Wolf Maidens Greeting

I am a young woman, whom lives, treks, dances and sings with pure wolves. Due to where I live not only do I have the opportunity to have viewed, studied, and experienced living, surrounded by wild born wolves, right on my own land even! But I have also forged a friendship with some captive born pure wolves at my licensed wolf outreach and eco education center in Northern Canada. They have been but one teacher in my life, and I have humbly grown over time with them. It consists of various journeys with various wildlife, and pure wolves as they be, and all their glory. Nothing is ever as great as viewing the wild in the wild, such moments never fail to bring me to my knees in awe, wonder and humble honor. To meet another sentient being on their own hallowed grounds where they belong, brings tears to my eyes. I have an undying love affair and romance with the greatest show on earth...LIFE! and wish to say Namaste' to all fellow earth aliens :0) I hope you feel most welcome here and come back to visit from time to time, perhaps leave your own thoughts and mark to remember you by. It seems that so many are in a hurry these days, and don't just sit back enough and simply BE, I provide a lot of music choices here (Just scroll through them if yee like ) I hope you enjoy your stay no matter how long. I LOVE to meet people and hear their own story. I do feel with my every being, that every morning the sun rises to refresh our souls, and every sunset is honored as a gift, for we are not granted a tomorrow. I have the now to share, and hope you catch the same wild disease. Remember in the words of Dr. Seuss Be who you are, say what you feel, because those who mind dont matter, and those who matter don't mind.

Be Most Welcome Here

Be Most Welcome Here
Please enjoy your visit! My user name is skynymph http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nymph

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Wolf That Changed America

Namaste' fellow earth aliens! Hope this finds you alive and living :0) I am including a few pictures here taken this early winter of Tibet Night Song my littlest wolf angel, she was having a really bad day with her disease and illness so decided to add her spirit here. She has been a real survivor in her life. And I know lobos spirit flows within her own as all is connected. Tibet is a little wolf that has helped to change my life in various ways, and her soul in my life has brought with it may lessons good, and not so good. One day her tale will also be told.

I wanted to share the amazing tale by a Canadian naturalist that occurred in the late 1800's, his name was Ernest Thompson Seton. This film "The Wolf That Changed America" was especially reminiscent for me because I had read Seton's book when I was a kid, and like so many other books I remember so clearly and fondly, such as "Never Cry Wolf" Or "Island Of The Blue Dolphins" this one truly made me weep as a child out of sadness, and fondness of the lessons, it was one I did not forget in my life. I could not understand the mentality of Mr Seton in the beginning of the story, claiming to be a naturalist, and also having the mindset of wolves that he had held up in Canada. I recall thinking at 10 "oh this guy is a bad man!"

I look at some of the people I currently know today, whom I know are avid outdoorspeople and naturalists (they love taking photographs of wildlife and live literally amongst nature in the woods like I do) yet they too look at wolves as something almost alien to the planet, a foreign creature not necessary/ needed in the greater scheme of things. BUT perhaps they have never had that AHA moment experience with another sentient being such as the wolf , maybe they have not allowed that *wall* to go down just enough, that they can be graced by such a powerful wild wisdom and connection with ALL things great and small.
A true wild wisdom will course through your entire body and very veins, it will feel like the greatest love story and romance you have ever and will ever know, when you FEEL it, you KNOW it instantly.

Being an avid naturalist and artist myself I have had such a romance with nature and *all* it's residents from the moment I entered this world, it has brought me through some of the darkest, and brightest periods in my life. But I must also keep in mind that some simply will be led down other paths and ways to their lessons from my own kindrid relationship forged, some of those ways differing either subtly or drastically from the next persons.

It was interesting to see the book come alive in a way, (although books grant you vivid images in a way no film ever can) and I am sure you will also enjoy this film, like I did. The scenery of New Mexico is spectacular, the wolves engaging and stoicly beautiful. You can certainly see how such wilderness, regardless of Ernest Setons temporary job, would have still swept his breath away.

I enjoyed that they had the wolf biologist Doug Smith on the film, because right before they talked to him in part 2, Seton thought the wolf was playing a trick on him by not taking the first of baits. I thought to myself "No, the wolves like coyotes over time were simply getting smarter." So I did have to laugh.

This is a well put together film/recreation of a timeless tale, one I will have to buy for my library. But be forwarned if your like me, you may shed some tears watching this film too, it has some very moving moments, it made me go awwww, wow, and bow my head in shame for the past, which brought me to the present day mentality that still exists in several areas.

Near the end Mr Seton, has a magical experience, one that would alter the course of his life for it's duration. That powerful energy a wolf carries, that independance, that grace hits Ernest Seton directly and hard. All things happen for a reason, and Lobo became Setons reason. One can't not go deep down inside within their own souls, during this film, it shows how capable we all are to positive change if we simply allow the beauty of life to kiss us.

click on the following for the full episode of this nature film
The introduction/synopsis


The Wolf That Changed AmericaIntroduction
In 1893, a bounty hunter named Ernest Thompson Seton journeyed to the untamed canyons of New Mexico on a mission to kill a dangerous outlaw. Feared by ranchers throughout the region, the outlaw wasn’t a pistol-packing cowboy or train-robbing bandit. The outlaw was a wolf.
Lobo, as locals simply called him, was the legendary leader of a band of cattle-killing wolves that had been terrorizing cattle ranchers and their livestock. Known as the “King of the Currumpaw,” Lobo seemingly had a mythical ability to cheat death, eluding the traps that ranchers had set for him throughout the countryside.
It was up to Seton, a naturalist as well as a professional animal trapper, to exterminate this “super-wolf.” The ensuing battle of wits between wolf and man would spark a real-life wilderness drama, the outcome of which would leave a lasting effect on a new and growing movement in America: wilderness preservation.
The Wolf That Changed America premieres Sunday, November 23 at 8pm on PBS (check local listings).

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Island Of The Wolves

Namaste' all, it has always been accepted and taught , that wolf pups that have been hand reared, without wild parents teaching them all the ins and outs of being truly wild, (including hunting large game) cannot be released back into the wild.

In Russia there has been a study occurring on an island. The documentary is called "Island Of The Wolves" Three pups, taken from a zoo and released into the wild, surviving without parental support, having not been taught to do so by wild parents.

I am viewing this with great scepticism for now, as I see nothing that states they learned how to hunt big game on their own successfully, it only takes you through their first year, so I have not been able to garner enough info. still to judge the results.

I know have taken some of mine out for hikes, and they even so much as see a cow, horse or wild buck, they are dragging me home, let alone viewing such scary monsters as lunch. It talks about already being successful in hand rearing and release with great success on this page, http://www.russiatoday.com/wolves/pack

I am left wondering why I have not heard of such a thing until now? I also wonder if the pups bought from hunters were old enough or had already learned necessary skills to survive on their own already, and were not thoroughly socialized to humans. I cannot find where they state age ranges here of attained pups for wild release?

But then I found this footnote on this page http://www.russiatoday.com/wolves/pack ****The Centre has 19 animals spread out among three enclosures.***** Thus my scepticism that the majority are actually are returned to the WILD, to be WILD wolves again.

Seems more like a fun documentary of baby wolf growing up in captivity still, and three zoo wolves being the stars of this *show* but having a bit more adventures along the way within reason of the human handlers, I mean an island? talk about FUN!

The video footage is cute! and now that I know about it, will be looking into this *study* more closely.

Looking more through this site's pages carefully http://www.russiatoday.com/wolves/island and watching the videos, I can see that this is a captive wolf facility that are studying, and trying different things with them.

But truly *wild* they are not, not anymore than my own are. I see quite a few wolves still within confines of metal bars.

If someone attains wolf pups at an older age, where they have learned enough basics of hunting large game via their family, and the pup has the natural fear of man, then there is good chance for re-release back into the wild. Injured older wolf pups, needing true rehab comes to mind, where there is no contact with humans at all, as they are nursed back to health to be released.

I think however, until I see actual paper scientific proof that very young pups hand reared, and socialized to humans are safely released, without them possibly causing trouble in the future, due to their habituation to those humans, I will remain a little doubtful, that the pups won't still rely on those humans that reared them to some degree. Now, this is not to say that wolves even if not raised by wild parents, cannot hunt. The instinct to give chase and kill is hardwired within wolves, this instinct will come out all on it's own, whether captive or wild reared. A wolf will grow up naturally testing those around them, (other pack members, and prey animals in their environment,) Those hardwired instincts growing stronger as the animal ages. But typically a wolf that has not learned the precise hunting skills, to be utilized in the *wild,* by wild parents, will not have as clean as kills, and be as *successful in their hunts. Wolves are on average only succesful one out of ten hunts as it is. So if a farmer calls me up and I find the cow has multiple injuries throughout, and the kill is an absolute mess, there is pretty much the entire carcass still there, or the animal is still alive, but simply tortured to near death, I tend to lean more towards a feral dog or dog pack) having done the deed.

I enjoyed seeing the footage of the wolves in another country, so far away, and their approach, and the why's to this facility. (Would love to visit!) However taking young pups pulled from their moms, that were already in a zoo as is stated, not out of the wild as in wild orphans quote: from http://www.russiatoday.com/wolves/pack ((((four pups from Tambov zoo and three pups from St-Petersburg zoo. )))) does not save them from poachers, these particular pups were/ are captive wolf pups taken in by another captive facility, and reared as such. That is the meat and potatoes of it.

But what this Program does regardless, is bring attention to the plight of poaching

TV series exposes brutality of wild animal trade


Poachers threaten ecology of Russia's Far East


New penalties for paoching in Russia


Poaching occurs worldwide, and keeping with this blog, occurring at an alarming rate in Russia! Any program that has such good intent, is also helping to bring about awareness and hopefully change.

Also for fun, here is a picture taken by Judy Wood of my arctic wolf pup eco soul journey, this was taken in our past spring when she was ten months old *yup there was still snow when spring hit up here*

Friday, November 7, 2008

Living With The Wolf Man

Namaste' all hope everyone has had an amazing summer, its gone by as usual too quickly out here I have pics of the creation of yet another wolf habitat to post, and a few blogs to post about when I get some extra time so enjoy this for now. I also wish to say THANK YOU to the kind gentleman that left a message on my answering machine. Imagine my surprise to hear someone care about me continuing to write in this ol blog. I had tears well up actually. So thank you ever most kindly for that kind of support dear sir.

I have recently more or less ignored commenting when asked about a particular program airing on National Geographic. National Geographic was always an icon to me growing up, something I looked up to as a child, for who didn't revel in seeing their programs occasionally, or reading their books?

I think I have been in purgatory shock, and needed time to chew on the latest for a while before I spit it out, to be recycled by one of the wolf's here, remember the 3 R's my friends (Reduce, Re-Use and Recycle *grin)

So I am going to chew this a bit more, and spit it out to reduce my sense of frustration ,so that legend can quickly snatch it up and re-use it *yum yum he says!* where then it then can come out on it's own unsweet natural time, to be recycled by the dung bugs.! *grin* See all creatures in life are needed.

Many SERIOUS professionals that work with wolves, will work hard to not misrepresent what a wolf is, that means no sugar coating, yet at the same time walking the fine line of not attaching other just as harmful labels to create sensationalism.

Lets face it compared to the human species wolves actually could be considered quite docile, and extremely limited when it comes to violence and extremism, for they simply don't have the ego our species were so blessed with to create such things, just because they can.

The program I speak of today is called "Living with the Wolf Man" starring Shaun Ellis, and now his latest love Helen Jeff's, whom has joined the ranks with Shaun and his pack. http://animal.discovery.com/tv/wolfman/about/

Shaun strikes me as a simple, yet complex man , (nothing wrong with that) but whom has been brought into the spotlight due to less than conventional methods of raising some wolf pups in captivity, (wolves that were not orphaned out of the wild, but captive wolves, where wolf pups are born and pulled so they are socialized to humans) This method is not unlike many other wolf facilities (including my own) whom wish to make life less stressful, and a little easier on the animals, than if left to be completely wild in a domesticated situation.
However, it is not as simple as this being a case of just less conventional, or I would not be touching any of this story at all, for I am a big believer, and promoter of everything holy unconventional.
I have watched the first program in this new series with Shaun, and I would have found it entertaining as in "What a great cartoon!" type of entertainment, sadly this was no cartoon, and I found it so full of ignorance, I could not possibly laugh. This program contained not just unconventional methods, but potentially dangerous ones, of a line I feel people simply should not cross, one of respect and honor for what another species is.
At the same time, I could not help but be fascinated and my eyes glued to the screen watching this. I had to sit there and question myself incredulously as to why. I mean it goes against everything I believe in or most of what I do in regards to upbringing a wild animal in captivity.

I would think I should have been turned off by what I saw, but I wasn't, and that is the student in me I guess, wishing to explore all areas of life, and what others have to teach, even if it seems to go against the common path and mainstream way. Even if it seems to anger me, or make me feel utter disbelief. I wanted to reach out beyond my initial feelings with this, and explore it.

But I also have to address the concerns. If this was some private place, without children being subjected to this sort of education it would be easy to turn away, and hope for the best that the person didn't learn a true lesson someday of winding up dead in a serious challenge.

But then again, that fall out would be just as harmful as well to wolves in general. I am all for being different and pushing the envelope in life, we all in our life do things, say things, that may not be considered the *right* thing to do or say. That is the beauty of evolving and discovery or self and of living truly free.

But there is a sacred line, one unseen, and when crossed can create not just a personal (samsara) hell, (which is the responsibility of the persons own choices) but that CAN have a ripple effect, and when ones own choices affects another's in such a way as to cause harm, it crosses that line. Has Shaun physically harmed anyone? NO, Shaun appears to truly love the animals in his care, this is obvious to me. I am not talking that kind of harm, harm comes in various ways, including educational harm.

Here is a man whom obviously likes the spotlight , he is good at it, (the camera loves him! ) and he is the right personality for that kind of thing, he has a gift in that sense (I can see kids loving this guy in factual presentations, heck I like the guy even, seriously, I do and I have not even met him) I would gladly embrace this man and invite him into my home with ease, as I truly do believe no matter, I still am a student not just a teacher in life. So would never pass up the opportunity of meeting another in the middle.

Respect of everything wild means simply leave all ego at the doorway to the soul ;0) it means when out even trekking in it, that there should be an awareness that this is a shared world, and one where another should at all times take heed, and hold respect close.

I want to take apart the description of what the newest program is about, it may not reach as many people as I would like, but I owe it to my own wild friends and ongoing work.

I want to make it clear this is not about Shaun Ellis or Helen Jeff's, they are who they are and I have no problem with people being THEMSELVES. They both appear to be fun loving people, good people, that care. But people in any educational sector, where they are looked to as a source of factual information, have a GREAT responsibility to those that may become students, whom may then also turn around and repeat what they hear and see, to become teachers. I cannot turn away as someone who owns and operates, a licensed pure wolf center, and whom has worked professionally as an educator for a number of years.

Those whom hold great responsibility, hold great power!

If anyone were to go off into the wild, get down on all fours and act wolf to try and be *accepted* into a wild wolf pack, they (the wolves) would either think this is one crazy scary dude I'm outta here, or rip them to pieces.

Wolves, and many other wild critters when raised from bottle-feeding stage, automatically accept and bond to those that rear them, (even if another species) and unless you break a trust (easy to do with wolves as they are much less forgiving than your dog is) you will always be accepted.

I don't have to smell, and act like them, in order to have them accept me into their world, in order for me to see all sides to who they are. They don't keep all they know from me like a human being would, because they want to keep all their *wild* secrets, within the ranks of their *own kind*. They speak to me every day, and I have seen all sides to what makes them tick. Wolves don't have the ego/ability to lie and hide who they are. Their ways are not shown and taught, to only those whom try and act like them. I am addressing some points in this article about Shaun http://animal.discovery.com/tv/wolfman/about

1.) You do not interrupt a wolfs keen sense of smell if you have any sugar. There has never actually been any scientific studies to prove such a thing. (Sugar is not good for YOU, and has the ability to impact your own immune system for hours at a time when consumed, but will NOT disturb a wolfs keen sense of smell as is stated in the above article at animal discovery (they make sugar sound like kryptonite ) You do NOT need to EAT like a wolf in order to be accepted by a wolf, and it definitely won't keep you safe if you eat like them, as is stated in the first episode of this series.

2) If after three years the wolves have been around her as is stated, and have come to know who she is, even if they have met through the fence, and she has able to pet them via that means with no signs of aggression shown towards her, or approached her without signs of aggression, they have accepted her presence.

3) It is stated you ruin your chances of being accepted in the pack if you wear different smells like perfume, that you need to smell the same way to the wolves all the time. I don't wear perfume, or other scents to mask my own smell. But I do believe in just keeping clean (bathing) and allowing my own scent to be a part of me, but if some caretaker wears perfume, they can expect to most likely just be rolled on (or the animal attempt such,) by trying to rub their bodies all over yours! thus a possible jumping up on you to do it, and licked a lot. (Just brace yourself and prepare for it) This is no big deal for an experienced steward. Wearing different smells wont ruin your chances of being accepted. I do like to occasionally put fruit essences on my neck from the health food store, and I smell fruity, I then receive extra special kisses of course.
I don't have to wear the same smelly clothing over and over again without it being washed. In fact there is a very serious danger in giving the advice, of always wearing the same clothing around the animals, and not changing it. IF you have taken this advice, and this is how you work with wolves (always the same jacket, boots, etc all the time every day) then if you were to suddenly change items, you could present that as a test/possible challenge to a wolf. Wolves pay extra special attention to articles they have not smelt, or seen before. If you have always worn the same jacket every day of that animals life, and suddenly come out in a new one, the wolf may wish to examine that literally, and grab it off you, that could draw in the others to do the same, and it could turn into piggy in the middle! (Don't think this could happen? well it has happened to people including a story I can tell myself)
SPECIAL NOTE:When a wolf is a pup you need to mix it up! they need to be subjected consistently every single day to different objects, including different ways you wear your hair. Wear hair in pony tails, up, loose, etc, wear different jackets of different clothing material, from leather to jean, even if pups are raised in the spring /summer/ fall, you should be handling them wearing anything from sandals, to big winter boots, from mitts of all types of material to gloves, to toques and other various hats placed on your head to keep warm, like ski masks. It is IMPORTANT!
I have personally rescued two wolves in the past , where they both had the same neurosis for white knit gloves! that is because their handlers ONLY EVER used leather work mitts, they also had an extra special fondness for baggy sweaters, and jackets. I can wear *anything* around any of the wolves *I* have personally raised, but these wolves, NOT so, and I found out the hard way, of just how the wrong ways were used in raising these two particular animals. They would grab these things right on your body and hands *this is potentially dangerous!* nothing could break them of this either. I came to quiz the former handlers, well just as I had suspected they always wore the exact same kind of jacket and mitts around them, creating a fixation on anything else that differed, from THOSE types of things /materials.

It has been stated that Helen risks her very life (hype and drama) to be *accepted*by the pack, and in particular a certain female wolf within that pack. First off look at the picture at this site http://animal.discovery.com/tv/wolfman/about of them quite happy and content side by side with a wolf putting Helen's life in danger, now if a wolf gets this close to you , they have *accepted* you, if they (*Shaun and Helen) mean *ACCEPT* as another wolf, that will never happen a wolf knows a human is NOT wolf, and though they may apply wolf rules to your physical person if you INSIST on trying to be a different species of animal and gain an acceptance that is simply not possible, you will pay for that as Shaun has in the form of a bloody face and gashes.

5) Adult wolves do not normally regurgitate for each other! They don't sit around chewing up raw or cooked meat, and spitting it back up for adult wolves to scarf up out of their mouths. Wolves are very protective of their food towards other adults within the pack. If an omega has laid claim to *their* share, they will guard it religiously, even from the alpha. Now they wont think your crazy (even if you are) but it serves NO purpose other than them thinking, "Oh thanks! you have food to offer? I'll take it!" You simply put your delicate furless face at risk for being sliced up by razor wire, as they exuberantly take it out of your mouth that's all.

6) The biggest, strongest wolf in the pack is not necessarily the lead wolf. A human that works with wolves does not have to have a great amount of strength and size (Like Shaun obviously has) in order to maintain a respect. I am 5'1 I work out two hours every day, and lead a very healthy active lifestyle, but lets just say many 12 year olds are bigger than me!!!! Leadership is a way of holding yourself. I have seen some very small wolves hold the position of alpha for a great many years. If a wolf is a bully alpha in a pack, they will eventually be taken out/or displaced by the rest of the pack, for they will get tired of a bully. Because I eat lots of vegetables and fruits does not mean I will be seen as an omega by my pack, or no longer accepted. I am a human they are wolves. I do not place myself into a position of acting wolf cause I am not one. I dont want them to treat me like their own kind.

Regurgitation is an instinctual behavior, displayed in adult wolves towards pups starting around 3 weeks of age, for they cannot rip meat off bones yet, thus the mother and other members of the pack throw up partially digested food for them. Adult wolves typically will not do this with each other.

How do any of the above statements have anything to do with respect or acceptance?

Shaun has chosen to not only place *himself* at continual risk in my professional opinion, but also Helen by making her act like himself, and to act like a wolf, when humans are not equipped to have the same mind frame and physical attributes as a wolf. No matter how much a person TRIES to put themselves in *THAT PLACE* , they do not have the same mind frame period, it is acting, like one sees with any actor in the movies. Helen is Not Shaun either, and Shaun gets way with HIS wolves doing certain things, another may get into trouble with, in doing the same things.

I didn't even need to watch this first program to know the wolves accept them both, otherwise the wolf in the picture beside them both (can be seen in the url I provide) would be pawing the ground like a bull, with hackles stiff as porcupine quills and huffing and puffing up one heck of a dirt storm in his/her path. Or running away terrified. Maybe a combination of both even.

A wolf makes it VERY clear when they don't like someone, or won't accept them, and one thing I have learned is if a wolf does not accept you from the start, they NEVER will, you cannot regurgitate enough food to convince them otherwise! If you meet a wolf in captivity where their energy instantly clashes with yours, you can't make enough nice...sorry.

I am including a few photos of my pure Dharma, seeing someone she doesn't like, and NEVER will.*grin* no matter how many hot dogs are given to her, she'll take your hotdog and then proceed to charge you if you turn your back. The series of photographs are of a wolf's (My Dharma's) highly agitated state upon seeing someone (a person) she does not like, and hasn't since puppyhood. This person has NEVER hurt her, or done a single harmful thing to her, she simply dislikes him. Her emotions will go back and forth, she is very fearful and the fear periodically turns to bouts of aggressive behavior due to this fear. I literally took 300 photos of the interaction but can only post a few here to give you an idea.

Dharma can hear the person's voice and recognizes it, her hackles go up.

Here is a closer shot where you can see the raised dorsal cape (just below the shoulder blades) and her neck ruff. Entire body is held stiff and rigid.
Here she quickly backed up in fear note her tail tucked and her body slightly lowered ready to spring into action.Every once in a while someone will spot wolf language in action unknowingly. "Why is so and so looking up, and why do they keep moving their heads like that as if to the sky?" Well, This is a highly agitated sign, a really confident wolf may lay down or stand, either close to, or a distance from the thing upsetting them, with their backs away from, or facing the person head on that is agitating them, and slowly make a movement with their neck and head as if looking to the sky. In this case Dharma is too fearful and agitated to lay still, so she is moving around and I catch her in this photo looking up slightly. The head toss is a very slow subtle movement. It can vary from what you see in this picture, all the way to the head being placed in such a position where the muzzle is pointing straight up, as if the animal is going to howl but doesn't .
Have you ever watched your dog go into a play bow? Well wolves will also *play/test bow* as well, similar to your dog, and it not mean anything but instigating a play/test session. But when displayed in context with anxiety/fear/aggression/agitation, the bow is far from playful. An agitated wolf will paw the ground like a bull using either one front paw, two front paws and come up from the bow, or use all four paws to scratch at the ground. Dharma used all forms during her agitation in these pictures. This is an aggressive sign.

Here she is getting ready to scratch at the ground her stare is hard and focused and she is consistently pursing her lips together, eliciting a very soft puff sound coming out. Wolves will also make a very rapid puffing sound over and over, like a oof, oof sound, along with occasional deep short alarm barks. She performed both the fast puffing/blowing sound ,as well as the very soft , slow, whisper puff and blow
Here you can see the ground just in front and gathered under her paw, as she brings it up
Here above Dharma is in a complete bow right before bringing both legs up scratching, her stare hard and focused.
Look closely at her eyes and mouth, this is what I mean by a HARD stare, it is direct and unflinching, she is not avoiding eye contact but has this person in her direct line of sight. Because I was so close to her I could hear a VERY soft (oof, sound come out like a breathy whisper)
Here she launches into a full blown alarm howl/bark the sound is more choppy in sound. Note tail tuck.
I had the person of her oh so fond affections, turn their back as if to walk away and then she sprang into action and ran at the fence towards the person very intent/focused. Her fear, temporarily taking back seat to the attack mode she launches into here, brought on by the fear towards the person.
As the person *appears* to be moving away her hackles flatten slightly, she lowers her body closer to the ground, tail only slightly tucked and kinked to one side showing apprehension and wariness. Her ears slightly flattened back. Her entire posture is undecided in how to feel and she has conflicting feelings occurring. She is ready to move swiftly within a nano second if need be. Wolves have the reflexes of super race car drivers.
Here Dharma proceeds to mark out of fear, nervousness and instinct. This is her territory she wants this scary person to know it.

The person has now gone, but Dharma remains on fairly high alert for an hour afterwards

Shaun has gotten by (not without being scathed mind you ;0) i.e bloodied up face ) despite of , not because of his methods. It has worked for him with HIS personal private wolf group, up to this point.

Apply ANY of his methods on any wolf he did not rear from bottle-feeding stage, his methods could have dire consequences. As it is they still could, someone can go years until one day, the wrong move made too many times for THAT particular personality of animal, and they can and will show you exactly where you went wrong. Heck, if I was getting a bloodied face I would know I was doing something wrong.

It is good to always be inventing outside the box when dealing with wild animals, you cannot *think* only conventional with them, each personality will be different from the next, thus the application may also need to be shifted..

Will I continue to watch this program? yes I will, but only so that I can prepare myself for the ignorant calls and emails I will get from those people who blindly believe what they are seeing, and wish to apply such methods to other wild animals.

I encourage youth to be themselves despite critics out there, to walk to the beat of their own music, created along the journey. But one must also keep in mind that while treading softly on hallowed ground, and going against the grain, that there may be others watching us, whom will also become teachers. That our choices may have consequences for someone else we don't even know. For it is true we are all connected and linked more closely than we even realize.

Wolves have variant personalities, Take any litter and how one pup may respond and react positively to being reared using one method by a handler, the next pup may not necessarily be as open to thus a handler has to dig back into their tool belt of ideas and tricks to pull out and find something that will work. But there are some very basic rules of handling wild animals too and a handler can expand from those basic rules.

I was asked my thoughts a while back from a visitor why there is such a strong connection with wolves for some, this was my summed up response.

I think there is no more a bond with wolf and man than there is with wolf and deer, we are all connected. Any animal species including our own have shared the experience of living amongst natures elements, and surviving them. Humans disconnected from the land or the majority did long ago, but the remnants of those wild relationships forged (both with other animals and nature itself) still remain within our own wild psyche. :0) we sense it, feel it deep within, but it is more like some long ago forgotten siren song now, that still calls to us, to remember. It is such a powerful song we recognize it, but don't.

The wolf still stands for that wild life, that life that is hard and unforgiving in nature, we recognize that life though no longer want it realistically, crave still the beauty within the savagery that exists, when one truly lives WILD. There is also the point to be made of recognition of anything that may have *similar* family structures at least enough to remind us of our own family. All animals know how to instinctively relate to one another, predator and prey.

There is a book written by Raymond Coppinger called Dogs: A Startling New Understanding of Canine Origin, Behavior & Evolution: you would find that book very very interesting I think, and is a number one on my list above. But here's a bit more about that for your eyes


To sum this series up If people watch this, I hope the program encourages people to do more research. Shaun has not done more than anyone else before to research these predators, as the first program states in this series. Shaun is a novice compared to many whom have lived with and worked with wolves such as The exemplary research facility Wolf Park started back in the 70's by Wolf Biologist Erich Klinghammer and someone I call friend.

I consider only the wolves experts, at the same time I know I have grown over the years to become a professional educator. I don't have enough hands of people and facilities that have all added to understand more about the wolf in a factual no nonsense way. How many have contributed, and I think Shaun has contributed as well regardless of my other views.

I have a video here sent to me by Erich as a gift, and it shows Erich walking right up to a pack of wolves as they are already eating a deer carcass, and proceeds to take a deer by the leg and move it to a different area. He has never had to get down on all fours and pretend to be a wolf in order to be respected by the wolves, they do not attack him as he takes their deer, nor do they even growl at him. You can see nothing but respect between the man and the wolves.

It is said that anything that gets people more interested in wolves even if the info. is not correct is a good thing. YES it is a good by product that more people will be called to learn about this predator. However I do not want to ever pick up a newspaper, and read about someone else going out and buying wolf pups, repeat what Shaun has done, only to wind up dead (because what has worked for Shaun has worked for HIM) As I have stated earlier on with such power of educating, comes a great responsibility.

The positives? I really like they show how to properly house a wolf in captivity, and that they show these animals requiring a lot of enrichment and stimulation, (which they provide) that this is not some backyard in the city, holding wild animals. I like they show the strength, power and seriousness of the wolf, they do not portray them as bengi the dog. These wolves have been well socialized, so they are not stressed in captivity. I have a feeling if I were to visit, the wolves would come right over to me at the fence and I would even most likely get a kiss. I can honestly say it would not be on an account of consuming liver either. ;0) or getting down on all fours so they can make sure I have not consumed any sugar. :0)

What I like about Shaun is that he is not afraid to just be who he wants to be, that is not easy to do. He is his own unique person and is not someone content to be boxed in. I can so easily picture myself even getting along with this man quite well , and for as much uncommon ground between us, there would be found much in common. I would love to ask him in person about his methods of application. I don't think this man is an absolute idiot, like some other professionals I know think he is. I believe there is a lot of ignorant information portrayed in the program true, but on the contrary he is much smarter than others may give him credit for, otherwise he would not be where he is today.

I do wish Shaun Ellis and Helen Jeffs the best of luck however on their life with the wolves, and with each other. The love they both share together is quite obvious as well, I wouldn't eat some of the stuff she eats, for anyone. ;0)

Great lessons come from many sides and perceptions.

So if you watch this new series, take from it what you will, BUT do further research. Shaun's path and perceptions are not absolute, (they simply work for HIM to date) and if you appy the same methods of madness, to wolves in your own care, you may find yourself on the wrong end of some very sharp teeth someday. ;0)

copyright skylar breton A Wolf Adventure; A Wild Insight

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Take A Bite Out Of This!

Namaste' all! I am seriously far behind I see logging into my account, and I apologize for not having been able to visit your wonderful blogs in quite a while. I sometimes have more time than others, rest assured any blog I have commented on it is not because I felt forced to it is because you HAVE touched me in some way, and I think of you all. The warm season is the time to get as much stuff needing built as is possible, that means from literally sun up till down doing things needing done.

This spring /summer the facility requires extra high security areas needing completion with buildings, and extra water tanks for each of the habitats, the extra security areas are for during bad storms, or trees falling down, the wolves will still be in spacious areas attached to their main habitats but can be locked in without any risk of escape if a tree comes crashing down onto the main compounds. We are situated after all surrounded by forest.

The tanks are for when trips are taken, and water can continuously flow into their main bowls so any caretaker here to babysit does not have to go into the wolf enclosures to give water and such. (liability reasons) Basically working towards the entire facility becoming self sustained. We are already 3/4's of the way there. So I am hoping by the first snow to have it all complete. I am working towards eventually my CAZA, this is given out to only zoos (I am a licensed wolf facility, not a ZOO with a collection of various animals, so I will have my work cut out for me to eventually get that kind of elite status up here, but anything I have ever set my sites on comes true for me, just takes WORK and keeping it close within my heart and THOUGHTS putting that out into the ether.

Snow season things slow down a bit and I can catch up with stories to tell that happened during the warm months :0)

People come from all over to visit, and will look around and say things like "What a life you live, it must feel so peaceful and simple" ...well it takes a lot of WORK and TIME to get to *simple*, it actually is not as easy a life as it *looks*, it requires a lot of very hard work and that never ends out here, it makes the time I do spend not working even more precious for that *peace*. To simply sit without words, and thought. To silence voices and be *still* and at one within yourself. Being an artist, and maybe other artists can relate, your mind tends to always be going in various directions. Sometimes I laugh and make fun of it and say that is a part of being an artist the insanity of it all, some might call that multitasking. Whatever it is, it can get NOISY and you want it to shut the heck up ;0)

Okay onto the blog!

Does anyone ever get grumpy during the wintertime? like if someone rubs you the wrong way you want to... I don't know Bite them? :0) sometimes, I am tempted but I don't think I bite THAT hard! (kidding, but I'll leave it up to you to figure out what I'm kidding about, or not ;0)

Well if you don't get like that, thank heavens I am sure your family feel blessed ;0) ha ha. Well I get a LOT of phone calls and emails literally from all over the world, and people from various corners of the earth have visited my home in the woods, I get asked a lot about working with wolves, and I tell people ALL sides to this. I have some cute stories but I can tell a LOT more crazy stories over the years too of the sacrifice made for them. It's NOT even remotely been easy in any way shape or form. So for anyone reading and you think you want to work with wolves, my blog is not fuzzy bunny, it is what it is, wolves are what they are, I don't down play any of it. I want my blogs to be balanced and honest. I am not talking about dogs here or dogs with wolf in them.

One thing caretakers of wolves deal with is something called seasonal aggression (not dogs said to be wolves, I had to state this as I get sent a lot of pics from people thinking they have pure wolves in their house, and saying things like my pet white wolf looks JUST like your arctic legend...NOT) ALL wolves go through this during breeding season to *variant* degrees, from simply being more grumpy (not AS affectionate, more stand offish as in don't touch me syndrome, even growly if you go to touch them) to outright aggression of not allowing said caretakers into the enclosure even , or they will get attacked, this occurs during the winter /breeding months. For some wolves it lasts a few weeks, others it may last a few months!
Mature males tend to go through this a little more than females do in intensity. ( However keeping with the behavior change theme here, SOME intact females can actually become a little more affectionate (so the opposite) during breeding season ( a couple of mine are like this,) and might pay the caretaker a bit too much attention , which might piss off any male mate and incite some aggression in the male mate. (Not good)

This is another good reason to have free feeders (which we have) and they have their own custom built building boxes they sit in to protect them from rain/snow etc, so there is enough food to last without having to go into the habitat for sometimes weeks on end, and another reason why we have custom made heavy duty electric troughs so water never freezes in our frigid winter temps up here, if you cant go in to chop ice and give water umpteen times a day! (A true luxury ) Lock out areas are also a great necessity.

Wolves tend to mature anywhere from 2-5 years of age, and if left intact can start to display behavior that is different than they **normally** behave the rest of the year. Spaying/Neutering will help the animals go through this season more easily, and help eliminate the behavior change. If left intact, precautions MUST be taken to remain SAFE, and ensuring the animal not losing respect of you, due to you not understanding how to deal with them during this time.

I have one female wolf out here, where every winter I watch carefully to see if she will *change*, and every year that she shows no significant change, knocking on wood. She is a very dominant female, one that in the wild would lead a wolf pack in fact. She is a very BOLD animal too, which also would not help were she to go through this, it seems some of the most social or bold wolves when young, can in *general* be ****a little more**** prone to going through severe seasonal aggression than those whom are more shy and timid.

Well this winter her 4th, she went through this. I went in to clean her habitat, she approached me like she always does and showed no overt signs prior, and displayed the same greeting as the day before. I tapped her hut and she jumped up onto it and as she lay on her back whining for me to rub her belly, she suddenly clamped onto my arm growling, I kept my cool, and quickly diverted her attention by grabbing for a tidbit treat, ( I always keep treats in a zippered pouch on me around the wolves,) and with my other arm said "dharma!" in a happy voice, "loooooook hot dog!" (oh they all KNOW that word, I can get them to drop the stinkiest carcass they have in their possession for a hot dog bit!) she quickly stopped growling and jumped off after the tidbit, I decided to test her again cause I was like what the he**.

I really didn't want to believe she was going through this. I didnt know if she was hurt somewhere or...and if so I had to check her out without getting bit!

She proceeded within seconds to approach me again for attention, whining, peeing, ears back, rolling over, and being pushy about it. I move to touch her belly again , she growled and did a quick snap towards me, this was a hard growl...that sealed it for me! I told her "your setting me up dharma forget this!" and went about cleaning, keeping an eye on where she was, and paying her NO attention, I then left as she kept trying to set me up, and I wasn't biting!, cause I knew if **I** did...she would!!!

This is what she does as I move around she will approach me like this, soft eyes, ears back, as she gets closer she will shrink her body down and lower her head even more and pee, then pester even try and TRIP me throwing her entire body right infront of my feet to belly rub her. Too smart! But luckily I'm smarter ;0) I know ALL the games these animals try and play and why they do what they do when they do it!

Nice smiley set up eh? she devil...

I can handle HER particular behavior, and really have no choice. I just wont pay ANY attention to her at all till she calms down, this was better than some wolves I have experienced in going through seasonal aggression, but still Dharma is one VERY intense SERIOUS wolf.

People do laugh when they see her with me, cause she likes to talk to me in return when I talk to her in a high pitch voice, as if she is trying to mimic me. She **acts** like a sweet puppy all submissive, and if I even LOOK her way from a distance when I am with a group of people, she will go into her silly dance when she makes eye contact with me, but just as suddenly, she will look at someone else who may laugh out loud at her behavior, (not really believing a wolf can act like this) and just like the swift reactions of a race car driver her entire body posture, and face changes, she puffs all up like a blow fish! and even huff and puff at them, then she will look back to me and just as quickly to assure me, it was the OTHER people she was posturing towards NOT ME.

Make no no mistake however, she is TOUCHY, and if you even bump into her or accidentally step on her foot by mistake she WILL get pissed off and bite out at you hard! She is one of those temperaments where you just always respect her moods, and moods she can and does have!

Well one thing I have never seen before, or even heard of is a female wolf going through seasonal aggression like symptoms in the spring, this spring one of my females (this was not dharma this time) started acting like she was pregnant , she definitely was not, and there was no chance of this either. She kept digging crazy dens 30 feet under the ground , yup you read right 30 feet under the ground theres like 8 of them out in her habitat.

Pics attached of what she was up to. You can nowheres see how far and deep they go till you get right down there and LOOK INTO them or crawl into one and I have been in some that literally you are 30 feet underground. These are but a few of the 8 she had dug all over the place! and she was spending time underground in ALL of them. I had to just keep laughing and joking to everyone about her imaginary puppies! and why she was all brownish/reddish looking due to spending soo many hours day after day underground.

Now I have seen some maternal aggression really come out in some female wolves once pups are born, and keep caretakers out of the habitat but not females whom did not have pups. This girl not only made dens, but she would lay down in there HOURS on end day after day as if with imaginary pups.

One day in later may, I went into her habitat to clean and the way she approached me head on and tail down low, a little tucked under and kinked just slightly to the side told me something wasn't right, but it was too late she quickly grabbed by pant leg (good reason to wear not tight clothing sometimes, as she missed my leg but ripped the pant, she then darted to get me in the hock I used the bucket and shovel to thwart these attempts and calmly backed my butt the heck out of there. Not one single sign the day before that this was going to occur and so suddenly.

I tested her a few times through the fence she would approach submissively with tongue darting eyes averted, back hunched slightly, tail lowered, but with it held slightly and rigidly under her body, and the end/tip kinked to one side. As I would place my hand out towards her at the fence, she GROWLED long and DEEP and I was like OKAY she thinks she has pups when she doesn't, how nice... NOT! Let me tell you it is a stressful thing, luckily I keep the free feeders full and the water trough can be filled from the outside. Water and food taken care of, and raw meaty meal bones can be thrown in.

This is an animal that had to be allowed go through this process and it looks like it will occur every year, well it ONLY ended a few days ago, where I was able to go in SAFELY and not get out right ATTACKED. All I thought was, and people want animals like this as PET dogs?... ahuh. Russian Roulette comes to mind.

I have been around EVERY breed and breed type of dog out there in existence practically due to my involvement with dog shows and purebred dogs, and working at a dog shelter as a teenager. I have owned various breeds over time since childhood and intact or not they don't go through **this** particular behavior to this extreme and degree. How many people would be prepared to deal with something like this? and go through the above? Or how many are told it's not like what I am describing here, (due to wolves being sold as pets to anyone with money, illegally. After all wouldn't want to impact that kind of business now would we?) and that it is only the ramblings of some radical animal rights person? (shaking the head sadly)

I am attaching something I wrote in my care guide about seasonal aggression, I wrote it after I was attacked seriously by a fully mature adult male wolf I raised since he was a wee puppy (he was not intact, I had him neutered as a pup to avoid seasonal aggression, for his father went through it badly at another wolf facility) this incident happened in the fall, and it was not seasonal aggression it was a TEST *which turned into a challenge* which is DIFFERENT, than seasonal aggression. Maybe one day I'll go into that more indepth here.

A man named Paul wrote in response publicly to my story told back in 01' something that occurred to him. I was granted permission before he died to reprint his story as I saw fit, so am including that in my own article to give you an idea about seasonal aggression. Though different once more than what occurred with one of the two females above aggression is still aggression and there is potential danger if you don't know what you are doing. The photos were gifted to me from a dear friend whom operates another wolf facility for my guide.

Winter Wolf Syndrome (Seasonal Aggression) The Unspoken Reality

So what does aggression mean? Aggression is a behavior intending to cause harm, and injury through fighting / attacking, or via fear. Aggression describes an action. Aggressiveness can be the result of a pre-disposition either genetically inherited or is the animals’ individual tendency/ disposition. Fear and anxiety can cause aggressiveness in a wolf or wolf dog as can over reacting to a perceived/interpreted threat. It can be brought on due to competition for resources (food, mates, territories, shelters, and progeny) and non-resources such as competition for rank status.

The following define the nature of the interaction

a) Fight/Attack is followed by physical contact ie *bite/scratching* the intent is there to harm. The aggression will result in active physical contact/injury.

b) Intimidation/Threats there will be little to no physical contact except possibly in the form of dominance mounting, usually there is visual eye contact, and the canid will vocalize in a low pitch. The intent is to communicate possible harm, via threatening sounds, and gestures. This is very common behavior in dominance hierarchies.
The aggression is more passive aggressive. The canine displaying this sort of behavior wishes to avoid an outright attack. (I have seen this many times between some of my paired up wolves, one will mount up onto anothers back.shoulder area but display no outright aggression)

Most aggressive behaviors are determined by status or rank.
A wolf that is acting highly reactive, impulsive, angry, frustrated is actually being defensive due to a perceived threat, potential threat, or threatening stimulus. Self defense or defense can take place over offspring, territory, resources, and property.

c) Offensive aggression is unprovoked.
A canine that displays aggression that is unprovoked usually does so to gain some goal (object, subject) they will get some kind of reward from displaying this form of aggression.
d) Defensive aggression is defined by aggression that is brought on, due to a perceived threat/fear.
Handbook of applied dog behavior and learning by Steven R Lindsay
Veterinary method for clinically modifying the behavior of dogs exhibiting canine affective aggression using R enantiomers, S enantiomers, and racemic mixtures of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor compounds or their active metabolites Dodman, Nicholas H. (Grafton, MA)
Working bitches and the neutering myth: Sticking to the science KL Overall - The Veterinary Journal, 2007 - Elsevier...

Developmental Origins of Aggression By Richard Ernest Tremblay, Willard W. Hartup, John Archer

Social dominance, aggression and faecal glucocorticoid levels in a wild population of wolves, Canis lupus Jennifer Sands and Scott Creel
Department of Ecology, Montana State University, USA

(defining the nature of aggression credit: The socioendocrinology of aggression-mediated stress in Timber Wolves (Canis lupus) Simon Gadbois))
So why is aggression needed in a pack anyways? Is there a use for it? And why is it necessary? There are two main types of aggression they are functional and causal. Aggression is necessary in wolf packs for a variety of reasons; wolves will not live in groups where there is no aggression so it must mean that aggression is to some benefit to the group as a whole right? It has been shown in wolf studies that aggression can be correlated to seasonal changes, towards the fall the aggressiveness seems to increase within the pack older wolves may make some repressive moves, young juvenile wolves may look to move up in rank, and pups vie for rank position in the pack. Heading towards breeding season, increased aggression allows for the possibility of a new establishment in order.

Aggressive behavior plays an important role in the hierarchy to provide a solid role and structure for the alpha pair; it helps keep the pack size fairly consistent as well due to healthy competition resulting in a stronger, unified group. Individual wolves can be driven out of packs or even killed for the betterment of pack society. The alpha female can aggress threateningly upon other females in the pack into not coming into heat, or aborting if they become pregnant. During bad years for food sources the aggression increases within pack society, which leads to more social break down and weakening of the pack bond.

Once spring hits and food sources are plenty the pack becomes more unified to care for the pups, hormones decrease drastically and there is less tension amongst family members.

One form of aggression that can be seen in mature unaltered wolves and wolf dogs with a lot of wolf (enough that they look/act wolf and might as well be considered one) not typically seen in the same degree in domestic dogs and in most not at all, is something called seasonal aggression dubbed by many wolf caretakers/ and facilities through the years as Winter Wolf Syndrome. This form of aggression is something many caretakers do not wish to speak about lest animal rights groups use it as negative fodder. Unfortunately it does more harm than good if it is not talked about, people should be given the facts and thus also dispel the myths at the same time. This section is not to demonize these animals but to give the general public a look into some factual information .

It would be very unethical of me in writing anything on care to only include information people want to hear and read, that would be too easy to do and not based entirely on the truth. You’re probably saying what the heck is Winter Wolf Syndrome? Before we launch into reasons and explanations first a story, this was sent into a list in response to my own serious tangle and challenge with a wolf that left me devastated. This gentleman’s name was Paul (now deceased sadly from cancer.) He was quite well known and liked for his heart, and integrity, his openness and willingness to share his experiences with others with his own animals. He touched a lot of people and left behind howls from his animals in his wake.

Permission was granted from Paul himself to reprint as I saw fit at the time I had been considering writing a book.

In Paul Ferrari's own words
Winter Wolf Syndrome

WWS, it happens, but only to us lucky ones. (G) As they say “Winter Wolves Can Be Fun.” Although it can happen to any animal it is more prevalent in captives pures and Hi%F1’s and not all animals in that category will get it. WWS will be more noticeable in an animal that has imprinted on you and has been highly socialized to humans. This type animal will treat conspecifics and humans as social companions. They will very likely challenge humans for dominance, specially those humans that have imprinted. All this will (or may) start, the winter of maturity, the winters between 3&4 or 2&3 years old, some may even be earlier or later. Remember, not all pures and Hi%F1’s will get WWS!!! Also remember, the more social the animal, the more confidence it has and is more likely to challenge. The shyer the animal, the less confidence it has and is less likely to dominate attack at maturity. Different animals do different things or nothing at all. Some will be just as mellow as they were in the summer, some will totally ignore you and then there are the others. Two Feathers, was one of the others. (G) This is still mostly related to HiF1’s and pures but can happen with others. Some of you out there have pures related to my Two Feathers (Twoee for short) Some are brothers and others, cousins that are coming into the winter of Maturity. WW is a maturity thing along with sexual behavior. Twoee is 9 years old now and was neutered just before his fourth birthday in the spring of 1995 after a winter of maturity, WWS.

I knew I had the exception in Twoee. Bottlefed at 2 ½ weeks and human companionship 24 hours a day for the first six months of his life, along with being socialized with the guys outside. He imprinted on me like I was God and you couldn’t have an animal more social to humans than he was. You could do anything with him. Monty took sperm, Nick Federoff took blood, and Twoee was like,ok I can do that. We did quite a few camp-outs going as far as IN. and TN. At some of the camp-outs he was used for educational purposes, by Monty,Nick,Pam Butler and a few others. I put this in here to show you how social Twoee was. I had just raised the exception to all rules regarding a “98”. Twoee turned 3 years old on 5 May 1994 and was still just a puppy, puppy, He didn’t know a stranger you could take him anywhere and rolling over on his back submitting was as natural as eating. As they say all good things must end. Jan. 3 1995,My now, ex girlfriend, comes in saying Twoee just growled at her with hackles up, but let her do what she went out to do.

I went out he gave me a little growl but rolled over for a tummy rub. I told her he’ll be okay. Most of our time was spent with Twoee and the other guys, so we both read them very well. Jan. 4 1995, I went out to play with Two Feathers & Choctaw (spayed Female), I got 50 feet in to the compound when the attack came. First the growls then the hackles went up and I knew I was in trouble when all his teeth were showing. The most fearful part was the focus and stalk. I could not break his eye focus and I knew he was coming first at a walk and now at a run. Monty from Wolf Park and I had discussed this behavior when he was up for a visit that past April and I knew it may or may not happen. All this may sound dramatic but this is how it happened with Two Feathers. Don’t take my word for it, just ask Christine, Missy, Gudrun and some others that are here. They will tell you it can get scarey and happen in different ways but you will never forget the “Focus.”

I knew not to run and I had too far to go to the double doors. The leap came from about 6 to 8 feet away and I was able to brush him to the side and yelled No! Twoee as he went by,his eye focus never left me. He hit on the return, head high, but I had a chance to brace myself. It’s not funny when you can count all the teeth on a full grown mature male. I got turned around and now he was on my back (where I wanted him, better balance.) and we walked out to the door, all the while he ripping at my jacket and swiping with his claws, the welts from the claws stayed about two months. All this from an animal who didn’t really want to hurt me, just wanted to put on a little dominant pressure. This was Jan. and I would have to deal with it until April. I called Wolf Park and talked to Monty that night, we had a good laugh. “Winter Wolves are Fun” That night I realized the 4 foot poop shovel was the answer.

The next night I went in with a shovel, if I just held the shovel straight down he would come over growling, hackles up and teeth showing but would let me pet him. If I swung the shovel back and forth he would move away. After four or five experiments I got it through my thick head, without the shovel in my hand he would attack, and did every time. You got to verify these things.(G) Two Feathers was neutered that April, just before his fourth birthday. It was quite a show, Monty and Jill were there from Wolf Park to Video and do sperm tests, Nick Federoff was there to do rabies blood test and sperm tests. I always called Twoee a “98”. After all was done, my Vet told us all he just cut out that 2% dog.(G)

Twoee was never the same,I lost my puppy, puppy, to full grown MATURE WOLF. With this type of animal you learn the meaning of living in mutual respect for each other. The animal will not be trying to hurt you, just dominance, but things can escalate very quickly into an all out attack and that depends on you. It has gotten better each winter since he was neutered and now summer and winter just blends although he will stalk me at times in the winter. After he turned five everyone was a stranger to be tested. I had a Wolf Park intern come for a visit and she did an educational program with me and Twoee, Twoee would let her pet and feed him through the potable pen but once her foot was through the door he would grab and exert pressure. This was done at least five times with different wolf people, got to verify. Now, no one new goes in with him. Those of you that say OH! It’s just the way the animal was brought up, well all I can say is, go educate yourself. Wolves can change, captive or wild, A WOLF IS A WOLF, A friend has Twoees cousin not far from me who neutered at 6 months (I did a lot of talking) and this should be his winter, we will see, God willing, what happens.

End of Story

Now, Paul’s story is not meant to scare people, and it is not why he told it. If it does scare you though, then that will tell you something. What my hopes are is to hit home the importance of understanding all aspects of wolf behavior before deciding on impulse you do want one in your life . Twoee was privately owned , he was an animal that was raised respectfully as a companion animal, and until maturity still acted like a big puppy with everyone he met. The he came into his own. The owner had to adjust to this animal that no longer was the puppy he had come to know and love, now this puppy was an adult. Luckily Twoee had an owner that was well versed in wolf behavior, he had a support system as well in other owners to bounce off his experiences with. Unfortunately many animals in Twoees position have been dumped into rescue, or put down, many are not owned by the kind of owner Paul was.

The image of owning a wolf has been made into something almost mystical/spiritual like. I have received e-mails, and phone calls from people who are lost in the hype surrounding owning one, the image they have in their mind blinds them to practical realities that come with such a thing . There is nothing more destructive or dangerous than ignorant bliss when it comes to sharing ones life with any animal, especially if it is a wild one. I can assure you this much, the spiritual visions one has of capturing this wild, and attempting to OWN and steal it from another fades pretty darn fast when the reality of just what it takes hits, such as couches being eaten, things of value destroyed, you cannot force them to be a part of your world. Your way of life has to incorporate itself into their lives, and you compromise that way of life for them, not the other way around like what most dog owners are used to, or even expect.

The drive to survive and procreate is strong in all animals but especially wild ones, no matter the animal. During breeding season in wild animals there is an influx of hormones (Testosterone and other androgens) that can make the animal testier, grumpy, and even down right aggressive towards others. Now even though captive wolves, and many wolf dogs are not what I would consider wild, they still can be prone to the same things.
Seasonal aggression is more likely to happen in unaltered high content F1 wolf dogs-captive pure wolves than it is to happen in an unaltered domestic dog. It is seen in unaltered males more than females however; females can go through this as well when estrogen levels rise.

Each individual wolf has its place in the pack. And all of them will try and eventually climb the social ladder within that pack. There is a big misconception about what alpha truly means. When I have spoken with other wolf and wolf dog owners and asked them what does Alpha mean? I get responses such as “well, it is an attitude, a way you carry yourself around the animal, the way you lead.” Some people feel you have to be able to back up alpha hood when it comes to owning a dog let alone if they get their hands on a wolf, and the human owner believes in physically showing the animal who is boss by alpha rolling them when young, this is actually not advisable and could result in some harm in the future to the owner, when this animal outweighs the caretaker and decides to treat that caretaker the way they were treated physically.
If you ever watch wolves together you will notice the one that submits to a more dominant animal, willingly rolls on it’s back, the alpha wolf does not need to physically force the animal onto it’s back. The subordinate wolf shows respect by automatically just doing this when approached.

Alpha does not mean the biggest, baddest wolf or human in the pack, an alpha leader is just, and is not a bully that physically walks around threatening or beating up on the other wolves, as eventually the rest of the wolves will get tired of the bully and take them out for good. The alpha pair are perhaps the wisest and most capable of wolves to lead the pack. They help to keep the pack strong through leading.
I believe how you treat a wolf when it is young will heavily influence how it will treat you as an adult, meaning handle the wolf too physically when they are little, they will handle you that way too; it may also influence how they treat you during breeding season. Seasonal Aggression is something to not take lightly.

There are many stories even worse than Paul’s story out there, he was one of the rare few brave enough to come forward and talk about it, and to help educate those people with stars in their eyes when it comes to owning a tossed around over used/misused quote of “piece of the wild.” A wolf is not a dog, no matter how one raises it, even though a dog is considered a domestic wolf. There are many variances between a wolf and a typical dog as there can be between two breeds of domestic dogs, it comes down to the research and effort the potential owner puts forth in order to provide adequately for that type of canine be it a wolf be it a golden retriever.
Winter Wolf Syndrome (Seasonal Aggression) is a normal behavior found in every kind of wild animal from reptiles to birds to mammals it is a necessary and serving function for those animals when they reside in the wild, it is not so necessary (desired) when it comes to those same animals in captivity as it is something human beings are simply not adjusted to and most are not prepared to deal with.

The following pics are of a captive female wolf and what occurred to her during breeding season, from another female wolf, in the wild unaltered males and females live amicably together, in captivity however when there is tension the wolf cannot escape and fights can occur. I strongly advise not creating pack situations of the same sex, especially if they are unaltered. Fortunately as bad as this looks she survived. Some may not be so lucky. Pair up wolves with the opposite sex in captivity and unless you are an educational center avoid creating pack situations. (Photos courtesy Wolf Creek Habitat Thanks dear friend! )
A personal example of mine of hunger aggression based around food and the season was in a raptor, a hawk actually, I used to take into the classrooms for presentations on behalf of the local zoo. This bird was imprinted on humans and we actually all thought it did not know how to even be a bird it was so imprinted on people. But even though she had imprinted and was excellent to take into classrooms for presentations, every spring she became very aggressive and every fall once again.

Even though she was raised in captivity the wild inherent tendencies were still there, and could not be taken out. It was actually quite harrowing for me to enter her cage in the fall time and I quickly would place her food down on the ground instead of having her fly to my glove, cause she tended to fly at me all talons out to attack otherwise.

To explain this behavior to children watching me feed her I simply would tell them she is acting out her natural pre-migratory behavior she is a Swainsons hawk, and every fall Swainsons hawks appetites increase as they are needing to eat as much as possible to prepare for their 10,000 mile long journey to Argentina. The hunger drive increases the aggression within the hawk. When they fly back in the springtime they are again very hungry from such a long journey once more making the hawk aggressive acting.

Now why would a hawk who does not make such a journey, or who does not breed in captivity become aggressive then? The behavior is inherent she acts out what she was made to be a wild hawk in a captive situation, her body goes through the same things any wild hawk would. Human beings can take the animal out of the wild but it is virtually impossible to take the entirety of the wild out of the animal biologically and physiologically.

The caretakers of this hawk have learned (been trained) how to adequately care for this animal when it goes through this kind of behavior but how many average folk would not have a clue if they just decided they wanted a pet hawk? A hawk is not a budgie. Just as a wolf, is not a dog.

Another example: Some friends recently brought in an orphaned raccoon, though they can be extremely sweet when young, they do mature and grow up and are not so cute and cuddly anymore if they are not altered. This couple brought this cute sweet little ball of fur home and decided to raise it, they had never previously raised one so did not know what to expect. They were about to get one of the harshest lessons up close and in person. Note Raccoons need to be handled consistently and on a daily basis, if just left in a cage they will become more aggressive eventually towards their owners regardless of seasonal aggression, they will be more prone to bite and attack. Miss out on that vital step you will definitely have an unhandleable wild animal in your back yard.

All went well for the first while, the baby grew up and matured. One day they decided to go on a trip as a family, and left the raccoon behind like one might a cat in the house, with plenty of food. Upon returning and opening the door, the raccoon came out of nowhere and attacked the mother, it chased her into the bedroom and was threatening her aggressively, meanwhile the rest of the family ran around to the bedroom window broke it and pulled her to safety through the window. So what went wrong?

Well first off the animal was becoming a mature raccoon, which means influx of hormones if not altered, that means seasonal aggression towards all others, they should have simply rehabbed the raccoon and let it go, or gotten the raccoon altered if they had planned to keep it and it was legal to do so. Secondly they left the raccoon home alone for a good while unattended to get into all kinds of trouble in their house, a raccoon is not a cat! Third they had expectations that this sweet raccoon would always be that way, that it would never change and that is because they did not upon finding the raccoon go onto the internet or go to the library to find sources of information to aid them in caring for an orphan, they could possibly have found a licensed rehabber of raccoons even, and at the very least found enough information on the habits, diet, behaviors etc. of raccoons so they were not winging the care of this animal. He needed to be with his own kind!

These are but a couple examples of wild animals that go through various forms of aggression related to seasonal changes, and even though wolves are what I would consider ***TRULY*** wild, (as SOME things have been altered due to captivity, and having not been born IN the wild and raised by the wild) they can still be affected biologically the same as any wild animal is, if potential caretakers and or zoos are aware of this they can prepare for it but they should be given all the facts so they can make the choice for themselves. I know I certainly would not wish to attain any kind of animal if I was not given all the facts surrounding the care and special unique qualities specific to that animal.

I do not Echo Paul’s statement that not every wolf, will go through WWS, (only that not ALL will go through the EXTREME version of it) some dogs with wolf in their heritage depending on wolf content may not go through it (it's a risk. ) But all pure wolves do go through changes of ***some sort***during this season, and it better to understand there’s a possibility for this to either be on the low end of things than the extreme one, and enter into such a huge commitment blindly. Seasonal Aggression is commonly misunderstood.

I often recommend that people spay or neuter their dogs, even though they do not get the above occurring, an animal period who’s hormones don’t come into play make in general much better companions and pet quality material than those animals that are not altered. Bite stats prove it to be correct. Unaltered, chained, male domestic dogs lead bite incidents on children. Yet the true reasons are not examined in depth and it is much easier to blame a certain type of canine. (breed bans) Perfectly social outgoing sweet male domestic dog pups can change drastically upon puberty.

They can become completely side tracked by hormone driven behaviors such as in your face confrontation, dominant-mounting behaviors and more. I find there is no distracting some of them from that which is in their fixation. After puberty though there can be a decline in the testosterone levels, when the behavior is practiced compulsively, it becomes a habit and darn near impossible to stop and influence, even altering won’t help a habit.

My Feeling is that dominant behavior and sexual related behavior becomes joined and one, they are both directly the result of the influx of testosterone.

So how did I come up with the heading of this blog? Well ha ha, as she grabbed my pant leg suddenly I instantly blurted out "Take A Bite Out of This" as I placed the shovel in front of me, but too bad she knew the difference between my leg and a shovel!

I've learned that such things as my story above just *are* what they are, and that sometimes it is best to simply go with it. This teaches me something about dealing with edgy humans actually, not that I've been bit and attacked by a human the *same* way a wolf might , but that I know, when coming in contact with some edgy aggressive people ,that if I *react* and push back, this results in more force coming back my way. It is always very easy to just want to impulsively *react* to a situation that *tests* our strengths and weaknesses. But to do so might just result in a serious bite in the assets!

So choose carefully which mountain you decide to lay down and die on, for it just might be a molehill in disguise. ;0)

Reference /Source Material :

Rutter, R.J., and D.H. Pimlott. 1968. The world of the wolf

Harrington, F., and P. Paquet, editors. 1982. Wolves of the world: perspectives of behavior, ecology and conservation.

Mech, L.D. 1970. The wolf: the ecology and behavior of an endangered species.

Mech, L. David and Luigi Boitani, editors Wolves: Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation

The socioendocrinology of aggression-mediated stress in Timber Wolves (Canis lupus) Simon Gadbois

Gacsi M, Gyori B, Miklosi A, Viranyi Z, Kubinyi E, Topal J, Csanyi V.: Species-specific differences and similarities in the behavior of hand-raised dog and wolf pups in social situations with humans:




James O'Heare: Canine Aggression Workbook: 3rd Edition

Biology Of Aggression In Dogs: Appleby DL, Bradshaw JW, Case RA
Feddersen-Peterssen DU Institut fur Haustierkunde, Christian-Albrechts-Universitat zu Kiel: Biology Of Aggression In Dogs:
Appleby DL, Bradshaw JW, Case RA, : Recognizing and assessing aggressive behaviors in dogs; Anthrozoology Institute, University of Southampton.

Gacsi M, Gyori B, Miklosi A, Viranyi Z, Kubinyi E, Topal J, Csanyi V.: Species-specific differences and similarities in the behavior of hand-raised dog and wolf pups in social situations with humans:

Jean Donaldson: Fight! A practical Guide To The Treatment Of Dog-Dog Aggression

Jean Donaldson: Mine! A Guide To Resource Guarding In Dogs

Brenda Aloff: Aggression In Dogs: Practical Management, Prevention, & Behavior Modification
Brenda Aloff: Canine Body Language, A Photographic Guide
Barbara Sykes: Understanding And Handling Dog Aggression

Stephen Joubert & Christian Delmar: Final Hope: Gaining Control Of Your Aggressive Dog