Wolves at the WSC

Hand raising of the pups: When does it begin, who's doing it, how often, how long, where, and how is it done anyway?

Our puppy raisers take over the wolf pups before they open their eyes, which usually happens around their tenth day of life. Otherwise they won't be able to develop a trusting relationship with humans. They remain under intensive human care - along with the other pups - until the age of six months. About six to eight puppy raisers and their dogs are taking care of the little ones 24 hours a day.
Depending on the pups' age, they need the nursing bottle with milk every three to five hours. When they are about one month old, they also get solid food, but we still add milk to their diet to strengthen their trust. The team dogs help to socialize the young wolves, and the pups also get in touch with adult wolves early enough to prepare them for their integration in the pack.
The puppies also start to take part in tests at the age of three weeks already.

How does the integration of the pups into the adult packs work?

Because our adult wolves and the pups already got to know each other, the integration into the adult packs almost always goes without problems. We integrate the pups, when they are between 5 and 7 months old. The adults usually like to "adopt" the young wolves and show a very tolerant behaviour towards them, even when it comes to feeding. The young wolves submit to the old wolves, and the adults regurgitate food for them. 

Are there differences between wolves and dogs, when it comes to training? Do dogs learn faster than wolves?

Not really. Dogs don't learn faster, but they are more "adjusted" to humans and therefore better at (constantly) obeying to commands like "sit" or "down".
Both, wolves and dogs are trained exclusively by clicker and positive reinforcement.

How do you prevent your dogs and wolves from reproduction?

Our wolves are not neutered, because we want them to stay hormonally intact. However, the males had a vasectomy

What would the wolves do, if the enclosure was open? Where would they go? Could they survive?

They would return rather soon, because they have a social bond with us and and stick to their territory. Still, they could survive without us. They can hunt and kill small mammals and would easily learn to go after bigger prey.

What would happen, if I entered the enclosure now?

At first the wolves would almost certainly withdraw but then return quickly to inspect the new visitor and "test" him. Does he have treats? What happens, when I tug his clothes?  

You can enter the enclosure, but only with a trainer. Then it's safe.