Adoption Requirements 

Wolves and Wolfdogs bond very strongly with their families. When their lives are disrupted, it may take a long time and lots of love and patience to form new bonds and rebuild their trust in humans. Please be aware that your new animal will probably need lots of extra time, strenuous exercise, behavior training, boundaries and limitations, and patience from you and everyone in your household. By adopting from Lake Tahoe Wolf Rescue, you are agreeing that you are willing to provide this.

Some or all of these requirements are needed not only for wolfdogs but also for most northern breed dogs. It depends on the needs of the animal you are interested in.

  • Stable Ownership - Wolfdogs are high maintenance due to their special needs. We prefer persons who have stability in their jobs and in their place of residence. It is preferred that you own your own home, and are over 30 years of age and not about to move within the next 6 months. We have found that persons who rent or are under 30 years of age are more likely to move fairly often, change lifestyle, or change work schedules. Ideally we look for adopters who work at home, retired, or have a spouse who is home to give the animal the special care and attention that it needs. These are not animals that should be left at home all day while you go to work. They need daily exercise, discipline, boundaries and lots of interaction. They can often become destructive if left home alone even for short periods of time.
  • Walks and Hiking - Walks need to be given often and daily. Depending on the age and physical health of the wolfdog, two walks - 45 minutes to an hour each walk/hike - twice daily are recommended if the dog is in good condition. More strenuous hikes are fine for the young, strong wolfdogs but we advise against having them run alongside mountain bikes or runners for long periods of time. This can cause stress-related injuries to their joints. It's better if they can stop and smell the roses and enjoy the intoxicating scents of the wilderness. These animals have a lot of energy and need to get daily exercise and stimulation or they will start having behavior problems. A tired dog is a well behaved dog! Older dogs don't need as much, but are more relaxed and happy if they can get out for a few short walks a day. Remember not to overwork your young pup. Pups under 18 months old are still growing and too much exertion at one time can cause injury to their spine and joints. They can also overheat which can cause organ damage. Senior dogs should not be overworked either as this can result in inflammation which leads to arthritis and joint pain. More frequent and less strenuous walks are more beneficial in these cases. You want to respect the physical nature of your wolfdog yet give them the enrichment they need.
  • Children  - Some dogs are exceptional with children and others are not, but we always avoid placing wolfdogs in homes with small children. Even some more sociable wolfdogs do not do good around children since children have a tenancy to want to hug them and give them too much of the wrong [excited] type of attention. Many northern-breed dogs do not like to have someone's face in their face, and may react with a warning growl, nip or snap. This is not considered aggressive behavior - remember, dogs talk with their teeth! And they are trying to say "back off and give me space!"  Northern breeds like a calm and structured household. Children will always be children. They tend to run around, yell, play loud TV/games, fight, etc. This makes dogs very nervous and when they nip someone they are then sent to the pound. Children are also the cause of most dogs escaping from doors and gates left open. Chocolate and candy left on the floor can be toxic.
  • Small Dogs & Cats - A select few wolfdogs are good around small dogs and cats - MOST are not. Some are fine with the ones they grew up with but may not be with a new one. Most have high prey drives and chase small things that squeal! With dogs that become playful, the smaller pup can get injured. Chickens and prey-type animals (rabbits) are out completely.
  • Diet - Wolfdogs require a highly-nutritious diet of mostly raw meat, some veggies, and some cooked meat. Many High-Content Wolfdogs and pure Wolves will not eat or tolerate kibble (which is mostly filler). My Turkey Recipe and Dog Foods links both contain lots of good information about their special dietary needs. Always add vitamin supplements to a home-cooked diet. See also Feeding Your Canine
  • Behavior  - Some of our adoptable wolfdogs are well-behaved and trained, and others are not. Wolfdogs that have been abandoned, or abused may be very fearful or anxious, or have eating disorders. It does not mean they will always be this way, and many blossom into wonderful companions when placed with patient and experienced owners. But it takes time - sometimes months, sometimes a year or two. We evaluate each animal to insure that the placement is suited to the adoptor's experience level, but if people misrepresent their experience it could mean failure. We need to be certain that wolfdogs with behavior issues, eating disorders, are unsocialized or have other issues will be rehabilitated by placing them with experienced adopters. Commitment for a trial period should be at least 6-8 weeks. 
  • Fencing - We recommend at least 50' x 50' for one dog and 100' x 100' for two if they are going to get out for walks, come into the house, etc. All enclosures must provide sufficient shade, access to water at all times, and protection from the elements. Platforms, dens, kiddie pools, misters and other enrichment tools are helpful for dogs that will be kept in an enclosure most of the time. A large dog house is recommended to protect from the elements as well as a roof or awning. Igloos are not always acceptable depending on the severity of the clime ... plastic is cold in the winter and hot in the summer (like a doggie sauna!). Here are the basics:

1. WOLF ESCAPE-PROOF ENCLOSURE means 9-gauge chain-link fencing 8'-10' H, with overhang/lean-ins to prevent climbing and jumping; Some kind of Dig Guard to prevent tunneling out. For high-escape-risk dogs, high contents and pure Wolves - a double-gated entry is necessary. If other enclosures are adjacent, double fencing is also needed to prevent "fence fighting."

2. ESCAPE-PROOF ENCLOSURE means 7" fencing, or 6' fencing with lean-ins. Options are: 9-gauge chain-link; wood with cross rails on the outside so dog cannot gain purchase by stepping on the cross rail; Block walls with "canine" hot wire. Some kind of Dig Guard for all of these. This is fine for most dogs that are somewhat determined, or are too heavy to climb an 8 fence..

3. SECURE ENCLOSURE means 6' fencing with no outlets for escaping [i.e. holes in fence, loose boards, space between bottom of fence and ground]. This is sufficient for dogs that are not typically escape risks such as too heavy or too old to jump or climb, and for most Domestic breeds used to this type of containment. Dig guards are recommended if the animal is a digger. Cross rails on wood fencing should always be on the outside, all the way around enclosure.

To get more detailed information on fencing

1. hardware cloth is good to lay down as dig guard for those not very determined, and it's not too expensive. It usually comes on a 3' roll. You can just roll it flat around the perimeter up against the fence and stake it at both sides. It should extend out into the yard from the fence the full 3'. Use the tightest metal weave ... they can't get through it, they just get a manicure. Make sure it's staked down at both ends with metal stakes and cover it with 3-4" dirt.
2. Poured concrete, buried concrete blocks or Railroad Ties are also good for Dig Guard.
3. The vertical chain-link fence itself can also be used by adding 24" to the height above ground and burying it in the ground, i.e. you would have 7' above ground and 2' below ground.
4. Laying fencing - like hog wire, Wire Mesh, Welded wire etc. - around the inside perimeter of the enclosure. Stake it at both ends and cover with 3-4" dirt.

Here is a link to a product I think works really well to reinforce the bottom of chain-link fence to protect against digging under, its called dig defence. Its made from 4 gauge steel and is 15” height... you add to the bottom of the fence and it digs straight into the ground,,. its quite expensive but often you can find similar stuff at Home Depot. Good for ideas and food for thought! (we've used this too)

Remember folks! Wolfdogs are not your average canines. The are very smart and inventive!