As a general rule, the higher the percentage of wolf in the wolf dog hybrid, the harder they are to keep as pets. If you want to house train a wolf dog, don't expect it to be as easy to train as a dog. Their wild instincts can be hard to overcome. Wolf dogs can be crated, which will make them easier to house train--but they still need a lot of attention and adequate outdoor space.
Wolf Dogs as Pets
According to Jill Moore of Indiana's Wolf Park, wolves and high-content (more than 50 percent) wolf hybrids do not make good house pets. They can be dangerous to people--particularly young children--destructive in the house, and require more space than the average backyard. Wolves need a large, extremely secure outdoor enclosure and because they are social pack animals, should be kept with at least one other wolf for company. It may be illegal to own a wolf dog, depending on where you live. Wolf dogs require a significantly higher commitment of time, space and money for life than most dogs.
Wolf dog puppies should be hand raised from 2 or 3 weeks of age, and should have extensive contact with humans for their first four months to ensure they are well-socialized to people, according to Wolf Park.
Like puppies, wolf dogs can be crate trained. This is an important tool in keeping a wolf dog's house training under control. Introduce your wolf dog to its crate as early as possible. Put a comfortable blanket or clothing with your scent on it in the crate, and make crating a positive experience by feeding its meals and treats in there. Never try forcing a wolf dog into a crate. With consistency, the crate will become its "den" and your wolf dog will choose to go there to eat or sleep.
Just like training puppies, it's easier to house train a wolf dog when it has a regular eating schedule. If you feed your wolf dog inside, it will probably need to go get rid of waste within 30 minutes--sooner if it is a pup. Don't just put the wolf dog outside; go out with it. When it potties outside, give lots of praise. Until the wolf dog is reliably house trained, don't give it free access to the house. Keep it crated or confined to an exercise pen, or attached to you with a leash so it doesn't have a chance to potty inside.
Some wolf dogs can never be reliably house trained, especially if they are intact (not neutered). They can have a very strong instinct to mark their territory with urine and feces. Therefore it's important to use enzymatic odor neutralizers to eliminate urine smell every time a wolf dog pees inside. If you don't do this, it'll be tempted to return to that spot time after time.
Stevie Donald has been an online writer since 2004, producing articles for numerous websites and magazines. Her writing chops include three books on dog care and training, one of which won a prestigious national award in 2003. Donald has also been a painting contractor since 1979, painting interiors and exteriors.