27. Body English, Facial Expression, Interpretation

To anyone who has ever handled a wolf, some body English is readily

understood. After turning a pair out in the compound and after they
have made the rounds, hiking and urinating, checking our scents,
defecating, etc., usually they will approach my seat and express
friendliness by retracting their lips horizontally, with licking intent,
tongue extended and then retracted rapidly. Tail dropped to vertical
position, hair on back flat, tail wagging vigorously. Mischievous glint
in the eye, ears nearly flattened against the head. These are symptoms
of friendly feeling and desire for bodily contact with their leader or
his or her two-legged pack.


I reciprocate in kind, whistling and whining to them as they do to me.
Their taking ahold of my hand or arm with gentle, inhibited grasp is
expression of love. Their licking at my cheek and mouth is carried over
from their infant days, and is ritualistic to begging for regurgitated
meat. Unfortunately I, being domesticated, cannot puke on command as
they do. These actions show the definite desire to communicate and
should be acknowledged.


The threat postures are turning to face you from a distance of escape,

lowering of head in a rattlesnake, looking up posture, hackles as high
as the intent is, seeking for eye contact and scratching with first one
front foot then the other. This threat posture can be serious or it can
be a playing posture.


I don’t quibble. Usually a refusal to meet the eye for contact, an
ignoring of the wolf, though not turning the back on it, will as one
goes about one’s business, completely disarm the intent, and this seldom
if ever happens with hand raised, infant bonded wolves.


Sometimes just for fun I will meet eye contact with the usually, mature
wild wolf. Crouch over in a half stooped position and snort in
imitation and scratch backwards as he did. Usually this will cause the
wolf to rethink his invitation for combat and in order to save face,
[the wolf will] suddenly become interested in something else even if it
has to be invented.


[Ed.: I have never observed any challenge of my rank by my wolves in
this manner, except in an innocent, playful way. Wolves often begin

‘searching the ground for bugs’ as a ploy to ignore a greeting, to
retreat from a real or a mock challenge, or just to flirt.]


Sometimes quite rarely he might try to carry out his invitation to a
duel by exaggerating the primary posture and actions. This then that
and let out a helluva roar and charge the arrogant bastard as fast as I
can run on the inside circle of the compound. Let me tell you mate, it
just takes one dose of that medicine to totally demoralize the poor
bewildered devil, and though no more afraid of you than before, his

respect goes up about 100% as far as challenging that 6 ft 190 LB
humanoid wolf.


Sometimes when a wolf, usually a female, is both a bit afraid of you and
a bit defiant, she will hackle up full length of back and raise all the
hair she can, arch her back like a big cat, and snort like a bronc
horse. I just laugh this off unless there is an actual approach; then I
repeat as I do for a defiant male. By running the inside of the
compound with the wolf on the outside running around the fence, I can

sometimes get a grab at her tail and flip her. This makes her ki-yi
like a puppy, crap all over herself, and she damned well won’t try it
again.


An angry wolf’s lips are lifted vertically; a peaceful wolf’s lips lift
horizontally. The Wolf’s barking at one is only bluff; gaping of the
mouth and circling in front of you is a definite attack intent. Gaping
at one on friendly approach with tongue lolled out means love and
friendly intent.


Hey, don’t get me wrong. These threat poses and postures have only come
to me rarely and then only from wolves that someone else brought to
adulthood before I obtained them, and from a few wild caught wolves that
I have taken off the hands of people who found out too late that A WOLF
IS A WOLF.


The Wolf is very vocal; its whistlings and whinings and meows can
readily be interpreted after awhile. Their happiness howl is simple to
understand. Their grieving cry is easily interpreted. One just knows

the interpretations because they convey the same moods that we humans
display orally.


The love whistle is a shrill sweet murmur that rises to a crescendo then
diminishes to a whisper and is made by contracting the vocal cords,
perhaps involuntarily, till the intake and output and depth of emotions
causes the variables in running the Do-Re-Mi’s. It excites the male
wolf sexually and I must admit that it is very pleasing to the human
ear.


Wolves in friendly gesture sometimes present the genital region of their
body for the touch. This is an infantile ritualistic seeking of the
assurance received when they were cubs, and Mom cleaned up the waste
urine and feces by licking. A touch of the flank or belly of the wolf
will satisfy the inherent longing to return to infancy. I indulge them
this way and along with feeding from a ladle these factors help keep the
pack dependency alive and well.


[Ed.: Sometime after the ‘shy period’ (6-8 weeks) of the young Wolf, it

begins to eat much more ravenously and roughly. This corresponds to the
age when competition begins between siblings for regurgitated food. By
forcing the young animal to eat out of your hand (be careful) for the
next few weeks, you will have an adult that will USUALLY be careful when
taking food from your hand UNLESS you cause them to revert by not
feeding them enough.]



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