Let's talk about the new relationship you initiate when you receive your American Dirus puppy and the beginnings of proper puppy socialization for the breed. Sometimes when one first receives his/her new puppy, that person wants his/her new puppy to be this perfect thing. But sometimes the puppy and its behavior do not turn out the way the person expected. When this situation occurs, the reason is often due to a puppy that is more sensitive than expected. You see, American Dirus dogs are not your typical dog and that fact can be unfamiliar to a new family. There is something different about the American Dirus dog. There is something unique which has been developed over the last thirty years and when one buys an American Dirus dog it is important for the new family to understand this concept.
Some people first come to the American Dirus dog breed because they have heard that we breed DireWolf Dogs. At first, they may be unaware of the unique temperament that we strive to achieve in all of our dogs. Some may see the price tag on our dogs and exclaim, “I can buy a German Shepherd Dog puppy for $800 so, why do I need an American Dirus puppy for $3800?” The answer is that, yes, you could and you may be very happy with your choice. If you want a large dog, there are many large dog breeds from which to choose with a lower price tag than the American Dirus dog. Of course you do not have to own an American Dirus dog in order to have a large wolfie-looking dog. In fact, if you are looking for a large breed of dog that has the shadowy appearance of the wolf, there are many out there and we would be happy to redirect you. A great website to check out is: www.yourpurebredpuppy.com
So what makes the American Dirus dog worth its price? Putting aside our unified attention to superior health and longevity, the American Dirus dog is the first, and thus far the only, large breed of dog bred solely and specifically for an inherited large breed companion dog temperament. We define this companion dog temperament extensively on our webpage: www.direwolfproject.com/temperament
Let’s think for a moment about when you have raised another large breed puppy from another breed that doesn’t have the same type of temperament that we have in the American Dirus dog breed. When one thinks about a German Shepherd Dog, a Siberian Husky, an Alaskan Malamute, a Samoyed, a Golden Retriever, a Labrador Retriever or any other puppy, people tend to think about a puppy that is playful, happy, willing to learn, and wants to have a lot of different experiences right now. These puppies wag their tails vigorously when they are eating, when they are with you, when they are outside, and when they are with other dogs. They enjoy playing fetch, chasing a ball, or retrieving a stick. The typical large breed puppy does not take in all of its environment all at once. Instead, that puppy generally thinks about itself and its own needs; about pleasure and how it can get more pleasure. When it is hungry, it thinks about the fact that it wants food. When it wants to play, it thinks about the ball or other toy. It typically does not notice the trees, the leaves in the trees, the birds, or the sound across the street that suddenly occurs. It typically does not notice or care about what you are doing or feeling. It tunes out all of that “noise” in order to focus on its own immediate and direct environment.
In contrast, an American Dirus puppy is not going to have that same type of outgoing puppy energy and playfulness. It is not just going to play with the ball, instead, it is going to notice all of the things that I just described, including you and what you are doing and/or feeling. This is because breeders within the Dire Wolf Project have specifically bred out, on purpose, many, if not all, of the working dog temperament traits that most large breed puppies possess.
You may notice when you first begin to interact with your puppy that American Dirus puppies are very watchful. They watch things in their environment because that is how they learn. They pick up new ideas by watching. What they seek most of all when they watch is to learn about their people and what makes them who they are as well as the rules in their environment. They can learn that different people have different emotions and different environments have different rules. Your puppy, if it is a typical American Dirus puppy and not one of the first or second generational crossbreeds, may very well watch and listen to you for hours as you walk back and forth across the living room, sit, read, be on the computer, etc. When you take your puppy outside it may not want to explore too much at first. Instead, it may look to you to help guide it or it may sit there for a moment, depending on the sensitivity of your puppy, and be a lot slower and methodical in its exploring. If you have a porch, it might sit on the porch and look around for longer than you think. Your puppy might listen to the sounds all around it. You might see your puppy look up into the trees, sniff around the corner of the porch, cock its head from side to side listening to sounds. It may also calmly walk around as if searching. But it is going to do these things with a lot less energy and more deliberation. It is not just a large breed of dog, there is something else going on in its mind.
The other thing you might notice is that your American Dirus puppy does not have to do things quickly. In fact, it is preferred by your American Dirus puppy and by the people who breed American Dirus dogs that you go slowly and methodically with your puppy. So, if you get your new puppy home, put it in its crate, have its ex-pen set up, and work on good training techniques, but then you take your puppy to your neighbor’s house, ask all of your friends to come over and see it, bring it over to your parent’s house, sign up for puppy classes right away, take it to PetSmart to see which toys it wants and which toys it doesn’t want, take it to the park, and immediately want your puppy to be able to experience and do all of these different things that you believe a puppy is going to love to do, you will overwhelm your American Dirus puppy with too much before it has a chance to settle down into a routine. At that point, you will have fallen into the trap of mistakenly believing that if you introduce all of these things to your puppy early, your puppy will learn them quickly and learn to love them. If your puppy were a typical working dog with an outgoing personality, this type of interaction would be perfect. But, you have purchased an American Dirus puppy and there is something different and unique about an inherited large breed companion dog temperament.
What you really need to know is that your American Dirus puppy does not require all of that all at once. In fact, it can be a great hindrance to an American Dirus puppy if you decide to bombard your puppy with all of that stimulus right away. When Dire Wolf Project breeders talk about American Dirus puppies as being mellow, calm, gentle, sweet, loving, and devoted, we really mean that. All of that. Even as little puppies, they fall right into those descriptions above. We try to be as clear and concise in our language as possible. So, when you introduce a lot of stimulus at a rapid pace to your mellow, calm, sweet, loving American Dirus puppy, you confuse and overwhelm its mind because it is too much all at once.
Think of your new American Dirus puppy as a young child with mild autism, such as Asperger’s Syndrome, just learning about the world that surrounds him/her outside of his/her home for the first time. That sensitive child cannot successfully handle the many environments all at one time in which he/she may be placed. When working with young children with mild autism, it is important to limit their stimulus and make sure that they are prepared before introducing new environments, people, and situations. They are happiest in familiar places with familiar routines, sights, and sounds. One would not typically bring a sensitive child such as this to as many different places as possible at a rapid pace in order to familiarize the child to all of the things that could come into its environment throughout its life. The child with mild autism would begin to be overwhelmed and significant fear behaviors would begin to emerge. Any parent of a child with autism can attest to the fact that forcing their child into new environments and situations when he/she is not ready only causes more issues for the child in the long run. It is the same thing with an American Dirus puppy.
Just as it can be difficult for a child with autism to communicate to other people, dogs in general have a limited ability to communicate with us. But just like that child with autism, the American Dirus dog wants desperately to communicate with its humans on a more intimate level. It yearns to have bonded one-on-one connections with its humans, but is introverted and lacking in social confidences. The big difference between a child with mild autism and an American Dirus dog is that American Dirus dogs love affection and attention from their families. In fact, we only tend to compare the American Dirus dog to people with mild autism because the temperament in the typical American Dirus dog is so new and unique that an illustration seems necessary for people to understand. If the American Dirus puppy is treated as any other ordinary large breed of dog, both the American Dirus dog and the human may be sorely disappointed in the outcome.