Mar 15

Preparing the wolves for opening day

Two more days until opening day! We can’t wait to see all of you and we’re spending the upcoming days preparing for your arrival.

At Wolf Haven, that means we’re sprucing up the area, but we’re getting the animals ready, too. We continue training the wolves when the park is closed, but it is definitely different when you add in excited guests.

Wolves are neophobic, which means they are naturally aware of anything new or different in their environment. So, when all of you arrive, you bring new clothes, smells and voices. For wolves like Lakota, who is 12, greeting new guests each year is easy. But, for wolves like Beo and Kaya who are not quite a year old, it may take them a little longer to stop being curious.

I think Beo will prove to be the most challenging. Currently when we are doing a training session on stage with him, he is more interested in chasing bugs, finding sticks, digging holes and pouncing out of the bushes. Now add in all the new people. He is so curious, I think he will spend a lot of time those first couple of weeks checking everyone out.

The goal for us as trainers will be to try and find something more reinforcing for him on stage, than staring at the audience. It will be hard as our guests are usually an entertaining group. We have begun to figure out his favorite treats, which will definitely help our cause. It took a while, as he doesn’t seem to love the same things the other wolves do. He would rather roll in crab and egg than eat them. Cheese and hotdogs seem to be his favorites.

So, on opening day, bring on the new faces and sounds. Beo and I can’t wait.