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Val i need your help regarding my friends dog

(31 Posts)
ditavonteesed Wed 12-Oct-11 13:32:58

Her dog is an 11mth old Czechoslovakian Wolfdog x Saarloos wolfhond he is a real handful (as you will probably gather form his mix) though he is a lovely dog he's not really into people at all and has only recently started to let people fuss him, though he is on a whole great with the other dogs he is very playful and hasnt ever shown any true aggression. His owner has spent a huge amount of money on trainers and he is making some progress but she is getting the point where she is at the end of her tether and has hit a brick wall trying to find a trainer that understands this breed, she wants to re home him sad. I have said i will ask for your advice on which rescue would be best to contact.

I dont totally believe that she is ready to give up yet, so if you or anyone else could recommend someone that truly know how this breed works, so many have said they do but have basically taken her money and given up on him.

The breeder should never have sold her this dog in the first place!!, she actually thought she was basically getting a GSD that looked like a wolf!! and from i can gather when she has spoken to other breeders with dogs of a similar make up going on timbers pedigree, the litter its self should never have been bred, there is a chance that the pups may have more wolf hybrid than is suitable for a pet bred dog. Contacting his breeder would not be a wise move imo.

The dog is totally obsessed with one of the bitches in our little walking gang, and just will not leave her alone!! (constantly mounting her). Today when his owner went to put him back onlead he went totally bonkers the noise he made was like nothing i have ever heard and he was chattering his teeth it wasnt a howl as such he almost sounded like he was in pain (which of course he wasnt). She was struggling to keep him under control, i (like a god damn fool!!) went to help her (leaving my dog and my 2YO DS with friend and fellow dog walker well out of the way) as by this point the poor woman was in tears, the dog bite me, not badly but a bloody good warning bite!! my own fault i shouldnt have been an idiot.

Val my friend (not said dog owner) has also Pmed you on your Val account but we're not sure if PMs still get to you, if your using a different name smile.

ditavonteesed Wed 12-Oct-11 13:37:59

Val scrap the end paragraph, this was suppose to be posted from my MN account but Dita was still logged onto my laptop blush lol hope it all makes sense.

toboldlygo Wed 12-Oct-11 14:10:26

Are you in the UK? I'd be really curious as to how she got hold of a dog with that breeding, there's only a handful of either of those breeds in this country and neither should have significant wolf content any more. The vast majority of claims of wolf ancestry are fraudulent, designed to attract a certain buyer; the actual number of wolf hybrids in the UK has been estimated as less than ten.

That said... best bet would be to contact the breed rescues of similar 'primitive' breeds and ask their advice - SHWA are excellent, I volunteer for them, knowledgable husky bods are going to be more aware of potential issues than most. The other thing I would look into is the most local Schutzhund club - google it - if this dog has any kind of drive they will be able to channel and shape it into something useful and will almost certainly have encountered challenging and neurotic dogs before.

What exactly is your friend trying to achieve with this dog? What's the end goal? I think wanting to walk this dog off the lead in a group of strangers, strange dogs and children in a public place is unrealistic, if there truly is any kind of wolf content in there, and is going to be very hard to achieve if this is merely a malamute/husky/GSD cross. 6 to 24 months is the age that many of those breeds of dog are rehomed because their behaviour becomes so challenging. Has he been castrated, even? What training methods have been employed up until this point?

DogsBeastFiend Wed 12-Oct-11 14:16:56

Bloody hell!

Hmmm... I take it that pooch isn't neutered? That would be my very first step if so. You won't see instant results but it almost certainly will make a marked difference over a period of months.

I don't know anyone who knows about the breed and hybrids specifically... well I do, but he's, erm, indisposed atm the stupid dick, sadly for the wolf-dog he left behind. sad Tis a bugger because despite being a wrong-un he knows his wolfy types.

I do know a man with a doctorate whose Phd was in wolf behaviour and who's very rescue involved - he may have some suggestions. I'll have a word.

Failing all else I'd seek out the advice of a reputable husky/mal rescue. Hephaestus is your contact there.

Its hard for me to say more - I'm no trainer and anything I do with dogs I do... well, on instinct I suppose, though having in mind successful examples set and advice given over the years. If I had pooch in front of me I'd be trying to get the measure of him, wear the beggar out too, but it's almost impossible to advise without knowing dog or owner or set up.

As far as stopping undesirable behaviour or making him do what you want him to, rather than insistance bribery is normally the key. For example persuade him to come back to heel and sit to be leaded up by calling him back to a smelly treat or his favourite toy rather than with an exasperated series of yells and a grab of a collar as he spins by!

Will wander off and see what I can find out. Aside from knowing and spending a little time with the dog mentioned above owned by nice to me but idiot to be indisposed man I have no experience of wolfy types though I'm madly envious and would love to take this one on (nothing like a challenge, is there?!). Sadly I can't though and the best thing is indeed to keep pooch with his owner, so lets try that first. smile

toboldlygo Wed 12-Oct-11 14:21:28

-was previously Hephaestus, serial namechanger- grin

DogsBeastFiend Wed 12-Oct-11 14:33:37

grin Sorry Heph... toboldlyg, I keep forgetting! grin

There you are OP, this is the lady to ask!

DogsBeastFiend Wed 12-Oct-11 14:34:06

ARGH! toboldlygo!

ditavonteesed Wed 12-Oct-11 14:35:20

Yes in the UK, the breeder was in Blackpool IIRC. The owner has said before that he does have some wolf hybrid in his mix. The breeder (not said dogs breeder) that she has spoken to for advice had looked into his pedigree and has basically said that both mum and dad are 2 wolf crosses.

Her goal is to basically have a happy well balanced companion, which to be honest (tho i know little of this breed or similar) i dont actually think she is going achieve.

No he's not castrated but again said breeder does not feel that this will make much difference to him, she will get him done and this is most certainly the next step for her, i have warned her to not re home him til he is done.

The training methods that have been used so far are mainly old school "think cesar malan" sad but to be honest i also think that this is possibly the best method for him as there is no middle ground with him, he is not orientated by treats, toys or anything like that. She has seen several different trainers both 1 to 1 and group type training.

The dog is the most playful thing i have ever met!! and yes i know he bit me but im not totally sure he meant to. He greets my little boy with a way and a lick most days, just like any other dog!.

If this dog could spend his entire days bounding around playing in a field with lots of other dog he would be as happy as a pig in shit.

In the past we have often joked (wrongly so) that he is like a dog with ADHD.

Thank you for your advice i will pass this all onto her smile.

Now i had better bloody log out of Dita's account and log onto my own blush.

QueenOfFarts Wed 12-Oct-11 14:45:56

Just add that im the OP of the thread, i have name changed as i dont wish the area in which this dogs lives to be identified and lost of my previous post on my normal account would possibly give this away.

toboldlygo Wed 12-Oct-11 15:37:40

I'd be forcing a copy of The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson down the owner's throat right about now - the Cesar thing will not work with this kind of dog, at best things will continue how they are now, at worst she'll try to roll him in a high-stress situation and he'll nail her good and proper.

I'm still dubious about any wolf content but a mal/husky/GSD type at this age is still a handful. Remember that all of these are working dogs with drives and motivations that often conflict with the idea of the perfect family pet - that's not to say it isn't possible, just that it's very difficult. He absolutely must be castrated as soon as possible and must not be rehomed until he has been, you are right.

He's playful, that's a motivation! One of my huskies appears to have no motivation whatsoever, no drive for food or toys, not even a particularly high working drive (sledding) but with enough consistency you can still shape behaviours and foster a drive where there was none before. If he's playful, fantastic - will he rag and tug on a toy? Tug-E-Nuff do real fur tugs and flirt/chaser toys, great for a prey-driven dog. Don't allow free access to it, use it only in supervised sessions, keep it special. If the dog shows any interest at all, even looking at the toy, go mental - squeaky voice, waving arms, scattering cheese everywhere - make it an absolute event, the best thing the dog could do. Praise hugely for any interaction and focus on you and the toy. This will become your motivator.

This is where you introduce a job - remember this is a dog with generations of working sled dogs, stock guarding, protection dogs and (possibly) wild hunter in his genetic make up, he's a teenager with energy and sexual frustration to burn, and man does he sound bored! I still think schutzhund is the way forward for a dog of that type, lots of different options there, tracking might be something he could take to. Dryland mushing is suitable too, try the Facebook group Musher's Exchange, the SHWA and SHCGB pages, Sibespace forum to find local mushers and events. Cani-x is another good one. Basically she ought to be expecting to do something every day that makes this dog think as well as physical activity.

I'm assuming that he's having enough exercise, three hours a day wouldn't be an unusual requirement for this kind of dog, again it's the mental stimulation that will wear him out as much as the physical.

ditavonteesed Wed 12-Oct-11 16:27:39

right now everyone is back on the rght accounts (sorry my internet went down).
excercise wise, he is getting plenty of walks but not sure about stimulation. morning walk is a massive play session which he loves very much, quite a few of us meet up so the dogs have a regular group to play with all young dogs and mainly large dogs (have had to stop going myself as cherry not so keen). within the group of dogs with them being young there are a few unneatured males.
As queenoffarts has already said this dog has never shown any aggression to another dog or a person (until today), and this is coming from someone who is pretty much terrified of big dogs (I was the looking after dogs and kids out of the way person).
I think the plan is to link to this thread so the owner can see all the information herself, I think the morre information we can get and share at this point the better.
She is currently using a rattle tin to distract him from unwanted behaviours.
The breeder she spoke to yesterday has told her tht until 18months ago he would have been illegal and classed as a dangerous breed.
He is much more focused on the other dogs than any toy or treat a person could have. I think finding some sort of work or focus would be a great idea and I can see him really excelling at this as he is such a wonderful boy.
she was also told that while this woman (no idea who she is) does rehome dogs she struggles to do this. while the owner said this morning that sheants to rehome him i dont think she will when she has had time to reflect and looked at the advice given already.
thank you so much for spending the time to help us, we all want what is best for this dog. smile

QueenOfFarts Wed 12-Oct-11 16:29:15

Thank you so much for you Replies toboldlygo Yes sure know this type of breed smile

Yes he looks to play tug, he actually spends hours each week playing tug with my lab with a ball on a string type toy grin my lab retrieves said wolfy dog grabs string and they charge around like a pair of sledge dogs grin.

I know she has signed something with the dog wanker of a breeder saying that he is not to be castrated till he is twelve months, but in all honesty personally i feel she should fuck whatever the breeder says and just get him done.

I will forward her a link to this thread so that she can read for herself smile.

toboldlygo Wed 12-Oct-11 16:43:41

Re: more interested in other dogs than treats or toys - again Culture Clash really explains this well, please please ask your friend to read it! It will take systematic hard work to make it happen (and no bloody rattle tins, I am not 100% fluffy bunny by any means, I sometimes advocate the use of a choke chain for example but rattles, water sprays etc. simply do not work in the way they are intended). In Defence of Dogs by John Bradshaw also very good.

Absolute rubbish about being a dangerous breed, nothing about wolf hybrids in the DDA, any dog that's out of control can be classed as a dangerous dog. Wolf hybrids must be licensed in the UK and the rules differ from council to council, some charge a fee for licensing, some stipulate rules as to housing conditions, but as I said above there are very, very few genuine ones here and I really do expect that this dog is a crossbreed of domestic dogs. There's an interesting study on wolfdogs in the UK but I'm going to be very late for our agility class so I'll find that later!

notmeagain Wed 12-Oct-11 16:46:55

Ok she needs to forget Milan and dominance theory straight away!
Book the dog in to be castrated asap.

An interesting video here of wolves being trained using a clicker. This is certainly the way to go with this dog. wolves and clicker training

She needs to find a trainer that works in positive based training methods and get clicking straight away.

Wolves are known to react really well to clickers (although the parentage may be under question - it may reassure the owner that this is the way to go with her dog. We already know that clicker training is the most successful training method for behavioural change and general training.

RedwingWinter Wed 12-Oct-11 16:57:04

I agree that it's very unlikely that this dog really has some wolf content in him. Lots of breeders pretend their dogs have wolf in when they don't. I have a husky/mal cross and people are always asking me if he is a wolf! He looks very like one.

I have met a couple of wolf dogs [in north america, where there are more of them]. The thing is that the genetics is a bit random, so if there is some wolf in the mix, it's completely random as to what it is - dog could look like a wolf but behave like a dog, or vice versa. It makes them unpredictable. One of the wolf-dogs I met is a sweet dog, but the other is an entire male who at only 7 months was massive and a handful. Neither of these dogs was ever going to be off-lead. Wolf communication is quite different from dog communication which makes interpreting them quite difficult too, unless you know about wolves.

I know that scream you are referring to. Mine has screamed the place down twice, once when we went too fast with the crate training, and once when we insisted on walking home instead of taking a detour. There was clearly something more interesting than a squirrel in the other direction, because he screamed and screamed as if we'd hurt him. All we did was stand still and refuse to pulled down the road. We had to wait until he stopped screaming and it was very very embarrassing!

I'm sorry you got bitten. Toboldlygo's advice is excellent. I think neutering will make a big difference too.

DogsBeastFiend Wed 12-Oct-11 18:59:08

"The breeder she spoke to yesterday has told her tht until 18months ago he would have been illegal and classed as a dangerous breed."

In that case don't solicit advice from that breeder again as s/he is talking rubbish!

Neither of the breeds which this dog is crossed with is classes as a dangerous breed. Dangerous dogs are dealt with under the Dangerous Dogs Act and the four breeds which are deemed dangerous are the American Pit Bull Terrier, the Japanese Tosa, the Fila Brasileiros and the Dogo Argentinios. There IS legislation which requires wolves and their hybrids to be licensed with various clauses attached to the owning and licensing of them but most of these so called wolves are so far removed from the real thing that these laws don't apply and, as far as I know, the two breeds with which this lad is crossed do NOT require licensing.

ditavonteesed Wed 12-Oct-11 19:21:05

dbf - just out of interest from someone who knows very little about these things and always wants to learn, from the 4 breeds you list how come I only ever heard about pitbulls? Is this because a lot of people seem to think that sbt's are pitbulls. I have only ever heard good things about pitbulls.
It could be as you said in your last paragraph that she told her that they would need licencing, as someone who knows very little about these things it could be lost in translation.
Anyway thanks everyone for all the ideas, loads to be going on here and certainly lots of positive things to think about and try. we will make sure she gets the info.

notmeagain Wed 12-Oct-11 19:24:12

Val he is not totally talking rubbish as DEFRA in 2003 stated that the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog was a dangerous and wild breed.

Although there has been legal ranglings over this since (can go into details if you like) but now DEFRA are stating that 3 generations removed from pure wolf are no longer a wild and dangerous breed.

DogsBeastFiend Wed 12-Oct-11 19:51:10

That much I knew, notmeagain, but surely it was a fair bit longer than 18 months ago that the reversal of the "CW and Saarloos are wild animals" conclusion took place? And even then he wouldn't have been illegal, merely a restricted animal in need of licensing, registration and about whom the owner must fulfill stringent requirements, much the same as the owner of a GSD must do in Ireland.

It's all very hazy now but if I recall correctly there were academic papers written which argumented that if that was the way the law wanted to go it should be looking at the pet dogs on our sofas too for all dogs originated from wolves at one stage!

As I said, it's hazy, coming from long ago conversations with the owner of a Timberwolf (and besides I' old and knackered!). grin

notmeagain Wed 12-Oct-11 20:10:48

Not sure about academic papers on it just that DEFRA issued passports to Czechoslovakian wolfdogs and so had to do some back peddling very quicklygrin. Really only finally legally concluded in 2009.

umm do dogs evolve from wolves another huge can of worms there grin

DogsBeastFiend Wed 12-Oct-11 20:13:35

Ooops! I can see that DEFRA might have been a little on the red-faced side there! grin

DogsBeastFiend Wed 12-Oct-11 20:14:21

I've pondered that one a few times myself. smile

I think.. and this is only my take on it of course... it's partly because the idiot mentality confuse the SBT or SBT cross with the Pit, partly because there are Pits in this country and have been for decades - remember they're legal just across the water in Ireland - and partly because of the lack of prevelence of the other breeds in the UK.

But I dunno... I'm probably wrong.

toboldlygo Wed 12-Oct-11 20:40:42

I think it's entirely possible that the other three breeds had never set foot in the UK at all. Personally I think they were only added to save face as the banning of one single breed, the pit, would have appeared even more ridiculous than the banning of an arbitrary selection of 'fighting dogs'.

RedwingWinter Wed 12-Oct-11 20:44:35

Defra says a licence isn't needed for a wolf-dog that is at least three generations removed from an actual wolf - link here if anyone wants it.

That would make a low-content wolf dog so it's probably best to think of it as a northern type dog rather than a wolf hybrid.

alice15 Wed 12-Oct-11 20:50:48

At the time the DDA was introduced, I'm pretty sure there had been something like 2 Tosas in the country and none of the other 2 - they were just all added in a preemptive strike, which wouldn't have been such a stupid idea if breed specific legislation wasn't such a stupid idea in the first place, IYSWIM, as they are all built like brick shithouses and certainly could do more damage than a pit bull, were they so minded, I would think.
What about that wolfy rehab place in Berkshire? Is there anyone there who could help, if the dog is a hybrid?

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