Dogs take work.

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, May 22, 2023
cotton candy in her new home
Cotton Candy in her new home

Dogs take work. 

A lot of work. 

The newest American Dirus owners from the latest DireWolf Express trip know this all too well. 

I have heard from a number of them how amazing it is to train this special breed of giant companion dog. 

Cotton Candy’s new person says,

Candy is doing alright so far – definitely not a HUGE fan of the car, but handling it very well. Mixed an egg and some good white cheddar into her food and she is eating! 

“My cat is being very invasive. Candy’s pretty unfazed by him even though he’s being very silly. I think mainly he wants her food. He’s being respectful, though. 

“She is definitely stressed and uneasy, but she’s snoozing and she ate, so I’m calling that success. She’s definitely sad, but is being VERY good and so, so sweet. 

“And she and the cat are totally chill – she checks in with me but otherwise doesn’t react to him and he gives her a wide berth bit is comfortable being in the same room. 

“We introduced our other dog very briefly and it went super well! Candy is so brave and so good. All of us are astounded by how calm she is. My parents can’t stop raving about her. 

“She is so funny. She’s got kind of an attitude and her expressiveness really sells it. It is hilarious, especially since she’s so dignified and polite. The sass adds so much charm.

“We met the neighbor’s dog, Jack, today! He was a little bit afraid of her, but it went well. He was respectful and she was, as usual, unbothered.

Baltic Gold’s new person shares,

“Ok we may have received the best dog. You may want to charge me more… she’s worth at least a million. 

“She did amazing on the way home. We stopped, she didn’t want to get out but we went a mile down the road to another spot and she didn’t want to get out but I sat with her a bit like Narissa and finally got her out and she did great. I just had to go first and she followed.

“We have had no accidents yet and she’s good at holding it, but this morning I’m like, Ok little miss, we all need to go to the bathroom so I sat down by her kennel with coffee, introduced her to a lead leash and she didn’t really want to come out but I finally got her out and held her close in my lap for about 20-30 min and she calmed and was sniffing the air and kissing and hugging me so we moved outside to the lawn chair and her still in my lap for another half an hour. She hugged me and kissed me a bunch and sniffed everything out putting her head on one shoulder then the other sniffing and cuddling repeatedly. Then I took her over to the grass and laid her down and she stayed there at my feet for another couple minutes and up she went and peed and pooped! We took a walk around half the yard with the loose lead. She did great. 

“Baltic Gold had breakfast and now she’s napping downstairs in her crate and I’m upstairs writing you :) she’s perfectly content. She is very crate trained already. Loves her space. Likes her soft fuzzy pad. She has a bigger permanent one right in our living room for later and one outside but I haven’t shown her those yet. One area at a time is best I think. She will grow into the others.

“She does miss you all, VERY MUCH I can 100% tell which I totally understand because I do too, but I’m sure it’s much worse for her. Not my favorite part of this. I got her a heartbeat pillow and she loves it. Ava slept by her crate all night because we couldn’t get it by the bed with her inside lol.  I’ll try again tonight another way. I was so exhausted yesterday I could barely function.”

Dogs are not born understanding human, no matter how much a Dire Wolf Project breeder works to breed out a working dog temperament.

Dogs are still canines and only speak/understand their own species’ language and culture until a human helps them learn how to live in our busy, modern world. 

In order to have a well-mannered, socialized dog that fully understands how to thrive in a human world, there are only three options:

1.     Train the dog yourself

2.     Hire a competent dog trainer

3.     Purchase a trained dog

You trade time for money the farther down the list you go. 

1.     If you train your own dog, you assume all of the training time required, plus any time and money it takes to obtain the training knowledge. 

2.     If you hire a competent dog trainer, you assume some of the training time, but pay for someone else’s training knowledge. 

3.     If you purchase a trained dog, you assume minimal training time, but pay a hefty price for a competent dog trainer’s time and knowledge.

There is no easy solution. 

You can’t skip directly to the “well-mannered and socialized dog” part without putting in the time or money to make it happen. 

When you purchase a dog, you make a promise to that creature to care for it to the best of your ability, no matter the time or cost. 

If you cannot or are unwilling to commit the time or money it takes to train your dog how to speak and understand human, then you aren’t ready for a dog. It’s as simple as that. 

According to, as of 2022, the following is the average dog training cost depending on how much time you are willing to spend with your dog versus having a trainer take over:

Here’s a picture from “Peace of Mind Puppy” illustrating the cost involved in acquiring a fully-trained dog in 2023:

When you purchase a dog or puppy from a Dire Wolf Project breeder, you are responsible for ALL of the training.

We do what we can in the 8 or so weeks we have them in order to help them have an open mind ready to learn, but it is up to you to train your American Dirus dog once it arrives.

Training a dog or puppy takes knowledge, time, patience, and consistency. 

If you haven’t had a lot of experience training dogs, you will want to hire a trainer to help you. This will take money. The more the trainer must take over the actual dog training, the more money you will spend. 

There is so much more that goes into being a great dog trainer than you may know.

Rocky Mountain Dog Training wrote a list of reasons why dog training is so expensive:

Luckily, you purchased an American Dirus dog that has an intelligent, relatively calm, easy-going, loving disposition, so learning to communicate should be an easier task. 

Also, lucky that you are an Inner Circle member because you obtain free resources and materials that make your life easier. 

Like the amazing free dog training video series from McCann Dog Training out of Ontario, Canada.

We like quite a few dog trainers on YouTube (and disagree with quite a few others), but McCann Dog Training is easy to follow, fun to watch, and shares the reasons “why” behind the training concepts they share. 

We recommend binge watching their videos for excellent balanced dog training advice on how to work with your puppy/dog to learn human fluently.

We want to help you build a bonded relationship with your American Dirus as much as we can. If you have questions about your new puppy/dog from us, shoot us a note or reply to this email. We’ll at least be able to direct you where to go if we can’t help you solve it. 

If you want to get started on the journey toward American Dirus ownership, the first step is to complete the puppy adoption questionnaire so that we can get to know you better.

Click the link below to begin:

And if you have been approved and are ready for the time and money it takes to train a new puppy or adult dog, there are several American Dirus dogs available for purchase right now off the waiting list. 

Here is the link to see the variety that awaits you:

Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.