Nevada Karelian bear dogs in action; amazing video from NDOW

A dog’s eye view of aversive conditioning is something amazing! Specially trained Karelian Bear Dogs are used by the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) to help save bears that have gotten into trouble in human inhabited areas.

When the bears are released, NDOW biologists apply aversive conditioning to the bears, including releasing these dogs. This treatment is helping teach the bears that being around people is not a pleasant experience. Adding the Karelian Bear Dogs into the conditioning allows the biologists to give the bear the feeling of pursuit, which is very primal to them, what a dominant bear would do to them.

It also teaches the bear to avoid the sound of barking dogs, which is a help in bear country where people usually have dogs! You can see from the video that the dogs get quite close to the bear, but because of their breed and their training, they know exactly what to do when the bear stops and faces them. Not something you’d want to do with Spot! But in this case, Orca and Sputnik know exactly what they’re doing … teaching a bear to stay away from people!

You can learn more about NDOW’s use of Karelian Bear Dogs and how to live in bear country on NDOW’S website:

Video courtesy of Derek Reich.


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