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Elkhounds - 2012 - Year End Review

Jaegar and Kamp

It has been a truly awesome year for Elkhounds in North America, Wow! I did not even know where to start I had so many great things to share about this past year, but thought what better place than just the last couple days. As you know I went out and got Kamp a month or so back and have had her here with us for a while, and just the other day the big boy, Jaegar man pulled in as well for the holidays. Well it is some terrific watching these two, that is a fact.

This is a very powerful pair. They have been buddies for a long time, and they were happy to see each other again, Jaegar he is out in Kamloops with Ashten, so Kamp and Jaegar pretty much see each other every day. So it was great for them to get back together here.

Both these two are so versatile, they are both Urban Elkhounds, Mr. and Mrs. GQ, but get them out here and they are like the raunchiest couple of dogs, go figure. Kamp is a big girl, she stands over all my girls, no one takes her bone, she is tough. Polite, but tough. Her and Jaegar, they both have these big deep barks, good gracious when Kamp pounds out, you think it's a male, and Jaegar is a big deep barker as well.

Both these two are pretty dark, and stance out fast around people or dogs, yet remain social, but they stance out you wouldn't be walking up to them if you didn't know them.

Kamp and Jaegar - Young Elkhound Pair

To say Elkhounds have a really bright future in North America, well that is a serious understatement, Elkhounds are really thriving here. And not just any old Elkhound but the old lines, the big blacks, the ancient dogs they are coming back so strong and powerful. To watch this young pair, the structure, the gait, the thickness, the big power and fearless nature, man oh man, they are two really great dogs.

Kamp and Jaegar Ancient Elkhounds.

Tora and Jaegar

All of us miss having Jaegar around, and Tora is no exception. She loves to spend time with her younger brother and show him some stuff. Tora has had an incredible year, she is back in shape, her conditioning program is in full swing now that the snow is here, and she muscles in so fast, it's just nuts. I can put her harness on Jaegar, and his on her and no adjustments needed either way. If you tell them to "Pull" and your going up hill, you best be ready, as they lean way down, dig in, get low and "PULL".

These two think alike, they get along, work as team, it's very easy working them to see the genetic connection. Tora is used to running with Takoda so even though she doesn't quite match the stride of Jaegar, she never is behind, in fact pushes him all the time. Both these two are easy keepers, they are very efficient, don't take much upkeep, take less food than Kamp and Takoda, both personable and social, nice to be around, unless of course your a stray dog, more on that in a bit.

Winter Conditioning

Most of you know from other newsletters we do our major conditioning in the snow season, of course the dogs get work in the summer, but you can't work an Elkhound to capacity in the summer, it's just not going to happen. You need the deep snow, the cool temperature so you can work them, and the deep snow is what gives you that ability to put them in places that they have to really work. Our conditioning program is designed to increase the bone density, increase muscle mass, lean muscle, not just fatty tissue, but lean muscle, and have them build up the heart, lungs, increase the blood flow, really expend and stretch them out.

These dogs are out all day, they run and burn around, when they see me come out with the harness it's like a bunch of kids going to the circus, jumping all over the place, it's nuts, working breeds, they love to work, and Elkhounds, especially this lineage, well these are working Elkhounds.

This brother and his sister, they are the future, the present and the past of Kamia Kennels, these are two superior Elkhounds.

Kobe, Elkhound Male - son of Tora and Bram almost a year in this photo

A Year ago in early December, Tora had a litter of 6 Males, and 3 Females, all outstanding pups. I recently had the pleasure of getting a series of photos of one of those males, a magnificent big fella named Kobe. Henry and Elena have Kobe down in Calgary and sent me an incredible year long journey of photos of this big fella and I wanted to thank them for doing such an incredible job with Kobe, but also for the really awesome photo's they sent. I did up a video and a full page using the write-up and the stories, you can check it out here: KOBE ELKHOUND MALE.

The pups from Tora and Bram have been something to see, my goodness, every single one of them is just an awesome dog. This big fella is an outstanding Male, sometimes its hard to believe he was just a little rascal only a year ago nursing on Tora under the Christmas tree when we brought them in for a photo and visit.

A Great Family Dog, The Elkhound

I have no greater days than those when a young boy takes the leash of his new best friend and pal, his mighty Elkhound Aksel. Young Floyd and Aksel were best friends before they even met. This young man will have a loyal companion, a partner in all things, a pal to hike, to burn around, to explore, no matter what happens, Aksel will be there for him. Elkhounds have been with families longer than any other breed of dog. As one of the most ancient breeds it just stands to reason that they make one of the very best family pets.

Aksel is a pup from Tora's most recent litter. Micheal and Susie, Floyds parents, contacted me as they wanted a great family dog. I have a whole series, a family dog newsletter section coming out soon, and Micheal has been keeping me posted on Aksel, the kids, hiking, mountain walks, play time, and just all around good dog stories, I'll be sharing more on this great Elkhound and his super home he has over the next while, and a big thank you to Floyd and his sisters for keeping Aksel busy and having a fun time.

Kijsa and Janet

For those of you who are just getting this as your first newsletter you might not know the story behind this great pair of Elkhounds, sister and brother Kisja and Koda. Janet contacted me about a year before these pups were born, she had been researching breeds, different dogs, breeders, checking things out. She has had dogs her whole life, her and her husband Robert have stock and live out in the country, now, here is the neat thing, they live in the mountain regions of Utah. Up high, clean fresh air, a great place for an Elkhound, actually a great place for two Elkhounds.

So, Janet got a hold of me we shared a bunch of stories, and I let her know that Takoda had a new female, GÆDA, and that they were going to be having a litter, now as it turned out, Janet had wanted a female from Takoda, and Robert also wanted a Male, so upon my recommendation I suggested they wait for the litter from GÆDA. Well, my goodness, didn't they get a pair of Elkhounds. Whoa nelly.

Now, as you all know I am all about old sayings and things like that, as most of them old sayings started with Elkhounds, and Elkhound owners, but when these pups came, they came on the dark of the Moon. All even, all the same, and kicking and squirming before they were even all the way out. When Kijsa came, I was there, I was going to wipe her off a bit, she spun right around onto her feet basically, only minutes old, just about bit me, she didn't need any help she figured, almost snarling already, I am like Whoa. It's an old saying that the best stock is born on the dark of the Moon, a new beginning they say, a fresh start so to speak. Well for Takoda and GÆDA, that's exactly right, first litter together, fresh start, new beginnings. Great Dogs.

Kijsa is the heaviest female we have raised at the 7 week mark. Only two males, Torsten and Jaegar have been larger in other litters, and her brother Leto was just a hair heavier. She was a super female from day one. Koda, a big black rascal, man, just a great boy.

Now for those of you who follow the newsletters, well you know, when it comes to Takoda and his pups, you can pretty much quit looking for a better dog, they just can't be found, don't worry, I did just hear a growl out of Tora, which yes, hers are the only competitors, but this big Swedish pair of siblings, you sure are not going to find any like them in Utah, for that matter, North America.

These are the big Swedish dogs, all the Swedish traits came rushing out, GÆDA is a big girl herself, old world, she basically went way back in the DNA and Takoda, he runs right to the edge Swedish, so these pups, way to the Swedish side. These are smart dogs, really intelligent, uncanny sometimes. The communication skills are awesome, they are extremely loyal, live to please, a one owner dog like no other.

Robert and Janet are doing great things with this pair, they have them learning all kinds of skills already, they have provided a great home for these two, give them tons of care and we want to thank them for the effort they went to traveling all the way up here, and also more importantly, raising two great Elkhounds.

Timber, and his new family

Wayne and Christie and the boys are providing a super home for young Timber, a young male from Tora and Bram's last litter. Wayne grew up with an Elkhound, he knew the great memories and times you can have and make with an Elkhound so wanted his boys to share that experience. Timber is the perfect companion, he is a rough and tumble big fella, all of Tora's boys are ready to go, ready to play, hike, chase a rabbit, you name it, those young boys, they have a pup that is up for the task.

And Christie, she never has to worry, they come across a badger in their travels around, well, woe be the badger with young Timber to look after them, or just about any perils, Timber is from a strong lineage of family dogs. Bram is an old Norway line, powerful dogs, he is the first one born in Canada, those old lines, they have protected young handlers for centuries. And make no mistake, Tora, her background is all about watching out for the pack, nope, Wayne knew the right breed, knew the Elkhound was the dog to have. A big thank you to all the boys for giving Timber such a great time, and to Wayne and Christie for the confidence in our program and our dogs, we appreciate it.

Finn, Elkhound Male, and Norma

Norma sent a terrific update with some awesome photos of Mr. West Coast Finn. He is livin large out on the West Coast eating salmon and having a great time. Norma says ole Finn is still robbing bones, just like he did as a pup. Finn has a buddy, Barney, and ole Barney, he doesn't get to keep any bones if Finn wants them. I don't doubt it, Finn could get them right out from under Takoda's nose even, so Barney, he won't have a chance.

Finn is from the December 2011 Tora Bram litter, he is a full brother to Kobe, and to Freyja, Kaia and others, a beautiful male. Excellent confirmation, nice dark mask on him, stands so well, and from what Norma says, listens very well, most of the time, however when company comes, he is just a big lap dog, so friendly, so personable, just a real nice fella.

Norma has Finn and Barney on raw, he is doing well, no doubt. He is well trained, easy to handle for the most part, still would like to chase a squirrel any chance he gets, but for the most part, his obedience is first rate. It's a beautiful photo this one, ole Finn, he has a strong coastal heritage, his grandmother, Mia her self, she is an old coastal dog, so Finn, he is right at home. A big thank you to Norma and Steve, they are providing Finn a great home.

Gryffin - Male Elkhound - A Big Part of The Neals Family

I received this great photo from Carrie, along with a bunch more of Gryffin the other day. You can't help but smile when you get photos from Carrie, she was smiling when she met me at Kamloops to get Gryffin, I remember her and her family came, and every picture they send they are a happy group. I am happy for them and Big Griff. Wow, take a look at the big Silver boy. Every now and then Tora and Bram come out with a Silver pup and when they do it's stunning, it's all you can wish for.

Big Griffin was the biggest in his litter, same litter as Kobe above, he is 10 months old in this photo. Now you could go to Elkhound events the world over, you would be hard pressed to find a more impressive male at any of them. Carrie says Griffin is some smart, knows 100 plus words, swims, and they sent the photo, I'll be getting a page on Gryffin up soon, and pleasant, although Carrie says he destroys pretty much any toy in seconds. Can chew through NHL pucks like a hot knife through butter. Got that big jaw power from his momma. He always reminds me of his mother Tora.

When it comes to a great life, well the Neals have one, and I am very happy for Gryffin to be part of it, a big thank you to all of them, for the great care they give, it's easy to see he is loved, and for the super updates, keep us posted. That my friends is a happy Elkhound family.

Takoda and Tora, pals for life

Tora has spent her entire life with Takoda, pretty much where he goes, she goes. What he does she does. These two are alike in every action. Now there are some serious lessons in this portion of the newsletter, usually it's pretty much fun and games and good times, but this portion there are a lot of lessons to be shared. As you all know, I allow the instincts in my dogs to run full throttle, especially Takoda. His job is to look after me, the pups, the place, in which ever order it happens to occur. Tora, she backs him up. If he has a problem, well you best know he has help.

Now, when we hike, we try to go where no people are, if we know people are there, we leash our dogs. Now, the reason we try to go where no people are is because where people go, so do dogs. Unruly, unmanaged, off leash dogs. Now, I have no issue with any of this. Takoda, Tora, they however take offense to this behaviour.

So I will begin my story, then I will cover a couple lesson pointers. The other day we were out and about, in an area we rarely meet anyone, I had both Takoda and Tora with me, and both on harness and leash. Good thing. We came up out of this draw onto an old trail and stopped on the approach, to look both ways. Here comes a Jeep with two big dogs running alongside. Now, I immediately knew this was going to be a mess. First off, these two just picked up pace, and not just pace, but stance. Takoda, Tora, they knew immediately, they stepped right in front of me.

Now, the one big dog, he was larger than Takoda, a crossbred of some sort, Chocolate brown, tail half way up, heavier than Takoda, he was already curling his lip, he was about to regret doing that, and the other was a blue eyed husky, he was taller than Tora, slightly larger but he would not have outweighed her. She had him lined up. All three, Jeep, Brown mutt and the husky just kept barreling right on up, my two are now letting them know, don't step in here. The brown cur he piles right into Takoda. If you haven't had a couple big males right at your feet gnashing it out, let me tell you it's loud. You can hear the teeth banging together, and snarling, it is chaos.

Now, this is happening in light speed, Tora lines up the Husky, he takes a look at her, his instincts from way back come rushing up, he knows, nope, this is not good, turn his head, tucks his tail and lites out. The driver of the Jeep is there now, a Woman, she is screaming her head off, I can't understand her, and quite frankly couldn't care less what she was saying, Tora now, turns her attention to help Takoda, all this in just seconds so far.

Tora piles in from the side and you know that spot where the back leg attaches to the hip, it's soft there, its large, you can really get a grip, well she got that, now Tora is muscled in, she has big jaw power, she has a neck, I always think Tora reminds me of a Pitbull in a fur coat. Well she starts shaking this dog, Takoda is working to get a death grip, he knows now, this dog will lose focus, turn his head, it's only a matter of time and Takoda will end this. I know I am about to hear a spine snap, a jugular to be punctured, there is no coming out of this, no stitching, no ambulance, no getting to a vet, this dog is going to die.

This woman is freaking, this big dog he knows now his time is up, he starts whelping now, he is in pain, Tora is putting some serious hurt on him and he can't turn to get her off, he can't keep his feet, and now fear sets in, he is not a fearless dog, he is now scared out of his mind. This woman knows this is not going well. She can't do a thing but scream, which isn't helping her dog, I am just watching, I still have the leashes, all three dogs, they are right at my feet. * Note* she has no harness on her dog, she has no way to drag him out! This dog is scrambling now, frantic, working much harder to get away than he was to win the fight he started, he is clawing and jumping, Tora knows, she just has to hold him for a second, Takoda will have his grip. This mutt scrambles free, I hold mine, his life was spared.

He is scrambling down the trail, the woman doesn't know what to do, jumps in the Jeep, still screaming, and drives off after them, the Husky way down the trail, not looking back. No pack instinct there. Tora, she is begging me to let her go, she is mad, Takoda he is calmer than her, but still 15 minutes we stayed there, Tora was mad the entire time, she would have hunted them both down, and the woman. Elkhound Males, they are something to witness, no doubt, but a mad female, muscle bound, fearless scrapper like Tora, good gracious, you got to see it to believe it.

In this whole scenario we hardly moved, I never had to say a word to them, they knew to protect themselves and me of course, there was no fear, no backing off, it was going to be a death match, they had no doubt, they were fully comfortable with that, just a walk in the park they thought.

Now, some lessons:
First off if you have an Elkhound - let them handle the threat - you don't need to worry - this is exactly why I allow them instinctively to walk in front
Second: if you don't have an Elkhound you best not let them come piling into one or more, your dog could die relatively fast.
Third: Screaming her head off, you know how many times I have said, train your dog will all kinds of wild voices, screaming at them etc. Well this lady had not done that, her dogs, they didn't know anything other than she was freaking and thought it was to spur them on, not anything familiar. Always train your dog to recall using your banshee voice, exactly for this scenario, so your dog understands you and stops.
Fourth: If you run your dogs off leash, you best have a harness on so you can drag them out of a mess they might get in - this lady wasn't stepping into this whirlwind to try to grab a dog by the collar, her hand would be gone.
Fifth: pay attention to your dogs behaviour. I can guarantee you, this dog had piled into many other dogs on runs and just over powered them, dominated them, and she would have been none the wiser, the other dogs he came across were fearful weak average dogs, so he got away with it, time and time again. She never had a clue he was doing it. Well it wasn't the first time he did this, nope, but I can guarantee you it will be his last.
Sixth: don't assume all dog handlers are socialites - you let your dogs off leash and pile into mine I will let them sort it out and help mine if needed, I never said a word, didn't have to, I sure wasn't planning on stopping anything mine were doing, I was planning on buying them a big fat steak when we got home. This my friends, this is why you have fearless ancient lineage Elkhounds, some radical spaced out freakshow dog attacks, mine want to protect themselves and me, hey, more power to them.

Seventh: this is Exactly why you get a fearless dog for your family - can you imagine had I been a ten year old young girl out for a walk, two radical big dogs attack, and my dogs are not fearless and capable? This woman sure couldn't have helped that young girl, it would have been all up to the dog the little girl had, this lady was just letting it happen, screaming of course, which I am sure would have scared the crap out of the little girl even more as well, but would have been no help to the girl. Think about that - this woman was completely powerless to stop this - now that is the scary part!
Eight: this is why I also like a harness over a collar - mine can scrap like it's not even there - the head is not controlled at all, they can spin, they can do what they need - yet at any time I can walk back or stop them
Nine: This is why we are partial to a two dog family - In the past six months we have been presented and pressed by no less than the following: This pair of nut cases I illustrated , also 3 Dogs off leash: two Dobermans and a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, This other pair off leash: two crossbred mutts, This weird pair off leash: a giant Poodle and large Rottweiler, A single crossbred mutt off leash, and a Giant Miramar, off leash. The only ones stupid enough to attack was the the one brown one of the two I illustrated, however had mine not been the dogs they were, it's guaranteed they would have been over run multiple times, I am amazed at the types of dogs we are encountering in I won't say Urban, but I won't say real remote, but I will say bush trails, that are uncontrolled, off leash, and would be spooky for even a female walking her dog, if that dog was not a fearless Elkhound.

This Staffordshire Bull Terrier and Two Doberman Trio, good gracious, Takoda he was lining up those Dobermans, he can handle two at a time, no worries, they came racing up and started seeing the red in Takoda eyes, fangs just a snapping, and they started back pedalling and basically slid right on their behinds right up to him, he was hoping they would come with in reach. Tora she had the Terrier eyeballed, now, that would have been messy. This guy was thick, not as thick as Tora, but muscled in, this is a fighting dog, he was not scared a bit, he never said a word. He was eyeballing Tora, thinking to himself, sheeit, this psycho female is going to be all I can handle, Tora she is thinking, crype, what is happening these days, why isn't Kamp here or something today, she is thinking out loud to Takoda, you better wrap up those two tax collectors in a hurry this wide jawed mouth piece might mess my make-up. Where is that Jaegar when you need him she thinks, couldn't one of my boys have stopped by today, Kobe, Torsten, Jocko, anyone, take this wide jawed rascal and shake him for your mother wouldn't you, naw, Tora was just fine to hand it to him herself?

Now, I want to be totally clear, I harbour no ill will to anyone about their dog, I can't talk, mine scare the crap out of people all the time, they catch you near our fence or on our turf, they are going to be in your face, so I am sure not complaining, just telling some tales, but just the same, we all need to do a good job with our pets, I know I need to improve, no doubt about it, but at the same time, boy, I am some happy in 2012 to have raunchy fearless Elkhounds.

Lesson Ten: You want to protect your dog, you take him off leash, you better know he could get killed. Period. I know this, I know mine could get killed. Most people don't.

Freyja - Female Elkhound

I know for many people, the stories we get from owners are the real draw to the Kamia Kennels site, and for good reason, they are real, no fancy embellishments like my stories, and they share what they have experienced. Well, we have a terrific family down in Washington State, mountain country, snow, great people, nice place. Well, Clint and Amber, they raise a great family down there, and they have one of the very best females we have had the pleasure to provide to a family, young Freyja.

This is a Silver old world Swedish girl, man oh man, this is a stylish female, this is a full sister to Kobe, same litter, this is the big female version, stands as tall, as long, and won't be far off in weight. This is not a dainty little girl either, she can handle herself, she can look after her yard, she got that old shake em till they quite moving skill from her Mother, Tora.

Amber sent me a write up on Freyja, I'll let her share some experiences with you, a huge thank you to Amber and Clint for providing such a great home for Freyja, and we want to all thank Amber for the updates and the terrific photos.

"Hi Merv,
My favorites story though is that this past Tuesday, I decided to take her on her first off lead walk through the woods, just the two of us. There is this great trail through the forest here that connects the three little towns we live nearest. All together the trail is about 30 miles long. Being a woman, I have never felt comfortable with walking the path alone. I had just dropped Connor off at preschool, and had Freyja with me.

I thought, what the heck, she's very much my dog and quite possessive of me, so I knew she'd protect me should the need arise. Therefore, I decided to go ahead with the walk. It also made me feel more secure having her off lead. We had an hour to kill and walked about 4 miles. It was the best walk I have ever been on, bar none! It was so wonderful to get to see the innate elkhound in her come out. She was gorgeous! It was just like you have described. She ran circles around me. Never more than 20-30 feet away from me in any direction. She was working the grounds and constantly on alert.

We came across at least 100 piles of black bear scat, thankfully never an actual bear. But, I know darn well had we, she'd of given it a run for its money! She did get to chase and tree a few squirrels. She was so proud of herself when she treed them! She stood at the base of the tree jumping up it as high as she could with her big, big elkhound bark! Naturally, I praised her immensely for this. The only time I ever got a little nervous, was about 2 miles in, she brought her circles around me much closer, only maybe 5-10 feet away from me in any given direction and she kept stopping, turning around and looking behind us. Not sure what was back there, but she knew it was there. Then, on our way back to the truck, we came upon 2 ladies walking the trail about 100 yards away from us.

Freyja was roughly 20+ feet ahead of me, she saw the ladies, but when I called her back to me, she turned right around and let me put her on the leash until we passed them. I was so very impressed with her behaviour the entire walk. It is definitely going to be a habit for the 2 of us on Tuesdays and Thursdays while Connor is at preschool now! If I am being completely honest, I am still a bit nervous about walking the trail by myself, but I am very confident in my dog! In fact, one of the ladies we passed said to me, "That's an elkhound, right? They are great dogs, so friendly, but very protective." Ain't that the truth!

Now, I have loved every dog I have ever had deeply; they've each been my other children, but my girl Freyja is only 10 months old and by far the most amazing dog I have ever had the pleasure to raise and have in my life! Great job Merv! Their genetics and natural instincts, demeanours, and behaviours never cease to amaze me!

Have a beautiful fall!! I'll continue with the updates on my super dog! =)" Amber

Cinder, Snuggles with her toys

I received this neat photo from Christy, Cinder is a full sister to Freyja and Kaia, both shown on this newsletter. All three of these girls are super smart, powerful great companion dogs, a big thanks to Christy and Brooklyn and family for all the great care they provide Cinder, and thanks for the updates, neat to hear about her exploits.

Hi Merv!

Cinder is doing very well. A little over indulged and pampered, but we're working on that haha
She has been fully trained for a very long time!
I'm sending along one photo of Cinder on her dog bed, sleeping snuggled up with her stuffed dogs
(which she doesn't tolerate other people taking, it's really quite funny! She knows they are hers!)
We walk her all the time, trails and off leash areas are her favorites.
She LOVES to be free to run outdoors without her leash. When she's running free, you can see the smile on her!
She adores the snow, and bounds into the biggest mounds she can find, while shovelling scoops of it into her mouth on the go.
It's really quite comical to watch her.
We can't believe she's a year already! Just went so fast.

Brooklyn and I are going to have a little photo session with Cinder this weekend, and we will send a few along to you!


Tesla, Full Brother to Jaegar

Julia sent a terrific update on Tesla, he is a great male, a son of Mia and Takoda. Julia, Eric, and family, a big thank you for all the work you do with Tesla, and this great update, he a beautiful dog, and yes, he was a noisy bugger wasn't he.

Hi Merv, I know it's been ages since we sent you an update about Tesla so I thought it was time to get caught up. I tried sending this message with lots more photos, but your mail server objected :) I'll send a few more photos separately.

First, I want to let you know how pleased we are with Tesla. His first year and a half weren't ideal here as our older dog remained aggressive to Tesla and tolerated him at best. Fortunately, he interacts really well with dogs in our neighbourhood and at the local dog park. He is definitely a dominant dog, though less assertive now that he has been neutered. His behaviour around the home is golden! Our kids are 5 and 8 now and we often have their friends over. Even with kids who are scared of him, he is polite (doesn't try to dominate them) though his puppy bounciness and exuberance did intimidate some. I learned to keep him on leash in the house with new visitors and found that just putting a leash on him is enough to calm him down.

We wanted Tesla to be a companion, and he does this beautifully. He is very assured and not intimidated by anything the kids do (and they do a lot). I came out of the loo a few days ago to find Tesla with a blanket tied around his neck and a Darth Vader mask on. "What the heck...! Get that off him!" I fumed and I swear he was laughing as hard as the kids as he calmly lifted a foreleg to swat the mask off before backing out of the cape/blanket. Honestly! The things that dog puts up with. And it never happens when I'm right there (of course) so I'm really thrilled I can trust him not to retaliate if the kids do something stupid. For their part, they've both had a chance to learn his warning growl, the one that means "enough" and so far, neither have tried (or been allowed) to push it. Tesla has also learned to come get me if things get out of control. I've learned that whenever he wanders into the laundry room or the office he's escaping the kids and I swear he's laughing when they get a talking to.

As you may recall, Tesla broke his right foreleg just above the "wrist" in February. We took your advice about his rehab and feed and now have a fun, bouncy dog who still loves to run and jump. He does favour the injured leg but uses it hard (his choice, not ours). We're really glad we didn't get his joint pinned, as the vet recommended. I've attached a few photos showing him in motion and you'll see he still has a good range of motion. The biggest difference we've seen is that he no longer lays with his paws turned in; the injured one usually stays straight. Also, we'll still catch him holding it up once and a while though that's the exception, not the rule now.

Despite being a city dog, Tesla has demonstrated some good instincts...we live in north Burnaby, BC near several large parks so coyotes, raccoons, and skunks are common sights. One evening in late September, Eric walked Tesla through our local park from the well lit playing field up a narrow park access road that cuts through an unlit lightly wooded meadow. Tesla alerted to something behind them and when Eric turned around, there was a coyote weaving behind them. It was dark amongst the trees but Eric could see enough to realize it was keeping its distance but pacing them up the hill. As he continued up the road, Eric recalled an episode you from one of your earlier newsletters where you describe being in the bush with the dogs and encountering a wolf. Your description of that event and the wolf's behaviour came back to Eric and he dug his flashlight out of his pocket and shone it up the hill ahead of him. Sure enough, he saw 5 - 6 pairs of eyes reflecting back at him in a semi-circle about 10-15m away. Realizing now what was going on, Eric and Tesla then walked decisively toward the lone coyote then out at an angle away from the pack and headed toward a well lit parking lot and school about 400m away. They made it away without further incident but neither of them have forgotten that incident. Now, Eric is much more cautious about crossing wooded areas at night (even on the park roads) and pays more attention to Telsa's reactions.

One reason he didn't pay as much attention to Tesla's alerts as he should have is that Tesla yaps. And yaps, and yaps, and yaps. Then yaps some more. I think you called it the "Norway Yap" in an earlier email to me. I recall in our earliest videos of the litter, Tesla was always the "noisy bugger" in the corner and that hasn't changed. Tesla would bark at a shadow, a bug, a bird flying past the window, a noise, whatever. You name it, he'd bark at it. And not just once. He'd seem to get stuck in bark/yap mode and sometimes couldn't seem to stop. When I was around, I could usually snap him out of it (and consulted with a trainer to learn ways of managing this) but there were times when I wasn't around and he'd just get out of control.

The problem got worse as the kids got big enough to let him outside on their own. Too many mornings, I'd just be stepping into the shower then I'd hear Tesla start yapping. And yap, and yap, and yap. 20 minutes later, I'd be downstairs pulling my jacket on and he'd still be yapping. The problem got worse when Tesla was recovering from his broken leg since he couldn't' go for walks or rough house to burn off energy. Finally, a neighbour just lost it with me and ranted on about our crappy, noisy, 'effn dog and said he was about ready to kill him. If I had any doubts before, I then realized that Tesla's barking was out of control. In the end, my solution was to invest in a bark collar (we chose one from SportDog). This has worked wonders! Now, even if I'm not near him, he gets gentle reminders not to keep barking. In fact, this has been such an amazing tool, it took Tesla less than a week to learn to control his barking and he began moderating his own behaviour even with the collar off. Now, when he barks, I know it's for a good reason and investigate. Last night, he went out without his collar and started barking like crazy again. "Aaahhh, not again", we thought. Turns out, when we investigated, the raccoons had decided to cross our yard and Tesla treed them. Well done Tesla!

In fact, tonight, there was a huge crash from outside after dinner when it was dark. Tesla looked to me first (for permission?) and when I said "Let's go!" he raced to the door. I sent him out first then followed (if anyone's going to take a skunk spray in the snout, it's not going to be me!) Tesla nemesis, one of the raccoon yearlings, was back and had tipped the massive "Toter" 90 litre garbage container. The funny thing was that coon panicked and froze under our deck, less than 2m from the garbage can. Tesla circled trying to hone in on the scent but I spotted the intruder first (at least it was one of the young ones). I shifted some wood to give it a way out then Tesla was on him and the fight was on! I don't really think either knew what they were doing but after 10-15 seconds of tussling they separated. Again and again they went at it (and since Tesla is nowhere near able to recall under pressure I didn't bother trying to call him off). Since the deck is barely 4' off the ground, I finally kicked a plastic planter between the two and the 'coon booked it out of there, Tesla hot on his heels. I heard the thump of Tesla hitting the 5' wall that the 'coon went over. In the end, Tesla didn't even get a scratch though I am doubly glad I got him inoculated for rabies and other nasties last week.

It will be neat to see how Tesla matures over the next few years. Our old dog had to be put down a few weeks ago so Tesla is now our chief dog and he knows it! Almost overnight, he smartened up and takes his "dog job" seriously now. When we go out of the house, I normally leave him in the house he and I pity anyone who tries to come in without me or Eric. Tesla is all business once he sees the jackets and boots go on (and is sure that the leash won't get picked up).

Anyhow, take care and we're glad to hear more news from your pack. Please keep your newsletters coming! We' love to read about all the dogs and pups :)

Jocko - Male Elkhound - Son of Tora and Bram, down in Montana

I received this great photo from Sherry and Dick, they are down Montana way with big Jocko, a big black son of Tora and Bram. I hope to hear more on the exploits of this great fella and Sherry has a real nice update, a big thanks to both of them for the great home Jocko has.

"Hi Merv!
Hope this finds you and yours doing well ... we three are all fine and dandy here!
Jocko had his appointment a couple of weeks ago. Did really well. Had his shot and he is scheduled for his 3rd shot on Nov. 7th.
He now weighs 24+ pounds! Goodness gracious! He is a big boy for sure!! And we surely do love him!

I believe I have shared with you at an earlier date all that he does, but will refresh your memory ... (and mine!)

He sits, lays down, shakes, fetches and brings it back to us! He is learning to "drop it" when he brings back the object, generally a ball. There is a favorites ball that he has. It is blue and we got it from Pet Smart .. I can't remember what it is called ... it kinda looks like a net because it has holes in it .. anyway, he loves it! It's so fun to watch him chase after it! He literally "bounces" down the hall to get it, grabs it, runs by us and then comes back to show us he has the ball. Will drop it, and we start all over again! :) He loves being outside. Jocko has been threatened by one or two of the mules. Just a light little warning stomp on the ground. He got the picture immediately. He has a couple favorites toys ... and then the next day he finds 2 other favorites and so on. I am trying to teach him to say "please" quietly. Emphasis on quietly. We haven't quite achieved that yet! :) Though he goes for rides in the truck, he isn't really fond of it.

He is house broke, as long as we are paying attention to the bells. Oh, he DOES use the bells on the door to let us know that he wants outside. We did this once before with a pup and it worked great. Jocko caught on very quickly. When Dick is out of town he looks and looks for him. It's o.k. that Dick is gone for a short spell, but much more than that? He prefers not! (Me too!) Jocko loves playing with Dick's leather gloves....and it's good that Dick is wearing leather gloves! He has sharp little teeth!! We have a bed time ritual ... he is placed on the bed .. he and Dick rough-house while I'm laying there snuggled under the covers ... after the play time, Dick tells him "Bedtime" ... and he, Jocko, comes right over by me and lies down with those big sad puppy dog eyes asking me to not have to go to bed yet. It is so much fun! Jocko is not introduced to many people ... the vet, one of the church kids and a couple that we ride with. And yet he is VERY friendly.

Well I guess that's about it for the updates, you all take care, know that we think of you often!"

Two Elkhound Males, Loki and Kage

The two males you see here are a couple months apart, Kage shown on the right is a brother to Kobe above, son of Tora and Bram , and Loki is from a different lineage and breeder, on the left. These are some very nice fellas, however there is a good lesson to be taught to all of us by George and Jackie, while they share a tale of some pretty crazy wanderings by a couple young Elkhounds, all ended just fine, but George gives us all the solution, a fenced yard. A big thank you to George and Jackie for sharing the exploits of those two wandering rascals, and for making things just a bit tougher for them to "go hunting". Thank you for the updates and photos.

"Hi Merv.

George meant to say the dogs went missing 3 weeks ago. That night something came into the yard and they both took off after it. Unfortunately it had just started to snow, so I think by the time they gave up on the chase, the snow was a good 4-5 inches, probably more up the mountain. They made it over the mountain behind our house (1400+M) to Skimikin Lake and were heading up the other side. The hunters said if it were a few more days hunting season would be over and who knows when they would have been discovered. They said there are wolves up that way, so not sure they would have survived that even though they stick together like glue. The Hunters offered them a meat sandwich, but they didn't touch it. I guess they found something on their travels. Needless to say George got the fence finished off in two days. Two sleepless nights and worrying sick about them convinced us that we needed the fence for these two. When there is only one dog they are not as brave.

Kage is the calmer and better natured of the two still, he is a jumper so has discovered he can jump into my bed in the morning where Loki can't get. Loki is a real little devil, always snapping at Kages legs and trying to wrestle with him. Kages is pretty good natured most of the time, which is a good thing as Kage is just over 59 pounds now, where as Loki is not quite 48. The only time Kage gets aggressive with Loki is when he has a juicy bone. Sometimes I wish Kage would keep Loki in line more often, although it was not pretty the couple times they got serious. Kage responds well on the lead and to me when I correct him, but that little Loki puts up a real battle when he gets something in his head.

Unfortunately, my sister had to put down old Kona. We buried him last week in the back yard where he loved to chase sticks. Kage and he got along very well, so we loved having him here. We enjoy having other dogs over for them to play, it is like watching little kids. Now that we have a fully enclosed yard we will be able to dog sit others and not worry when they are outside alone.

Hope all is well with you and your family,
take care,"
Jackie and George

Gunnar, sleeping sound with his big brother Torsten

"Hello Merv,

Been busy here, night school, Lindsey in the bush working. The two boys are getting along, Torsten lets Gunnar do almost anything to him. He also still licks/washes Gunnars face everynight and if Gunnar is upset or yelps about something his big brother is their right now to check what's going on. Gunnar is now has had all his shots and weighs in at 29.8 pounds. These two make a perfect match to each other, and makes training Gunnar a little easier. As I get more pictures I will forward them along.

Brian and Lindsey"

Many of you have read the update on Torsten's Return, when Brian and Lindsay came down to visit and pick up Gunnar, we had a really great day. It was a highlight of my 2012 for sure, if you have not seen the write up, you can click here: Torsten Returns

Now, here is a great example of two brothers, different litters. These two boys will be identical, you'll be hard pressed to tell them apart, and what a great thing for both these big fellas. Each one plays and strengthens the other, and looks out for each other, keep each other company, there are so many benefits to a pair of siblings, man. Not to mention these two big fellas, wow what a couple nice dogs, if your going to have a dog, then have a great Elkhound, if your going to have two, have two brothers. Both Great Elkhounds.

Hats off to Lindsay and Brian, what a great home you have for those boys

Kaia - Female Elkhound - - Daughter of Tora and Bram

So, this female your looking at is one of the showiest females ever. Remember way back in January of this year I did that video of the three girls of Tora and Bram, well, this is that little rascal, all grown up. Take a look at her. Wow, Tora has such great females, her genetics combined with Bram, they really can crank out a female Elkhound.

Dianne and Jayeson have Kaia down in Calgary, and I want to thank them for providing such a great home for her, and for all the updates all through the year, we sure appreciate them.

"Hi Merv,

I tried to get a still shot for Kaia's first birthday and remembered how you said it was almost impossible to get photos of these dogs - maybe when she's 12! I thought she had good stance in this shot.

Kaia's doing great and loving all this snow. She's really attached to us now and is such an affectionate dog. And a real character - she's always doing something goofy and making us laugh. We're so glad she's here.

All the best to you and your family this Christmas season. And all the best in 2013!"

Dianne, Jayeson and Kaia

Tora's Big Brother Loki-Bear comes for a visit in 2012

It's well known Loki-Bear and his siblings they hold a special place in our hearts, Loki-Bear was the first male we raised. It was a big highlight of 2012 to have Les and Darlyne and Loki-Bear come by and visit, for a fact. We sure to appreciate the time they took out from the holiday to spend the day with us. I put a great update and write-up with photos of his visit you can read here: Loki Bear Returns.

Loki-Bear is a son of Mia and Takoda - he is a big boy, he is Tora's brother, but from a different litter, he is a brother to Jaegar as well, also different litter.

Nola, 1 Year Old

Elkhounds like Nola, let's just say, they don't come with any bigger hearts. Nola she is one tough rascal. She battled through some adversity at the start of this year, she toughed it out. This little female, is not so little anymore, she filled in beautifully, she is just like Shasta, her sister, and many other sisters she has, Nika, Kari, Reba, Maui, Tula, Sophie, Petra, Mela, Teagan, Tora, Cinnder, and of course, Lexi.

Nola is down in Montana, Linda and Darrell are providing a great home for Nola. Nola is a special girl, she carries with her the old coastal genetic lineage. There are very few females left carrying this genetic line. As near as I know only a handful of females remain intact. Nola has been left intact. We had asked Linda and Darrell to co breed with us, we would retain the breeding rights, and if Nola was as good as I thought she might be, which she is, we might let Nola share those genetics with folks who seek them.

As many of you know, Tora is a full sister to Nola, her and Tora share the same ancient genetic make-up, this is one of the reasons Tora and Bram have such great pups, both sides of those pups are old world. We will be most likely announcing a litter in a year from Nola. Nola was and still is one of the smartest dogs ever, and she is completely fearless, dominant as the day is long, and because she has the will, the heart of a lion, man I can't wait to see her pups.

Elkhound Females and I

Yes, don't worry, Tora still has to have a battle with me each set of photos, a good tussle, just to see if I still got it, she is no match for me, ha, ha. I sit here with Mia, Kamp, GAEDA and Tora, the past and future of our kennel and Elkhounds in Canada, and beyond, our many thanks to all our great families from the USA coming to get our dogs now, and pretty soon, Ragnar, he will be guarding over in Russia soon enough as well.

It's been a really fun time this year, I sure enjoyed the summer litters, I am just dealing with a few females cycling this Christmas, no litters, so some noise of course from the big fellas, but that is no worry. I rather enjoy having summer litters. Tora and GAEDA are both having a blast with this time off as well.

I'll wrap up this newsletter with a big thank you to all the families that put their confidence in our program, and more specifically our dogs. We appreciate it and strive to have the very best Elkhounds and look forward to years of friendship and stories about the pups and your time with them.

I have to also thank my family, they give me tons of help, support, Ashten she looks after Jaegar and Jay, Kamp, and Marlene, good lord she puts up with everything, dogs howling, males freaking over cycling females, all the tall tales, the floor, the laces missing, the list is endless, so a big thank you to my family.

And, of course, we know, without my two big boys, Takoda and Jaegar, I wouldn't be having such a fun Christmas. These two big fellas, they get away with anything they like, although they don't know it, yet. But they can do whatever they like, they saved my big fat butt this summer as I was slated to be a wolf feast extraordinaire, the wolves were thwarted by my two loyal hounds though, so the rest of their days, it's easy street if they so desire, they don't know any of this, and I ain't telling them, but should they figure it out, well, steak and fresh bones boys, here you go.

Merv Carlson
Kamia Kennels

Elkhound Litters

It was a very busy year in 2012, we nicely got Tora's litter to the new owners early in the year, and then in the summer we had another litter from Tora and a first litter from GAEDA. Well as you all know that was a duel between those two, who could raise the best pups. Go figure, the jury is still out on that, but I will say this much, there were some awesome pups from both. We are getting some feedback already, I have a photo of Big Leto and his buddy Tynin, out in Ontario. As you know, Big Leto was the last pup to be picked up, the schedule Daniel had arranged allowed for Leto to spend some extra time with Takoda, which is always good. He is well socialized, rank adjusted, and gets along just great with his best buddy Tynin.

Daniel sent a great update along with the photos;

Hey Merv,

Leto and Tynin have been getting along like they've been friends for years! It's amazing to watch them interact and play. Tynin seems to be very happy to have a play mate and little brother, although we've caught him a few times just looking worn out. Leto has been such a joy to train because of his intelligence and having Tynin around to give him some pointers. He picked up all of important commands so quickly we are scrambling to find more to teach him! He's also picked up recall so fast that we already feel comfortable letting him off leash in the woods and often he's responding before Tynin does. It's not all been a walk in the park though. He's had trouble adjusting to confinement of any sort. He didn't take to the crate and boy does he have a set of lungs. We've tried many options from confinement to the crate to confinement in a room, then in a sectioned off part of the house. He'd scream like I've never heard until he'd fall asleep from exhaustion. But, it came back to the crate and with much persistence, patience and a little tough love he's beginning to get used to the idea.

We've had the fortunate pleasure of hearing his really deep low 'growl' that you mentioned to me. He usually does it when he hasn't seen us in a bit and is coming towards us. I think you said it was an indication of when he's really happy to see someone and I would have to agree. It's one of the more adorable things that he does. Something else we've noticed is that he really enjoys laying/sleeping on his back, is this an Elkhound thing? I ask because Tynin does it a lot and I'm wondering if Leto does it because of Tynin or because all Elkhounds do it. We measure him today and he is almost 19" (Tynin is 22") at the shoulder and I'd put him in the upper 20lbs for weight (his last vet appointment he was 23lbs but that was a bit ago now). He's definitely started teething so we're keeping a close eye on the furniture. He's so very confident he takes most situations in stride (or with a woof) and is fearless enough to follow Tynin in to all sort of situations.

I think that's all the news for now.

Hope to hear from you soon,

Dan and Jenn