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Introduction

You wouldn't raise a Bengal tiger kitten and expect it to grow up with the personality of house cat, would you? Probably not. Nevertheless, many people actually believe that with plenty of love and attention, they can turn a wolf into a dog. Despite their similarities, wolves and dogs are different animals.

The evolution of dogs and wolves and their resultant behavior is a fascinating subject well worth exploring. Further reading will not only lead you to a deeper understanding of the issues raised in this booklet, but also increase your appreciation and enjoyment of that unique and wonderful animal with which so many of us are privileged to share our homes and lives: the dog.

Find enclosed information on Wolfdog and Children, one of the biggest fears held by most communities.

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What is a Wolf Dog Hybrid?

A wolfdog is a dog with recent wolf heritage. That is, a wolfdog has a pure wolf ancestor within the last five generations. (That would be the wolfdogs great-great-great grandparent.) Note: Though many people still use the term "wolf hybrid," this is not an accurate term. A

„hybrid” is the offspring of two different species. According to the reclassification of the dog by taxonomists in 1993, the domestic dog is actually viewed as a domestic variant of the gray wolf.

How much wolf do they have in them?

Most people, when they ask this question, want to know the percentage of wolf in the wolfdog –

90%? 50%? 25%? Unless you know the animal‟s heritage for many generations back, there is no way to tell for sure. People who work with wolfdogs are more concerned with wolf content. This is usually determined by phenotyping, making an educated guess based on various physical and behavioral traits.

What are they mixed with?

Most of the wolfdogs we see are mixed with German Shepherd Dog, Alaskan Malamute and/or Siberian Husky. People want wolfdogs that look “wolfy,” and these breeds most resemble their wild cousins.

Where do they come from? Do people actually breed them?

People actually breed them. There are some ethical, responsible breeders out there. They keep accurate and honest records, are particular about what they breed into their lines, evaluate and educate potential buyers carefully, and take back the animals they sell if they do not work out, for whatever reason. Unfortunately, such breeders are rare. Most of them do not care what type of temperament or health problems may be in their lines, often misrepresent the heritage of the animals, will sell to anyone who shows up with the purchase price and, once the sale is done, that‟s that. If the buyer has a problem or can‟t keep the animal, too bad. And that‟s when the wolfdog ends up in rescue.

Aren’t they really wild animals? Shouldn’t they be running free somewhere?

Wolfdogs are not wild animals. They are domestic animals with special needs. They were created by humans, and they depend on humans for food and protection, and often for companionship. A person who dumps his wolfdog in the woods, believing it can take care of itself, is sentencing that animal to fear, confusion, loneliness, and a death by starvation, disease, attacks by other animals, or a bullet.

Aren’t they mean and aggressive?

Wolves are, by nature, timid around humans. Likewise, so are high content wolfdogs. Should you have an intruder, your wolfdog is much more likely to hide under the bed than to face him.

So-called wolfdog “attacks” are either a misinterpretation of behavior or not perpetrated by wolfdogs at all. There has never been a reported attack on a human by a healthy wolf in this country.

I want a wolfdog! Now what?

First of all, you need to make sure you are allowed to keep one where you live. Wolfdogs are illegal in some parts of the country. Even if it is legal to own one in your town, you may be required to have specific containment or a special permit. Be sure to check it out before you adopt.

Second, do your homework. Learn all you can about wolfdogs so that you are able to decide whether a wolfdog would be a good match for you. You will also find training books at

http://puppy-books.com

Then, when and if you‟re ready for a wolfdog, contact a wolfdog rescue organization. Whether you‟re looking for a youngster or an adult, low content or high, couch potato or wild and wooly, they can put you in touch with someone who can help you find your lifetime wolfdog companion.

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What kind of Wolfdog breeds are there?

There are many wolfdog breeds and here we well talk about the following breeds; 1. Saarlooswolfdog

2. Czechoslovakian Wolfdog

3. Kunming Wolfdog

4. Lupo Italiano Wolfdog

In 1921, Dutch breeder Leendert Saarloos started crossbreeding a German

Shepherd Dog male to a female Mackenzie Valley Wolf. He aimed for an improved version of the German Shepherd Dog which would be immune to distemper, and succeeded insofar that the Saarlooswolfdog we know is a strong imposing dog, but it kept its wolf like characteristics; it is cautious, reserved and lacks the ferocity to attack; it is not the dog that Leendert Saarloos hoped to get. In the past, some Saarlooswolfdogs were trained as guide dogs for the blind and as rescue dogs.

The Saarlooswolfdog is a fairly large dog, up to 76 cm at the shoulder and weighing up to 40 kg.

The muzzle is wide, and the ears pointed and held erect. It is an athletic dog in build, with medium bone, and a strong and muscular body. Its coat is short and dense, providing superb protection from the weather. The colour of the dog's coat, however, can vary between black, tan, red, white, silver, or blue. The Saarloos has wolf-like expressions, as well as a wolf-like head.

Due to its size and strength, the Saarlooswolfdog is only recommended for experienced dog owners. Most owners have at least two Saarloos to provide the necessary pack, because the animals are still pack-oriented. The breed is very intelligent. Isolation intensifies anti-social behavior, and these dogs will panic if locked in an enclosed space.

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The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is a relatively new breed of dog

that traces its original lineage to an experiment conducted in 1955 in Czechoslovakia. After initially breeding 48 working line German Shepherds with 4 Carpathian wolves, a plan was worked out to create a breed that would have the temperament, pack mentality, and trainability of the German Shepherd and the strength, physical build, and stamina of the Carpathian wolf.

The breed was engineered to assist with border patrol in Czechoslovakia but were later also used in search and rescue, schutzhund, tracking, herding, agility, obedience, and drafting. It was officially recognized as a national breed in Czechoslovakia in 1982.

The color of the hair is from yellow-grey to silver-grey, with a light mask. The hair is straight, close and very thick. The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog is a typical tenacious canterer; its movement is light and harmonious, its steps are long.

It is quick, lively, very active, fearless and courageous. Distinct from the character of

Saarlooswolfdog, shyness is a disqualifying fault in the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.

The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog develops a very strong social relationship not only with their owner, but with the whole family. It can easily learn to live with other domestic animals which belong to the family; however, difficulties can occur in encounters with strange animals. It is vital to subdue the Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs passion for hunting when they are puppies to avoid aggressive behavior towards smaller animals as an adult. The puppy should never be isolated in the kennel; it must be socialized and get used to different surroundings. Female Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs tend to be more easily controllable, but both genders often experience a stormy adolescence.

The Kunming Wolfdog also commonly known as the Kunming Dog is an established breed of wolfdog originated in China. Unlike most other wolfdog crosses, Kunming wolfdogs are suitable to be guard dogs and working dogs due to their German Shepherd dog ancestry. They have been trained as military assistant dogs to perform a variety of tasks such as detecting mines. Some are also trained to be fire dogs and rescue dogs. Today they are commonly kept as family companions by many pet owners in China.

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Kunming Wolfdogs are typically medium-sized dog who fall under the spitz type category. The head and body of the Kunming wolfdogs are similar in appearance to the German Shepherd Dog except they stand taller in the back. They have seasonal coats that grow into a double layered coat during the late fall to the early winter but will later on shed into a shorter coat during the late spring. The tail is long like their German Shepherd cousins. Kunming wolfdogs occasionally lift their tails curled high when excited but they often carry it lower behind their back like their wolf ancestors do. Coats are marked with a black saddle and muzzle, with other colors ranging from light straw to deep rust.

Kunming wolfdogs share similar behavioural traits to their German Shepherd ancestors. They are extremely intelligent, normally self-assured and are marked by their curiosity and willingness to learn which allows them to excel in task training. However, they are also highly active and require a lot of activities and ideally one long walk per day in order to keep them occupied. Like German Shepherds, Kunming wolfdogs are only suitable to have around children if properly trained and supervised. Because of their wolfdog ancestry, they still have the tendency to occasionally challenge the people around them.

The Lupo Italiano Wolfdog was created in 1966 by crossing a wild she-wolf from Northern Lazio with a German shepherd dog. Resembling a German Shepherd in appearance, its snout resembles that of a wolf.

Unlike most wolf-dog hybrids this canine displayed a propensity to be used as a working dog, and its breeding was taken over by the Italian Government. A breeding facility was created in Cumana (Piedmont) and the number of dogs gradually increased to about 700 specimens. The breed was officially recognized by the Italian Government and laws were passed to provide financial resources for its breeding. Nowadays numerous Alpine rescue teams utilize these dogs to search for avalanche victims.

Guideline Characteristics of Wolves and

Wolfdogs

As you know, positive identification of a wolf is only possible through skull measurements once the animal is dead. Obviously, that is not an option for you. But there are some distinctive phenotypic and behavioral characteristics that we look for when evaluating whether an animal is a wolf or wolf hybrid.

Length of hair is an important clue. Wolves have a very characteristic long-hair mane and ruff.

The mane starts at the back of the head and continues down the center of the back to the base of the tail. Dogs have even-length hair and with the possible exception of some huskies, they don't have a mane.

Wolves have pink/reddish colored hair between their toe pads. Their ears are short and erect.

Wolves have yellow eyes, large feet, long legs, a long muzzle and a slender chest. Wolves' tails hang straight down. They have a dense undercoat, even in the groin area.

Hybrids' colors vary widely due to the dominance of the mix so it is a less reliable indicator.

There also is a wide variety of color in wild wolves, so it cannot be the sole determinant.

Size also is a less reliable indicator. Wolves typically range from 70-120 pounds, with the occasional exception exceeding 130 pounds.

Finally, behavior is one of the biggest clues. Wolves are shy and avoid eye contact with humans other than their owner. They generally listen to and take commands only from their owner. They will leave the room or hide when a "new" person walks in.

Obviously, not every wolfdog will exhibit all these qualities. The more of them exhibited, the more likely the animal has a high degree of wolf lineage.

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Wolf Dogs and Children

In the state of Michigan wolf dogs are less common than in other states, but they do exist. One such wolfdog was kept on a chain in the back yard, but well away from the house. The animal was reportedly 7/8 wolf, although according to one very knowledgeable person who has seen photos and video footage of the animal, he is much lower in wolf content. At best he could be 1/2 wolf. This animal was reportedly good with children and the owners had no reservations about allowing children to play with or around him.

On the 15 of March, 1990, a friend of the animal's owner came over to visit and brought her 2-year-old child. The child had previously "played" with the wolfdog and there had been no problems. While the mother was visiting, she put her child into the back yard. Shortly afterward they noticed the animal shaking something -- that something was the child. Most of the throat was torn out; the child was nearly decapitated!

So what happened? How could such a tragedy take place? Wolves, dogs and wolfdogs all have the potential for killing. It is part of what they, as predators, do for a living. However, with many breeds of dogs we have greatly modified predatory behaviors through centuries of selective breeding.

There are two important things that go into eliciting a response from an animal. One is the threshold, or level, at which the response is triggered, and the other is the intensity of the evoked behavior. When it comes to the wolf, the dog, or the wolfdog, and their reactions around livestock, small pets, and even children, it's all a matter of degree to how they will react given a specific situation.

Have you even wondered why children are told never to run around dogs, especially if they are strange dogs? Running is one of the things that elicits or "triggers" predatory behavior. Crudely put, a "trigger mechanism" releases a specific innate (or instinctive) behavioral response to a specific environmental stimulus. Also, there is a specific threshold for the elicitation of the behavior that varies from animal to animal.

In most breeds, the motivation to hunt has been lowered. A dog that sees a running child may chase it, but even then, it will rarely follow through. Once a wolf is chasing a child (remember we have not done any significant selective breeding on wolves), the likelihood that it will complete the normal sequence is much, much greater than for a dog.

So, can a "pet wolfdog" be good with children? Well, that depends on what one means by

"good". There are many wolfdogs, and some pure wolves for that matter, that have shown great tolerance and even pleasure in interacting with kids. However, at least in the sense that a dog that is good with children, can be fully trusted with them, a wolfdog often cannot, a wolf never so.

The reason you cannot ever trust a pure wolf with children is because of the aforementioned lower threshold for the trigger mechanism regarding predation and the lack of any alteration of their predatory behavior once the trigger is released. Importantly, I must emphasize that these behaviors are genetically encoded -- they cannot be eliminated by "proper socialization" or

"training"; at best they can only be suppressed.

Of course, there are many wolfdogs that are good with children, even some pure wolves.

However, of the animals that I've seen or have heard of that are (or were) good with children, most are low in wolf content or are very young. The few exceptional animals are just that, exceptional. One of the problems I've seen in many people's perception about wolves is generalization. Just because some wolfdogs are good with kids, that do not mean that all wolfdogs are good with them, or even that any particular animal will be safe and trustworthy around kids for all its life or under all circumstances. Any pure wolf has the potential of attacking, even killing a child. As for wolfdogs, who would honestly be willing to take that chance with their children , not to mention the often fatal consequences if a wolfdog should ever bite anyone?

Everyone has probably seen newspaper ads describing wolfdogs for sale with one of the selling points being that they are "good with children". Some breeders will also claim this point in person. Keep in mind that there are a lot of breeders out there that are in it for the money. They look for means of selling animals and this is one. It's also important to realize that there are many wolfdogs being sold by inexperienced owners as well. Ignorant of their animals' potential, and having never been informed themselves that there could be a problem, they in turn will sell animals that are "safe with children."

Getting back to the child recently killed in Michigan: imagine a hybrid who is good with children, yet is kept chained up -- a very important part of what happened. Any animal on a chain is deprived of any normal social needs. Many of the chained animals that I have seen show marked signs of social deprivation. They are easily excitable, very rough and sometimes aggressive when approached. This is just speculation but when the child walked up, the wolfdog probably became very excited. Someone was coming over to socialize with him! Now imagine what happens when a large animal, weighing many more times more than a small child, in his excitement accidentally knocks the child down. What do children do when toppled, and perhaps scratched? They scream and kick. This is just the thing that will trigger a predatory response.

The animal does not mean to do it; it is programmed to do it.

The really tragic thing is that this was fully preventable! The mother should have known better than to leave a small child unsupervised in a back yard with any large dog. The owner should also have known better than to allow anyone to leave a child with the animal, and MOST

IMPORTANTLY THE WOLFDOG SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ON A CHAIN IN THE

FIRST PLACE.

An animal, any animal, that was always good with children suddenly finds itself with its chain wrapped around a panicked, screaming kid, the situation could either trigger a critical reaction in the animal (it bites in fear, snapping at anything nearby), or trigger predatory behavior. Either way, the child is severely injured. Worse yet, unsupervised children in the neighborhood may find that teasing the animal gets an interesting reaction; the animal in turn is conditioned to become aggressive with kids. In fact, chaining used to be part of "agitation training" of attack dogs. The animal would be put on a chain and someone would dart in and out of its range teasing it to bite. Before long the dog would become very aggressive.

All this does not mean that your animal will attack your child one of these days. As tragic as this was for all the people involved and for the animal as well, it is also tragic for all those who do keep their animals responsibly.

What can we do? We can police ourselves. We can do all we can to convince people to be responsible owners and to build pens for their animals and get them off chains. Wolfdog organizations can put clauses in their registries requiring that no animals are to be kept on a chain. Breeders should only sell to people that have already built a pen for their animals. If they can't afford a pen then they can't afford the animal and we can't afford any more tragedies like these.

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Love and Discipline

When buying a new puppy, many people have questions about how to bond with and discipline their wolfdog. Over the years we have gathered a great deal of experience in this matter. The one recurring theme we have noticed is that you cannot have one (love or discipline) without the other. You spoil your pet and wonder why it won‟t obey even simple commands, or you only yell at your pet anytime you see it and wonder why it won‟t come when you call. Both of these environments are unhealthy for a pet.

This will not be a guide to training your pet to roll over and play dead, this is a guide for new pet owners to inform them on what we have discovered, and what they can discover from their relationship with their new puppy.

I considered writing this in a chronological manner, but every animal has its own personality, and its own rate at which they mature.

When you first bring your puppy home, the balance will favor love. This is the time when you‟re forming your bond with your new puppy. This puppy will be your best friend for better or worse.

This time is fundamental to your puppy. Typically I tell a new owner that an average of a week of constant attention and love is important for their new puppy. Depending on their socialization from birth, it could be more or less than a week. We very intensively socialize our puppies from birth, and typically they form new bonds in just a few days. For those first few days, I recommend that people refrain from chastising their puppy. You want to build a trust first.

The puppy will have to reach a certain age before it understands the concept of “mine” anyway.

“Mine” is a word we‟ve used with our puppies to signify things that are off limits to them. Even animate things like our cats, are ours, not theirs. As they get closer to adulthood they will better understand this principle and respect it.

The concept of “No” is the same. Although we typically don‟t use the word “no” with our dogs.

We instead use a sound, like “ah!” with a strict tone of voice. And in some cases I will growl at my dogs if I adamantly want them to stop a behavior. But you should do what is most comfortable for you.

Discipline is important to maintain your position as the alpha in your pack. Not only will this make you safer with any dog you own, but it will also make your wolf or dog feel safer. When there is a noise out in the darkness, my wolfdogs hide behind me. When the puppy is still small, after they‟re bonded to you, you should put them on their back on the ground. This will let them know absolutely that you are the alpha. It will also ensure that when they are too large to easily be physically dominated, they will still be submissive to you. Another sign of submission is their ears pulled back against their head. The importance of being the alpha in your household is that this will give your wolfdog a sense of security and stability. That is why this balance is so important, on both sides...

Last and certainly not least, Love. This is even more important than discipline. Many dogs around the country and the world each year are treated with no love. That is a tragedy. Before you consider buying any pet, you should search inward and consider if you have the time and energy to give them the love they need. Love also extends to how you care for your animal.

Make sure they have fresh, clean drinking water everyday. Make sure you give them the proper diet (Evo, Blue Buffalo, Taste of the Wild, etc), these are examples of foods with no unhealthy fillers. Your dog‟s looks and attitude will be reflected by the quality of their diet. Make sure you always nestle away money for surprise veterinary needs, this is important, you never know what tomorrow will bring.

In summation, if your only reason for buying a wolf dog is to have a trophy pet to show off to your friends, DO NOT BUY ONE. If you‟re looking for a loyal friend who will always give you unconditional love, then a wolfdog may be just right for you.

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Wolf Influence’s

The wolf has had an influence on the culture, art, and lore of human societies since before historical times. A traditional fear of wolves is deeply ingrained in many cultures, where they are often regarded as fearsome predators, not only of wildlife but also of humans and livestock. Such perceptions have resulted in wolves being hunted to extinction in many parts of the world where they once were plentiful.

In American culture, the image of the "big, bad wolf" has been pervasive. This view has been changing over the past few decades as reports from naturalists studying both wild and captive wolves have dispelled many of the myths and

misconceptions surrounding these animals.

Changing perceptions have resulted in an increased interest in wolves and things related to them.

Chief among these has been the growing popularity of the wolf-dog hybrid, more commonly referred to as the wolfdog.

A wolfdog is the offspring of a breeding between a wolf and a dog. Breeding is possible since wolves and dogs are closely related genetically.

Though estimates vary, the current population of wolfdog in the United States has been reported to be around 300,000. Growing interest in them has led to a proliferation in the number of wolf dog breeders, with many profiting from the breed's increasing popularity.

In addition, a small but energetic industry has sprung up around the animal. A number of publications, periodicals, and at least two registries are devoted to the breed. Several regional and national wolf hybrid organizations catering to breeders, owners, and enthusiasts have also become established.

As their numbers continue to increase, wolfdogs have become the center of a growing controversy. A number of attacks on people--mostly children--have resulted in severe injuries and several deaths. Consequently, many people have begun to question whether such animals belong in their communities, or whether they should exist at all.

Despite growing attention, wolfdogs remain largely misunderstood. Their poorly defined nature and lack of a stable identity have helped fuel the controversy surrounding them.

When considering the wolfdog, one cannot avoid discussing both the wolf and the dog. It is commonly accepted that the modern dog resulted from the domestication of the wolf, a process

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that began 12,000 to 15,000 years ago. Until this century, there has been little further interest in cross-breeding the two species.

It is likely that wolves and dogs have sporadically interbred in nature for as long as both species have coexisted. Most mating‟s probably occurred between roaming or wild dogs and wolves living apart from a pack.

Wolfdogs have been known to exhibit physical characteristics of both the wolf and dog in differing combinations and to varying degrees. Though closely related, there are a number of anatomical and physiological differences between the two species.

Wolves generally weigh between 80 and 100 pounds, with females weighing less than males. An unusual wolf may reach 150 pounds or more. They have slim torsos with narrow chests, long legs with large feet, and large heads with larger teeth and more powerful jaws than those of the dog. Their coat varies with the seasons; it is very thick with a dense undercoat in the winter and sheds to a thinner, shorter haired coat in the summer. Coat color varies from all black to a grizzled gray to all white. The eyes are usually a yellowish golden color.

Dogs come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors that vary greatly with the breed. The malamute and husky closely resemble the wolf in appearance, making them the dog breeds most preferred for hybridization.

Wolves are seasonal breeders and generally have two to four pups per litter. Dogs are non-seasonal breeders and generally have larger litters than wolves.

Because of the range of possible variations, there is no general description that can be made of the wolfdog. They are often larger in size than either the wolf or dog from which they were bred, a phenomenon termed "hybrid vigor." Though most high- percentage wolfdogs often retain much of the physical appearance of the wolf, many wolfdogs are indistinguishable from dogs in appearance.

This genetic makeup is most often represented as a percentage, a number which is presumed to be a measure of the amount of wolf blood in the animal. The percentage not only represents the lineage of a wolfdog, but is often used to determine its selling price as well.

A 2-year-old, high percentage wolf-dog hybrid.

When advertised for sale, wolfdogs are often described by a baffling array of percentages that importance to accurately represent the amount of wolf blood in the animal being sold. There is no uniformity amongst breeders in the way these percentage figures are determined, and a breeder can assign percentages to their animals by using several different methods. The most common, which may be termed the "pedigree method," is to add together the "known"

percentages of wolf in the two parents and divide the sum by two to get the percentage of wolf in the offspring. Thus, when a pure (100 percent) wolf is bred to a pure (0 percent) dog, the offspring will be 50 percent wolf. If this wolfdog is then bred to another pure wolf, the result would be a 75 percent wolfdog.

The pedigree method is considered by most breeders to be the only ethical way of calculating percentages, but it is not the only method used. A few breeders assign percentages to their wolfdogs based on the animal's physical appearance, others use systems known only to them, and some use any percentage that will fetch a decent selling price.

The absence of an objective behavioral study of this animal has contributed to the wolfdog controversy, and most opinions of their behavior can be readily divided between two opposing camps. One side describes them as being highly aggressive, destructive, unpredictable, and untrustworthy around humans, especially children. The other sees them as gentle, playful, intelligent, and loving animals, similar to the dog in their relations with people. In fact, many experienced wolfdog owners claim that their animals are less dangerous than some breeds of dogs

This mixture of potentially conflicting genetic traits results in less predictive behavior patterns in the wolfdog, compared to either the wolf or dog. This is not to say that the behavior of a specific wolfdog is unpredictable or erratic. It would, however, be unlikely that someone unfamiliar with a particular wolfdog, even someone with considerable experience, would be able to predict that animal's behavior with reasonable certainty. The adult behavior of wolfdog pups also cannot be predicted with anything near the certainty of dog pups. Thus, though the behavior of an individual wolfdog may be predictable, the behavior of the breed as a whole is not.

There are other troubling aspects of wolfdog behavior. Wolfdogs are often unsuitable in the home environment. Many retain the natural tendency toward destruction that makes the wolf such a poor house pet. Wolves are very curious animals by nature, and may destroy such large items as sofas, tables, and cabinets while attempting to satisfy their curiosity. They are also notoriously difficult to housebreak. Outdoors, wolves are excellent diggers, and can dig a hole as much as 6 feet underground, destroying yards and defying many poorly conceived attempts to keep them confined. Many wolfdogs retain these wolf-like behaviors, making them particularly undesirable as pets.

The wolfdog is quickly growing in popularity in the United States. Those who own and breed wolfdogs defend them as being a viable alternative to the dog for those who want a more exotic pet. Others regard them as potential "time bombs" ready to go off unexpectedly, injuring the owner or some unsuspecting person. The latter would like to see their breeding and sale prohibited. Many more are becoming concerned as the problems associated with these animals increase and more incidents occur.

Discussions of wolfdogs often become heated emotional exchanges between opposing parties, each with their own sets of data, statistics, and information. Despite opposition and attempts at regulation, the wolf hybrid population continues to increase as a result of continued demand for the animal by a certain segment of the public. Whatever opinion one has, the presence of wolfdogs has forced more and more communities to become embroiled in the controversy that continues to surround these animals.

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Your New Wolfdog Puppy

Before you pick up your pup examine your house and yard. Check for poisonous plants and shrubs. Also check your perimeter fence for holes where your pup could escape. If there is an opening the puppy‟s head would fit through, they can escape. Your wolf pup will probably want to dig, as most pups. You can either set aside an area where they are allowed to dig or stay with them when they are outside and teach them not to dig. It is recommended all new wolfdog owners to give their wolf a place to dig, as it is innate in their nature. Part of the reason they dig is to get to cooler dirt when they are hot. It is also recommended to have either a kiddy pool or a large water trough for them to get into and cool off.

Check your house and look for wires or other items they can chew. Either remove them or cover them. You could lose hundreds of dollars‟ worth of satellite cable and hoses to wolf pups when raised in the house, plus phone chargers and speakers wherever the wires are in their reach.

The new owner should allow the pup to lick their face, if the puppy desires, as this indicates it sees you as the alpha. It is best if two people pick up the young cub so that one can drive and the other hold the pup on your lap and reassure it on the way to its new home. The first car ride is usually a scary experience for young pups. Also, take an old towel or puppy pad (large size) to protect your lap as they frequently get car sick on their first ride. It helps if you don‟t allow them to look out the window as the moving scenery can accelerate the onset of car sickness.

Home at last. You have arrived in territory that is familiar and comfortable for you - not your wolfdog. Your puppy however has left his or her siblings, mom, and people he or she knows.

They are now in a totally unfamiliar environment. That‟s why it is not only important but necessary to have a few days, or possibly a week, to spend with your puppy. This is the time they bond with you and learn to trust you. In this time your wolfdog learns to see you as its provider and pack leader. Sometimes a condition occurs where the separation causes them to feel sick enough to stop eating or to get diarrhea. If they get diarrhea, cook them some hamburger and rice and when that cools mix mashed banana in it. Feed the rice, hamburger, banana mix for 2 days and then gradually start mixing in their dry food.

Feeding: Your puppy should be fed a quality puppy food that does not contain corn, wheat, or soy and has a minimum of 28% protein to start. Later, your wolfdog will need more protein. A good start is a puppy food and, then switch them over gradually to adult food which has 42%

protein. Otherwise they can stay on the puppy food and supplement with raw meat and bones to chew. Do not give them milk, unless you like cleaning up runny poop. Wolves are lactose intolerant. For the first week I would recommend feeding them three times (3X) per day, as much as they can eat. Then put the food up and wait for the next mealtime. This will help your wolf see you as its “top dog.” A wolfdog provider decides when it eats. This also helps with house breaking as your wolfdog won‟t have food constantly moving through its digestive system, thus establishing a routine doing its “business” at about the same time every day. Once house broken and bonded, consider keeping food in front of them all the time. This will help to keep them from getting food aggressive.

What to chew? Chewing is a problem with most puppies and no less with this breed. They chew to cut teeth and to develop jaw strength. They enjoy chewing on pine fire wood. At eight weeks, a stick two (2) inches in diameter is about right. As they get bigger, the stick needs to get fatter.

They like pine because it is soft and their teeth actually sink into it. They will chew the end off and leave pine slivers on the floor but hey it beats having them chew on the leg of the dining room table. Do not give them old shoes or old socks to chew on, as they don‟t know the difference between the lovely smell of your old shoes and your new ones. Additionally, bones are good chew toys. The bottom line is, don‟t allow them to do anything you don‟t want a 100-pound-dog doing.

If picking up your pup is not an option for you, and your wolfdog must be flown to you, they will be very nervous due to the flight and confined in a crate for possibly eight-plus hours. Don‟t take them out of their carrier at the airport. Wait until you are in what will be their safe environment to take them out preferable in a small bedroom or bathroom where they can‟t get too far away.

Sit on the floor and wait for them to unwind a bit and come to you. Have some treats handy, at first they will be too nervous to eat. As they calm down they will come to you for the treat. If the flight comes in late at night, your wolfdog may not take to you until the next morning.

Your wolfdog will have had his or her first shots before you get your pup, so don‟t rush out and get them more shots. You should receive a shot record so you will know when the next shots are due.

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Letting Your Wolfdog Know You Are the

Alpha

Your Wolfdog needs to know that you are the leader of its pack, thus giving it the proper perspective of its place and yours in the world.

You may find this list of rules helpful to ensure your dog understands your mutual places.

If you own a wolfdog, you should consider heeding these rules. Canines need to have a clear understanding of their place in the pack. A wolfdog lacking that insight will not be happy or fulfilled.

Some wolfdog behaviors might not be what they seem. For example separation anxiety may seem like your wolfdog is destructive when you leave the house. When in reality it is nervous being left home alone. Wolves are social animals which live in packs, thus they do not do well being left alone for extended periods of time.

The primary way to communicate with your wolfdog that you are its pack leader is to take it for a walk. Now, don‟t consider the typical walk most humans take with their dog, where the dog is actually taking the human for a walk. You are going on a pack walk where the wolf is made to heel beside or behind you. This is most important for all dogs, as in a canine's mind, the pack leader will always lead the way. A dog must not be allowed to sniff or eliminate anytime it wishes, but when you allow it. The dog should be concentrating on following you - the human pack leader. This pack type walk should be done daily. Not only will this release build up energy, but it will satisfy the dog's instinct to migrate, which all dogs possess. Dogs who have excess energy bottled up inside them and who do not have their migration instinct met will develop various instability issues that most people mistake for being breed traits.

All pack leaders eat first. When you give your wolfdog its food, eat a small snack first while it is watching, lay the snack near the wolf‟s food so that it thinks you are eating out of its bowl.

Remember, the leader always eats first. As it is eating push its face out of the food bowl and mix the food with your hand. That lets it know the food is yours but you are done and it can have the rest. It also leaves your scent on the food, making it yours.

Don‟t feed table scraps to the wolves during a meal, as tempting as it may be. If there are leftovers you want to give it, put them in its bowl when you are through eating and ready to leave the table. That way the alphas have eaten first and it eats last.

Feedings must be at a scheduled time, as you determine when those in the pack eat.

You should not let the dog go through any doorway first. The leader of the pack always goes first. If the dog does not stay behind the humans, the dog must be told to "stay" and given the command to "come" after all humans have passed through. If the dog is allowed to go first it is then in the place of pack leader.

You should never go to the dog, it should always come to you.

A basic obedience command such as “Sit” or “Come” should be given before pleasurable interaction with the dog. The children should give the dogs commands at least once a day and reward with a treat when the command is followed. This builds a child‟s position as the pack leader as well. A simple “Sit” will do. No treat should be awarded if the dog does not follow the command. Show your dog it does not get anything for free. Its food, water, treats, even praise/love have to be earned by doing something. Even something as little as sit or come. Make sure the dog takes the treat from your hands gently. Do not ever allow the dog to snatch the treat from your hand.

You should not lay on the floor to watch TV when the dog is around and no one should roll around the floor playing with the wolfdogs, as a human should never put himself in an equal or lesser height position than the wolf.

You are the one who greets newcomers first, your wolfdog is the last who gets attention (the pack leader is the one who greets newcomers and lets the rest know when it is safe to greet the newcomer)

If your wolfdog is laying in your path, do not walk around the wolf, make it move.

During the time you are establishing your higher pack position, no hugs should be given to the dog by you, as a dominant dog may consider this a challenge of power.

If you establish eye contact with the wolfdog, the wolf must stop its gaze first. If the human stops first, the wolf will feel like it has a higher power position. Tell the children not to have staring contest with the wolf, as if they stop or blink first, it will only reinforce, in the wolfdog‟s mind, that it is pack leader.

Ideally, wolfdogs should not sleep in your bed. In the wolf world, the most comfortable place to sleep is reserved for the higher members of the pack. If a wolfdog is allowed to sleep on the bed, the dog must be invited up and not be allowed to push the humans out of their way. Making them sleep at the foot of the bed rather than, for example, on your pillow, is best. The wolfdog should never be invited to get on the bed before the human.

Wolfdogs must never be allowed to mouth or bite anyone at any time, including in play.

Any attention given to the wolfdog, including petting should be given when the human decides attention is to be given (absolutely no petting when the wolf nudges or paws you or your hand.

This would be letting the dog decide and reinforcing, in his mind, that he is higher on the scale than the human.)

You, not the wolf, must start and finish all games of fetch or play with toys.

Wolfdogs should not be allowed to lie on your furniture, except by invitation of the leader of the pack who always gets the most comfortable spot. Dogs belong on the floor. If you do decide to allow your dog on the furniture, you must be the one who decides when it is allowed up and you must be the one who decides when it is to get off, by inviting it up and telling it to get down.

No tug-of-war, as this is a game of power and you may lose the game giving the wolf a reinforcement (in its mind) of pack leader (not all trainers agree on this).

Wolves need to be taught a “Drop it” or release command. Any objects the wolfdog has in its possession should be able to be taken away by all humans.

Wolves own no possessions, everything belongs to you. They are all on "loan" from the human family. You should be able to handle or remove any item at all times from the wolfdog with no problems from the animal. Even if you are taking a chicken bone out of the wolfdog's mouth.

Wolfdogs should not be allowed to pull on the leash. When they do this they are leading the way and it is your job to lead the way and show that you are higher up in the pack order. (In the wild, the leader of the pack always leads the way; the pack leader leads the hunt.) When you put its food dish down, it must wait until you give the "OK" to eat. Place its food on the ground and tell it to wait. If it darts at the food, block it with your body. You can point at it and tell it, "No, Wait" They read each other‟s energy by reading body language, and your dog can read yours. Yes, your dog can read your emotions. So stand tall and think "Big" and stay confident. Do not be nervous, your wolfdog will sense this and assume you are weak. It is this weakness that triggers a wolf to try and take over (for the good of the pack, the pack needs a strong leader). Give the wolfdog a previously taught command before giving them their food. If a wolfdog does not follow the command (i.e. to sit), he does not eat. When he does respond to the command, you invite him to eat his food.

Wolfdogs should never be left unsupervised with children or anyone who cannot maintain leadership over the dog. Sometimes family members also need to be trained.

Last but certainly not least... when you are around your wolfdog avoid emotions such as fear, anxiety, harshness or nervousness. Your wolf can sense these emotions and will see you as weak.

This will escalate your problem as your wolf feels an even stronger need to be your leader. Think Big and Powerful and be calm, assertive, and consistent. Remember, there is no hiding your emotions from your wolfdog. They can in a sense, read our minds, in reading our body language.

Picture yourself, in your own mind as big, powerful and very sure of yourself. Pull your shoulders back and stand up straight. This is your number one resource when it comes to communicating with your wolfdog. Your wolfdog will be happy and secure knowing he has a strong pack leader to care for him or her.

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