European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 61, Issue 5, pp 711–721 | Cite as

Response-ability in wolf–dog conflicts

Original Article


The conflict between wolves and dogs has been deemed as one of the most difficult specific issues in Finnish wolf policy. In this paper, we examine how this conflict materializes and discuss the role of anticipatory knowledge in enabling safe multispecies cohabitation. We have analyzed a dataset of 201 wolf–dog conflict narratives covering a time period of 26 years (1987–2013). This data consists of local newspaper articles, records from local wildlife management authorities, and e-mail correspondence from affected dog owners. Based on the analysis of this material, we conclude that preventing wolf caused damage on dogs calls for response-ability, defined as affective attuning to the presence of wolves. Such attuning allows humans to develop routines that enable them to anticipate wolf presence, for example by protecting and monitoring their dogs and by investing in effective social networking. The need to develop anticipatory knowledge and situated sensibility to the presence of the wolf necessarily leads to critical evaluation of the habits of keeping dogs. Hence, it also explains why there are no easy solutions to wolf–dog conflicts. To become attuned to the presence of wolves may sometimes require more than what humans are ready and willing to do. Thus, there seems to be affective thresholds for response-ability across the species. At the same time, however, some of the events could be avoided with fairly simple pragmatic solutions.


Wolf policy Wolf–dog conflict Multispecies cohabitation Response-ability Anticipatory knowing 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IrsteaSaint-Martin-d’Hères CedexFrance
  2. 2.Finnish Environment InstituteJoensuuFinland

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