As I’ve been busy with my other projects (the one’s that actually put food on the table), this blog has been somewhat neglected. I’m sorry for that – it’s just life, you know… Anyhoooow… I recently received some good questions from HardRocker960 on YouTube and since they, in all truth, are quite many and somewhat complex, I decided to answer them here on the blog. So here we go.
NOTE: Lovec is 9 months old when I write this.
Q: So far, what has your experience been?
A: Well… there’s a reason why many choose a female Czechoslovakian Wolfdog over a male. Once the male wolfdog reaches sexual maturity, they go through a lot of different and challenging phases. Although both sexes has a stormy adolescence, females are more controllable than males. So you do need a lot of patience and you need to have a firm hand and set-up rules and rituals from the very beginning (and never, ever waver from them!)
With that being said, the occasional struggles are worth it many times over. He only challenges me when he’s frustrated. This usually happens when we are out for a walk and we pass another dog and that owner doesn’t want to stop and greet us. Lovec will pull the leash, and when he understands that he won’t be able to greet and play with the other dog, he can take out his frustration by biting the leash or nipping at my clothes. It’s kind of understandable and it’s easily corrected by eye-contact and a sharp “no” – but it can be annoying as well (if it’s raining and you’re tired – but that’s also the times when you need to show character and remind yourself that he’s still a puppy).
As with all dog breeds, it’s a lot of work and a lot of time to invest on a daily basis. It’s also a lot of fun and very rewarding. I’ll try to weave my experiences into the rest of my answers to build you a better picture of how it is to live with and raise a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog.
Q: How obedient is Lovec?
A: Since he’s a Wolfdog and still a puppy, there are some factors that influences his obedience. The main factor is his level of excitement or frustration. As a young puppy he was very obedient, pretty much since he always stayed close to me and he was more curious about his surroundings than he was interested in interacting. This changed once he reached sexual maturity and he discovered various scents from other dogs, animals and prey (as his hunting instincts started to kick in). So, since a couple of months back he always listens and obey if you interact with him before he reached a certain threshold of excitement. Eye contact and body language are key. If you show him that you disapprove of his behavior he stops and actually look somewhat shamed or embarrassed (he has a rich body language).
However, if he picks up a scent and his hunting instincts goes haywire, you need to distract or tell him “no” before it escalates. If he reaches a certain level of immersion you need to pull him in and get eye contact to calm him down. This is also true when he meets bitches in heat and he picks up their scent (that drive most male dogs nuts).
Q: Would you see him being a good hunting dog?
A: He probably would be. However, at this stage when he’s still a puppy, I want to suppress his hunting and prey instincts. If not, he can become hostile towards smaller animals (and small dogs and cats) as he will see them as prey. So right now, I let him track and explore all kind of different scents, but I do not let him hunt or chase. I let him watch and interact when appropriate. That’s it for now.
Q: Is he nice to guests?
A: Being a puppy, he is still a bit too excited when meeting guests. He wants to greet and play. So as a guest you need to follow the same ritual you always should follow when meeting a new dog. No eye contact and simply ignore him until he has smelled you and respected your space and calmed down from the initial excitement. After that, you can pet and play. He’s never violent, but if he gets excited he does nip and he can stand on his hind legs to reach up to you. That however, is a natural way for all dogs to greet us as they want to reach our eye-level and mouth (smaller dogs jump to try to accomplish the same thing). However, if a dog jumps when you do not want him to and for no apparent reason, it’s usually due to lack of physical exercise and/or mental stimulation. They’re simply bursting with energy and wants to play. This kind of jumping is something that you can train them to avoid, but that’s a small article in itself. So, yes. He is nice to guests.
Also, keep in mind that the level of excitement is somewhat tied to the dog’s level of energy. If you know you’ll have guests over and you want to suppress some of the excitement, you should exercise your dog beforehand – and even better, do some mentally challenging training. That drains their energy really fast.
Q: How much exercise do you give him?
A: This somewhat depends on the weather. We’re outside moving about three to four times a day and never for less than a total of 1.5 hours (when he was younger, we went out 5 to 6 times a day). In average, it’s about 2 to 2.5 hours a day. During that time we walk the leash, we do some tracking, we do some kind of agility training and we interact with other people, dogs and animals (if available). I try to visit the nearby dog park at least 5 to 6 times a week (for an average of 1.5 hours at a time). He’s very good and playful with other dogs – small as well as large of all ages. As a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog he is very curious and cautious towards new things, so he loves to sit or lie down and observe. Especially playing children or flocks of birds. He can sit and watch them for several minutes. But apart from the occasional watching, we’re physically active most of that time.
When we’re inside and I’m not working, we do some easy training and we play for about an hour a day. So all in all, he moves around for 2.5 to 4 hours a day together with me. He’s also with me while I work for several hours, just resting, chewing or walking around sniffing, watching and doing the usual stuff dogs do. 😉 And yes, he does love to tease me when bored. At this age, they’re very much like human children. They know how to get your attention. Lovec, for example, is not allowed to be on the couch. So, when he wants to play and I’m busy working he stands next to the couch or he puts his head on the daybed part of it and wait for me to react and tell him “no”. When I do, he steps back and grins at me – and you can tell by his body language that he is playful and wants me to join or chase him. And if I ignore him, he simply repeat his behavior a few minutes later (or he sneaks up on me and rubs his wet nose against the back of my arm). It’s kind of cute at first, but when you’re in “the flow” and need to get a lot of work done, it can be very annoying. But that’s your life when you have a puppy – a lot of interruptions. 🙂
Q: How does he act around strangers or other dogs?
A: Very much in the same way as when we have guests over. He want to greet, smell and play. His tail is low and you can tell by his body language and behavior that he is excited, curious and happy to meet them.
He also play very well with other dogs and is quite gentle, even to small dogs. In this area where we live there’s actually a lot more small breeds than larger breeds. So some of his best playmates that we meet regularly are a Bolognese, an Australian Terrier, a Jack Russel Terrier, a French Bulldog, a Miniature Schnauzer and a West Highland White Terrier. He also plays well with a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. The larger dog breeds he has played with are mostly a couple of German Shepards, two Collies, a Golden Retriever and actually a Bernese Mountain Dog (quite rare in these parts). With older dogs, if they’re calm, Lovec will show immediate respect and usually rolls around showing his belly. However, he does not really read (or care) when it comes to aggressive and barking/growling dogs. Lovec simply walks up to them and start the greeting process. The aggressive dogs actually look rather confused, as in, “I just told him that I’m dominant and that this is my space and my human that I will protect, but now his sniffing my butt. What’s going on here?”
And if smaller aggressive dogs start to growl and jump around, Lovec simply put his paw on them as to say, “calm down dude, I just want to smell you.” At one point Lovec actually stepped over a growling and aggressive Dandie Dinmont Terrier and just laid down on top of the little fella. The Terrier’s owner, an old lady, simply uttered, “oh my!” in response. I couldn’t help laughing and the poor Terrier actually calmed down – probably from the shock and confusion.
The really good thing about Lovec, that I’m very proud of, is that he has never met aggression with aggression and that he has never shown aggression to any living being ever. No, not even cats – he just want to play with them (or watch them from a distance – like a staring contest). 🙂
I hope that answered you questions. And yes, there are more videos in the making. I have tons and tons of material. All I need are some extra hours to sit down and piece together some stupid stuff. Also, I’m waiting for some cool and groovy music from my brother that I will use in future videos of Lovec. So stay calm and keep your pants on, more videos will come. Eventually. :p
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