You may remember a while ago I posted this with the aim of other wolfdog owners sharing their experiences. I think it is really important that first hand owner experience is available on the internet for those researching the breed. Wolfdogs make awesome pets for some, but definitely not all.
Thanks to Ellie for the following post – Ellie has 4 wolfdogs, plus also fosters additional wolfdogs from time to time for Wolfdog Rescue.
‘So where do I start? Life with a small pack of Wolfdogs? In a 3 bedroom semi? 2 kids, 3 cats and various reptiles?
Well for a start, it’s life changing! Gone is the party girl who squealed at a dead bird laid at my feet by a feline! Welcome the ‘mad wolf lady’ who carries ‘road kill’ bags in the glove box and thinks nothing of giving that bunny on the side of the road a mark out of 10 before pulling over and doing the walk of shame to collect the still warm furry; smiling that fresh dinner is free tonight for my pack. My cheeks have burned on many occasions as the passing cars have almost hit the curb straining to see if this bird has actually just done what they thought!
I can honestly say the first 3 months with my first wolfdog pup nearly broke me. The constant screaming through crate training, the arms covered in holes and scratches as we tried to work through mouthing and jumping up. Many tears were cried, convinced we were never going to be able to give her the home she needed.
Then one day something snapped, as I was trying to fight off the now 5 month old pup who was growing rapidly. Instead of shouting ‘no’ or ‘making like a tree’ or any other of the so-called tips. I snapped, grabbed her collar, pushed her into the kitchen, shut the stair gate. And ignored her, couldn’t even bare to look at her, and suddenly something changed. The look of complete sadness and rejection on her face. Ah ha! Progress! She hated being ignored and removed from the ‘den’….. It was the worst form of punishment for her. These dogs are so pack orientated, removal from that security blanket means certain death to a wild puppy.
And that was when I truly fell in love with these dogs. The mouthing almost immediately stopped! If she did, she got rejected by the pack. She now wanted to please me, to be loved by me, and to be safely within the realms of her human pack.
And that was when we got her a play mate…..Double trouble!
We realised that getting wound up didn’t help, instead we learned to laugh at the holes in the garden and the love of chewing only ‘left’ shoes.
We also learned the most important word in any wolfdog owners vocabulary when they’ve done something silly, naughty or just simply unexplainable. We learned to take the shredded rug on the chin, the stolen mobile carefully buried with just the corner sticking out the ground made us chuckle at the sheer cheek. And when we gave them the ‘glare’, and they knew they were heading for time out…. We just looked at them and said ‘REALLY????’
Tongue comes out, ears go back, head drops and that whole body submissive wiggle comes waggy tailed at you, and you have to just laugh.
So we added a few more to the pack. All with their own role and rank. Only after the first one, we never chose the other 3, they came as fosters or rescues. Along with several others we helped. Nervous, scared, sometimes abused. We let them live with our happy pack, and watched them flourish in a calm, loving but sometimes a bit crazy house. Most left to go to their new forever homes feeling safe and secure that humans were protectors, and the backbone of their pack.
A few chose to stay with us, a few still come back to visit us.
Never again will I have a clean, tidy, hair free home. My garden will never win any village show prizes. My door frames bear the scars of them learning scratching at the doors if I leave the room doesn’t get me to come back any quicker, I always come back for them anyway.
But never has my home been happier than with the sound of tails thumping against kitchen cupboards, the odd sneaky bone found down the back of the sofa, and occasionally, a howl or two.’