Instinctive hiking with Elkhounds is considerably different than just hiking with dogs. You can hike with any dog. That is never a question, however what the dog is doing while you are hiking is quite another matter. Hiking with an Elkhound the instincts come right out immediately and centuries of working with the handler in this type of situation come into play immediately.
Instinctive Hiking Elkhound
Takoda surveys the Rocky Mountain range
Almost all other dogs are just happily wandering around. They have no real purpose other than just a merry trip, new smells. They forget most of the training, they are not recalling, it’s not a time to work for most breeds. The Elkhound on the other hand, this is the ultimate work time. This is what they do.
It’s hard to explain but you might be able to understand the concept when you think about a border collie and what occurs the minute you put it with sheep. It will immediately begin to circle and round them up. You don’t have to really even instruct it at all, instincts will get it rolling, sure you can tweak it’s skill with training and so on, but the drive to herd is hardwired in. The training and tweaking is to get it to respond to your signals, while it does what it does.
It is the same with a Jack Russell Terrier and rats. Take a Jack Russell over to a hay stack it will be freaky ready just walking up, move a bale, see a rat scurry, and boom, that rat will be dead, two seconds flat. Move another, boom, another dead rat. There is no question in the Terrier’s mind what he is there for, he knows exactly how to grab and shake, never fools around, just grab, shake, dead rat.
Those types of instinctive behaviors are in all different types of breeds. What the Elkhound is so well suited for is hiking and hunting. Instinctive hiking traits are in very few breeds. 99% of the breeds today DO NOT have any hiking instinctive traits left.
The elkhound for centuries was traveling with the handler in remote regions, it’s role was to “Protect” the handler. Basically do what’s called ranging. This a series of actions that take the dog basically around the handler and forward, and behind, to the sides, always checking the air for fresh scents. Scents that would cause the dog concern, they would then investigate. Depending on the terrain, the dog may take high ridges, may cross ravines up and down depending on wind direction etc. Sometimes back and forth to be sure they catch all scents.
It’s quite fascinating to watch really. A big male can cover a wide range of ground and always knows where the handler is. He is constantly moving, always staying in “Communication” with the handler. The better dogs can communicate at great distances. By communicate I mean they will signal the handler, wait for the handler to clear an opening, or clearing so that they can see each other. The dog would drop his ears for just a second on seeing him. Wait only a second or two for a sign to recall if the handler wanted, otherwise, return to work. This can be way out hundreds of yards.
There is nothing quite like hiking with an instinctive Elkhound. Takoda is the premier big grey in North America. There would be few dogs outside of his offspring that would equal his skill set in the terrain we travel. The Canadian Rockies are some of the best hiking places on the planet, and there are no better dogs to have with you than an Instinctive Ancient Elkhound. Visit this link If you would like to read more on Takoda, Canada’s Premier Elkhound.