What Sharp Teeth You Have!

Teething. It can already be a nightmare for babies, let alone pups with almost knife sharp incisors! Key words here are acceptable items.  Luna tended to get this term confused, and thought it meant she was able to chew on anything her mouth could get a hold of. And add in another puppy just getting into the teething stage? Dun Dun Dun! Destructo Duo! Training, initiated.

Riku and Luna love peanut butter.

Puppies begin teething at the age of 12 weeks old when their teeth begin to grow in. When the new teeth are putting pressure on a puppy’s gums, chewing is a natural reaction. You did it at some point also! We just don’t remember it.  I’ve heard of babies that start gnawing on their crib, leaving forever teeth marks ingrained in the wood. Babies or puppies’, growing in the chompers is a fact of life.

If you don’t provide a chew toy, your puppy will look for something else to chew, including furniture, shoes and other things you value. Luna just loved Eric’s insoles. Maybe our little girl has a foot fetish? Puppies and shoes seem to be a common understanding, leave your shoes out and you’ll find they’ve been torn amuck! We started hiding them behind the couch, and she still found where they were, the smartie! “Daddy can’t hide these gems from me, wahaha!” So we made an investment. Eric and I are both organizational minded individuals, so it was an investment we’ve wanted to make for quite some time anyhow.

We bought a shoe rack. And do you know what Luna still did? She knew exactly which shoes out of the 12 on the rack contained his one pair of insoles, would pluck the shoe right off the rack (and they even faced backwards so the insoles could not be seen!) and take for her capture the insole! All the while leaving the shoe intact. It must have been the texture, the rubber of the Dr. Scholl’s massaged and soothed her tender gums. The lesson here is to take the knowledge that your puppy gives you and use it to find him or her an appropriate toy that parallels the item they go after to teethe.

Riku with his Peanut Butter Hoof.

I subscribe to a couple dog-centered magazines, such as Dogs USA, and have read countless articles on teething both in the magazines I subscribe to as well as in training books and online. (One more hint to do your research before adopting a puppy J ) Many people have the issue that their puppy will chew anything it gets its mouth on. Well, of course! They can’t differentiate what is “ours” and what is a toy. That must be taught. Don’t scold the puppy for doing what they would do instinctually and naturally, rather partake in positive reinforcement methods and get the puppy some chew-acceptable items to gnaw on.

If you own a larger breed puppy, or a wolf dog like Luna, it’s hard to find something that they won’t demolish in a matter of hours. There are toys that claim right on the package, that are designated for “teething,” to “last a month!” Well, this company must have tested it on a Toy Dog Breed, as Luna’s sharp teeth demolish a large, supposedly one-month investment sized bone in a matter of two hours! Why spend over $10.00 on a chew toy that is only going to have a lifespan of a mere couple hours, right? Not to fear! There are numerous inexpensive tricksto help your puppy through the teething stage.

There are five tricks I suggest when it comes to training, and together they will provide your puppy with a new HABIT.

H. Hoof– This is the brightest gem of them all! They LOVE them! Luna’s trainer (and Riku’s mom!) handed us this idea that we use on a weekly basis. They love cow hoofs. Rawhide is a big No-No when it comes to something to chew on. A larger breed puppy or dog can chew it into tiny pieces that splinter and get caught in their intestine, puncturing and rupturing the intestine that is fatal. Since this does happen more than one might think, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. But if not rawhide, is there another cheap option? Hooves are where it’s at! Since Luna loves peanut  butter, (as most dogs do!) we simply put peanut butter in the hoof and freeze it. It will take a while for her to get through the hoof, weeks actually, and will provide a cool, soothing effect for her gums. At $1.00 a hoof, it’s a definite WIN!
You can see the pups in action and can tell how much they love their hoof in my video HERE. 🙂

A. Antler- These are perfect. They can be quite pricey but last forever. Luna still has her large one we bought four months ago! They are safe, and have a texture of their own naturally that puppies love to chew on. What’s even better is that they are yet another 100% way to calm your puppies gums.  As shown in the picture, you can buy ones that are quite large for larger breed puppies. Luna still loves hers to this day, and brings it with her into her crate each and every night to chew on.

B. Bone- To recapitulate, I never suggest using rawhide, Rather there are natural bones with flavoring on them that Luna loves. We buy her the biggest one possible and she’ll have it for about two weeks, and they are only about $8.00 a piece! The coating breaks apart however, so I suggest them for an outside chew toy.

I. Ice- Easiest and cheapest teething remedy you may find! How expensive are ice trays and water? They go crazy for them! Kong just recently put out a toy that is just this, but why pay for what is essentially an ice cube tray and flavorings to freeze? You can simply fill the ice trays with your own flavor, such as chicken or beef broth, and freeze them for a delectable teething treat. The ice helps to numb their gums for the time being, and is crunchy fun to-boot!

T. Teething Toys- Like I said, there are other less expensive options than buying toys geared for teething puppies. But some can be quite fun for the pups! Given the option of all five HABIT’s, Luna will always pick an actual chew toy last, but every so often she does enjoy playing with them, preferably ones with various textures and strings.

There are many ways to help your puppy through their tormenting teething stage, but with these simple tricks I have learned along the way, it doesn’t have to be such a nightmarish experience as described by many, and your shoes can be saved!

“Love is represented by a rose not only because of it’s eternal beauty,
but also because of it’s destructive thorns.”


The Big Bad Wolf.

Remember the childhood story of Little Red Riding Hood? In this story, the big bad wolf is getting a revamp.

I own a hybrid. A Red Wolf/ German Shepherd mix. She’s now 9 months old and has grown to look like a complete wolf! Hybrid’s many times get a bad rap for owners that do not care for them PROPERLY. If you do not do your research and just want a Wolfdog for it’s popularity, then you should indeed reconsider. They are not half as obedient as domestic dogs as they have a mind of their own (it’s truly like owning a five year old who already can open doors!) and will learn obedience training and tricks remarkably quickly, though will not always do them right on command as they have a “on my time” attitude.

That said, not all breeders are legitimate, so that you have to know if the breeder is selling actual Wolfdog/hybrid puppies and not just a Husky/Malamute, or is claiming that they are greater than 70% wolf. First time owners should never buy a dog from a breeder who sells puppies as “High Content.” When buying a hybrid (meaning half wolf half dog for both parents,) it’s like mixing a bag of marbles and picking two. You might end up with a dog that is mostly wolf, mostly dog, or something anywhere in between the continuum.  Luna? Well, she’s more on the wolf side..

My Wolfdog, Luna, is the sweetest girl. She has completed her Petsmart training and is incredibly affectionate and responsive. She does however have quite the mind of her own, and continually tries to assert herself as the alpha on a daily basis  Owning a wolf hybrid is not to be taken lightly, but with the right knowledge, love for the animal, and compassionate training and proper care, they can truly become a best friend.

One thing I’ve learned? DON’T Google search hybrid without knowing what you may find. The horrific stories of wolf hybrids attacking children, are just that, horrific events stemming from either, A. The owners neglect and lack of knowledge on how to properly care for and train a hybrid, or B. A mentally off-centered dog. There’s been news stories of even golden retrievers having attacked children too. Wolf hybrid rescues are created for that specific reason. Many people deem hybrid’s to be “confused, not knowing if they’re a wolf or dog.” It’s like saying a person is transgendered when they simply have two parents with different racial backgrounds. Make more sense? In that, they are used to different “cultural habits” lets say, in the case of hybrids, dominance is one distinct habit.

Wolves do not have a single behavior not found in dogs as a whole. Don’t believe that? Try to find one. 😉

  • If you lean over a shy or dominant hybrid (any variety), he feels threatened.
  • If you avert your eyes or make yourself smaller and slower, it has a calming effect.
  • If something runs by quickly, it catches their attention. Anyone have cats in the house??
  • If you reward them with high value treats for acting on command, they will do it reliably. Petsmart training is highly recommended!
  • If you condition them to enjoy being leash walked as a runt, they’ll look forward to it eagerly.

*One note is that it took WEEKS to completely leash train Luna. She now jogs on the right side of me on command, knowing when to stop, wait, increase/decrease speed, etc. She wouldn’t move at first, it was like dragging her on ski’s. But with patience and persistence, they CAN and WILL learn, it just takes a little time and effort.

  • If your hybrid has gotten a “big head”, a No Free Lunch rank reduction program (SIT!– then the reward) will return them to the guidance of your leadership. And on, and on…regardless of the shape, size or color, it’s all a matter of proper ownership.

100% Leash Trained.

It’s instinct for them to have a hierarchy, and fight their way to the top. Therefore, one must know the signals and physical behavior of dominance, making sure to differentiate dominance from plain aggression, as they are quite different.Food aggression is a result of your dog’s individual temperament, plus how much effort you put into training him otherwise. We’ve trained Luna quite repetitively using the dominance theory and making it known that we can touch her mouth, her food, and her toys at any time, even if she’s in the middle of eating or playing, without her acting on it. Plenty of Wolfdogs are fine about food/possessions. Plenty of dogs are not. If you have a food-aggressive hybrid, then somewhere along the way, there was human error involved.  As a wolf dog owner, you simply have to be knowledgeable on the different instinctual behaviors that Wolfdogs have from domestic dogs, and train accordingly. Wolfdogs just aren’t going to head or comply to your every command as a domestic dog might, and that is  quite alright.

When it comes down to it, you, as the owner, need to know what you can handle. There are no such things as “bad dogs,” but there ARE bad owners. If you do your research and dedicate time to your new family member, you’ll have wonderful memories to last a lifetime. If you want to know how to successfully raise, handle, and manage Wolfdogs, talk to those who have done it—and have great animals to show for it.

If you want to fly, study those who are doing it—not those who say it can’t be done.

What Life Revolves Around.

No, it isn’t love. Dollas ladies and gents, and lots of ’em! When it comes to owning a puppy, the expense can be exorbitant, let alone two! Now with Luna Eric and I luckily got somewhat of a deal with a local vet offices puppy package and no cost spaying, so all of the distemper combos and medications were at a relatively low cost. Riku however is not as fortunate to acquire such a deal in the Palmetto State. This is primarily due to the belief in South Carolina that a $200 puppy package, for one round of distemper and a regular vet checkup with that,is discounted! As Eric says, “we already have the puppy, we don’t need to buy a new one, just the shots!” So, I did some research and found that a local non profit animal adoption agency called PETS INC. offered affordable vaccinations. We didn’t half expect it to be as cheap as it was though, $8 for the little guy’s round of distemper. Subtract that from $200 and you have yourself the best savings a girl could ask for! We couldn’t believe the affordable pricing, shots that cheap you’d think there was a black market we got them off of.

The Pets Inc. adoption site had over three litters of puppies up for adoption when we went.  None as cute as Riku, of course. Not only were the shots wicked cheap, but it was done in lightening speed. Now, the guy administering the shots was a Seminole, FSU student. And he can successfully administer shots? Yah, likely story. 😉 But all kidding aside, he was lickity split quick! There was no line, no waiting outside a Petco in the wee hours of the AM for a shot clinic van to come driving up and eventually set up so you can form an even longer line inside the shop to wait for your pet to receive their shots. Oh no, went, received, and drove home. wasn’t even a long enough trip for Riku to use the loo during! (And if you don’t know, puppies at his age pee about every 1 to 2 hours..) This may all sound sketchy to you, after all, if you’re not waiting, are you actually receiving quality care? We thought so, as there were vets on staff at the facility and everything, and all of the staff or volunteers were friendly and welcoming to any questions you had.

An added bonus was that each pet when given vaccinations is given an identification number. That number is on an ID tag that you put on his collar, so that if found it states that the pet must be returned to Pets Inc., where they then look you up as the owner. Better than an ID chip if you ask me in that the Humane Society isn’t needed as the middle-man (for the scanning of the chip.) It’s fail safe, no Lost Dog posting around town needed! (I always think that if Luna ever gets out, and she CAN jump 10.5 feet when she’s old enough, that i’ll have to put up signs saying: “Lost Wolf, PLEASE DON’T SHOOT! Return to the lovely couple in the red door house.” Oh, the South..

On topic, the couple times a year shots aren’t the big spender as most people may believe. Think less small picture and more big picture, every day needs.  Know what it is? Puppy owners may eagerly say it’s the paper towel expense, as cleaning up puppy messes all day may seem like it might be, but it’s the grub! If only they were at their maxed weight so the amount needed wouldn’t keep increasing! Do they EVER stop growing it seems? You will begin to think about looking up stocks in Purina for how much you buy!

Since Eric and I are on a gluten-free diet, can you guess what the pups are on? And they always say the dogs resemble the owners, why not follow a similiar diet? We have them on the Large Breed Puppy Wellness food. It’s gluten-free, no added junk ingredients, and even has whole foods such as spinach, blueberries, and carrot even added to it. It’s like the Superman dog food. Now, I know the big question, how much is it? Do I have to take out a second mortgage, forfeit my child’s educational savings? No, it’s a supreme food at a moderate price for the quality food it is. Not only did we get it for the quality wholesome ingredients, but due to Luna’s “special” nutritional needs, as a Canis Lupus.

Too much to drink 😉

Red wolves, and all wolves in general, have an adverse reaction to soy (plainly stated as IBS…the elephant in the room will be readily smelled.) Eating a diet that includes soy product, even minimal amounts, will lead to blindness in later years. That said, almost ALL dog foods, treats, and products, are made with Lecithin, which is soy based. Picking out items for Luna? Harder than it seems!  Especially since wolves are not only unable to process and digest soy, but also corn and wheat. It’s the doggie Celiac and allergy sufferer extraordinaire! Makes sense when you think that wild wolves have no means of accessing such products, just the vegetation and fresh, lean meat. They’re on the new Caveman Diet fad already. A dog that molds to our diet, who would have known!  Wellness puppy food is ideal since it is wheat, corn, and soy free. Which is beneficial to every puppy’s digestive system and not just for dogs with wolf heredity.

As stated, most dog treats contain lecithin, and more fearsome, rawhide. Rawhide has been used for ages but can be deathly for larger dogs. Larger dogs, with sharper teeth (such as Luna) can break the rawhide into tiny slivers, that when swallowed, puncture the intestine and is fatal. To avoid such, we get Luna actual real bones coated in flavor. When it comes to snacks, both of the pups LOVE peanut butter. It’s like crack to them, slap some on some celery and she’ll rob a bank for you if you’ll give her some! Same goes for boiled chicken, cantaloupe, and papaya. Papaya I highly recommend since papaya enzymes are highly beneficial to digesting..and we did just talk about her back-end smokehouse…

Speaking of feeding, ever eat your dogs food before they do? Sounds kinky right?  In simple terms, it all boils down to the dominance theory and portraying yourself as Alpha in the pack. If you own a dog, or are interested in learning more about dominance theory I highly recommend reading this page, it has detailed information with corresponding visuals, HERE.

Many people use this approach with all dogs, but as it can be kind of too-too in my eyes, I do believe it is necessary when owning a wolf hybrid as the social hierarchy is instinct and will always be with them. To show that Eric and I are alpha to Luna, we pretend to eat her food before giving the bowl to her, after she sits before of course. Luna is more wolf than dog we have found, and responds to our dominant behavior quite accordingly! Where as Riku just looks at us like were nuts. Another move we do is the ‘say please’, which we use on both. It’s having them sit before granting them anything, be it setting the food down, giving them a treat, presenting them a toy (Luna LOVES anything that squeeks, though with her teeth, a soft toy such as the pink elephant below will only last a good week..), going outside, etc.

Luna showing her dominance over Riku by putting a paw over him.

You can tell Luna sees Eric and I as alpha in many ways. One of the main cues is how she comes up to us. As she approaches, her whole body cowers down (not in fear, but in submission, sort of like in a mid-bow), her ears go back, yet all the while excitedly wagging her tail level to her body.  If she’s entirely excited to see me, say I just came home, she’ll try to jump up by my face, right by my mouth. If you’ve ever seen a wolf’s teeth, it can seem quite frightening!  She’s simply trying to lick your teeth, a kind of “wolf kiss.” There is the cutest VIDEO on youtube showing this. When watching the video, first thought is “wow, the lady is going dowwwnnn” to “awww.”

Wolves go through phases. Luna is just a Pre-Teen in her time, and we won’t know her level of dominance and need to be high in the hierarchy (and her possible aggression towards us to become such) until she is around two to three years old. Might as well play it safe we say and get on pretending to eat that puppy food!

I am not a wolf in sheep’s clothing, I am a wolf in wolf’s clothing.


Thanks for visiting!

If you are a weightlifter, strongman, exercise enthusiast, or just looking for a good read, do head over to Eric's blog RIGHT HERE..
He is my inspiration in more ways than one, especailly when it comes to pursuing my writing.

Oh, you know you want to be stronger, doesn't everyone? ;)

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