WINTER WOLF SYNDROME
Well as you can guess......when could this happen? Well mostly winter, however this type of behavior can be noted or manifested in mid content and low content animals if they are going thru hormonal changes due to breeding cycles every six months. Mid and Low content animals can breed several times a year, like a normal dog, therefore this syndrome can apply.
The phrase was coined regarding the wolf held in captivity and the issues that haven arisen from the normal behavior/biological changes that can be manifested during the natural breeding seasons of wolves and high content wolfdogs. It is a true hormonal issue, consider WINTER WOLF SYNDROME the PMS OF THE CANINE WORLD!
Higher content and pure wolves will experience this in the traditional winter months as their hormonal changes are very accute at this time in preparation for breeding and hence the name WINTER WOLF SYNDROME. Winter and early spring are the typical times of breeding for this content.
It has been stated by experts that they believe that WWS is a condition that is displayed due to the captive related issue that arise in the animals living conditions/enclosers, and thus that allow the animal dominance challenges inter actions with humans regarding their territory. Their nature is of strict protocols and social order, boundaries are well defined but can be challenged. Social order can also be challenged as each member of the pack is trying to achieve a new rung up the ladder in hierarchy.
It is important to note that not all wolfdogs go thru this during their time of hormonal changes.
Making the necessary behavioral changes is a important step in managing a animal that is known to be cantankerous. Its imperative to watch, note and plan for extra attention to be paid to their behavior at this time. Know your animals...dial in.
Males will often protect their females if they are housed together, and females will often attack rival females showing them no mercy in their viciousness. The male may want to show you at this time, he is in charge and challenge your position as pack leader, in order to pull rank out from under you. Keeping cool and calm is always the key if there is a confrontation. Safety has to be the goal. Never allow the animals to dominate or win the situation over you, as it could escalate in future issues which can strain the relationship. Calm mutual respect, but carry a big stick if you have to as a prop.
Its best to be very careful at this time when entering in their territories...pens/dens/enclosers. Be as confident as you can, yet be non threatening. Understand that males can perceive you as a rival, if you are a male.
Wolves and Wolfdogs can smell the difference in the sexes.
Often Males will be more tolerant to a female adult human. Please note safety and caution with common sense when dealing with this. Being Patient and Proactive will be your strength. If you suspect errant behavior, make a special note to never be alone with the animals in question, always have a partner and a back up plan. WWS usually is usually a four to five months tour of duty in the higher content animals. This behavior in mids and lows can manifest as a simple pattern, a month or so before estrous and a month after. The behavior may or may not manifest in your animal, cases can be from little to moderate and perhaps extreme.
Being proactive in your socialization, training and handling protocols will give you and the animal the confident edge that you can successfully work together.
It is important again to note that any content of wolfdog can exhibit this behavior, and it could be male or female.
Neutered or spayed animals fair better during these times and are more likely not to manifest.
Its always best to be safe and calm and strong. Implement protocols for you and your animals well being. Make sure to have your family and friends made aware of your wishes, most of all get their support and work as a team. Remember this WWS may not ever happen, but what are you going to do if it does?
The time is now to explore those ideas and implement changes. Anything can be managed successfully if planned accordingly, Flexibility/commitment will be the key.