THE WILD WOLF
Believe it or not, your adorable toy poodle “Tippy” is a direct descendant of the wild wolf.
To understand Tippy and her behavior, you must understand how wolves live in the wild. Instinctive behavior is passed from generation to generation.
The wolf can be best described as a pack animal that lives in a group consisting of a LEADER and his FOLLOWERS.
The leader is called the ALPHA wolf and the followers are called BETA wolves. This is an important point to remember because it forms the basis for our whole philosophy of dog training.
In order to gain respect and obedience from your pet, YOU must become the ALPHA wolf. YOU must take the honored position of leader of the pack.
Wolves live in dens. The den or cave is his place of rest and privacy. It is his home and he, by nature, keeps it meticulously clean. He will not “mess” in his cave. This fact forms the principle of housebreaking your puppy. You must provide an area or “den” for your pet that he will learn to respect and keep clean. We will discuss housebreaking in more detail later on in the booklet but, for now, remember why the principles of a confined area or den are applied.
The wolf is a mammal, similar in physiology to man. He is warm-blooded and needs a comfortable environment and temperature in order to survive. Dogs should not be exposed to extreme temperatures for prolonged periods of time. Just like man, a wolf, or his direct descendant, the dog, can suffer heart failure or strokes, from extreme conditions.
Wolves are very flexible creatures, who instinctively and quickly adapt to the different personalities of their leaders. You may have wondered why some dogs who are almost totally ignored by their owners-left to fend for themselves outdoors and fed scraps or leftover table food-are just as loving and obedient to their owners as the pooches that are cuddled and coddled by their owners.
Dogs, like their wolf ancestors, will adapt to almost any condition. They will still adore and be eager to serve their masters no matter how they are treated. Thankfully, the majority of dog owners are kind and humane and deserve the unconditional love of their pets.
The wolf, contrary to popular belief, is a gentle animal. Unlike man, he does not derive pleasure from either inflicting or observing pain. The wolf does not make war on its own species. It only kills for food and not for pleasure.
A wolf WILL defend itself if provoked, but it will not attack for fun or sport.
The wolf is a “nose-brained” animal. He has a keen sense of smell and gathers most of his information through his nostrils. He is also a hunting animal, like man, and shares many of the common instincts we knew in our own primitive states.
THE HISTORY OF DOMESTIC DOGS
We theorize that in the days of prehistoric man, a weak pack of wolves chose to sneak food from a group of cavemen rather than hunt for their own nourishment.
They got closer and closer to the tribe of cavemen until one night by the camp fire, man and beast struck a bargain. In exchange for food, the wolves were allowed to stay with the tribe if they promised to protect against intruders. Man realized that the wolf had superior hearing and trusted his newfound friend to “sound an alarm” whenever danger was imminent.
The wolf also helped man hunt by utilizing his superior motion sensitivity. As the centuries rolled by, the primitive wolf became more domesticated. In shepherding communities, he helped his master gather flocks of sheep. In Western culture, he became the cowboy’s right-hand “man” by learning how to corral cattle. Over the ages, the wolf evolved through selected breeding into what we know as the domestic dog-a creature of sensitivity, loyalty and dedication to his master. Modern dog is still much like his forefather. He still offers unconditional love and support to his master, the ALPHA wolf. He is still the pack animal, eager to follow and eager to please his leader.
Today, there are 150 recognized breeds of dogs and perhaps millions of “Heinz 57’s,” or mixed breeds, living on this earth.
For more information on how to socialize your dog, click here to watch this video.