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Posted by Jennifer McCarthy on January 20, 2012 in Blog, Speak! Archive

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Wolf Psychology Allows Jennifer McCarthy to Better Understand the Motivations of Dogs

LOS ANGELES (January 20th, 2012) — After initiating a six-year study into wolf behavior, fourth generation dog trainer Jennifer McCarthy has unveiled a new training philosophy, designed to teach people how to relate to their dogs as wolves. By treating domestic dogs more like the animals they originated from, McCarthy has found that she has been able to solve and prevent severe behavioral issues from occurring.
McCarthy’s wolf research has taken her to both Mission: Wolf, a remote wolf sanctuary in Westcliffe, Colorado, as well as Yellowstone National Park where she has gained an in-depth understanding of wolf behavior. McCarthy, known as “The Wolf Woman” co-starred with Cesar Milan in a 1 hr. special on National Geographic’s Emmy nominated series, The Dog Whisperer regarding her work with wolf-dogs.
McCarthy notes that while wolves are extremely dangerous animals, they also have a number of parallels with common domestic dogs and can provide important lessons on how to interact with animals facing severe behavioral issues or those that have previously been branded as uncontrollable by their owners.
McCarthy has already begun to instill her research learnings into a partnership with local pet store chain- Healthy Spot ( in their Santa Monica & West Hollywood stores. Two courses- Survival Of the Pack (for puppies under 6 months) & Spirit of the Wolf (for dogs over 6 months) are being offered and slated to start on February 11th & 12th, 2012. The six week courses base her knowledge and research with wolves into teaching human dog owners how to better understand their pets.
“As I study wolves in the wild and get more and more into my research, I have been able to apply their communication style to domestic dogs, thus giving me unbelievable success and knowledge into who these creatures truly are,” said Jennifer McCarthy. “This research not only helps us solve severe behavioral issues in dogs, but has the potential to lead to new training techniques for other general behavior issues as well.”
A sample of Jennifer’s training tips for dog owners which are based on her wolf research include:
Hunt, Kill, Chase: Always exercise your dog prior to feeding them. Do not allow “free feeding” and feed your dogs within rank of pecking order if you have multiple dogs. Always eat first (or pretend you are eating something) and never leave the smell of food on the ground even if you have cleaned out the bowl. The bowl is a resource to your dog just as much as food is.
Stress: Eliminate it. The dominant pair in a wolf pack take on more stress then any other members of the pack, but maintain a calm disposition. Owners should replicate this behavior by showing fearlessness, control, attitude, leadership and direction. By doing this, your dogs will lead more relaxed and content lives. If dogs feel stressed, they can become defensive, aggressive, nervous, anxious or even run.
Teach your dog to accept potential new members: Be in control of your social position. You should be the only one acting aggressive to potential new pack members – not your dog. If you ignore other dogs at the dog park or while on a walk, you show leadership to your canines. If you maintain a leadership position in these instances and decide when they should meet another dog and when not to, your dog will feel more secure.
Don’t talk to your dog like a human. If you want to make a point, growl. If you feel silly, watch a video on wolves and mimic the way they talk to one another. Dogs and wolves second form of communication is through their body. If you communicate through your body language and learn theirs, this will give you a direct link into actually speaking their language.
Control: A true leader controls everything, including space. If your dog bothers you in the kitchen, claim the space as your own and teach them to stay out. If your dog runs away when you take them in the front yard, correct this by teaching them the importance of staying with the pack.
On the Leash: It is important for the owner to lead the pack while on walks, as they are in the dominant position simply by providing food, shelter, water and decision making skills. However, dominant wolves only lead 78% of the time, so it’s ok to give your dog a break every now and then.
Territorial marking: The more your dog marks (or uses the bathroom) around your neighborhood, the higher his confidence goes, so you may or may not want to encourage it depending on your dog’s temperament.
McCarthy has found that by teaching her clients wolf behavior, it has truly bridged the gap into solving behavior problems with remarkable results. “These domestic animals sitting in our living rooms want nothing more than to be part of a family, work and hunt for food, play and have leadership just like their ancestors did,” added McCarthy. “When this takes place, I have seen dogs in their happiest moments and that’s why I do the work I do, to see the light in their eyes and freedom in their soul.”
About Jennifer McCarthy
Jennifer McCarthy, “Wolf Woman” ( is a fourth generation dog trainer who has trained the canine companions of exclusive television, film, and music celebrities and influential business executives for more than sixteen years. McCarthy is skilled in a wide variety of fields including: obedience, behavior, protection, training for television and print, trick training, Schutzhund and American Kennel Club (AKC) handling. She has appeared on the National Geographic Channel, Bravo, E! Entertainment Television, ABC, CBS, NBC & Fox. McCarthy is currently writing a book about her time in the Rockies living with two wolves and three dogs. She is constantly doing an on-going study of wolf behavior, which she applies back to domestic dogs. Her work with wildlife and nature is the foundation in which inspires her to use knowledge from different animals to think “out of the box” and invent new techniques.
PLEASE NOTE: Interview opportunities and demonstrations available upon request

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