|Now that the technical stuff is out of the way, let's get into day-to-day living with the new furball!
First off, what do you feed her? This topic got large ;) so feeding moved over HERE.
Where will you keep her? Some people keep their animals outside in secure pens, others have them full-time or part-time indoors as "pets". Both scenarios have their ups and downs…Owners of outside dogs won't need to struggle with housebreaking, gnawed woodwork, de-stuffed couches, and food stolen off the counters. They are likely to have fewer confrontations with the animals over petty, day-to-day things. They can have a 'nice house', keep smaller animals for pets, and generally lead a more sane life. <grins> Many people find the behaviour of a higher content wolf cross inappropriate for a house animal...even with much training, many wolfdogs will never have the house manners of a more "normal" dog. They require constant supervision, as their natural curiosity & intelligence prompts them to get into everything and put their teeth on it. It's very much like having a permanent toddler around the house. However, inside wolfers have their advantages too. A few people, including myself, have noticed a correlation between "problem animals" and those treated as 'wolves', not "pets". Granted, these are not dogs in the conventional sense, and some special accommodations may be necessary; but they do tend to live up to the owners' expectations (or lack thereof)…and it seems that when they come inside alot, and are part of the family, they act a LOT more like dogs than the ones left outdoors full time. After all, their pen becomes their home, and YOU are the trespasser. Our guys come into MY home--the house--when I am home; and they'd best be respectful or I will boot them back outside ;) "Being a house wolf is a privilege, not a right--and I expect some compromises." That's what I tell them, anyhow...but sometimes they still eat my furniture. <grin> Inside dogs get to spend more time with their humans, & don't run the risk of "going wild" due to lack of interaction…also, some folks miss out on a lot of their wolfers' personality by not having them around like this. In addition, just like dogs, they are less likely to develop problem behaviours such as barking and escaping if they don't spend all day/every day in their pen. For lower content animals, keeping them indoors at least part time is highly recommended, even though you'll probably need to keep a closer eye on them than the guy next door needs to do with his rottweiler. Keep in mind that some animals, particularly high contents, do choose to live outdoors whether YOU prefer it or not. Because of this, it is always necessary to have a securely fenced yard when taking on a higher content animal.
If you've decided on outside, make sure she is very securely contained <for ideas on this, look here ~Wolf Dunn~ or here ~Southern Breeze Kennels~ > . (Further planning and troubleshooting tips for escape artist canines can be found HERE.) Give her toys and bones to keep her amused, make sure she has a canine companion of some sort, & has adequate shelter and fresh water at all times…and try to bring her in for closely supervised visits & let her spend time with the family when you can. That is very important for building your relationship. She *will* chew some things of yours, they always do...try not to freak out. You may want to "puppy-proof" your home so she doesn't get her teeth into anything too critical when she comes in. Clear off the counters, take out the garbage, remove anything of value (such as books, wallets, and new-release videocassettes--you'd be surprised how expensive those are if they were just put on the shelf ;) and be prepared to keep a close eye on her & say "no" a lot. The more she comes in, the better she will get about not getting into things…but it takes time and practice (and proper training from you).
If you've decided on "inside dog" (good for you!), you'll probably be concerned about housebreaking. Housebreaking a wolfdog is like housebreaking any other puppy; some catch on right away, others take awhile. It depends mainly on your ability to convey what you want the pup to do. However, wolves and many wolfdogs are extremely prone to submissive urination--this does NOT mean they are unhousebroken, but the end result is the same: pee on your carpet. To avoid this, try to avoid doing the things that cause this behaviour when indoors. HERE's a good submissive wetting link. (If you have multiple dogs, your other dogs will likely make her pee from time to time. She can't help it...stock up on enzyme cleaner such as Nature's Miracle, or invest in linoleum ;) A wolfdog may also urinate or defecate if frightened...this is natural behaviour, and something a wolfparent needs to be prepared to accept. Yours may never do this...but many will if they are put into a scary situation. Intact adult animals may feel inclined to spray on the furnishings--also not a housebreaking issue, but with the same result. I've had success correcting them for this...but it sure makes a strong case for neutering. Altered animals are far less likely to engage in this sport.
As far as the housebreaking procedure goes…well, let me start by saying I am not the world's best at it. ;) I tend to be easily distracted, and when I wander off to feed a cat or pluck wolfie paws from the counter, the pup in training is bound to take advantage of that 30 seconds and find the only remaining rug in the house. (LOL) But, nowadays, the only pee that gets on my floor is the submissive-urination kind...so I guess you could say all my brats are housebroken, and if I can do it, you can too ;)
Rule number one: if you're not watching the dog, she goes in her crate, or outside. Some folks will tether the dog to them with a leash...if that works for you, go for it. (I always find myself tripping over a dog...) At night, if you don't have a crate, you can tether the pup to your bed...but you'd better buy coated airline cable, because you can go through a lot of nylon leashes otherwise ;) Amazing how sharp those little teeth are. If you're doing the crate thing, make sure it is big enough for her to sit up in, and lie down normally...but no bigger. (Otherwise, she will pee in one end & sleep in the other.) If you are relatively sure she will be able to hold it until you can get her out, don't put newspapers or a blanket in there for her...I know it sounds harsh, but if the blanket soaks up the pee & keeps her dry, she will have much less motivation to avoid going potty in her crate. When pups are very tiny (i.e. a few weeks old, where they still pee in their sleep) or if you will be gone, and unable to let her out in a timely fashion...do put that blankie in there ;) No sense penalizing her if it's not her fault. If you'll be gone all day (which is way longer than a young pup can hold it), you'll need a very big crate, small room, or (better yet!) a pen outside <with shelter, of course>. Keeping her confined with her own mess all day is counterproductive, because she'll just learn to live with the smell & your job is now that much harder. For the record, pups can't really be expected to hold it "all day" (8 hours) until they're about 4 months old.
|Out of room! Onto Page 3|