Working with wolfdogs "Wolf Hybrids"
Most of these dogs in these images, all but two of the pups behind the fence, have experienced many activities. Those activities include trail sledding, backpacking, winter mountaineering including overnight storms, multiple summits, some basic weight-pulling, all for fun.
I have had experience of working with wolfdog's. Having had the experience working with Northern Breeds on their misbehaving days help to achieve the experience necessary to not be intimidated by a wolfdog when they are being aggressive, and allows to understand them MUCH easier. What you do with those skills is to reverse-the-tables, thereby enabling one to achieve the undisputed alpha position of dominance (without getting bit) over the wolf within the dog. Once this mutual respect is found, it allows him/her a nice relaxing, stress free, laid back, people friendly, beta to omega lifestyle. In essence, you learn from the wolfdog or Nordic dog, it teaches you, then you use it's ways against it when it's misbehaving as a sort of reverse psychology. These skills are imperative if considering rescuing a cunning breed of this type, and this can't be overstated enough.
There is little need to breed or create more wolfdog's, time is better spent responsibly concentrating efforts on neutering and spaying ALL wolfdog stock over 50%. There is no necessity or need for this type of animal other than sled dog use, education, rescuing, neutering, spaying, and offering our respect to allow them to live out their lives fully and happily. Wolfdog's certainly do NOT make good pets, but it would seem there's always a wolfdog in need of rescuing. On the converse, it's not advisable to neuter/spay captive wolves in rescue programs since these captive wolves genetic diversity holds future value in preventing genetic bottlenecks should the need arise for direct captive/wild interbreeding. In the latter case, the wolf in captivity would become an asset to its species as a whole.
One thing worth mentioning about wolfdog's, especially to those still skeptic of the wolf, is there has been little record of a PURE wolf attacking a man. Wolves have a healthy fear of man, and as a whole DO NOT commit UNPROVOKED attacks on man. Movies like Werewolf in London etc... have given wolves a bad rap. Those movies are based on fictitious folklore invented to keep children in line, and as a fiction type entertainment.
In North America, wolves are only usually seen by man in areas where the land has been so altered by man himself, to such an extent as to threaten the very existence of entire wolf sub species. Usually, loss of habitat, or areas where the wolves wild food sources have been diminished, depleted, exhausted, and exploited are where they are the most threatened. In environmentally compromised areas due to mans activities, the wolf turns to scavenging for food, in turn appearing on mans properties that skirt true wild nature areas.
A mutual respect does exists in most cases, but as we all know, not always. One problem, such as with most ranchers points of views, is that their view has become so clouded socially that they truly believe that it is their right to exploit the critical lands of endangered wild animals that share it with them, for some reason, usually as if it were a war, up to the point of man destroying the natural ecosystem's habitat altogether by eliminating the keystone species that the habitat depends on for its health. So much for trusted texts such as the bible, which states that the Earth is our Dominion, and we are the stewards of this place. or environmental documentation that proves we are the biggest threat to this planets health as long as we are alive. In order to harvest, we must sow. In other words we cant take(exploit/rape), without giving equally. It is our due responsibility as the keepers of this land. It is the only way we can sustain the beauty that we know today. When given proper territory, the wolf coexists with man and respects us like no other kinship in this world. The wolf will even sing for us now and then if we listen real carefully(smiles intended), but will always give us bay. Wolves are completely respected by those who truly know them and as a whole are COMPLETELY respectful of man, and always give us our space.
There has been some documented cases in range land such as Montana where ranchers have suffered losses to natural roaming wolves who prey on their cattle and sheep. There are organizations that compensate the ranchers if they can prove it was a wolf kill, but this has proven a hard thing to do for most of their losses. This will always be a challenging front, but respect must always wane towards the wolf in respect to this argument because of the natural birth right of the wolf, and its right to roam its natural lands, just as we do.
Back to the wolfdog. Some similar problems occur with wolfdogs, and some even more unpredictable. Wolves are wolves, and dogs are dogs. A dog is NOT a wolf, and a wolf is NOT a dog. BUT, and this is a big BUT, if you mix a wolf with a dog, what you get is a WOLFdog, capitalize the wolf. Following yet? A wolfdog is neither a dog, nor wolf. It is something entirely different.
A wolfdog incorporates a lot of the behaviour, no matter how fierce or friendly, of a regular a non-man-fearing dog, with the inheritance of the power of a wolves wild attributes, and it's pure raw hunger driven hunting instincts, therefore losing the healthy inhibitions and fear of man ever so present in a Pure wolf. This dictates a necessity of man being the undisputed alpha at his own peril, to reduce the risk of his own, when working with wolfdog's. This is how these wolfdog's get such a bad rap.
I can tell you one thing, if there is anything i have noticed about wolfdog's is that they are extremely respectful of man, to the extent that a pure wolf would be, and are absolutely not aggressive towards humans. Of course there is always that bad apple that is an exception to the rule, but lets not be extreme here, consider this general-education instead. One must understand, this opinion comes from a fully capable young male(human being), that regularly gets physical with them when they step out of line. As I mentioned, one MUST maintain FAIR dominance over this type of breed to reap the benefits of a true companion animal.
One approach wolfdog handlers take with wolfdogs is to be overly aggressive with them, and try to simply beat them into submission. You can NOT beat respect into a wolfdog, you MUST EARN IT. This is something that i want to make very clear. just remember, to "EARN" their respect is the only way. Consider it a job for your desires. If you want to work with a wolfdog bad enough, then its your permanent job. So fair play is ALWAYS a necessity, and absolute dominance is necessary during the more trying times.
If your not willing to get up several times in the middle of the night during your sleep time to join the pack and dominate when the fighting starts, then give up the idea of ever being able to get along with a wolfdog and its pack mates. Otherwise, well, the pictures should be the only proof of how much fun they can really be. ONLY IF you have the TIME AND absolute physical ENERGY to spend with them several times daily should one attempt to take on the task of handling them on a daily basis to help them live out their lives.
These special needs have never been necessary with the dog alone, or the wolf alone. In other words, the wolfdog, and other wild/domestic hybrids are looked at differently and need to be kept differently. This isn't any ordinary or easy thing to do and most are completely unexperienced and have NO idea what kind of extreme 24-7 labor they are getting themselves into.
It is well advised to keep the genes of the wild/domestic hybrids at bay, and spay, neuter, and eradicate wherever possible for the health of future populations of pure wolves and domestic dogs. By eradicating, I do not mean to euthanize. This should NEVER happen to a wolfdog, that would be extremely pitiful and poor uneducated oversight. We all need the moral responsibility to place a rogue hybrid into a rescue and ensure that it is neutered/spayed. There are many rescues that lend a big loving heart to the most rebellious wolfdog's of them all, people that realize that inside that furious heart, there is ALWAYS path to friendship. Personally, I can find and run down this path within days to a week or two, most times, when working with others wolfdog's. Those who know the breed, can tame these dogs like a baby, no matter how rogue. This is a fact!
Please rescue, spay and neuter hybrids if being used as pets. If you have wolfdog/hybrid puppies, please be responsible and neuter/spay ALL puppies, and be prepared to have this 24 hour duty of being the alpha, so the wolfdog can be on its way to a normal "dog's life". Also be prepared to take them to the proper facilities such as your local veterinarian or animal hospital, incase they are in need urgent care, or to ship them off to a rescue if they get out of hand, but please DO NOT let them find a way to the local SPCA's or your local humane societies, or they will be promptly euthanized(killed) upon arrival without a grain of hope of being given a second chance. And by all means, please DO NOT willingly "have them put down", this is not the proper way to deal with a misbehaving dog, and there are plenty of rescue kennels out there that are willing to properly kennel up misbehaving dogs and give them a happy life. Please "Contact" using the link on the very bottom of this website if you need help finding out what to do with a misbehaving dog.