WOLFDOG BODY LANGUAGE
The social rank of the individual wolfdog in the ( pack, your family) is enforced by a fascinating set of body positions and movements, facial expressions, and mild harassments (testings). Social order is expected and roles clearly defined, wolf dogs will need strict boundaries in the family for harmony. The order of ranking within the pack is often challenged thru playful games and displays, dont miss the subtle cues, as they are testing you. Always look directly into your wolfdog eyes, as the leader communicate with a strong instense stare and firm words, they will avert your gaze and turn their head. (not to be done on a strange dog, as it could provoke) Its almost like playing the game of chicken, he should always be the first to look away. This is a sign of submission to you as top dog. Although wolfdogs rarely fight to inflict a wound, its meant to be warnings, they use a variety of expressions and body postures( why we always stand tall and strong in front of them) in ritual confrontations - fights acted out according to set patterns.
Some of these patterns are listed below: They are not always seen as aggressive behavior, but shall be viewed as positioning or social order and ranking amongst each other. However it is important in your WOLFDOG PACK to never let anything, even in play get out of control. Our wolfdogs are constantly playing..dragging each other around the floor, even by the neck. If one has had enough, and getting edgy..a nice air snap stops the action, and warn to come into order. We let them work it out if its friendly. Our animals are never allowed to place their mouth over our limbs, hands and feet, it is off limits. (this is called mouthing). They may do it to each other, never to a human. They may lick and give kisses, but never mouth (chew) on us. This is a strict behavioral no no, and boundary. WOLFDOG PUPPIES/CUBS are not allowed to nip at your heels or pants or pull your hair (ITS NOT CUTE) this is bad pack manners!..a quick and firm NO!!!..follow this with a little rap on the nose with your fingers..they will get it. Stay in CHARGE, and on top of bad WOLFDOG PACK manners.
What ever the WOLFDOG offense, a quick yell ( FOLLOWED WITH STRONG FACIAL FEATURES), STOP IT! or NO!, lets them know we have had enough and they are out of order. Remember to make your eye contact with them, and show your displeasure. We, at that point have shown our leadership and they are respectful of it.
Dominant Postures Include walking with head held high, tail partly erect, standing stiff-legged, baring their teeth aggressively, eyes directed straight to other animal . When I take my dogs out for walks, my male lets everyone know by flagging his tail, other dogs should not mess with him, while my female just lowers hers. Its interesting to note, that when he is not around, she will then flag her tail on the walks. Seems to me there is a strict order in which they live their lives quietly before us.
Dominant WOLFDOG/animals may show raised hackles( they also do this when they are feeling intense, even in play), may growl, and may side-swipe or body-slam into subordinate animals, sometimes pinning them to the ground. They may show upright ears, or a wrinkled forehead. They may seize the muzzle of subordinates, and nip or bite them. I see alot of this when they are handling their pups.
Wolfdogs have very expressive faces this is in order to transmit the energy thru non verbal communication. Your mom and dad can just shoot you a look, and you know when to just shut up and behave, its about on the same level. All growls and grunts are not always meant to be a sign of aggression, our animals are very growly and talk a lot. However you really do need to know the individual animal. My dogs growl and bare teeth all the time, but I am understanding them on a very personal level, it is not alarming to me, but I am always taking note!...They cannot speak as we do, but they are indeed saying something on a different level all together. Their pack Dynamics are huge...and intense. Being dialed into the WOLDOG WILL GIVE YOU A HUGE EDGE..
Dominant animals tend to be the first one to eat at the bowl, the first to attack in aggressive encounters with other animals as well as humans.
Also a very curious behavior is air snapping, during play or a fight, if the animal feels things are not to their favor, or out of control, they will make a couple of snaps up in the air. This is to reinstate order, or to remind one to watch out. It is not a bite towards a object, person or animal, but directed to the air around them.
Subordinate PosturesInclude lowered tails (in extreme submission curled right under the body), ears folded back, the peeling of back of lips to form a submissive 'grin', crouching or lowered body positions, and urinating in a squat position. A position I love to see when my wolfdogs greet me, they are just showing respect and acknowledging me at their leader, always rewarded with a goodboy, or goodgirl!
Subordinate animals may lick a superior human or animal mouth, or lie on its side, raising a hind leg to expose the groin area or bend its head back to expose the throat area to the superior. In extreme submission, they may urinate on themselves (very common in puppies) Subordinate animals have been seen whining or squealing in submission to superior animals, while making timid small steps toward superiors with lifted up eyes and lowered ears. In extreme measures or stress...they may expose the whites of their eyes to signal to the top "dog"...they got the message and are being humbled.
Often these gestures, recall the behaviour of pups, for example rolling over and exposing the belly, or licking the superior dogs mouth as if begging for food. By these actions, the submissive wolfdogs seems to be trying to remove the threat by bringing out parental feelings in the dominant role being played out by the human, or another animal. The ritual confrontation confirms the pack leadership and preserve the peace.
Wolfdogs are generally very affectionate towards other pack members (family). They greet each other with excited tail-wagging and face-licking and even body rolling. As you are always the ALPHA in this, support them in the greeting by positive responses, or you could send mix signals and they animal may have slight misgivings, or even hurt feelings.
Do what you can as the leader to direct the energy of your WOLFDOG PACK..ie......household, make the roles very clear and defined. Again get some great books on dog, and wolf body language, it will help you be a better lover of this much misunderstood animal.
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