Wolf Park, located in Battle Ground Indiana, home to grey wolves, coyotes, foxes, and bison.
We are conducting research investigating the effects of early socialization and daily interactions on the social and problem solving behavior of wild canids.
Our research has shown that human-socialized wolves and coyotes respond appropriately to human gestures & attentional state,and form strong bonds with caretakers
We are also studying the social and cognitive development of wolves to better understand similarities and differences between wild canids and our domestic dog companions.
One important difference: Domestication has resulted in developmental delays in dogs, allowing them to retain juvenile physical features and social behavior later into life than wolves (some juvenile traits even remain into adulthood). This combined with the level of dependance pet dogs often experience in human households (where owners provision food, water, opportunities for play and even urination/deification), may help explain why pet dogs are so good at reading human behavior and why it is important for them to pay such close attention!
However ongoing research suggests that just as wolves can develop sensitivity to human actions, dogs can develop independent problem solving skills as well if given sufficient life experience.
2010 & 2012 Wolf Park Pups
Over the summer of 2010 we began a series of developmental studies on a new litter of wolf pups at Wolf Park. One goal is to understand how age, experience, and human-socialization influences captive wolf behavior. We are still in the process of collecting and analyzing this data; in the meantime, footage and information about the pups can be found on Wolf Park’s website and below. Dharma one of the black pups pictured here gave birth to a litter of pups in 2012 who have also now participated in this study.