• Michael D'Abruzzo

    November 28, 2012 at 7:44 am

    Thanks for the good info. The main problem you are going to deal with comes down to the first layer “knowledge”. That is understanding what is “normal” behavior for your hybrid. For all troubleshooting purposes, especially based on your descriptions of behavior, you might as well consider her a pure wolf at that percentage. And, being a wolf you just are not going to see some of the behaviors that are “normal” for a dog which are basically exaggerations of very juvenile wolf behavior but not “normal” for a wolf which evolves “normally” away from these behaviors and never even as a puppy will be as exaggerated as an adult dogs “wolf puppy” behavior. This is known as Neoteny. Not just in dogs but other domestic animals as well.
    You have to keep in mind that many of the desirable traits that we see in dogs, which include the strong desire to interact with us, take direction from us, indifference to certain changes in the environment, non-vulnerability, enhanced prey drive toward toys, etc, etc… is the result of thousands of years of domestication and selective breeding for abnormal traits which wouldn’t work well for a wolf if wanted to survive in the natural environment.
    On much much less extreme example, we will even see certain lines of dogs within a breed which are known to genetically be more in tune to the handlers and others more aloof to their handlers. This is more extreme with different breeds and of course most extreme when you move outside of domestication, although the routes of the behaviors you can generally trace to some point in the wolf’s life cycle mainly interacting with its own kind.
    In fact, some of the undesirable traits we see in domestic dogs which are labeled things like “bad nerves” or “skittishness” in my opinion are not “bad” nerves but a throw back to “normal” behavior which helped wolves survive. Domestic dogs usually have “dulled nerves”. Unless breeders pay close attention to selective breeding for certain “abnormal” traits it is easy for reverse domestication to happen which is why there are so many fearful dogs nowadays.
    At our kennel we advertise and do a lot of behavior “rehab”, but we are very clear to the clients what we can rehab and what are behaviors that need to be generally managed and guided through training.
    When we talk about “rehab” it has to be something that once was and then something happened to deteriorate what was normal. Then you try to “rehabilitate” to the original point or to bring a dog to a potential it didn’t yet have a chance to achieve. What you are dealing with sounds mainly like “normal” (sorry for all the quotations) behavior for your hybrid that you will only be able to improve to a certain level just because the genetic potential is not there to act in the exaggerated or dulled ways of domesticated dogs which are different from tamed wolves. I am saying this because it sounds as if you have done more socialization and work with your hybrid than the average dog owner and are having far more difficulty with certain things than someone who may have done everything wrong with a their typical puppy.
    I would suggest doing what you have been doing, especially with the pack structure stuff and continue with an obedience plan mainly so you can help guide her during potentially stressful situations. From there you can make management plans for most situations and whatever her potential may be you are yet to see. You just cant get discouraged if you can not get her to a point that would be reasonable for a dog. Do the best that you can for a high percentage hybrid. Hope I didnt confuse you…lol