Click here for the Background story of how Hunti ended up with me (Animal Shelter, Background, Getting to know, Austria…) Photo: Saying goodbye to the temporary family at the shelter
The funny things, Hunti savours: carrots, sugar beet, blueberries, bread, banana, grapefruit, egg liqueur (incl. helping himself with opening the bottle, turning it updside down…… and of course everything else that humans eat. I was told he had a Labrador-buddy, which explains a lot…
Fresh in: Photos of baby Hunti saying goodbye to his Mama:
The story of our first three weeks together. Scroll down for latest updates!
The first milestone was the big trip to Romania, where we are planning to spend the winter and the first months with Hunti. The drive would be about a 1000km and I did not look forward to it.
We left after a few hours of packing and an extended walk and breakfast around 11am – not without picking up some supplies that are hard or impossible to find in Romania. Honestly, after having spent the last two winters in Portugal (Lisboa and Porto) – I would have preferred to head into the opposite direction… 😉 I work as a freelance marketing manager and can work from anywhere – it would not have made any difference. But there were some friends and a suitable apartment waiting for us in the Carpathian Mountains – so Romania it is!
During the first 30 minutes or so Hunti was busily commenting on my driving but calmed down and got settled in the back. After that he only checked every hour or so if I would still be awake and how things are going. Every two hours we stopped and went for a walk: in three countries: Austria, Hungary and Romania!
Hunti being "talkative" while driving.And the response from a friend in Arizona 🙂
We arrived in Romania at two at night, picked up the key for the apartment and after another short walk around the block, Hunti went straight into inspecting his new place.
As expected, the first days went smooth like a charm. Hunti was respectful with everything and immediately settled in to the places he was assigned to. However, it is exhausting to “move” into new place – especially with a brand new dog and trying not to annoy or scare the neighbours…
There was a typical wolf-dog related incident the first morning. I had nothing in the fridge and we headed over to a nearby market to buy some eggs, milk and bread. A crew of cleaners – hooded and masked because of the cold in the morning were emptying the garbage cans and cleaning the street. The short night, the new environment and all the strange noises added to the picture and Hunti freaked out – launching a full-blown panic attack: tail between the legs, hectic eye and body movements, emergency mode: ready to escape the “lethal danger” – run run run – anywhere but here. I had seen it before with Camots – it was is standard repertoire in the first 6 months !! for everything – even a freight train passing in 2km distance !! So no big surprise here and I was able to quickly calm Hunti down and even enter the shop – with him waiting outside! It shows how well socialised he is and what a good guy he is!
After a few days of trying all the different options for walks, running errands protocols (without leaving him home alone – which is not possible yet) we went on the “phase 2” and started “bootcamp”. Again, Hunti is largely out of shape and urgently needs to work out, build some strength and stamina. So we tested riding mountain-bike together !! It was obvious he did not declare this his new favourite thing, but he played along well:
To days later we took it up a notch and went “Enduro track scouting”. One of my clients is the Red Bull Romaniacs Hard Enduro Rallye – and we introduced Hunti to his new colleagues – actually “The boss” Martin and went for a ride:
New team-member @ the Red Bull Romaniacs and new scouting buddy for Martin Freinademetz: 4×4 escort… 💪🔥🔝We are checking out an awesome new uphill found by Teo Isac.Rider: Martin FreinademetzCamera: Volker Jacob#RedBullRomaniacs #VerticalMadness #WeLiveExtremeEnduro #Enduro #HardEnduro #ExtremeEnduro #Motorsports #Dirtbikes #iRideWESS #RomaniacsRed Bull Romaniacs 2020 – the “Vertical Madness” editionEvent Date: 21 – 25 July, 2020
Funny fact: Hunti is so used to his collar, he doesn’t mind wearing it – and being “dragged around” by his neck seems to be no problem for him. I personally prefer a harness on my dogs – especially if they are wearing such a beautiful ruff. The collar had already created in impression on the ruff, so I decided it would be time to switch to a harness. But that equation was made without Hunti! Ignoring how much better and more comfortable this would make his walks, he despises and dreads the harness! When trying to put it on, he escapes. No problem – I grab him and pull it over his head. It is so funny – after that he standing there, not moving, wide eyed and a look as someone has just put a finger up his rear-end… The first harness he had destroyed with just a few bites, now he taking it a bit easier and just looking at it in disgust and sometimes (now slightly …) biting it. Progress!
Hunter is with me now for three weeks – and I have known him for four.
Winter has started. After fabulous weather all the way until mid. December, the cold is finally here and the snow knee-deep outside. And Hunti loves it.
These are the first weeks, Hunti is super easy – but we are in “Bootcamp”-mode right now, which takes some focus, energy and commitment.
Hunti is really lovely, easy to manage, highly intelligent, playful and healthy. He is also very socialised – loves people, kids, dogs and walks on the leash like a dream. With the first new-years fireworks starting to go off around us, we also learnt that Hunti is not gun shy – he doesn’t even flinch….
And still there are quite a few things to learn:
The kitchen is no self-service cafeteria
Even if the other dog is super interesting, “zu mir” means ABORT, turn around and start moving…
When the human gets up or goes away – it has no implications for me…
He picks up ANyTHING that looks eatable
Is slightly insecure when meeting other dogs, but never aggressive
Hunti learns really fast, but some things are more difficult because of his intelligence: he knows your agenda from 3km away…
Here is an impression of the lesson “we have no business in the kitchen – unless invited…” As you can see, he even briefly gets angry…
For Christmas, we were invited to a friend’s house, which was amazing – especially since one of the hosts thought she would be afraid of Hunti. The evening was a blast – and after greeting everyone at the door like the host in person, Hunti was loved by everyone.
Hunti is still no huge fan of driving, but at least travels in style:
Making new friends:
And happily meeting old ones (the godfather) uncle Micha:
We are still looking for a new name for Hunter !!
I thought I would get used to “Hunter” (the name…) but I don’t – and also believe it doesn’t really fit… We already discussed: Chan, Gun, Rollo, Wolfgang, Otto, Hector of Troy, Troy, Karl, Kalle, Tala, Lupo, Wolfie, Spectre, Hoodie, Twenty – current favorite is “Schmitty, a.k.a Frau Schmidt”, Griff, Shy, wolfowitz – but so far now winner…
Here is an article about name choices and some excellent background info about Czech Wolfdogs:
We are walking three times a day, with the big walk usually after lunchtime. We meet lots people in the neighbourhood, in the city, the park or even in the mountains. Often people stop to admire Hunti, take photos and the first question is usually “Is it a wolf?” or “which breed is it?”. “How old?” etc… And then the next question: “where can I buy one”. I honestly don’t mind – but I am reminding people every time, that this can not be a “trophy-dog” that you buy, put in the yard and then leave it rotting there. The Czech Wolfdog (CWD) is a majestic being – and they require full integration into the family (or the household) – on eye level! (of course considering the hierarchy and pack order). As you can see in the article below, adopting is even harder: a full time job for the first months, 24h direct contact, full alert for positive re-assurance and immediate of unwanted behaviour. It is like you are marrying someone on a blind date and move to a small island.
From the article above, there is an interesting paragraph about the CWD.
“Czechoslovakian Wolfdogs can be rough and do require significant training, therefore Native Canines will not place a puppy with a family with small children or in a home that has other intact dogs. This is a breed that does not thrive in a home with multiple dogs but rather in a home where they are given a lot of one-on-one attention. They require a strong leader and do require that new owners go through training classes with their new Czechoslovakian Wolfdog to ensure they can properly handle their new puppy. The Czechoslovakian Wolfdog can be a very destructive dog and must have a job to perform. They also must have a set pack order and they will become dependent on their family, or pack as they will see you. It takes a special home to devote the next 12 to 15 years to a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog as these dogs rarely can be successfully re-homed. Unfortunately, because of the temperament of the Czechoslovakian Wolfdog, it is not recommended that you rescue one from a shelter or other organisation unless you are a seasoned dog handler/trainer with the knowledge to properly re-train a Czechoslovakian Wolfdog that been surrendered or rescued.”
Hiking is up ! Hunti must have been with a family, who doesn’t like to walk a lot: he steps outside, pees, makes his dump and is ready to go back inside within minutes… Not my pair of shoes!
New Years Eve:
We went relatively relaxed into the evening of “Silvester”: during the days before I had seen Hunti hardly reacting to any of (premature…) fireworks going on. Sometimes he shrugged, later he did not even flinch. I had decided to stay home with him and provide “shelter” – also to save my nerves in case he would start reacting to the fireworks. It helped that we are living in a relatively quiet neighbourhood – there was ZERO fireworks pretty much until midnight. Then “WW3” started outside…. After the first few minutes, Hunti eventually did get nervous and started pacing around. After about 10 mins “nervous” switched to “panic” – and not even my offer to join me on the otherwise “forbidden” couch, helped. But a funny thing happened: In his panic, Hunter tried to break-in into the (also “forbidden”) kitchen! I can only assume that he must have thought: “if the world is going down tonight, I am a not going down with an empty stomach…!!” Eventually I grabbed him, put his harness on and dragged him onto the couch. There with the TV volume up, reassuring, calm voice und constant padding on the back, he eventually calmed down. Soon after, the fireworks were over…
Getting a haircut… The guys at Royal Hair insisted he comes inside… (inside of being chained up in the snow)
I have had a toothache the last 10 days. All the things you manage when you are fit and healthy become a completely different story when you are not feeling well. And the problem with hierarchies is, that if the leader appears weak, it (at the very least…) gives us the right to explore our boundaries a bit further… In the last days, which have been tough… we learned, that it will be a long process until not EVERYTHING that looks eatable will be picked up on the way, especially the stuff that gives us diarrhoea… We also learned, that being left in the van, will lead to destruction rage at an unbelievable level – even if it is just for a few minutes. Therefore we are looking for a solution now, where Hunti can be “parked” for a few hours, for example for a dentist appointment… Another dog owner I met in the park (with an Akita) complained about similar “abandonment anxiety” and said he is just taking her anywhere and puts her on a chain outside. So far this is my only option as well. It also helps to really power him out – so there will be extensive playing and running before each of these tests… stay tuned…
Social behavior: Hunti is very different to Camots, to be precise, quite the opposite… With Camots I always had to be on high alert with other dogs, especially smaller males, and there had been some occurrences of “bar-fights”. He was not very interested to meet them and appeared rather stressed when it happened. The same with people: he was friendly and kind, but neither very excited when meeting “old friends” not very enthusiastic when meeting new people… Hunter on the other hand seems to thrive from contact with other dog and people and is actively looking to meet them. When meeting other dogs, they usually start ecstatic playing and jumping around, I have not seen any aggression so far – which is a huge relieve for walks in the (crowded) parc.
Unfortunately this lack of (some) aggression also leads to complete neutral and defensive behavior when being attacked. Which is a problem in Romania – not so much because of the (still existing…) street dogs but because of the herding (shepherd) dogs who are EXTREMELY aggressive and partially dangerous.
The grassy hills out there are heavily (over-) used by sheep farming – and the herds are usually protected from bears and wolves by a pack of 7-12 shepherd dogs. The real thing…. They look all funny and beaten up – but they are machines.
I used to have a Czech Wolfdog before – and spent plenty of days hiking the beautiful countryside out there. Of course every time we encountered a herd (every 20mins…) hell broke lose. My dog equalled a wolf by about 90%, so he was “Enemy no. 1” and I had to fight for him so many times, you wouldn’t believe it. The most effective weapon proved to be a catapult with either rocks from the ground or steel ball bearings – hit one of them, accompanied by some strong voice shouting and they usually bugger off.
But once they start circling you, you are in trouble: watch your back: the strong and lethal ones will come from behind, while the smaller ones are in front as a distraction…
When I am mountainbiking in the area – without a dog, the situation is not much different: these packs go after everything that moves outside the herd: either for protection or for food. Being without a wolf-like dog makes it a bit easier, but not much less dangerous! With the mtb, it is key to be fully situation-aware, you can never ride “dreaming” or with headphones (music…), otherwise you’ll get bitten. Next step is to stop and get off the bike and talk to them. But still, at every 5th encounter, there will be one aggressive dog looking for trouble and trying to get behind you… For this, I usually carry some pepper spray and a catapult, which (the latter) works wonders as a “remote control”… 😉
Walking a wolfdog is fun.
I you like attention.
Or if you like studying human behaviour.
If you are looking for peace and want to let your thoughts drift of, maybe get a cat… For two reasons.
1. The wolfdog causes reactions in your environment – and you must anticipate them. Otherwise there will be surprises.
2. Wolfi is always up to something: My last one, Camots was always studying our surroundings on multiple channels – to “keep us safe”. All I needed to do, was watch his ears, head, body (in that order) and I had a detailed “intelligence report” what was going on (for example in the forest, with wild animals (like bears nearby) or a pack of hostile shepherd dogs approaching. And prevent him from taking an initiative… This one, Hunter, is less of a Hunter or a radar for our surroundings, but more of a gatherer – nose down hundred percent of the time and looking for something to eat…
But back to the (more interesting…) reactions of our environment. Of course it depends on where you are (city, countryside, forest) and which country (generally animal loving / still wild in the outdoors?). I have decided to spend the first months after the adoption of Hunter in Sibiu / Romania. “Out there…” in the wilderness of the Carpathians, there are still real predators around like bears and wolves. The people in the small town of Sibiu are generally considered animal loving. So, the usual case is that on every walk, there are about 10 contacts with people asking about the race or if they are allowed to “touch him”. Hunter is extremely social and loves contacts to humans, even strangers. He also lives for playing with other dogs and meeting them. But let’s focus on the human for now. There are of course also people, who are afraid of dogs in general and freak out because of the sheer size of Hunter and his wolf-like looks. They sometimes change to the other side of the street. Here in our quarter, they got used to his friendly behaviour and I haven’t seen anybody changing street sides for a while… I was worried that the direct neighbours would be stressed, but they all love and admire him (which is easy, Hunter is very likeable). On the walks, many people stop for inquiries, the funny ones in the car in the middle of the road, with traffic behind them – to ask a few questions. The not so funny ones approach and ask “how much does it cost” and “where can I buy one”? I usually start with a short answer like: “It costs 15 years of commitment and a place next to you in your household”, and then explain that it is not the purchasing price they should worry about, but the fact that wolfdog expect a permanent place by your side and can’t be “parked” in a cage, the yard or on a chain for hours. It would break him and cause unwanted, unpleasant behaviour. They usually understand, take a photo and move on.
Memories: Camots, 3 years ago…
out there …Camots meets Atlantic Ocean.A little bit the hard way… Don`t miss the action at 00:57sec 😉