I’ve received a lot of questions about the behavior of the young Czech Wolfdog and how Lovec is maturing. So, here’s a short update for all of you!
First a quick recap.
When Lovec turned 27 weeks old (close to 7 months) and he reached the beginning stages of sexual maturity, his behavior changed a bit. He started to get frustrated when my attention shifted from him to someone else. When we got visitors at home, or if I stopped and talked with people during our walks, he would do pretty much anything to get my attention back. This child-like behavior lasted for about 4 or 5 weeks. He also got more “overly excited” when he met other people and dogs. He simply wanted to greet and play with anyone at any cost. While he could walk the leash perfectly, once he saw someone he wanted to greet, he would pull the leash and pretty much ignore any commands. At times he would also lay down or bite the leash at the end of a walk, as in a protest that we had to go inside again. This behavior lasted somewhat longer. But most of it disappeared when he got about 10 to 11 months old.
He’s still extremely social, curious and playful as I write this. However, after he turned 1 year old, it calmed down a lot. He still get very excited when he meet his friends (both dogs and humans) as well as new dogs and people, but the initial excitement settles very quickly. As for pulling, he only does it gently when approaching people or dogs that he knows well. Other than that, he walks the leash as a pro.
I’ve also noticed some recent changes in his behavior when he socialize and play with other dogs. When he was younger, he was very submissive to other dogs. He would pretty much lay down and let them do just about anything to him. He would immediately accept a lower position within the pack order – no matter if the other dogs were in fact a lot younger than him. However, in the last month (about when he got 1 year and 4 months old), I’ve noticed a change in the pack dynamics among the dogs he usually play with on a daily basis.
Most of these dogs are younger or only a few months older than Lovec. And now, during the initial greeting process, he will dominate them very gently for 10 or 15 seconds, then he will wander off as he usually does to check his surroundings (typical wolfdog behavior). And after that, he will watch the other dogs play and once in a while he will step in and correct the dogs who get too excited (or if a younger pup will try too hard to dominate an older pup/dog). He usually does this by putting his jaws against the other dog’s neck at push him or her down to the ground. He does not bite, he only push or wrestle them down on their back and then hold them for a few seconds. It’s very similar to how an older wolf correct younger wolves. And as soon as some dog wants to play with him, he will act submissive and let the other dogs do whatever they want to him.
He never shows any sign of aggression and he hardly ever grow tired of other dogs pestering him as they play.
This might sound as a small change to the uninitiated. However, this is the perfect example of a dog being a strong pack leader (the alpha). A strong pack leader will immediately show, without any aggression, who is boss and then take a step back and actually be somewhat passive. A good leader will step in when necessary and will actually be submissive during play, because he or she is secure in the role as alpha. It’s also evident when Lovec see something and runs off to investigate. When this happen, the other dogs will stop whatever they are doing and run after him. At times, the younger dogs will follow him for minutes on end before Lovec simply grows tired of it and gently put them down on their backs to regain his personal space.
With that being said, Lovec still respect dogs that are older than him, and he will acknowledge an older dog as a leader if the other dog is fit for the part. If the other dog is older and mentally strong, Lovec does not challenge him or her. However, if an older dog is insecure or mentally weak, Lovec will take the role as alpha. At times, this shift in pack dynamics and leadership is very subtle and easy to miss, as it can be settled by a quick stare down or by body language.
Watching all this happen and studying the dynamics and the body language of the pack is a lot of fun. Since we spend about 2 to 3 hours every day at the dog park, it’s very interesting to see all the small changes take place and see how the pack evolves. And also what happens when new dogs are introduced.
So yes, my little wolf is slowly maturing. Although still a teenager, he is on his way to adulthood.
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