As with any breed of dog, much of socialization is learned behavior acquired after early and regular exposure to people, noises and other animals. Below, Califonia Karelians' Star meets four-month-old Ryan and father Sean.
The socialization process can be tailored to how you intend to use your dog. For example, a hunting dog must not be afraid of the sound of gunfire. Below, a dog that will be used in search and rescue must be social around other dogs and capable of long stays in high energy environments (as demonstrated by the three California Karelians in this photo).
Although much socialization can be learned, there also appears to be an important genetic component that determines instinctual behaviors. Exposing our dogs to challenges, and closely watching how they respond, teaches us a lot about the remarkable talents and instincts of these dogs. Below, puppies just a few weeks of age begin to show you the curiosity and fearlessness that you associate with a primitive dog that to this day retains so many of the qualities of its ancient ancestors.
Good family dogs
Karelian Bear Dogs are wilderness large predator protection dogs and can be relied on to bark at people who approach your home or animals who come onto your property. Yet aggression is not an inevitable behavior, even for a protection dog.
We have found our Karelians of all ages to be instinctively gentle with young children and family pets.
Growing up with Maine Coon cats and kittens, California Karelians recognize that other family pets are part of their family, despite their outdoor hunting instincts.
The experiences your Karelian has at an early age can reinforce their social skills. Below, even a quick trip to Starbucks can be used as a training opportunity.
Socialization can start at just a few weeks of age. We at California Karelians start the socialization process by making sure our puppies get lots of interaction with humans.
Socialization coupled with activities to encourage your puppy's play drive form a solid foundation for more formal dog training.
Five California Karelians have received American Kennel Club (AKC) Canine Good Citizen (CGC) certifications.
Below, Laska, CGC proudly sports her official CARDA tag from the California Rescue Dog Association.