A Needlepoint Dreary wrote:Considering that wolves and dogs have such different behaviours, how could one raise a wolf? Would he raise one as a dog?
You cannot raise a wolf as a dog. You cannot socialize or train a wolf like a dog, you can't feed them like a dog, and you certainly can't interact with them as if they were dogs. You can't even behave the same way around wolves and hybrids as you do with domestic canines. Being around wolves and wolfdogs has its own system, it's own world, its own 'code'. I wouldn't even dream of comparing regular dog ownership to wolf and hybrid ownership.
A Needlepoint Dreary wrote:I support using wolves as learning tools in Refuge Parks and Universities, as long as proper care is provided.
So why own a wolf? Power? Pride? Fame?
You should only own a wolf if you're completely certified and have a vast knowledge in their behaviour. Wolves should be kept in groups, and should never be used as tools to strengthen your own emotional weaknesses.
agree with you. And yes; most people own wolves because they are seen as status symbols. People may think it's cool or 'macho' to own a potentially dangerous/exotic wild animal. People are drawn to the mysticism of the wolf. Unfortunately, that is never
the right reason to own a non-domestic animal. Wolves do not make good pets.
They simply cannot be assessed as pets. They can be taught
certain behaviors, yes. They can be socialized. But wolves, or any other predatory animals kept as 'pets', no matter how well-behaved, docile, human-oriented, and 'tame' they seem, are never
fully safe to keep around humans. And I'm speaking from experience. I've worked with high-content hybrids, I'm aware of the unpredictabilility and suspicious nature of these animals. They can never be trusted. I don't even trust the pups I have bottle-fed and taken naps with. I acknowledge the fact that they aren't 'just like dogs'. They aren't pets.
Anyone who fantasizes about wolf/wolfdog ownership, please take a moment to read this:
(This is for those with the misconception that it must be such a wonderful, beautiful and special experience to own wolves or hybrids.)
I have personally hand-raised two high-percentage wolf hybrids and the process was absolutely nothing like raising domestic pups.
Unlike domestic dogs, wolves and hybrids have to be pulled from the mother at a very early age - I pulled both of the pups when they were three days old (to ensure they had the colostrum from the mother). And after that, it was the most exhausting, challenging and difficult period in my life.
I had the responsibility of raising, socializing and training these pups; I had to make them both mentally and physically healthy individuals. I had to keep them isolated from adult canines (excluding short visits from their mother) so that they would properly imprint on me instead of imprinting on their mother. I had to bottle-feed them every three hours during the first week. They were 3½ weeks old when I began to feed them solid food. And then they had to be introduced to the pack (the presence of conspecifics is critical in the development of wolf and hybrid pups; they WILL suffer from behavioral problems if they are completely dependent on humans, they MUST have other canines, preferably other wolves and wolfdogs, around them as they grow). And even after the pups were moved to the enclosure and were now a part of the pack, I still had to continue their training and socialization - bottle-feeding is just the earliest stage of wolf/hybrid socialization. It doesn't stop there. Anywhere I went, I took the pups with me - they were in the car with me, they did grocery shopping with me, they walked in the city streets with me... everywhere. I let strange people hold and pet them. I introduced them to as many sounds, smells, sights, places, people (especially children, to reduce the risk of them fearing/viewing kids as a threat during the later stages of their lives) and other animals (including horses, since my family owns three, sheep and other livestock, dogs, cats, and rabbits). It was incredibly arduous - every day I made sure the pups experienced something new and positive.
And then the actual training - mastering basic commands and cut-off signals is absolutely vital.
It's impossible to manage a hybrid wolf safely if it does not respond to its handler. They are very intelligent, and are extremely fast learners, but whereas dogs are content with a simple compliment from the owner, hybrids always
want something in return. They will not
perform tricks just to please you, unlike dogs. They do not
seek a human's attention, approval, and affection in the same fashion as dogs. A lot of people FALSELY believe that wolves and hybrids have a so-called 'White Fang' syndrome; that they are loyal, trusting, and loving because they are social pack animals with a pack/family mentality. This is not true. Most hybrids do get socially attached to their caretakers and there is a certain 'bond' between the wolf and the human, but it's not same (or even similar) to the social interaction between dogs and humans. Dogs often dote upon their owners; hybrid wolves simply do not display the same degree of trust and affection.
The juvenile years were perhaps the most challenging. And it was also the only time when I literally wanted to give up and just stop working with them - it was that
difficult. I'm not lying or exaggerating. There were even times when they were dangerous and aggressive
towards me. Constantly charging at me, trying to intimidate; nipping at my hands and arms; trying to pull me to the ground by tearing at my clothes; showing their teeth and growling; flattening their ears and raising their hackles. They simply weren't the cute little pups anymore. But I had no other choice but to deal with this behavior; I knew the wolf in them was going to make an appearance at some point, and I had seen other hybrids go through the same phase. But I can't (and won't) deny how incredibly hard it was (physically and emotionally) to step into the same enclosure with an animal that is completely capable of badly injuring and even killing you. But all that, even the negativity, is normal lupine behavior
. Anyone who cannot understand that should not own wolves and hybrids.
'My' hybrids did grow up to be balanced and healthy wolfdogs. It's one of the achievements that I am very proud of. But unfortunately, due to the owner's lack of expertise and sense of responsibility, most hybrids never get the chance to reach their full potential. They are great animals. But they don't
make great pets. Never.
I do not think there is anything wrong with responsible
wolf and hybrid ownership. But you need to be knowledgeable, dedicated and VERY financially prepared
to own animals like wolves and wolfdogs. You also have to accept the risks - your animal CAN attack you, your friends, your other animals. It CAN escape its enclosure (the ONLY
place a wolf should ever be kept in) and it CAN be dangerous. Most wolf owners are extremely immature and do not understand the risks. They rave about how lovely and magnificent their pet wolf is, how it is harmless and would never hurt anything or anyone etc. This is a very
irresponsible and unhealthy approach to wolf ownership.