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Link to story:
http://www.whittierdailynews.com/ci_12675189?source=rss

Link to NG website with call for entrants:
http://www.cesarmillaninc.com/dogwhisperer/submissions.php

Link to interesting discussion on Nicole Wilde's blog:
http://www.dogstardaily.com/blogs/wolfdogs-don’t-need-whispering

Don't mean to start yet another love-hate Milan thread here. I'm just interested in opinions from those with experience with wolf hybrids. WDYT? I'll reserve my own opinion since I have no experience with hybrids to back it up. I'm curious about whether others think that methods for training hybrids should be different from those used with regular dogs.
 

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I saw an episode the other day where he dealt with a couple of wolf hybrids. He did try everything the same as he would with a dog, and it was obvious to me that it wasn't working with the female wolf/dog. And then he told the owners that they could take her to the dog park! He told them they had to "choose the dogs at the dog park", and I don't know how anyone could do that. I think that advice is entirely irresponsible. I hope that he realized that was bad advice and that's why he wants to work with more wolf/dogs, to get more experience.

On that episode, the wolf/dogs' owners' yard looked like Fort Knox, LOL! 10-foot fence, reinforcements, etc.
 

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Does anyone have a link to where I could see that episode? Or any past episodes? I have never seen the show, but have read a lot of threads about his techniques, and it sounds like interesting entertainment, even if it isn't something I could/would translate into my dogs training.
 

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I'm curious about whether others think that methods for training hybrids should be different from those used with regular dogs.
The laws by which the animal learns does not change from one animal to the next. The application of the laws will change dependent on the individual animal and the context. This would be true if you talking about dogs, hybrids, or wolves and coyotes. So in answering your question, do the methods change?, no not necessarily. We'd have to know which animal, which handler, and what's being taught.
 

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Hybrids are more inteligent and mature slower, the one my neighbors had was too smart to fall for some of the tricks MY dogs fell for, they also require more attention.
 

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The laws by which the animal learns does not change from one animal to the next. The application of the laws will change dependent on the individual animal and the context. This would be true if you talking about dogs, hybrids, or wolves and coyotes. So in answering your question, do the methods change?, no not necessarily. We'd have to know which animal, which handler, and what's being taught.
I don't necessarily agree with that. I'm not so sure that an expert dog trainer (whatever and whomever that might be) would be qualified to train a killer whale or vice versa.
 

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I'm not so sure that an expert dog trainer (whatever and whomever that might be) would be qualified to train a killer whale or vice versa.
Where did I imply *a* dog trainer is qualified to train a whale? I specifically stated we'd have to know which animal, which handler, and what's being trained, in order to know.
 

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I think from Nicole Wilde's blog at DogStarDaily her biggest concern is that using P+ (punishment and corrections) on a wolfdog would be the biggest issue due to an increased sensitivity to threat (based in wild instinct). Her other concern is that if hybrid owners came forward that their wolfdogs may be put at risk because in many states they are illegal.
 

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I think from Nicole Wilde's blog at DogStarDaily her biggest concern is that using P+ (punishment and corrections) on a wolfdog would be the biggest issue due to an increased sensitivity to threat (based in wild instinct). Her other concern is that if hybrid owners came forward that their wolfdogs may be put at risk because in many states they are illegal.

bingo. ditto. winner!

Hybrids run the gamut from wolfy looking dogs to doggy looking wolves and everything in between.

Wolves are *hardwired* in such a way that they don't respond to people like dogs do. If he gets a wolfdog with that kind of wiring...

:eek:
 

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I heard about this development on a couple of wolfdog lists I belong to.

I'm really not happy about it at all. Since Cesar's show showcases "the worst of the worst" and owners are at their wit's end when they bring dogs to Cesar, I feel that the many well-behaved wolfdogs aren't going to be represented (of course). I want to believe that the public view of these canines will improve because of exposure on Dog Whisperer (he's been influential with pitbull advocacy, am I right on that?), but part of me just thinks it will show wolfdogs at their worst, which can't be good overall.

I think the training methods are largely the same between dogs and wolfdogs, but the issues you're likely to run into might be different, and the time it takes to train them will likely be longer.

I agree that the dominance/punishment just does NOT work on wolfdogs. In my experience, you'll either have a confident wolfdog that will challenge you when you use these kinds of techniques, or a very submissive wolfdog who will just lose all trust in you. Depends on their basic personality.

I've had both here - Yuki was very confident, didn't back down from perceived challenges and was very assertive. I'm sure that if someone lifted a hand to him or was rough with him, he would not have hesitated to defend himself. On the other hand, Jasper just melts at any kind of firm handling. Today, he got himself tangled in his leash while we were walking, and I tripped from him suddenly jerking on the tangled mess he had made. I bumped into him a little hard while I was trying to get my balance, and he thought I was punishing him. He rolled onto his back and peed! Just from the perceived physical affront.

These kinds of responses don't surprise me at all. From what I've observed, wolfdogs are very cut-and-dried in their body language and responses, and they "speak" LOUD and CLEAR. I think it was Turid Rugaas who said that wolves communicate in capital letters due to their need to survive, while dogs speak in much smaller letters. A wolfdog's reaction to any stimulus, including punishment, is likely to be more extreme because of this simple fact.

On the other hand, positive reinforcement works beautifully with wolfdogs, both in my experience, and the experience of several trainers who have written articles for Wolfdogs Magazine (yes, there is such a publication), as well as Nicole Wilde, who, IMO, is the leading behaviorist working openly with wolfdogs.
 

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Wolves are *hardwired* in such a way that they don't respond to people like dogs do. If he gets a wolfdog with that kind of wiring...

:eek:
Yeah, that's how the female hybrid in the episode I saw was. She really did not respond to him like dogs do, and I honestly thought she was going to take his face off at one point. I think he believes dogs are wolves/wolves are dogs, and I don't think that's a good idea at all. I'll see if I can find a video or synopsis of the episode.......

Here's one, but it's an upcoming episode and not the one I saw: http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/dog-whisperer/3252/Videos#tab-Videos/05198_00

Here it is, the wolves' names are Hyde and Vada. Hyde is more dog-like, Vada is VERY wolf-like: http://www.fancast.com/tv/Dog-Whisperer/95214/1117581913/Hyde,-Vada-and-Nacho/videos
 

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I saw an episode the other day where he dealt with a couple of wolf hybrids. He did try everything the same as he would with a dog, and it was obvious to me that it wasn't working with the female wolf/dog. And then he told the owners that they could take her to the dog park! He told them they had to "choose the dogs at the dog park", and I don't know how anyone could do that. I think that advice is entirely irresponsible. I hope that he realized that was bad advice and that's why he wants to work with more wolf/dogs, to get more experience.

On that episode, the wolf/dogs' owners' yard looked like Fort Knox, LOL! 10-foot fence, reinforcements, etc.
Is this one of them?

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/dog-whisperer/3252/Overview#tab-Videos/05198_00

This one gets me every time. :eek:
 

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On that episode, the wolf/dogs' owners' yard looked like Fort Knox, LOL! 10-foot fence, reinforcements, etc.
:D Welcome to wolfdog ownership!! ;) I really believe you have to own acreage in order to keep these guys without losing your sanity.

We're building a new 1/4 acre enclosure for Jasper (wolfdog) and Willow and Bandit (dogs, Willow may be a very low-content wolfdog though). It will have an 8' high, 6-gauge wire fence with an electric wire on top, and 4' of dig guard staked to the ground around the inside perimeter, plus a double-gated entry.

It's Fort Knox alright... these guys can jump, climb, chew and dig in a way that puts Huskies to SHAME.

Take a look at this pic -



That wolfdog is scaling a 10' fence.
 

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Does anyone have a link to where I could see that episode? Or any past episodes?
HULU has a few episodes of TDW. The episode in question can be viewed, in full, here. The wolf hybrids are the first segment.
 

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I've got a real problem with this. I've defended CM in the past, and I'll reserve full judgment until after the show airs, but I think wolf hybrids have no place in human society. Wolves are not dogs, and dogs are not wolves; the evolutionary history of both has selected for very different behavioral patterns which are very, very dangerous for people to muck around with.

One of the biggest behavioral differences is flight distance - how close you can approach before the animal attempts to flee. Historically, wolves that got too close to human settlements were killed on sight, so the ones that survived are the ones that instinctively stayed away from humans. By contrast, the dogs scavenging in ancient village waste dumps had to be comfortable around humans in order to eat. The dogs that thrived were the ones that could "communicate" - that is, read human behaviors to know when to flee and when it was safe, and behave in a manner that humans would read as non-threatening. When you start breeding hybrids as pets, what you effectively have are animals with a random assortment of wolf instincts and anatomy, which are not afraid of humans.

All things considered, this is a very, very bad idea.
 

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I've got a real problem with this. I've defended CM in the past, and I'll reserve full judgment until after the show airs, but I think wolf hybrids have no place in human society. Wolves are not dogs, and dogs are not wolves; the evolutionary history of both has selected for very different behavioral patterns which are very, very dangerous for people to muck around with.
I think the rescue work that nekomi and other people do (rehoming abandoned wolfdogs) is great. I've been thinking about wolfdogs a lot since I joined dog forums, and I've come to the conclusion ... that I think it should be illegal to breed them anywhere in the US. But not illegal to own them, because the dogs that get born shouldn't be punished for the errors of the people who bred them.

Nekomi, what do you think about this? I know you are a strong advocate for wolfdogs, and from reading a bunch of your posts about them it's very apparent that you love them -- but does a part of you still feel like it would be in the best interests of humans, dogs, wolves, and wolfdogs for their breeding to be ended?

It makes me sad to think about the difficult lives that so many wolfdogs end up living, for human vanity.
 

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Nekomi, what do you think about this? I know you are a strong advocate for wolfdogs, and from reading a bunch of your posts about them it's very apparent that you love them -- but does a part of you still feel like it would be in the best interests of humans, dogs, wolves, and wolfdogs for their breeding to be ended?
That is such a great question! My position on this issue has evolved over time. I guess here are my thoughts, in brief:

1. In the vast, vast, majority of cases, I don't believe they should continue to be bred. I should make that clear upfront... I am 100% for rescuing and rehabbing them, 100% for legal ownership, 100% for education instead of myth surrounding these guys. But, not for the majority of breeding that is being done out there. For example, the breeders who produce low-contents and exaggerate the percentage in their pups, or the breeders who breed random pairings of low and mid contents just as a hobby.

2. Why? Practically speaking, the market, actually society, simply cannot support it. The number of wolfdogs being produced FAR outweighs the number of qualified, competent homes. Because the chances of a particular litter all making it into a good, qualified home, and then being properly socialized and raised into well-behaved, respectable canine citizens is slim-to-none. The reality is, most of them will end up raised improperly, under-socialized, and turned in to the local shelter, and then, if they are lucky, forwarded into our rescue network. If they are not so lucky, they might end up forgotten chained outside for their life, or worse, involved in a bite incident that tarnishes the reputation of all the wolfdogs owned by responsible folks.

3. Add-on to previous point... it is my personal belief that wolfdogs, even low-to-mid contents, are significantly more "aware" and sensitive than domestic dogs. These animals are incredibly intelligent, and from what I have seen, can become emotionally damaged MUCH more easily, and deeply, than dogs. After working with them for so long, there is a level of individual awareness (I want to say sentience, but I know that's a loaded word) present that makes it very difficult for me to believe they are suitable as "pets". They have significant containment and enrichment needs in order to stay mentally healthy (think of parrots, they constantly need to play and use their minds in order to keep from going crazy). Most people cannot provide this level of stimulation (although I know many incredible people who do). I shudder when I think of these animals left to languish on a chain or in a small pen. I would rather they not be bred, than to know that they are suffering this way.

4. Contrary to popular belief, there ARE a handful of actual GOOD breeders out there, that are respected even by the rescue community. They are USDA licensed facilities, generally breed very high-contents, from long-standing domesticated lines of wolves, and sell only to legit outreach and educational facilities. Their animals never end up in the rescue network, because these breeders take them back if they are ever in need. I can count the number of such breeders on one hand. You never hear about them because unlike the hobby/backyard wolfdog breeders, they tend not to advertise - they don't need to. Because I would hate to see them punished unfairly, next point:

5. I don't think wolfdog breeding should be legislated by the government. (But that is another topic, I am generally against legislation for most animal ownership issues, please don't take that the wrong way, I hate puppy mills as much as the next person.) Still, though, the irresponsible, random breeding of wolfdogs absolutely needs to stop. In an ideal world, pressure from the community and boycotting would do the trick, but I know that realistically it will take legislation.

6. OK, rereading your question here is my breakdown -

Would it be in the best interest of humans to end the breeding of wolfdogs? Not necessarily... I don't think they are a sufficiently dangerous animal to say they are a major public health or safety risk. But, if you mean damages to furniture, home, etc. and damages to sanity, maybe it would be in mankind's best interest? ;) (just kidding)

In the best interest of dogs? Hard to say... I think dogs have so many problems of their own (BYB, puppy mills, random "designer" breeds) that wolfdog breedings are hardly a factor. (Nearly all wolfdogs bred today come from wolfdog x wolfdog pairings anyway.)

In the best interest of wolves? This is, for me, the most difficult question to answer. Wild wolves are actually largely unaffected by the mere existence of wolfdogs, since wild wolves are, to my knowledge, never used in breeding wolfdogs (I doubt that it's legal). Domesticated lines of wolves that have been bred in captivity for decades generally form the basis for wolfdog stock, and even then, these days a pure wolf ancestor is generally many generations away. However, a case could be made that depending on the public's basic view on wolfdogs, their sympathy towards the plight of wild wolves could be impacted. For example, I'd imagine that every wolfdog bite incident covered on the news would have a negative effect on the wild wolf recovery/reintroduction effort. However, every positive exposure for wolfdogs - whether that means at an educational event, or the actions of a responsible private owner - likely improves the public image of wild wolves, and actually aids in their recovery. I know that personally, since meeting and working with many wolfdogs, my feelings towards wild wolves have really awakened much more strongly. I identify with them in a way that makes them feel more like family, and less like just another species in trouble. I know that many wolfdog owners and rescuers feel exactly the same way.

And for wolfdogs? Yes, I believe it is definitely in their best interest for breeding to end. There are many wonderful primitive breeds out there that are infinitely easier to handle but have many of the same "wolfy" characteristics. (Northern breeds of course, but also Canadian Inuit Dogs, Siberian Laikas, Shikoku-ken, Tamaskan Dogs, etc.) When wolfdog ownership is banned in my state (and sadly, it is likely just a matter of time), this is the direction I will go... to the very primitive breeds, where I can continue to use my experiences and knowledge.

OK, sorry for the long post but I hope it provides some food for thought. :)
 

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And for wolfdogs? Yes, I believe it is definitely in their best interest for breeding to end. There are many wonderful primitive breeds out there that are infinitely easier to handle but have many of the same "wolfy" characteristics. (Northern breeds of course, but also Canadian Inuit Dogs, Siberian Laikas, Shikoku-ken, Tamaskan Dogs, etc.) When wolfdog ownership is banned in my state (and sadly, it is likely just a matter of time), this is the direction I will go... to the very primitive breeds, where I can continue to use my experiences and knowledge.
I and a lot of unborn wolf hybrids that won't be abused etc thank you very much. If the people would only listen.
 

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And then he told the owners that they could take her to the dog park! He told them they had to "choose the dogs at the dog park", and I don't know how anyone could do that. I think that advice is entirely irresponsible.
The owners said their goal was to take them to the dog park - and he cautioned that the dog park dogs weren't balanced like his dogs are - and (at 6:30 in the hulu episode) he said (paraphrased) your dogs aren't harmonious at home. How can you take them to a dog park and expect them to be harmonious? And in the follow up, after they had harmony at home, they said they're doing it all the time now and everything is fine.

The language barrier gets in the way sometimes. When he says "You have to choose the dogs at the dog park", it means you have to go there when there are balanced dogs there.

It's amazing how the facts can be twisted to serve an agenda...

Cesar was very gentle with the wolfdogs and even told the woman that she was being too harsh.

I thought it was a great episode and look forward to the new one. The food aggression/resource guarding and other issues disappeared and in the follow up session, the fear aggression with other dogs was also dealt with.
 
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