Cotton_Candy.jpeg
Cotton Candy, an American Alsatian dog

American Alsatian dogs are bred specifically as large breed companion dogs with mellow, calm, gentle, and loving demeanors. However, sometimes an owner will tell us that their American Alsatian dog is not calm and gentle, but a hyper, out-of-control crazy dog that doesn't know it is supposed to be calm and gentle. When this happens, we want to help in any way we can so that the owner is no longer frustrated and has a happy relationship with their American Alsatian dog, but in order to be of best service, we must first determine whether it is an innate temperament mismatch or a learned behavior. In other words, do we have a case where one of our dogs is never going to be able to be calm and has been placed in the wrong home or is it a case where the owner can fix a number of training errors that unknowingly promoted or rewarded hyper behavior?

Dire Wolf Project breeders work hard to breed mellow, loving companion dogs for busy, modern families. This is the reason Lois Schwarz began her work in 1987. Health and temperament are the most important features of the breed over any of the Dire Wolf appearance goals. Sometimes it is necessary, however, to add unrelated crossbreeds for necessary breed improvement. When an unrelated dog breed is introduced, we must then work to breed out unwanted crossbreed traits in order to shift that line back toward our ideals. This is not an easy process and takes four to five generations to complete successfully.

As a result, it is possible for us to produce puppies that do not fit the calm, mellow temperament standard many have come to appreciate about our dogs. When this occurs, we mark which puppies have a temperament that does not fit with our strict American Alsatian companion dog standards. Our breeders work hard to match these off-standard puppies with families who have the right dynamic. Each puppy is an individual, just as each family is. This is why it is necessary for a family to be honest with us regarding their abilities and desires.

Sometimes, however, the dog's temperament matches perfectly with the family's dynamic, but the family has misunderstood how to train their puppy to bring out its natural tendency. Just as it is possible to train an energetic dog to be more calm and well-mannered, it is also possible to increase a calm dog's energy levels to be more rambunctious. When this occurs, most often the family did not intend to promote a higher energy and activity level in their dog and are unaware that their actions have done so. When we get a call from the frantic owner that their sweet, mellow American Alsatian puppy is out of control, we work together with the family to determine how best to help them.

Generally, the first thing we breeders do is look back on what the owner said when he/she first received the puppy. Usually, it is the case that American Alsatian dog owners heap glowing praise on their puppy's sweet, calm, and loving behavior at the time of arrival. If this is the case when you received your American Alsatian puppy, but now your older puppy is misbehaving and ruining your home life, then chances are that you have unknowingly trained your puppy that it is okay to be foolhardy and wild in your household.

DSC_0950.jpeg
Baruh, an American Alsatian puppy

In order to determine the difference between a dog that has learned to be hyper and one that came that way, let's first find out if your American Alsatian puppy is truly exhibiting hyper behaviors or is more typical than you may realize. Take the survey below to find out how hyper your American Alsatian dog is.

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

  1. Does your American Alsatian dog run outside, non-stop, on its own for more than 5 minutes?
  2. Does your American Alsatian dog sleep less than 12 hours in a 24 hour period?
  3. Will your American Alsatian dog fetch a ball/toy more than 5 times in a row and still come back for more?
  4. When playing on its own, does your American Alsatian dog toss or chase toys for more than 5 minutes?
  5. Does your American Alsatian dog bark/whine constantly for more than 2 minutes without cause?
  6. When outside, does your American Alsatian dog search for and chase rabbits, birds, squirrels, cats, falling leaves, etc?
  7. When outside, does your American Alsatian dog dig holes around the yard for no reason?
  8. Does your American Alsatian dog consistently tear up its bedding into shreds, chew shoes and other toys to bits within seconds?

If you answered yes to any of the above, your American Alsatian dog is not typical for the breed and is more energetic and active than most American Alsatian dogs. Now, let's find out if your American Alsatian dog's behavior is due to either an innate or learned response.


Complete the survey below to help you discern whether your American Alsatian dog is one of the very few to have a hyper, working dog temperament or if you may have mistakenly caused your American Alsatian dog's wild and rambunctious behavior.

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

  1. Is this the first or second dog you have ever trained through puppyhood (not including dogs you had growing up)?
  2. Was your American Alsatian dog off leash and/or uncontained in the house between 5 - 11 months of age?
  3. Have you ever played ball, tug, or fetch in the house with your American Alsatian dog?
  4. Does your American Alsatian dog run through the house?
  5. Does your American Alsatian dog run into or out of the house when transitioning to or from outside?
  6. Does your American Alsatian dog have the ability to go in and out of the house on its own while you are sleeping?
  7. Do you have children who run, scream, play tag, or any other active games in the house?
  8. Do you have other dogs that bark, run, jump, or actively play in the house?
  9. When in a crate or ex-pen, does your American Alsatian dog cry, whine, jump, bark, or otherwise carry on?
  10. When on a leash, does your American Alsatian dog pull, tug, jump, buck, or constantly circle you?

If you answered yes to:

8-10 = There is an extremely high likelihood that you have unknowingly caused your puppy to shift away from its natural mellow tendency. Contact us or seek professional dog training support immediately.

5-7 = There is a high likelihood that you have unknowingly caused your puppy to shift away from its natural mellow tendency. Contact us or seek professional dog training support.

2-4 = There is a likelihood that you have unknowingly caused your puppy to shift away from its natural mellow tendency. Contact us or seek professional dog training support.

1 = A small change may fix any hyper tendencies Contact us to help you work through those changes that might be necessary.

If you answered no to all of the above and your American Alsatian dog is completely unmanageable, please contact us right away so that we can help you with the next steps.

When a puppy is unmanageable and the family has done all they can to work with that puppy to no avail, we will work with the family to make the necessary adjustments for both the dog and the family to be happy. On the off chance that rehoming needs to occur, we work with the family to help them:

  • find the best home for their puppy
  • configure the best adoption fee
  • transition the puppy to a new home
  • find the right new puppy match, if the family desires

If you find yourself in this category and you feel you have done everything correctly yet are unhappy with your American Alsatian puppy, please contact us right away. We never leave an American Alsatian dog family stranded with a dog-related issue. We are always here for you if you need us. We want to know how we can help make things right for you and your dog. All you have to do is reach out and let us know.

Jay and Ginger
Jay and Ginger, an American Alsatian puppy