By Edye Marin, Northern California Wolf Hybrid Ranch Breeder
Preparing For Your Wolf Hybrid Puppy’s Homecoming
Examine Your House And Yard
Learning how to take care of a wolf hybrid needs to take place before you pick up your pup examine your house and yard. Check for poisonous plants and shrubs. (like Oleander – a complete list can be found at http://www.californiawolves.com/resources ) Also check your perimeter fence for holes where your pup could escape. If there is an opening the puppy’s head would fit through, they can escape.
Set Up A Digging Area
Your wolf pup will probably want to dig, as most pups. You can either set aside an area where they are allowed to dig or stay with them when they are outside and teach them not to dig. I encourage all new wolf hybrid owners to give their wolf a place to dig, as it is innate in their nature. Part of the reason they dig is to get to cooler dirt when they are hot. I have always kept either a kiddy pool or a large water trough for them to get into and cool off.
Check Your House For Wires And Items They Can Chew
Next check your house and look for wires or other items they can chew. Either remove them or cover them. We have lost hundreds of dollars worth of satellite cable and hoses to wolf pups raised near the house, plus phone chargers and speakers where the wires were in their reach.
In the best case scenario you would come to pick up your pup here at the ranch. When you do it is important that you let us hand him/her to the new primary care giver/alpha of your puppy. That gives them the understanding of ownership passing to the new owner. The new owner should allow the pup to lick their face, if the puppy desires, as this indicates it sees you as the alpha.
It is best if two people come to pick up the young cub so that one can drive and the other hold the pup on your lap and reassure it on the way to its new home. The first car ride is usually a scary experience for young pups. Also bring and old towel or puppy pad (large size) to protect your lap as they frequently get car sick on their first ride. It helps if you don’t allow them to look out the window as the moving scenery can accelerate the onset of car sickness.
Home At Last
You have arrived in territory that is familiar and comfortable for you – not your wolfdog. Your puppy however has left his or her siblings, mom, and people he or she knows. They are now in a totally unfamiliar environment. That’s why it is not only important but necessary to have a few days, or possibly a week, to spend with your puppy. This is the time they bond with you and learn to trust you.
In this time your wolfdog learns to see you as its provider and pack leader. You will be given, at the time of pick up, a stuffed toy with the scent of the litter and mom on it. Give this to them when they get fussy or at nap time so they won’t feel so lost and alone. This will also help with “separation anxiety”.
This is a condition where the separation causes them to feel sick enough to stop eating or to get diarrhea. If they get diarrhea, cook them some hamburger and rice and when that cools mix mashed banana in it. Feed the rice, hamburger, banana mix for 2 days and then gradually start mixing in their dry food.
Quality Food Only
Your puppy should be fed a quality puppy food that does not contain corn, wheat, or soy and has a minimum of 28% protein to start. Later, your wolf-hybrid will need more protein. I start them on Kirkland puppy chow and, finances permitting, I switch them over gradually to Evo which has 42% protein. Otherwise they can stay on the puppy chow and supplement with raw meat and bones to chew.
Do not give them milk, unless you like cleaning up runny poop. Wolves are lactose intolerant. For the first week I would recommend feeding them three times (3X) per day, as much as they can eat. Then put the food up and wait for the next mealtime. This will help your wolf see you as its “top dog.” A wolf-hybrids’ provider decides when it eats.
This also helps with house breaking as your wolf-hybrid won’t have food constantly moving through its digestive system, thus establishing a routine doing its “business” at about the same time every day. Once house broken and bonded, consider keeping food in front of them all the time. This will help to keep them from getting food aggressive.
The method that has worked best for me is “crate training.”
This doesn’t have to be an actual crate. Anything that will give them a small area to be in when they are napping is fine. When they wake up, they will sniff around the small area and usually decide to wait to go out to do their “business.” Frequently they will cry to let you know they need to go out. When they are loose in the house, watch for them sniffing around on the floor as that’s what they do prior to doing their business.
What To Chew?
Chewing is a problem with most puppies and no less with this breed. They chew to cut teeth and to develop jaw strength. I have found they enjoy chewing on pine fire wood. At eight weeks, a stick two (2) inches in diameter is about right. As they get bigger, the stick needs to get fatter. They like pine because it is soft and their teeth actually sink into it.
They will chew the end off and leave pine slivers on the floor but hey it beats having them chew on the leg of the dining room table. Do not give them old shoes or old socks to chew on, as they don’t know the difference between the lovely smell of your old shoes and your new ones. Additionally, bones are good chew toys. The bottom line is, don’t allow them to do anything you don’t want a 100-pound-dog doing.
If You’re Wolf Dog Puppy Is Flown To You
Picking Your Puppy Up
If picking up your pup at the ranch is not an option for you, and your wolfdog must be flown to you, they will be very nervous due to the flight and confined in a crate for possibly eight-plus hours. Don’t take them out of their carrier at the airport. Wait until you are in what will be their safe environment to take them out preferable in a small bedroom or bathroom where they can’t get too far away.
Sit on the floor and wait for them to unwind a bit and come to you. Have some treats handy, at first they will be too nervous to eat. As they calm down they will come to you for the treat. If the flight comes in late at night, your wolf-hybrid may not take to you until the next morning. Our pups are well socialized, so they will be very friendly as soon as the nervousness wears off.
Taking Personal Delivery
If you have paid to have your pup personally delivered to you by our Ranch Family, they will not be that nervous, even though they have had a long ride in the car. They have been in the car with people they know and trust. They will need help becoming accustomed to their new surroundings, but just keep them close for the first week or so. Your puppy will be fine.
Your wolf-hybrid will have had his or her first shots before you get your pup, so don’t rush out and get them more shots. You will receive a shot record so you will know when the next shots are due.
For more information about how to take care of a wolf hybrid puppy, visit http://www.californiawolves.com. You can reach Edye Marin at Northern California Wolf Ranch at 530-990-2308 or firstname.lastname@example.org or P.O. Box 93, Etna, CA 96027