wildlife-populated area, you know how much bears love to root around in your garbage. Bears will generally avoid a busy trail, and the last thing you want to do is surprise a feeding bear. These areas are the perfect place for bears to hide out, so block them off, particularly in winter. 1. It’s an increasingly important role as polar bears move closer to human activity because of melting sea ice.
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