The Domesticated Wolf
Hello, My name is William Lambert, Bill for short. I would like to welcome you into the new world I call the domesticated wolf.
It's been a couple of year sence I have wrote this, so I felt I should up date this text. Before I go on, please make sure that you read my "attacked" page.
The wolf of today, as well as of old is one of the most misunderstood animals in all of history. Theirs is a proud, yet sad history. It's their future that we can and will change. I like others have come about to change that. In the last 300 years man has killed over 2 million wolves. Whole breeds of wolves are now gone forever. Did you know that over 50% of all animal life was killed off once humans came to live in North America? Not the wolf though, he lived side by side with man up until about 300 years ago. Sadly it's a truth of our history. Did you also know that to date that there has never been a recorded attack of a wolf on a person? Am I saying that it never happened? Not at all, in fact I think that it had to happen, but when it did it was rare. Knowing these animals as I do, I also know that when it happened, a human was the problem, 75% of the time. While we are on the subject of how safe or unsafe these animals are, lets look at some facts about the hybrid/domestic wolf.
Let us look back at the last 25 years of history. First, hybrid wolves make up less that 1 percent of all canis bits in the United States each year. 25 years ago there were 500,000 to 750,000 hybrid wolves in home in North America. We move forward in time to 10 years ago. Now we have 1.5 million hybrid wolves in homes in North America. Now we come to 5 years ago and we have 2.5 million hybrid wolves in homes. We look today and find there are 4 to 5 million hybrids in homes today. I would say it's safe to say the hybrid wolf is here to stay.
Lets say that each of the 5 million hybrid wolves has contact with 3 people a day. Ok, stick with me on this. So we have 5 million wolves, times 3 people each day, that is 15 million wolf to human contacts a day. As in the past there was less hybrid wolves in homes, we are going to use half of our 15 million, or 7.5 million to human wolf contacts a day. Now we take that 7.5 million contacts a day and look at it over the last 25 years at a rate of 365 days a year. In 1 year there is 2,737,500.000 wolf to human contacts a. In 10 years we have had 27,375,000,000 wolf to human contacts. The last 20 years 54,750,000,000 wolf to human contacts. So now if we look over the last 25 years of the hybrid wolfs history, we can see that there have been over 50 billion wolf to human contacts in that time frame.
By now your asking why is he telling me all this. Because I want to show by the facts that these animals are very safe. I want to dispel this stuff about, "at some point they will turn on you". That they are wild unpredictable dangerous animals. 50 billion wolf to human contacts over the last 25 years. If all about them being dangerous and ready to turn on you is true, then why are there less than a 1000 recorded attacks of a hybrid wolf on a human? Lets say I have only found 1% of the recorded attacks. lets say there is 100,000 recorded or even 1,000,000. If we have a million attacks, that means that .000333% of the time when a hybrid wolf has contact with a person, there is a problem. The number of attacks is no where close to a million, but my point is made clearly on how safe these animals can be and are. REGARDLESS of what others want to say but can't back up with facts.
I have found that there are many that have all bad to say about hybrid wolves, as well as those who breed them for the public. Rarely if ever do you find a hybrid owner or past owner that has something bad to say about these animals. I find it very funny that all these so called experts of wolves have no hands on time with these animals. Hybrid or wild, they say they know all about them, yet have never spent an hour hands on with one. You have to look at it from the side of the SPCA and animal control officials. They only really deal with the animals that have become a problem. I truely believe that a high percentage of these animals are low content hybrids. I also think that most of these so called "problem" animals are from "back yard" breeders. Not to say that people who breed their animals are bad. It takes a great understanding of wolves to take on a litter of pups, to give them the correct foundation. Again, I don't think people are just not doing what's needed or being lazy, but it takes a lot of time to socialize pups. Most people don't have the time needed. They don't know how to get them marketed and many times it ends up as a problem. The problem is not with breeders like myself and those who understand wolves. The problem comes from the guy next door having his friend breed his German Shepherd with his wolf, then having a litter of pups with no way of finding those who really want them and understand what's needed to raise one. Low content pup are happy and friendly until a couple of months of age, then they become fearful. So understand that people in the SPCA and animal control are faced with these low contents that have been handled by people who don't know what they are doing. In the research I have done, most hybrids who have attacked people have been low content. Most of the hybrids I have seen in the pounds and SPCA shelters have also been low content.
A part of what I am about to tell you has to do with them being safe and I know they said there would be no math, it's a must, lol. I have owned hybrid wolves for about 25 years now. Starting with one, then having more. About 15 years ago I started down the road of becoming a breeder for myself and the public. it's been a great road to travel, filled with joy and fulfillment. I love reading the posts in my quest book, reading how much my pups and meant to people. This is the true reward of all this.
I spend 6 to 12 hours a day with my 43 adult hybrid wolves, plus time with the pups when there are pups. I have hands on contact with about 25 of them a day. I will get into why its only 25 out of the 45 later on. At 6 hours a day for a year, that is 2190 hours of hand on contact with my wolves a year. It's more like 3500 hours, but 2190 will work. Over the last 15 years, I have spent over 33,000 hours with 25 plus wolves. Again its more like 55,000 hours over the last 15 years, but again 33,000 is fine for this. Now also look at the fact that there is 365 days in a year and that is 5475 days in the last 15 years. Each of those 5475 days, I have had contact with 25 wolves. That is 136,875 wolf to person contacts. Not just going in and patting them on the head, but training main, being in the den during birth. Trying not to be there during breeding, lol. Add to that I have had over 4000 people come to my place in the last 15 years. So we take the 25 wolves and times that by the 4000 people that been here so far and you have another 100,000 wolf to human contacts. Only once have I had a conflict with any of my wolves. It was short lived, I dealt with, he and I both learned and he and I have not had a problem sense. Never has any of my wolves done anything to or harmed, or even thought about harming anyone that has ever came here.
My point for this is two fold. 1, you could not ask for a safer animal. 2, when you can say you have had the hands on like I have, then you can say your an expert. I am not trying to say I know all, but I know more than most all these so called experts the schools put out. I have made it a point in understanding these animals.
Wolves, both wild and domesticated are very complex creatures, highly intelligent, self aware, with problem solving skills that go well beyond simple thinking skills. They are one of the worlds most successful animals in modern history. Modern meaning in the last 100,000 years. The wild wolf makes it into the top 10 of the most intelligent land animals. Over the years by understanding and learning from these animals, I have come to be able to somewhat speak with them and understand what they want me to. It's my hope and want to teach you a little about these wonderful animals I call my friends. Having a wolf is really not like an owner having a pet, it's more of a relationship between two intelligent beings that can't speak to each other clearly. It takes work, time and understand to build a relationship, but worth it in every way. The best thing to do when having a wolf, is to take on the mind set of having a human child and then running your life by the same stardards you would if the wolf was human. If you will do this fo the first yeatr, you will have a completely socilized, very happy and safe friend/family member.
Lets look at a few simple wolf facts. The Gray Wolf, also known as Canis Lupus has walked this earth for over 350,000 years. The Red Wolf, also known as canis Rufus was the first of all modern wolves. Now it's the rarest of all wolves on earth and had it not been for PRIVATE breeders the Red wolf would have died off in the 1980's. The Gray wolf hybrid is Canis Lupus X. The Red wolf hybrid is Canis Rufus X
Like with all or any animal, you must have a great understanding of that animal if you plan on having a day to day life and good relationship with it. With a hybrid wolf, this is never more so true and most important. These are highly complex animals, Highly intelligent, but so are humans. Regardless of the type of wolf it is, the wolf is a intelligent, proud, loving and happy animal, deeply rooted in it's family, along with the emotions and bonds that come from that family. It's family is it's meaning in life. It's fulfillment in life comes from the love, bonds and roles it fulfills within it's family, or pack as it were. This fulfillment must be the top thing to understand when bringing one of these wondrous animals into your life. These deep bonds, high levels of love and tight family units form in the wild wolf, just as they do with the domesticated hybrid wolf. When it comes to a domesticated hybrid wolf, I have seen these bonds, emotional levels and needs with or without other wolves around. If there are no other hybrids, then it's even more important to compensate for that lack. Meaning, you must spend more time with it, make it even more apart of your day to day life. These are not dogs and do not do well alone in the backyard to be feed and played with an hour a day. A hybrid will build the same type of bonds, tight family unit and love for people, dogs and even cats just as it would another wolf. This closeness coupled with a complex and highly interactive relationship with those in it's life is what makes these animals such great pets or more correctly said, family members and friends. It's also the key to having a happy, well balanced hybrid. As a person who shares their life with hybrids , you must be willing and able to provide your wolf with all the time and love it needs to be the animal it has to be. Take on the mind set that you have a human child for the hybrids first 2 years and you will have the greatest friend you could ever dream of.
I can't say this enough, but will say it again, Understand, these are not dogs and putting them in the back yard alone or even with another dog or hybrid as a way of life for them will not work. If you had a child, would you stick them in a room and give them a hour or two a day? No you would not and the same must be so for a hybrid wolf. To get one from me anyway. You must look at this as having a new family member with you and you must give them the time and love they need for happiness and fulfillment, just as you do with any of your family now. I am not saying that just one person needs to spend this time with it. Really the more people the better. Families have many members and all members need to give their time to this new family member. The time you spend with them does not need to be active time with your wolf, just laying in the living room while you watch TV is as fulfilling to a wolf as is playing with you. Both have a time and a place, both bringing different fulfillments. It's your job to provide your wolf with a knowing they belong to a family, that they are loved, that their needed and that their safe, but most of all is being needed within it's family. Much of these needs can be gained if you will just spend time with them, love them and be apart of each others lives.
There are many different types of wolves and even more cross types in the hybrid world. This in itself makes getting what you want even more of a complex task. There can and are a dozen different factors that will effect who a hybrid will turn out when grown. This also means they come in all different sizes, shapes, as well as colors and markings. The more true marked it is, is a good sign of it's percentage, but being true marked does not mean it's high percentage. I have seen 60% who look like their out of the wild and seen 96% who look like a Malamute. They can range from 50 pounds to 150 pounds. Again, it's size can be a sign to look at as for as percentage goes, but it's does not mean much on it's own. Someone wrote me once saying a few of my wolves looked like this or that, but were not wolves because how they looked in a photo. I wrote back and asked them to tell me the correct marking for a Gray wolf/Red wolf/Arctic wolf/German shepherd hybrid? They never wrote back. There is also belief that wolves are very big, 150lbs to 170lbs. The biggest wolves within the wild top out at 120lbs to a 130 pounds. The wild wolf and the domesticated wolf are the strongest of all the canids. A hybrid wolf will or can be bigger than the normal wolf. Again what type of wolf it is has an effect on it's size, build and color. The dog and amount of dog in it can and will effect it's over all look to.
A wolf has a back jaw crushing pressure of over 1,500 psi. If you look at the largest or strongest domesticated dog breeds you will find the strongest of them have about 700 to 800psi jaw pressure. Unlike a dog, a wolfs teeth are not weapons but tools and like the swordsmen of old world China, they are experts with these tools, rarely making a mistake. Their teeth are longer than that of a dogs. They have a second and smaller set of K-9's in the upper mouth and have different back teeth than a dogs. They do not like their teeth being on a persons skin. Once they become adults the play biting is almost always over. Out of 40 plus adult hybrids, I have only two that will play rough with me, both of them will not play unless I have gloves on and both will only grab my glove and shirt sleeve but not my hand or arm. Trust me, I have tried for years, with most all my wolves and once they are about 6 months of age to a year, the rough, biting, playing rough stuff is over. It goes from rough playing to loving, from play biting to licking and belly rubs. Most all wolves will only bite if a few things take place. One is that it's being harmed, really hurt. Two if it has no way of escape, this running in concert with one. Three is fearing for it's life or the lives of it's family. Unlike a dog, wolves fear is founded 99% of the time and it's rarely wrong in its reactions. Even then it will give a warning bite, done with the front teeth to pinch and cause pain but not using the K9s, nor really trying to cause damage. Regarless what you have read or think is so, wolves are lovers, not fighters.
The wolf really is like no other animal. It possesses sharper vision, better hearing and a greater sense of smell. Their sense of smell is close to 200 times greater than any domesticated tracking dog. Those who train drug dogs, bomb dogs and so on needs to climb out of the hole their stuck in and see that these animals would make the best tracking dog look foolish. A wolf can pick up a scent that's in the air and that's coming from over 3 miles away. From over 30 feet away a wolf can smell and hear a mouse that is 3 feet under the snow. Again a BIG sign that these animals will make great rescue animals. Even more so when you know that a wolf can dig in pure clay at a rate of about a foot per minute. I wonder how fast it could dig down for someone trapped under the snow? I would say that a wolf could smell and hear a trapped person at double the range the best rescue dogs do today, plus it could dig deeper at a rate at about twice as fast. Put that in your pipe and smoke it you wide life protection freaks. What may be their strongest sense, is their hearing. These animals can detect frequencies well beyond 60kHz. To get an idea of what that means, we humans are lucky if we can detect frequencies to 20kHz. Depending on the landscape, weather, wind and time of day, a wolf can hear a man walking from 3 to 10 miles away. What seems to be a wolfs poorest sense is its sight and even that is not really poor at all. In the day a wolf has sight that matches a humans. They see in the same detail as we do, the same range of colors as we do and to the same detail as we do. Also like us, they also have the lens in their eye that makes us see things right side up. At night a wolfs vision is far greater than a humans. One reason is that their eyes are bigger and the pupil of the eye can open more. This lets in almost twice as much natural light in, as with a humans pupil. It's like their own night vision. Star light, moon light, street lights all aid in them seeing as they do. I would think their night vision is much how we can see right at the end of dusk, at the end of the day.
What really sets a wolf apart from dogs is the fact that they have a brain that is 20% larger than that of a domesticated dog. I would say this is normal, as wolves are 350,000 years old and domesticated dogs are about 12,000 years old. This larger brain is also why it needs more from those in its life. It's why it must have more complex relationships. It's why its self aware. It's why it takes much more time. Its why it's more of a family member than a pet and its why it makes the greatest pet a person or family could ever want. I say this with the knowing of having the honor to share my life with over 65 of them so far, as well as placing close to 1000 pups into the hands of the public. A wolf is not a dog. It can't be treated as one, but a wolf is nothing to fear.
The wild wolf and what I call the domesticated wolf are two very different animals. No one should ever take a wolf out of the wild. One reason is that an adult would never socialize and end up dying or getting away. Then it will be displaced, homeless, families and again more than likely end up dead. Nor can someone go and get a cub from the wild. One reason is you could and would be taking a needed member of its family. Such actions could be the ending to that pack in time. Trust me, you also don't want to get caught by a mother wolf taking one of her cubs. She will in fact kill you, no if ands or buts about it. Plus she will not be the only one, as puppies are highly important to all members of a pack, not just their mother and those pack members will also come to aid those pups. Beyond all that taking one is breaking the law. Know that if I ever hear of anyone doing such a thing, I will turn them in, in a heart beat. It's years in prison, thousands of dollars in fines and a host of other things. Sick with a hybrid wolf, a person can get everything there is in the wild with a hybrid wolf if its a high enough percentage and coming from a good breeder. Not wanting to name any names. ME. Even though the hybrid wolf only has about 300 to 400 years of domestication, it makes all the difference and is a big reason why these animals can be great pets. As important as that is, the breeder and their adult animals are even more important at this stage of domestication. Unlike what most think and believe, wolves learn most everything after birth. I have found this to be the case when it comes to most of the animals that have higher intelligence. The smart the animal, the more helpless and unskilled the baby is. Wolves are much the same way.
The reason the above is important is that a breeder sets the tone for how his adults act and live their lives. Again unlike what is believed, a wolf always sees a person as above them, the more dominant if you will. unlike their actions with other wolves, this position a person has is one that a wolf wants for themselves. I have read so many times that a wolf will at some point try and show its dominance over its owner and that is so much bull%@ that I could puke. Never has a wolf ever do that with me. The people in their lives are their leaders, their providers, their friends and nothing about the wolf or its actions will change that. The same goes for this stuff about a wolf at some point turning on you. Its all a bunch of bull and is based on no facts, just fears and wild life nuts who think they know about things they never even studied beyond a book. If this was so, why am I not dead times 10? Why have I never been bitten? Why is it that in 25 years and being around hundreds of wolfs, having owned over 65, not once have I ever been bitten? In part the reason is that these animals are just not dangerous as many want to preach. Also is that my core animals, elders to the older adults I have now have lived with me at the head and the tone that has always been set by me is low amounts of conflict, being mean or fighting with each other beyond pack ranking or breeding rights would not be stood for. That loving and getting alone is the under laying foundation. With wolves learning everything and here most is now learned from the adult wolves, who are always looking to me to set or uphold the standard, this way of living life is passed on to the pups. This is why the breeder and their adults are just as important as anything.
The history of the breeders adults bloodlines are just as important. You need to be able to have an animal that is of a true percentage. Unlike what most people would think, the higher percentage of wolf, the safer and more loving the animals is. The more dog that is in it the more of a watch dog type it will be and the more it will act like a dog, but stronger, smarter, faster, with the mind set of a watch dog. Unlike a higher percentage wolf, I can't read a hybrid that is less than say 50% wolf. I don't know what their thinking, what their next action will be and I don't completely trust a low percentage hybrid. I true high percentage wolf will not make a watch dog, it will care less if someone comes to take your TV. The only time that it would act or better said react, as a watch dog is if someone came into you home and started harming a member of its family. Wolves are not action airy animals, they are reaction airy. In this context what this means is even if someone came into your home, they are going to have to actually harm someone first before the wolf will step up and protect their family member. Once that happens, the robber become the next clip on "when animals attack".
There is only one way to have true percentages, at some point, someone had to start as I did, with a dog and a wolf. I am a 16th Native American, so I was able to find a few Native Americans who had 100% wolves. I found a man that had 4 100% males and from those unrelated males I built the foundation to my packs now. You start with 100% dog and 100% wolf, giving off 50% offspring. Two to three years later, the 50%s are bred to a 100% and you get 75%. Two or three years later, the 75% are bred to a 100% and you have 87.5% offspring. Again, two or three years later, the 87.5%s are bred to 100% and you have 93.75%. This takes you to the 5th generation and by this time you have the base of a pack that can now be an ongoing family for generations to come. When you want another pack, the same process has to take place, slower, as you will be using the higher percentage animals of your first pack. To keep your percentages going up, you must find a animal that is a true higher percentage than yours. I was able to find a lady in Oklahoma who had a true 98.4% and a true 99.2%. With this I was able to bred my 93.7% to the 98.4% and 99.2% and that gave me litters of 96.1% and 96.5%. Inbreeding is controlled by switching pups at birth to bring in a pup that is unrelated but raised as a family member. The way I have done it is all my females are mothers, sisters and daughters and the males are complete unrelated.
Unlike the wild wolf, the hybrid wolf can and will build strong bonds with the people it knows. When it comes to the closeness and love within a family, the wolf comes in second only to humans. With hybrid wolves the bond between people and the wolf can be enjoyed by all and to the same depths as with other wolves. You will find a hybrid that has a high content of wolf bloodlines, is one of the most sweetest, most loving animal you will ever know. One of the problems is that many hybrid wolves are sold as high content and are really a low content animal. Markings is not always a way of telling. I have seen 45% hybrids that the world experts would say came out of the wild and I have seen 85% that look like an AKC German shepherd. Someone who has years with these animals can look at a hybrid and get within 5% or 10% of its true percentage. There are about 20 different things that can be looked for, such as type of teeth, body build, ear shape and size, yes markings too. There are many others but that gives you an idea. Again the best way to know is find those animals that are true percentage. So getting a true percentage, high content animal is an important thing. More so for a person who has not ever had a hybrid before. These low content animals are at the root of most the trouble you read and hear about. If a low content is raised wrong, such animals can become very dangerous. In all I have read on hybrid attacks, I have never found an attack that had a true high content wolf. They can and are the best and worst of both worlds. I know this all sounds backwards, but it is how it is. In my 20 plus years doing this I have never had a high content hybrid even growl at me. I have been in the dens at birth. Came in right after birth, held minute old pups. I have walked between two 120lbs males fighting over breeding rights and broke them up. When it comes to these animals, I have done and been around them for most anything that can happen under the sun and yet nothing has ever happened to me. Have I been lucky? Not very likely. This is why when I hear these wild life and animal rights nuts talk, I just see foolish and stupid people speaking on things they no little to nothing about. Besides that, they need to get their minds around the fact that there are now over 2.5 million hybrids in North America alone. There here to stay. You wild life and animals rights people need to accept the fact you lost this one. You need to stop wasting your time and others trying to get something done to ban them and start helping in getting breeders and new owners up to speed so that great animals can be enjoyed.
People need to understand that any animal can become dangerous if not handled in the correct ways. Rarely does the type of animal it is become a reason its dangerous. More over if looked at closely, a human is at fault. Horses, dogs, snakes and a host of other animals hurt or kill people each day, but that can't be said about the hybrid wolf. Nor the wild wolf for that matter. I see no bans trying to be placed on any of those types of animals. The fact is that many larger breed domestic dogs have been bred over hundreds years to hunt humans. Unlike wolves, a dog does not have to learn most things, much of its breeding carries on generation after generation. Like a Pointer. No human teaches a Pointer to hold its foot up when it spots something, but for wolf to do that, it would have to see an adult wolf do it and it would have to understand why holding the foot up was needed. Peoples fear of wolves have their roots in childhood stories and nursery rhymes. Three little pigs, Little red riding hood and so on. Much of this fear is built on by what's shown on TV. TV really does mis-color the true understanding of wolves and how they live their lives. The big game kill is what brings high ratings. Its makes good TV, what people want to see. But it's in no way a clear view of these animals. Shows of wolves happy, not hunting, being loving family members don't bring ratings. So, you don't get to see anything beyond a wolf killing a deer. It's also not well known that this "big kill" only happens 8 to 10 weeks out of the year, when the deer or what ever are on the move and cross into a wolf packs home area. In most cases its an area about 20sq miles and the wolves NEVER leave that area. Never, except when humans drive them out or kill them off. Most of the year they are eating, rabbits, moles, rats, bugs and grain. We all need to take a step back and see that we too are meat eaters.
My point was that with a hybrid wolf, as with any large animal, you must train them in a way that is safe for both them and you. I grew up on a race horse farm and I will tell you this, 90% of the time I was around the horse, I was in some form of danger and I was hurt may times. With a hybrid wolf the first step is what's called socialization. In short this means working with them, spending time with them as pups so they can LEARN that there is nothing to fear when it comes to people. This is key to a happy heathy and safe pet. The first 6 months of a hybrid wolfs life in the most important time when it comes to socialization. You must take on the mind set that for the next 6 months you have a new born human child, then cared for in much the same way. Understand that wolves have only been in the hands of humans for 300 or 400 years now and that is not even 10% of what's needed for what could be called a true domesticated breed. One big key to socialization is you and your wolf having hands on contact. There are many do's and don'ts with a new pup and I will get into that later. For now you must know that petting you hybrid a little each day, taking them on a walk every couple days will NOT work. Again, you must take on the mind set of a new family member, a new born child. Take on that mind set and treat the new pup that way and you will have the greatest pet you have ever had in your life.
Some times I get calls or emails saying that this puppy runs from me, it hides in the corner or under the bed. It will pee a little when I go to get it. This is a clear sign that not enough hands on time is being spent with it. There is still a large amount of fear within it. Not enough time is being given in, not enough interaction is being given it so it can LEARN there is nothing to fear. You also need to use this built in fear to your advantage. When I keep a pup I first bring it into the house and for the next 6 weeks its a house dog. I carry it most everywhere I go. I sleep with it. I kiss it every chance I get. If I watch TV, its on my lap. If I go to a friend house, it goes too. I let as many people as I can handle it. After about the first week and I am seeing the first signs of trust. The main one is eye contact, anyway once I do, I will take my pup out in a large field, just so it's me and them. Now because of its built in fear, its in a strange place and fearful of all things. Like sounds, smells and what it can see. So now your the least thing to be feared, in fact you become pretty safe in the pups eyes, given where your at. So use their fear in such ways so it works for you. Also understand that when you go to touch your new pup, do NOT place your hands on top of its body. Understand, for a pup, all danger comes from above. I bend down, slide my hand under their chin or belly, the chin is best. This sets the fear level lower, as the touching does not come from above. If you handle your pup correctly in that first 30 to 60 days, you will see no difference in the way a wolf acts towards people than a dog does. More loving, sweeter, smarter and a deeper bond, but nothing negative.
As I said above and contrary to what most believe, as well as what many so called experts teach, a wolf pup is born with very few instincts. This very fact is one of the reasons why it makes what many say, " the greatest pet I ever had". They learn from their owners and act in a way that is like its owner. Very loving, soft spoken and easy going people raise pets that are much the same, as the pup only has them to learn a way of life from. Again, it's likened to a human child, in many many ways they grow up and become people must as who they are raised by. Once the pup is up and moving around they must come to learn everything. At birth the pup is helpless. It lays lifeless as the mother removes it from the birth sack and cleans it. Its the most amazing thing to watch, I have seen it hundreds of time and get the same rush each time. As she is cleaning the pup she roles it onto its back and as she is licking its belly, she gives it a shape push right under the pups rib cage. This blows everything from its mouth and nose and in that instant, the pup gasps and takes its first breath. With that first breath its body starts moving. It takes it a few moments to come to understand its not in her belly anymore. You can just see how this new world is strange to it. The mother keeps cleaning and works it to where it can nurse. Within a couple of minutes the pup is nursing and she is resting and waiting for the next pup to come. Hey wild life people, ever been in a den and seen that? Yeah, I didn't think so. At about 2 weeks the pups are taking their first steps. Their vision is clear up to about 12 inches. At this age they are too top heavy for their legs, so they fall over a lot. Almost like a drunk falling over, it can be very funny some times. Also by this time the swelling of their ears has let down and they are starting to hear their first sounds. At about week 2 or 3 in most cases you see another female adult working her way into the den. By working, I mean the mother is not always going to welcome a female in with her pups. Even so a female will take the spanking the mother will give for getting close and keep working closer. It may take her 2 or 3 days, but at the end she will be in the den. She is doing a couple things, one is she is becoming the babysitter. After a few days, from the pups trying to nurse, she too will produce milk.
I think this is a need thing as at this age, the pups need more milk than the mother can produce. This new mother help solve that problem. This new female is also learning how to be a mother or to be a better mother by being in the den and watching what the mother is doing. Many females that have not went into a den and learned to be a mother have real problems with their first couple litters. I have had to spend hours in a den, teaching a female how to be a mother. Not to be moving around, to get the pups where they can nurse, making then leave the pups alone once nurse and so on. At 3 to 4 weeks their vision is clear to about 6 feet, their hearing is much better and they are starting to eat real food. The mother will over eat and bring it back up for them to eat. Once I see this I start providing them with food. By bring them food, as the mother does, she does a couple of things. One, she is teaching them to eat. By eating the food first, the food she brings up is soft and last she is starting to teach the female pups what it means to be a mother. At 6 to 8 weeks their vision is clear to about 25 feet. They are eating hard food. The mother letting them nurse just to get ride of milk. They are under the care of the babysitter mostly, but the mother is never too far off and almost always keeping an eye on what's going on with them. By this age, the other adults of the pack are welcome to get close and see the pups. In each pack I have those that really love being around pups and will stay by them once its ok and then I have those that will come and look at the pups and never interact with them. Its also at this time other adults will take turns looking after the pups and this can be both male or female. At this 8 to 10 weeks you can see the pup is really watching all things going on and learning. They are learning to dig holes, to howl, to clean themselves and to go the bathroom in the potty area that is away from where they live and hang out.
The pup needing to learn all these things is why I will not sell any pup until its 4 to 8 weeks of age and I don't really like selling them at 4 weeks. At the least they need to be eating real food. Those who say you must get a pup at 1 week, or 2 week are wrong and don't know enough about these animals to know better. In most cases, they do not know how, nor have the time to socialize the pups correctly. Yes strong bond to form between a wolf gotten at 2 weeks and a person, as it has to depend on the person from its life. Doing this robs the wolf from learning from other wolves and becoming the wolf they were meant to be. This need for a pup to learn is also why I only socialize about 2/3 of the pack members of my packs. This lets the pup learn from both socialized and un socialized adults. By the way, un socialized does not mean wild acting, just not handled and made pets as the others are. There is also no danger with my un socialized wolves, as they simple keep their distance. After about 4 or 5 years even the un socialized become socialized to me. Their need to bond and for all to be linked members of the family overcomes the lack of socialization. They never come to be social with other people, but with me and when no other people are around, they are just as licking, loving and happy as all the others are.
At 3 months of age, the pups vision is as good as an adults. The link of being under their mothers protection is gone. The mother for the most part leaves the pups in the care of the babysitter while she is weaning the pups. This takes 10 days to 3 weeks. Once she has them weaned she will once again start spending time with them, grooming them and teaching them. I think that this time away from the pups is also a healing time for her. Wolf pups can be very draining on a female. They eat double or more what they would normally, their water intake is tripled and 90% of their time is spent sleeping. So I think she needs this time away to get on a road back to being normal. From birth to full recovery takes about 6 months. I think this is one reason for wolves only having one heat a year, as well as why most females will skip a year after a litter. This is one reason breeding hybrids over the years is hard. I female is 2 before she breeds. Most don't allow breeding till 2, but I don't let it happen before then anyway. So she is 2 to 3 before she has her first litter. By the age of 10 to 12 she is done breeding. In those 10 years she will have 6 litters at best. Most all of my wolves have lived well into their teens. I think 19 was the oldest I ever had, but 15 or 16 is normal for their life span. Unlike other breeders, that get ride of older animals, I do not. My adult animals are born here and live their full lives here. If a female only breeds 6 out of her 16 years, then that's they way it goes and I stay grateful for what she gave to me and the other wolves.
I can't say this enough, the best way to socialize a pup is to spend as much time as humanly possible. Car trips can also be good tools for the building of trust. Again once some trust is built, take them for a ride, it will be a little fearful for them, but you will be there and again the safest thing they know at the time. Learn about the animal and use what it teaches you to work for you. For this first couple months you must prove over and over again that your not only a danger to them, but that you are what keeps them safe, warm and feed. Unlike most dogs, a wolf is not the type to either like or dislike people. Wolves, like people have to come to know those who come into their lives. Again this is a sign of high intelligence. To make a better pet, I have found that getting the pup into as many people hands as you can in the first 60 to 90 days will take all fear of people away from them in a very short time. With the handling of the pup by others the pup is able to learn that regardless of who you bring into its life, it will be run and safe. It's really up to you on how tame and socialized your wolf becomes, the more it is, the more happy you and it will be, as well as there is less of a chance of any type of problem coming about. Unlike what most so called experts say and teach, a wolfs intelligence makes it more predictable, not less. The wolf has a brain that is 20% larger than the domestic dogs. All who are experts in behavior of animals know and teach that the more intelligent the animal, the more it can adapt. I feel that this higher level of intelligence makes a high percentage hybrid more predictable, not less. The key to my last statement is having a great understanding of the animal so that it is predictable. From bring with my wolves for so many years and spending the hours and hours each day with them, I find that I know why and what is going on with each of my wolves about 85% of the time, so it may be a little easier for me to see them as predictable. I am also the one that has socialized and trained them, again with the higher level of intelligence has them being far better at the things you teach them. I will give you an idea of just how smart these animals are, as well as a view of their problem solving skills. I was sitting out in my front habitat watching the interaction of that pack. I also had a couple of my friends wolves, babysitting for him. They had been born here and would stay with the front animals when they came to stay. Anyway, one of his wolves is named Kodi. I was watching him walking at the edge of my small pond, he was following a gold fish. He came upon a root that was sticking out of the water and he took it in his mouth. He gave it a few pulls with no luck. He then turned and pulled it in another direction, still not luck, with a half growl he let go of it. He looked at it a while and then pawed at it, almost testing it. He then went up to it, put his head under the water, down to I guess where it was in the ground and after about 15 seconds, up he comes root in mouth. He came out of the water, dropped the root and went off to do what ever. I was amazed at what I had just seen. He knew that if pulling one didn't work, he may break it by going another direction. When that didn't work, he stood their and thought, came up with to get it he would have to get it where it was in the ground. Last is that it was not about him wanting it, it was about him doing it, as he dropped it once he got it and never bothered with it again. He showed he could solve a problem. I tell tale sign to an intelligent creature, is those who solve problems for no other reason than to do it.