Episode 3: Canine Containment with Richard Vickers


Within this episode we will be speaking with special guest, Richard Vickers, to learn about canine containment. Richard will discuss the various containment options out their for you to decide what is best for you and your animals, how much they cost, and materials to use. Hell answer questions such as: Can I crate train my wolfdog, and how do I do so? – My animal is an escape artist! How can I ensure he/she doesnt break out of their crate/enclosure? – Do containment needs vary based on dog breed and wolf content? – What do I need to consider before building containment? Are their laws and guidelines I must comply with? Where can I learn about these requirements? – And many more!


Richard Vickers is a 3rd generation canine trainer and handler. His family traces its canine professional and specialized roots back 100 years to his grandfather who bred and trained specialized hunting dogs. In 1978, when he was just 6 years old his parents opened the business known as Dark Forest Kennels in a secluded part of a small town in Southwestern Virginia. At that time, Dark Forest Kennels bred, raised, and trained German Shepherd Dogs as well as provided boarding services and training services to the public. Richard grew up and spent most of his life working in the family business and was handling and training canines of various breeds by the age of 10.

In 1987 Richard acquired his first Wolfdog through rescue services his familys business provided. From his mid teens until now, Wolfdogs have been a major part of his life and integrated into the family business. During this time Richard has had the opportunity to meet many other Wolfdog owners all over the country, volunteer at Wolfdog Sanctuaries, work within the Wolfdog rescue community, visit and help other Wolfdog owners in various ways, become a Board Member and eventually President of The National Wolf Hybrid Association and National Esquimaux Dog Association, as well as share his life with numerous Wolfdogs of various contents.

Today, Richard has revamped the family business into Dark Forest LLC. The company now goes by the name The Dark Forest Group as it is now a group of businesses under the same parent Company. Dark Forest Kennels is now a boarding facility for pets that also offers canine training, pet related products, canine fencing and containment solutions, and features a staff consisting of not only general labor but a full time Trainer, Engineer, and Veterinary Technician. 

Dark Forest Designs is a small manufacturing facility within the same parent facility that applies the Engineering education Richard received at Radford University toward custom built pet products. Recently Richard reopened Dark Forest Garage which is also located at the same facility. Originally Dark Forest Garage was owned and operated by Richard Sr., who was a certified GM Automotive Technician. Today Dark Forest Garage specializes in the restoration of classic cars and trucks with a staff that includes PPG Certified Body and Paint Technicians. Though his time is split between his love of canines and classic vehicles, Richard still focuses all of his efforts into helping others and their pets to have happy lives together.  

Richard’s first wolfdog was a low content rescue misrepresented as a high content. It was clear that Cheech was very different than the German Shepherds and sled dogs he had raised throughout his life, so Richard began searching for everything possible on wolves and wolfdogs to learn more about these animals and try to cope with their increased behavioral intensities. Since this was pre-internet, this involved a lot of library visits combined with numerous phone calls tracing down leads of people that knew people that had wolfdogs. In 1995 when internet access became more readily available this research finally led to numerous wolfdog organizations. Since 1987 Richard has shared his life with six wolfdogs ranging from low content to a very high content F1. This does not account for the many wolfdogs that shared short and long periods of time with Richard and his family sheltered, rehabilitated, and eventually placed in their new forever homes. Currently the Vickers family share their lives with Zeus who is a high content rescue, and year and a half year old Logan, an upper mid content rescue. And not to leave out their other animals, including Jigz an American Bulldog rescue, Isis an ACK Siberian Husky, Zoey a UKC Pomeranian, Zander a rescued Pekingese mix, as well as their two rescue cats.

Richard Vickers: Owner/Operator of Dark Forest LLC, Elliston, VA – richard@thedarkforestgroup.com 

For more information on Dark Forest and its subsidiaries, please visit their site at: http://www.thedarkforestgroup.com
and on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dark-Forest-Kennels/193965793948808 


Richards Credentials:
Third Generation Canine Trainer/Handler
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University/AKC venture program graduate Canine 
  Handling Apprenticeship
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State 
University/AKC venture program graduate 
Apprenticeship Obedience Training
Radford University 3 years Undergraduate Biotechnology
Radford University/Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 3 years Undergraduate 
Mechanical Engineering Bioconversion Technologies Design Engineer (mechanical and Bio Design) 1992-1998
Commonwealth of Virginia Licensed Operator of Bio Technology 1993-1998
National Wolf Hybrid Association Board Member
National Esquimaux Dog Association Board Member and President
National Wolf Hybrid Association Virginia State Chapter Founder and President 

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