Den tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehunden som brukshund


I tillegg til å være en skattet familiehund er tsjekkoslovakisk ulvehund også en utmerket bruks- og redningshund. Her en noen eksempler på det.

Avalanche rescue work with a Czechoslovakian Wolf dog

For by: Mijke van Heyningen, The Netherlands

Avalanche work is not the first thing you think of when you live in the Netherlands and have a Czechoslovakian Wolf dog you want to work with. But with this report I want to show you that there are a lot of possibilities when you really want to undertake something with your dog!

In the Netherlands the Czechoslovakian Wolf dog is still a relative unknown breed. Often they are seen as the here more known Dutch Wolf dog breed: the Saarlooswolfhond.Chezka1
Although for most liken, superficially seen, there is little difference in appearance, but their differences in general (not all dogs within a same breed show specific behaviour) behaviour are very big! Both breeds fall into category breed group 1, but a Saarloos Wolf dog is in general more retiring, reacts more reserved in new situations and is surely not suitable for most work dog activities. While a Czechoslovakian Wolf dog a dog is that works with a lot of joy (when he is stimulated in the right way) and a dog that always reacts enthusiastic on new situations.

Unfortunately also in the Netherlands we have the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ syndrome through which many people are a bit hesitant for both Wolf dog breeds and therefore even keep there children away from puppies! So that can be very difficult when you want to socialize your Wolf dog puppy in a good way. But it gets even more difficult when you to join courses/trainings with your Wolf dog.

Since many Dutch trainers and dog schools don’t know both breeds (and the differences between them), they look reserved at the participation of a Wolf dog in a group. In general the participation of puppy in a group doesn’t cause too many problems. But when you see that many courses only use one general training method (and not in accordance with diverse breed type qualities) both owners and instructors are disappointed after one course. The owners because their CsW is bored, reacts recalcitrant and doesn’t do as well as the other dogs. And the instructor because he cannot reach the result he wants. (At the moment in the Netherlands the method of “reward positive behaviour and ignoring negative behaviour” is generally used. In big lines I can partially subscribe this as one of the methods, but I also think that there is sometimes nothing wrong with corrections.

Saarloos Wolf dog owners also see that their Wolf dog is put under too much pressure and that the dog won’t perform in any way anymore. Therefore many Wolf dog owners in the Netherlands stop with courses/trainings after the puppy course/training and/or at the most the continuation course. And therefore most wolf dogs unfortunately end up as “sofa dogs” while they have a lot more qualities and the owner actually wants to do a lot more with his/her dog.

But when you want to do more with your Czechoslovakian Wolf dog than only obedience training, it is difficult to find something suitable! A lot of clubs and associations reject owners because they think the CsW’s are too timid or not suitable to work with (many times they think the CzW’s have the same recalcitrant behaviour as the SWD’s). Furthermore there are others who say the “wolf like behaviour” from the CsW’s will distract the other dogs. So in short when you want to undertake something with your dog as Wolf dog owner, you will have to put a lot afford and creativity in it!

I am always looking for new groups of people that like to undertake something together with their dog. (Without specifically wanting diplomas, afford, etc.) And when I find a course/training that looks at individual and natural behaviour I am eager to take the course/training with my dog(s).

I had the luck that I also have Leonbergers (and sometimes breed them) and therefore are a member of the LHCN (breed association Leonberger dogs), through which I also could participate in a basic tracking course with my “non-Leonberger” dog Berta z vlei Chaloupki (Chezka). The instructors Henry Verheijen and Ed Tielmans, had no problems with a CzW participating in the group. Just like by the other dogs in the group, they looked on which Chezka reacted the best and that was used for further development. ( For example in Chezka’s case it appeared to be that rewards worked better than toys) Step by step she learned to walk trails, to find objects, to warn the owner when she did find a victim. With a lot of joy Chezka and I spend a lot of Sundays training on the moor and besides we learned and practised “search” activities during the rest of the week. Finally we reach the level of “core group” after a combination of exams.

The members of the core group also got the possibility to do an “avalanche rescue training” in Söll (Austria). So of course I took the chance to do this with my CsW! During this course dog and guide (owner) learn how to find a victim that is covered under snow. In this course the owner also has lessons in Avalanche knowledge, first aid, meteorology, map and compass and entering snowfields (grounds with danger of avalanche) safely.

After the theoretic lessons (about the ins and outs of rescue work in the snow), the study of a comprehensive information file and the purchase of diverse specific materials, we were the only combination with Czechoslovakian wolf dog between several Leonbergers in January in Söll. The first day was a general acquaintance, dogs and owners could meet each other, get to know the area a bit better. Unfortunately there was not a lot of snow in the lower area. But the instructors arranged with mountain guards that we could work in the snow the next days. Daily all members were divided into groups of two with their dogs (with obliged rescue outfit) and went to the higher area with the cabin elevator.

All combinations were treated as VIPs and were even asked to enter through the VIP entrance. The dogs and owners never had to wait, but always got priority when they wanted to go with the cabin. It was explained to all the waiting skiers by people from the mountain guard that the dogs and guides should be treated with respect because the life every skier could be dependent on a rescue dog.

In first instant some dogs didn’t like travelling with the cabin, but after 1 day it was not a problem anymore. When my CsW found out, that she could see the whole area in the cabin, so she looked outside through the window all time.

Because of the bad snow conditions a lot of pistes were closed. That’s why the start for all skiers was on the top of the mountain near the last cabin station. And because of that, the rescue group had every day to walk first a long distance to the training area. But so the owner and the dog had the opportunity to get used walking on slopes with iced snow. 

In the in the beginning of the training the dogs were walking trails and searching for objects and victims in open area. Also the first days the dogs get used to lie in a snow bivouac. During the week the difficulties degree was built up. Later on all objects were hidden in the snow and the dog had to dig out them. And first the dogs had to find a victim in a half open den (hole). And at the and of the week the dogs had to find a victim in a closed snow den(hole). And the dogs had to dig trough the snow wall to the victim!

But also the owners were trained! They had to learn: walking with the big snowshoes on slopes, working with transceiver and locator, finding victims with probes, making a snow profile, practical first aid (for avalanche situations), carry stretchers, working with walkie-talkies a.s.o.

Chezka2And also for the owners/ guides during the week the difficulties degree was built up! Beside the breefings there were subsequent discussions where daily was spoken about the working from the owners, the dogs and the group. At the and of the week the trainers made scenes of real victim reports and the group had to work with the dogs as a real rescue team. And so the dogs and guides could practice all they had learned this week. And of course the trainers did expect also a lot of real teamwork of the guides! And that was extreme important during the night exercises, where the owners could not see each other and it was very difficult to orientate. So the guides had to trust their dogs, walkie talkies and each other.

It was a wonderful experience to participate in such a special training week with my CsW. I have learned a lot. And for my CsW it was a challenge that appeals on all her natural capacities. All the dogs who did participate in this avalanche rescue training are not specific “rescue breeds” But in this week it was very clear that CsW Chezka, just like all the Leonbergers, did enjoy very much the working with their owner! And also that all dogs did develop their capacities! And because of the fact that in Holland a CsW is in most cases only a family dog or a sofa dog, I did want to show with this article that also with wolfdogs is a lot possible!

I don’t have the illusion that my dog in one week is real rescue dog and that she can work for real avalanche rescue. But that was also not my intention for participating this training. For me it is important that every healthy dog gets enough challenges to develop optimal. And for me personal it is not important to be the best or to succeed exams. To work and do thing together with my dogs is more important!

I hope that after reading this article more people get the idea to do something with their dog. It does not matter what you do with your dog, but that you do something with your dog! Because also your dog (of any breed) can do a lot more than you think!

Mijke van Heyningen

Avalanche training Söll 2008

For by: Mijke van Heyningen, The Netherlands

In 2008 I took part in an Avalanche Rescue training in Austria with my CzW Chezka (Berta z vlci chaloupky) for the second time. During this course the dog and guide (owner) learn to find a victim who has been covered by a layer snow and the dog learns to reach the victim by digging through the snow. In the course the owner also gets lessons about Avalanches, first aid, meteorology, map and compass and how to safely approach and walk on snowfields (areas with risk of avalanches).

After a few preparatory theoretical meetings (about the ins and outs of rescue work in the snow), the study of the extensive information reader and the purchase of various specific materials, we were last year the only combination with a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog between many Leonbergers.

This year Martine also took part in this training with her CsW Nomad (Anomad Dêbowa sfora) for the first time. Nomad did not take part in earlier rescue trainings of this group, but he had a different preparation for this training (Martine is active with him in the work dogs sport).

LavineAlso this year the dogs were in the beginning of the training daily active with the for them known “walking of tracks”, the seeking of objects and the seeking of victims on a half open location. Besides that the dogs also got the opportunity to get used to lying in a bivouac with tents. And during the week the degree of difficulty became slowly higher so at the end of the week the dogs could find and dig out victims in a closed snow hole. Furthermore the owners were also trained in: walking with big snowshoes, finding victims with probes, working with working with transceiver and locator, making snow profiles, practical first aid (in avalanche situations), carrying a stretcher through the snow, working with walkie-talkies etc. and for the owners too the degree of difficulty became higher during the week.

For Chezka it was something like “coming home” and it was clearly visible that that she remembered everything again after one day and she directly knew exactly what the intention was! The slow set up of exercises (see my report of 2007) was not needed for Chezka. Despite the fact that she was in heat and there were also male dogs training, she carried out all the exercises without any problem. And when she had to wait in the bivouac she was very interested in the male dogs.

Her experience and development in finding the victims was also clearly visible when she had to find a victim in a closed snow hole during an exercise. Super fast she had found the location where the victim was and with a lot of passion and rapidity she dug herself through the snow into the hole. (and then she greeted the victim with French kisses!)

It was good to see that also the “newcomer” Nomad adapted himself quickly to the snowy conditions and rapidly understood what was expected from him during this course. It was clearly visible that developed daily and that he was having a good time. And at the end of the week he was just as fanatic as Chezka digging out victims!

It was an exceptionally beautiful experience to do this special training (work) week with our dogs. And for our CsW’s it was a challenge for which they had to use their already present natural capacities. All the dogs taking part in this avalanche rescue training were not per defenintion the races known as suitable “working dogs”. But it was in this week clearly visible that the CsW’s, just like the other dogs, were very happy and enthusiastic to work together with their owner. And besides that all dogs clearly developed their capacities!

We of course do not have the illusion that our dogs have become an official “avalanche rescue dog” in this one week! But that was not our motivation to take part in this course. We just like to undertake things with our CsW’s and to take new challenges. And doing this kind of activities we realise only more what a fun and multi-purpose working dog a CsW is!

And no matter what kind of activities you undertake with you CsW, when this dog can be active with his owner and do things together, you will have a relaxed and satisfied dog!

March 2008 Mijke van Heyningen

Water rescue work

For by Mijke van Heyningen, The Netherlands.

In the past I did give Water Rescue training for Newfoundlanders and Landseers. And the last few years I was also active with Waterwork with Leonbergers and my Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.

Waterwork is a special kind of rescue work were the dogs are trained to save people that need help in the water and bring them ashore. The Newfoundlander was and is still use by US coastguard for saving people in surf areas and harbours. And the breed is also used in coast areas in Italy and France for the same purpose.

This kind of rescue work has nothing to do with the other kind of rescue work with the Water Search dog! The Water Search dog has been trained to find drowned and missed people in and around water. These dogs stand on a boat, or search the water borders and they can smell a dead person under the water surface.

For me it was a nice challenge also to start with giving Workshops Water-Rescue-Work training especial for a group of CsW’s. And summer 2008 I did start with assistance of Martine with a group of 7 CsW’s and a Malinois. In cooperation with the rescue brigade we did find a nice and very quiet place to train with even a boats slope in the area . A nice thing for the owners was, that in this area the owner could still walk in the water , where the dogs had to swim! All owners were told not to expect to much of their dog. But to work with a lot of pleasure with their dog and see how far they could come in a few workshops

To provide hypothermia (and as protection against dognails!) all participants have to ware a surfsuit (wetsuit) And that is not always luxury , because the training is going on in all kind of weather circumstances! The dogs wear a lifejacket on the moments they train for this kind of work so they know it is not about free swimming. And the jacket also give some more safety when they save a victim in the water.

In the beginning the owner is playing a lot with the dog in the water, to get them used to be in the water and swimming. And step by step they learn to swim to their owner and then to strange persons. The same time they learn they have to aport the dummy and they get more and more used to pick up a dummy. First they learn to drag with a dummy a manacle ashore. And later on they start with to drag more heavy objects with the dummy. Like our “Annie Rexie” (a floating doll with a life jacket) and later on even the surfboard.

But the dogs also get used to sit in a boat and later on a fast sailing boat. And they also learn to jump out on command to swim to a victim. For all training with victims, they wear a swim gear above the life jacket. And they learn to drag on the rings of the swim gear a victim ashore. Because the training of every dog is individual, it were long training days. But the CsW’s and the owners in this Group were real “die-hards” and every time again they were motivated to train and work the whole day!

Besides this there was every week also some physical condition building for the owner and dog. Together they did lots of distance swimming. But it was clear that this activity was more appreciated by the CsW's than by the owners!Of course all these exercises were accompanied with lots of enthusiasm and rewarding the dogs! Because it is the intention that the Water Work is really FUN for the dogs and they like to continue to do so!
In the breaks were the owners explained the different exercises, but they were also regularly ordered to be more enthusiastic to their dog!

Of course there were individual differences, and one dog jumped from the boat easier, another easier to a drowning man. The Malinois, for example was very object orientated (to a dummy) one time he even left a drowning man and fetched the buoy to bring to the shore!

But when I look back, I can say that it was very intensive and hard work for both the owners and the dogs! But also that all CsW’s learned a lot and there was a lot of progress each time we trained! The CsW’s are not known as the best apporters (retrievers). So it was really great to see that most dogs after 5 days training not only retrieved a dummy from the water, but some even brought a surfboard dragged to the shore!

Of course, after the workshops these Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs are not really Water Rescue dogs! And it will cost many hours of training before they all will rescue a drowning person. But the fun of Water Work is that boss and dog are working together and can make more progress.

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is bred as a working dog and will therefore always be grateful to work with his boss. And in these workshops it was clear that CsWs also have a lot of enthusiasm to do this kind of activity! And also that the interaction between owners and dogs did become much better because of the "working together"

Thanks to all the participants for the provision of pictures!

Mijke van Heyningen



mountain rescue

Barbara Gromulska Oscoja og Barsabel trener fjellredning

Søk og redningshund

NewtonDen tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehunden brukes blant annet som ettersøkningshund og redningshund. Italienske Roberto Sammarco forteller hvordan han fikk sin tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehund godkjent som beste italienske redningshund til søk i skogsområder og i ruiner.

“De gjorde det best av alle” skriver han, og forteller hvordan hundene er dyktige og nøyaktige i nesebruk. I motsetning til de andre hundene som kun varslet at “noe er her”, utmerket de tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehundene seg i id-søk; - de snuste på noe som hadde tilhørt en person og fant den riktige personen blant mange. Under godkjenningen var det mange turister og jegere med hund som tråkket gjennom området og mange andre redningshunder slet og meldte feil.

“Det var en dag uten vinddrag i luften, så det var tøft for de tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehundene som foretrekker å begynne søket med å snuse i luften (overvær) før de setter nesen i bakken. Det er imponerende å se hvordan de arbeider, og arbeidsmåten er helt forskjellig fra andre hunder. Innlæring tar tid, men når de vet hva de skal gjøre har de en arbeidsvilje som overgår alle andre”.


Terapihunder er utdannet og godkjent for å arbeide på sykehus og institusjoner.. Elżbieta (Ela) Wojtkos tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehund Amber er en av dem. Terapihunder har en krevende arbeidsdag og Amber som arbeider ved Spesialskole nr 103 i Poznan i Polen har god virkning på pasientene hvis uforutsigbare atferd på et lite sekund veksler fra det ene ytterpunkt til det andre. Hundene må tåle røff behandling uten å reagere negativt .

Ela forteller om en pasient som i det ene øyeblikket koste med Amber og i det neste prøvde å bite stykker av tungen hans. Amber hoppet en meter opp i luften og da han landet sto han som en stokk på fire stive ben med blodet fossende ut av munnen. Av hensyn til Ambers sikkerhet ble han senere flyttet for å være til nytte for mindre utagerende pasienter og Elas tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehund Beti har nå avløst Amber.



Det er ikke alle hunder som egner seg som politihunder eller førerhunder og det er ikke alle tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehunder som egner seg som terapihunder. Det er derfor flott at det finns hunder som Amber og Beti som gjør livet lettere for barn og voksne som lever på institusjon og som har en annerledes hverdag enn oss andre.


For av: Stefano Castellari
Oversatt av Claudia Melis

To par er en flokk
Det var min og Fulvias (som senere ble min kone) felles interesse for ulv som ga navnet til våre to tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehunder. På midten av 90-tallet eksploderte internet og vi oppdaget The International Wolfcenter, en organisasjon som har som formål å verne ulv. Organisasjonen holder til i Ely, en liten by i Minnesota på grensen til Kanada. Som vårt bidrag til organisasjonens arbeid bestemmer vi oss for å fjernadoptere Lucas, en 13 år gammel hannulv. Lucas er en del av en flokk ”pensjonerte” ulver, men har fortsatt sin mystiske karisma. Den som har sett inn i en ulvs øyne glemmer det aldri...

I 2000 er vi ferdige ved universitetet og forlater Bologna for å besøke våre internettvenner og ulvene i Ely. Vi kommer hjem, årene går men interessen for ulv er fortsatt like sterk. Vår egen "lille ulv", huskyen Belle er med oss overalt både til fots og med slede. Vi tar lange turer i fjellene og hun tar gjerne og til vår irritasjon også turer på egen hånd.

Årene går, vi gifter oss og drar på bryllupsreise til Yukon i Alaska. Våren 2000 forandrer alt seg: Fulvia tar med seg huskyen vår til vetrinæren og hun ringer meg og sier: “Avoni (vår vetrinær) har en nydelig hund som du må se – en tsjekkoslovakisk ulvehund!”.

Etter en stund drar vi tilbake til veterinæren og jeg blir også forelsket i rasen. Vi henter informasjon fra internett og besøker oppdrettere. I mellomtiden har vi pusset opp huset vårt på landet - plass er ikke lengre noe problem.

Den 9 september i 2004 bestemmer vi oss for å kjøpe en tsjekkoslovakisk ulvehund og det er ingen tvil om at hunden skal hete Ely etter byen i Minnesota der vi møtte "vår" ulv Lucas. Nå er hun to og et halvt år og i januar ble Yuk (Yukon) - også en tsjekkoslovakisk ulvehund - et nytt medlem av flokken vår..

Å løpe med en tsjekkoslovakisk ulvehund
I dag tidlig hadde vi en 4 km treningstur med Ely. Etter å ha festet selen på henne og beltet rundt meg sprang vi en tur når de første solstrålene skinte over landskapet. I motsetning til de første månedene, løper Ely nå fra start til mål med ørene vendt bakover for å høre på pusten og instruksene til personen som løper med henne. Når vi står ved et kryss, så følger hun de kommandoene vi gir henne (venstre, høyre og rett fram). Det er utrolig hvor selvsikker hun etter hvert har blitt. Vi vil helt sikkert fortsette med disse treningsrundene 2 ganger i uka, men etter hvert øke lengden i takt med hennes ønsker, - i vår lille flokk liker vi alle å løpe...

Endelig med slede!
For en fantastisk helg…nesten et vendepunkt i historien!
Den første sleden trukket av en gruppe tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehunder født og oppvokst i Italia har løpt på en ordentlig sledehund bane/vei/tråkk. På 2 dager tilbakela vi 14 km (6+8), hele tiden i galopp og dette er ganske uvanlig siden voksne kjørere normalt må ha minst 4 hunder til å trekke dem.

På mandag dro vi på egenhånd, en i fronten med en quad (for å forhindre hundene i å snu hvis en av oss ikke kunne følge) og den andre med sleden dratt av hundene. Hele 6 fantastiske kilometere på den samme løypa som vi brukte på konkurransen i helga. Vi nådde den Slovakiske grensen men snudde tilbake siden vi ikke hadde våre pass.

På tirsdag er det noen mennesker ute på den første runden i løypa. Tre sleder drar ut etter hverandre og vi følger etter for å se om hundene er villige til å dra når lagene foran oss allerede har dratt ut. Det er umulig å holde Ely tilbake og hun starter å løpe. Vi er redde for at de kommmer til å snu men i stedet løper de i et vilt tempo langs løypa! For ikke å ta igjen det første laget måtte vi hele veien bremse kraftig med føttene for å redusere farten.

Det mest spennende skjedde på slutten av første runden. Turisten foran oss byttet ut ”musheren” og Ely som var bak startet å bjeffe og dra – for å utrykke at hun var klar til å løpe igjen! Dere skulle ha sett henne, det er så vanskelig å beskrive gleden hun hadde for å løpe igjen. Straks vi løftet opp ankeret så fløy vi av gårde til stor forbauselse og beundring fra de som sto og så på.

Vi ville ikke overdrive og vi hadde tenkt å ta maksimalt 3 runder, men etter den tredje runden var Ely fortsatt frisk og rask, så vi tillot oss selv en fjerde og siste runde.
Etter mange treninger på barmark var det en utrolig tilfredsstillelse for oss alle å se dem løpe med slik en glede – med glitrende øyne og tungene hengende ut.

Dette er bare noen få eksempler på hvordan du kan dele livet ditt med tsjekkoslovakiske ulvehunder. For å få mer informasjon kan du ta direkte kontakt med Stefano og Fulvia (på engelsk eller italiensk), eller lese på nettstedet (på italiensk). Stefanos bilder finner du i Galleriet