Don't take my word for it...

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, Dec. 28, 2023
Zola’s (fka Gladys) .jpg
Zola’s (Gladys)

Yesterday, we explored how different the American Dirus dog puppies do on a 3-week-old temperament test compared to other breeds.

This translates to a much different inherited temperament that lies just under the surface of any training or experiences a puppy may receive at it grows.

As Temple Grandin, world-renowned animal behaviorist, showed in her biology research, animals revert back to their inherited temperament when they are stressed.

This is why all legitimate temperament tests must place the animal is a situation that may cause slight distress… enough to show a reaction.

The younger an animal is, the less likely any training or life experiences will be able to counter that animal’s innate tendencies.


There is no need to take my word for it.

Many American Dirus dog owners have been delighted to experience this unique difference for themselves.

Here is Zola’s (fka: Gladys) new owner discussing the transition process for her thinking, problem-solving sensitive companion dog.

Day 1

She’s warming up! Kids went down for a nap and she ventured (with lots of encouragement) to the living room and is now resting in her crate. We can hear her tummy growling so I offered food but so far she’s only drank some water. Should I just leave her in the crate with the door open until she’s ready to come out on her own?

My response:

Yep. Perfect! The crate is her spot. She’ll be watching and inputting all the data about your family and pretty soon she’ll venture out on her own. When she does, though, she’ll likely need to go potty, so help her find the back door and go down the stairs. Then sniff, potty, and back in the house for more learning. What a good girl to already know that’s her crate! She’s on her way!

Perfect! She’s already looking more comfortable in there and less stressed! I had to pull her over from the kitchen but once I did she relaxed bc she could see everything going on.

Emotional support iguana! And the shirt I was wearing got ripped by one of our cats so I gave it to her and she’s been holding it in her mouth too


Whew! What a night. She finally ventured out of her crate in the middle of the night and we took her out a few times but no potty. She walked around downstairs and smelled everything for a couple hours, ate, drank, and got lots of love. Still no potty though, is that unusual? It’s been nearly 24 hrs

My response:

It’s not unusual. She is still uneasy. Just keep taking her out on the regular like you’ve been doing. Lots of love is good. And allowing her to hang for now is okay.

It’s great that she ventured out on her own. She probably does have to go, so a long time outside is good. You can use a long line, too, which might help her feel more comfortable to go. You can clip leashes together to make them longer so she has more space on the line, if you like.

Ok thanks!!

She seems really comfortable with me. Doesn’t pay me much attention unless it’s a glance to check in. She just go spooked by our neighbors dogs but she chilled out and let me comfort her quickly.

My response:

I am so glad she feels comfortable with you. Everything is so new. It just takes time. She’s going to have a great life!

Zola is much cozier in her bigger crate! She snoozed a lot yesterday and the open sides really allowed her to observe more and be a part of the action. Today the house will be quiet since the boys are in daycare and (husband) is at the firehouse. I’m all settled on the floor to work, waiting for her to come out to join me! Last night when I sat down to give her some love she perked right up, wagged her tail at me, and SMILED! I would have felt silly describing it as a smile except that (husband) saw it too! What a good girl. She did finally potty yesterday afternoon, but hasn’t gone agan since. Progress!

Day 3

Wow. She has absolutely come alive today! I am endlessly grateful for all your guidance (past present and future) because without it I’m not sure how we would have dealt with this transition! (Husband) and I realized we’ve never transitioned an older dog, and of course with this breed it’s even more sensitive. She is following me around the house today, playing a little bit, and wagging her tail!

My response:

Yay!! I am so happy she is finally showing you her happy self! It won’t be long and she’ll be the perfect little girl. Thank you for being patient with her. That foundation will last a lifetime. I am so excited!

It’s so much more rewarding when they accept you after you’ve demonstrated trustworthy behavior than a goofy dog bounding up to a stranger for pets. Truly amazing. I thought I had drank the kool aid before but now I’m gonna start serving it

Well, there you go. It took Zola a good three days to really begin to trust her new family and come out of her shell. An emotionally sensitive family companion dog with a keen intelligence first requires a RELATIONSHIP BUILT ON TRUST.

Once you establish that, you have a lifelong, bonded furry friend that will imprint on your heart.

It is an honor for me to be a part of that process with you!

So, if you haven’t yet begun the process of getting one of these very special dogs, the first step is to complete the puppy adoption questionnaire.

Here’s the link to get you started:


P.S. Jay and I are working hard to bring you the new LaBrea Evans email adventure story by January 1st.

It’s the first time we’ve put a create-your-own-adventure series together using email, so there are lots of technical things to work out.

But, you will be the first to experience this brand new email binge-style adventure format unlike anything you have seen before.

Of course, we hope you will LOVE it, but we also would appreciate any feedback from our loyal fans should your fingertips feel the urge.

We’ll let you know more as we draw closer!

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.