Reminder: The selected responses presented below are a reflection of the collaborative effort of Hybrid Wolf Mailing List aka. Wolfdoglist members to share opinions / information about wolf x dogs, responsible "ownership" and breeding practices. This FAQ is not a scientific or veterinary resource. Some responses have been edited for brevity.
Wolfdog FAQ - Question # 23
My wolfdog paces alot, what does this mean?
Wolves can travel up to 50 miles a day. Your wolfdog may be bored or not be getting the exercise that it needs to maintain a healthy psyche. As a personal preference, I like to give my animals enough room so they can run. Their pens are approximately 100' x 100 feet. I would prefer at least a couple of acres per pen, but at least they do have room to run and play.
Or, it may be that he is nervous. I have found when my wolfdogs feel threathened, they will pace back and forth at the far edge of their pen. I would assume that the pacing is because they feel trapped and unable to hide from something which makes them feel threatened. In many high content wolfdogs, I have noticed that they feel more secure if they have a place to hide when strangers are near.
My guess would be that is due to nervous tension. Probably could be helped with a larger pen or area and better cover within the pen.
I know that when my girls Jenna and Mogli start pacing they are nervous, because usually they don't do it unless Balto our Sib gets loose or goes with us somewhere or if someone or something strange is in the yard.
Out of my three wds, only one that does the pacing thing. That's only before & during thunderstorms and when the fighter jets or the Blue Angels do air practices. I think she (Sasha) is thinking its the end of the world and she got to pace to try to figure out what to do! :-) Maybe the other two (Nellie, Chief) are just leaving the decision on what to do to Sasha, since she holds the alpha status inside the house!
Just my situation:-)
When Dakotah paces, it usually means there's something on the other side of the fence that he's EXTREMELY interested in . . .he just can't get to it. When the neighbor dog (his name's Lucky . . .don't ask, heehee) hangs out in his yard, Dakotah will pace along the fence to find the absolute best spot to say hello :)
My two seem to pace when they are nervous or agitated. They pace when the meter guy comes out to read the meters or when a deer shows its head at the edge of the treeline... yesterday they were pacing hoping beyond hope that the fat squirrel in the tree right above their heads would miss a step and fall to them!
Saturday night we held a bonfire for Halloween and they paced then as well..too many strange smells and noises. They finally went in a dark corner and watched the activities as they couldn't be seen themselves (I went and checked on them A LOT as I was concerned and wanted to make sure they were comfortable).
They may also pace when they are bored or in need of exercise. I take my two on twice daily walks, and haven't noticed this with my two, but have with others.
My experiences :0)
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