by Heike Boehnke-Sharp
You walk by the man with the box in the parking lot.
You hear a yelp, and turn around.
Inside the box, you see three majestic puppies. They are not small, and have air about them.
They look you straight in the eye.
“Timberwolf & Shepard” says the man. “They make fine, big watchdogs”.
Hopefully you are not a dog fighter, a drug dealer, a macho man, a deranged soul.
Their cuteness overtakes you, you make a spontaneous decision. You pick the smallest puppy, because “WOLF” sounds so big.
It’s a boy.
You are in love. He stole your heart. He licks you, and you think it is love & devotion.
He is marking you as his Alpha. For now.
Your puppy grows & thrives. It seems that he does not want to grow into his feet. You wait with training, because he is just so cute & cuddly, all you want to do is play. Plus, he enjoys running from you so much, taking your shoes and chewing on them, nipping you in the ankles are you walk, or biting your arm as you “play” wrestle. He is getting sturdier, you notice as he brushes by your legs with his body more and more. It must be love, like with a cat.
He follows you. He watches your eyes before he leaps on your, or steals something and runs. His body rubs become a little annoying, as he almost pushes you over.
One day, while you are playing tug of war, his lips pull back and he nips at you.
HEY! You are not bleeding, but he watches as you retreat.
He is almost 6 months now, an adolescent in the making.
He is beautiful. Regal, large, furry, with magical brown eyes.
His eyes look at you openly & clear, and the next second they change and he barks/snarls at you.
You notice the bark is not one of warning, but it is directed at you.
Hopefully, you are a strong woman, or a gentle & strong male human.
Your wolf, because that is what he is, needs his Alpha now.
“He loves me!” you say. “He would never attack me!”
A wise soul once told me that dogs do not “love” like we humans do. We interpret their affection as such. Dogs respect the Alpha, and they are survivalist. You give them food, they are happy to see you. You give them freedom, they are happy to see you. You rub their butt where they can’t reach, they are happy to see you!
DOG:” Are you sick? Are you weak? Why are you letting me challenge you? Do I need to take over to ensure the safety of our pack? Let me just get these small humans over here where I can watch over them. Push. Push. Nip. Pull. I am sorry, I did not mean to draw blood. Why are looking at me scared? Did I challenge you too. Are backing down?
WTF??? AM I THE ALPHA???? “
Hopefully, human, you have done some research on dog & pack behavior, because you do not have a Chihuahua. You have a wolf. A hunter. A herder. A pack animal. A majestic, instinctive, canine.
Hopefully, by now someone has taught you how to safely throw your wolf down when he challenges you as Alpha, just like his wolf mother or Alpha would. They would not take that shit, not for a minute. Never seen a wolf throwdown? Google it and learn. You will have to learn to hold his jaws so he cannot bite you, as you say NO in a growling voice and look him in the eye. When he stays down, you will have done your job to ensure his & your safety, because you love this dog.
And when stupid people ask you why you are “hurting” your dog, you send them to the right place so they can figure it out themselves. Hopefully, THEY will never find a wolf dog.
And now you will show your kids how to handle him when he throws his big body at them. He is always establishing where he sits in the Alpha ladder, and small humans and other animals are all just rungs up that ladder to you, the Alpha.
Now teach him that you are in charge of food, that when you say “WAIT!” or look at him with that look he stops. You must run with him in the wind, challenge his brain, let him chase squirrels. You must warn your neighbors to make sure their animals stay out of your yard, because even though your wolf is friendly & lovable, when that cat runs through your yard, it is prey, and that wolf instinct is STRONG.
Your wolf is one year old. Look at him. He is HUGE. He is watching you. He will protect you, and his pack, with his life, because that is what wolves do. If you have trained him good behavior with a gentle, but firm hand, he will be the perfect family dog. He will be fantastic. He will be loyal. But NEVER let your guard down, because even when your wolf/dog is older, even if your routine is set in stone, he is always watching you to see if you REALLY are still the Alpha. He can turn on you and test you periodically, you better be ready.
Welcome to the pack life, human.
|Heike & Rex|
Heike: I wrote this piece to get the attention of everyone who sees a "cute" wolf dog and takes it home. These majestic dogs are a commitment. Sadly, many wolf dogs end up in shelters, or if they are lucky, with a wolf rescue when they are teenagers and their owners cannot handle the "wolf". I was working with a wolf rescue and learning more about them when we got Rex. We are not sure of Rex's ancestory (and do not necessarily think he has wolf), but you can see he is huge & wild :). I rescued him when he was an unsocialized, wild, and anxiety aggressive puppy. I walked around for a long time looking like I was in cat fights, as I became his teacher on how to use his teeth & claws. He came to me to teach me many lessons, and even after almost 8 years, he is still teaching me. Learning pack behavior kept us together :), and now we are bound.