Norwegian Elkhounds are friendly, energetic dogs who make excellent companions for active families. Elkhounds love to be outdoors, and look like they are having the time of their lives when they do anything that involves running. They are sensitive animals, in tune with how their owners are feeling and instinctively know when to clown around for a laugh, or when to stay quiet and lay their head in the lap of a friend who needs some comforting. Elkhounds are outgoing and greet everyone as if they are an old friend, but instinctively know the difference between a welcome guest and an intruder and can be trusted as a reliable watchdog. Elkhounds are good with kids and make an excellent choice for active, experienced dog owners.
Norwegian Elkhounds are bundles of energy and need a lot of vigorous activity in order to maintain health and an even temperament. Several walks a day are great, but that is just a start for this breed. They need time to run every single day, and should be exercised for one to two hours. If your Elkhound is not getting enough physical activity, he will become hyperactive and resort to destructive chewing when left alone.
Norwegian Elkhounds are best suited for those who already have an active lifestyle. People who walk, jog, bike, hike and camp will find that an Elkhound fits seamlessly into these activities. Couch potatoes, or those who want a docile family dog should look to another breed.
Elkhounds are intelligent dogs and have minds of their own, making them challenge to train. This breed needs firm leadership and absolute consistency or they will take over the household. Calm-assertive leadership is required, and many trainers suggest exercising your Elkhound before training sessions to ensure they are in the right frame of mind to accept leadership.
Once leadership has been established and basic obedience has been mastered, Norwegian Elkhounds should graduate on to agility training. The obstacle course gives them an outlet to burn off physical energy, while keeping their minds sharp and active.
Norwegian Elkhounds are naturally noisy and rambunctious, even when exercised properly. They have a tendency to jump on people, so it is imperative to teach them “down” and “stay” commands as early as possible. It is also important to teach them commands to stop barking. They love to hear themselves bark, and though they are not aggressive, will bark to let you know someone is approaching.
Separation Anxiety can often develop in this breed. Elkhounds love to be with their families and when left alone too long can bark excessively and become destructive. Proper exercise can help stave off anxiety, but this breed shouldn't be left alone for long periods of time.