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Suki finally came to stay this week and has been here for a couple of days. Being a wolf hybrid and only a year and a half old, there are some distinct differences. First, she has a large pack at her house (5 in all) so she is socially adept with dogs. However, the wolf part dictates that she is a little wary of humans at first, but curious. Once the nose engages and there are no sudden movements, she will warm up after a while. As always, the best human behavior is no touch/no talk/no eye contact and approach sideways with respect; not for the wolf (face it, they're ALL wolves!) but for the animal/dog. Frankly, this is how humans need to introduce themselves to ALL dogs, anyway.

A word about respect: I am the pack leader, but dogs in my control are not my servants, they are my "squad", so to speak. Like a tactical unit, we all have specific strengths and weaknesses and it is my job to figure that out and utilize individuals in my pack to its fullest potential. You cannot do this without respect, and I do not receive respect without giving respect. Human or animal world, it is exactly the same. When I control the pack, I also gain more respect from the dogs in that pack. Why? Because they see that I not only control but protect the pack and that gives them a sense of security and they pay attention to direction even better.

For example, one of the jobs I give Koa is attaching the leash of another dog that needs a leader to his collar. He then follows me, and the other dogs realize what order the pack is in. Koa is perfect for this, but I would not attach another dog to one with issues unless I was certain that the correct message is sent.

During her first day we immediately went on a pack walk (with Koa, whom she shadows) and later to the beach and into the water, both of which she had not done before. She handled all of it like a regular beach dog and seemed to enjoy the time, since she came back and slept for the next couple of hours.

Suki is also an escape artist. She exited her kennel crate twice within 10 minutes the first night. I heard her walking down the hall to our bedroom to see if everyone was still there. I then devised a system with carabineers that ensures her presence whether she wants it or not... plus, trying to escape an inescapable crate gives her an activity.

Suki's second day of activities ended with a pack bike ride with Lisa and Koa. Suki wants Koa to play with her but he is tolerantly ignoring her because of that unsure energy she still has in new environments. It's getting better, but the pack teaches more about correct behavior than the humans could ever do, and they do it quicker. So on the pack ride, Koa leads the way by showing Suki that we run alongside the bike and not way out into the road. I could keep leash correcting her, but he is much better at the "follow me!" part of being. In fact, when I eventually took both of them so Lisa could video the ride for Suki's owner, he ran even closer to my bike than he ever has, and it helped her immensely.

Since out morning pack walks only last about an hour, Suki has only had about 2 hours of time with new humans. Still, she recognizes them respectfully and has gotten to the point of touching their hands with her nose, a very respectful and trusting behavior.

The next activity: out and around many new people and crowds! Of course, my buddy Koa will be there to show her the way. Until next time, be respectful!

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