|"A responsible breeder would never sell someone two wolfdog puppies at once/no one can do an adequate job of raising two or more wolfdog puppies."
The truth, as I can best determine it: Wolfdogs are pack animals, and do poorly without the companionship of their own kind. A previous dog can be a huge help in raising a wolfdog pup, but another pup its own age may be an even bigger help! The pups can practice their dominance struggles, bite inhibition, food aggression, and other parts of growing up as a dog *on each other*, rather than transferring these behaviours to the humans. They'll also play each other out, and a tired puppy is a well-behaved puppy! Some people are afraid that the pups will bond only to each other, and shun human contact...but others (who have raised pups simultaneously) have found that as long as a reasonable amount of time is spent with the pups, not only is this *not* the case--but the pups will actually compete for the owner's attention...and a clever owner can use this jealousy & competition to their advantage. ;) In fact, some very experienced wolf people claim they would never attempt to raise just one wolf or high-content pup alone.
"Wolf or wolfdog pups should be raised away from all other canines, except for limited contact, for the first six months."
The truth, as I can best determine it: This is a tenacious bit of 'expert' advice. Despite the numerous problems this can cause, it is still frequently promoted. A wolf or high content wolfdog is generally inclined to attempt some pretty serious testing as a pup; it is part of their genetic makeup, and how they learn their place in the pack. I suspect much of this behaviour would carry over into domestic dogs as well...but it is rarely seen, because domestics can easily be left with their parents until they are much older & have outgrown some of these phases. Wolfdog pups *need* the presence of other canines to become well-rounded, socially functional adults. A wolfdog pup raised with only humans as "packmates" is far more likely to demonstrate 'aggressive tendencies' (i.e., perform his puppy testing on his humans), think of himself as a human and/or equal, and have problems relating to other dogs. Puppies of any breed should always receive plenty of human *and* canine interaction from the very start.
"Wolves in the wild run 50 miles a day. It's not fair to keep them in your backyard."
The truth, as I can best determine it: Wolves and wolfdogs are *lazy* animals. Though it's fantastic to build a huge enclosure of many acres for them if you have the resources, the reality of it is that with proper attention, canine companionship, walks, toys, and other goodies that come with living the alternative life of a "companion wolf"...they do fine without vast expanses to roam. Our wolfdogs have a large enclosure and a smaller one, coupled together and always left open to each other...yup, they spend 20+ hours per day sleeping, & are almost always in the small section (nearest the house—they are waiting for me to let them in, come out myself, or take them for a walk!)
Wolves in the wild have been known to travel great distances in search of food...but don't get the mistaken impression that they do all that travelling for the fun of it. (Having to scrounge up your own grub every day is a chore...and failing to do so sucks.) If they take down a moose in the first mile, do you really think they will make a point of running the other 49? ;)
"One male/female pairing per enclosure is the only way to keep wolfdogs."
The truth, as I can best determine it:
Some wolfdogs are, indeed, same sex aggressive--and to be safe, one should never plan on two same sex wolfdogs--especially females!--living together peacefully forever. By "never plan on", I mean that the owner should be ready to separate the two if their situation degrades to the point where someone might be seriously hurt. However, it is certainly possible, and not all that uncommon, for entire packs of wolfdogs to do fine together! After all, the wolf is designed to live as a pack animal. A pack of wolves or wolfdogs will show you much more of their fascinating behaviours than a lone pair, and it will be an absolute pleasure to watch their interactions...those who have a solitary animal, or keep them in pairs, are often missing out on a lot of fun. :-)
Proper responses to any minor confilicts, on the part of the owner, can also go a long ways towards ensuring harmony in the pack. The owner does need to be observant and have a good understanding of canine body language and vocabulary, to know well ahead of time if there's any trouble brewing. More often than not, the owner can manage things quite well by: staying out of the dogs' business unless it gets too serious, making sure to treat the alpha as the alpha, making sure all dogs are well cared for and have plenty of personal space, and training & socializing their dogs...and the Power of Positive Thinking sure doesn't hurt either! ;-) Note: if the animals in question are intact, they are much less likely to get along upon maturity. Yet another reason to consider spay/neuter!
"Pulling and bottle-feeding wolfdog pups is mean/detrimental/unnecessary."
The truth, as I can best determine it:
For high content wolfdogs and pure wolves, pulling pups is pretty much mandatory--unless you are willing to sentence the pup to a rough road ahead of him, learning to slowly trust humans at an older age or even suffering a lifetime of discomfort around most people. Wolves, having been persecuted by humans for so long, are hardwired to be fearful of them unless imprinted on them from a very early age. Pulling and bottlefeeding allows a pup to become bonded to humans (and especially to the human who bottlefed him!) from infancy, with no discomfort to the animal. Frequent handling by people is *critical* to a wolfdog puppy's early development.
In the event that the pups' mother was extremely well socialized and very comfortable around humans, she and the pups could be brought in the house & she could raise the litter jointly with her people--this would probably be the best of all possible worlds. However, it would be extremely unusual to find a high content wolfdog who was comfortable raising her litter indoors and underfoot.
Any pups should, if possible, be left on the mom for the first 10-14 days--this minimizes the risks of impairing an infant's fragile health, and allows them the benefits of their mama's colostrum, which provides early immunity to the pups while their are still too young for puppy vaccinations to "take".
Pups adopted out before the customary 7-10 weeks of age will require additional work on the part of the new owner; not just the bottle feeding, but also teaching bite inhibition (normally taught by sublings), and teaching self control (normally taught by mom via weaning).
"Possession is 100% of the Law with wolves/wolfdogs--NEVER take things, especially food, from a wolf or wolfdog."
The truth, as I can best determine it:
To a large extent, dogs--including wolfdogs--are what you make of them. His being "part wolf" is no excuse for allowing bratty and unacceptable behaviour! ALL canines can (and should) learn to be civil to their humans over food and possessions--and many people have created problem dogs because they backed off every time "he doesn't like when I do that". :-( For more info, see "self-control", above, and also this page on dominance.
|Truth or Opinion?|
|It's common, in many areas of life, for people to tout their own personal opinions as absolute fact. It's no different when the subject is wolfdogs...Here are a few common misconceptions about wolfdogs that have become widespread, and hang in there tenaciously. Note that the rebuttals are simply *MY* opinions...based on my observations, and those of other experienced owners.I'm sure this page will grow over time ;)|