IW Foundation Health Library:
We tend to think of our IWs as gentle giants and for the most part they are. An Irish Wolfhound should not be aggressive. They are simply too big. Any aggressiveness should be promptly evaluated to rule out a medical cause before consulting a behaviorist.
IW puppies should be confident in all situations and easy to train in basic behaviors like housetraining. Walking on a lead without pulling should be practiced while the pup is young and (relatively) small. Some owners use training aids such as head collars or harnesses when the pup gets older. Make sure if you use a training aid that you know how to use it, both for success in training and so you don't hurt your dog.
Positive reinforcement training is the most effective way to train a Wolfhound. They do not respond well to harsh corrections, often simply "shutting down." Despite their size they are very sensitive dogs.
Some IW owners train their IWs for official obedience, rally and agility events. It's said that you need a good sense of humor to do advanced training with an Irish Wolfhound! Irish Wolfhounds are not thought of as traditional obedience dogs. They don't sit instantly on command (but think how long it takes for the signal to go from their ears all the way to their back ends). They get bored with repetition and start making up variants on the training commands, usually when you've taken them into an obedience ring. But with patience and lots of positive reinforcement anything is possible, even with a Wolfhound.
- Dominance and Dog Training
- Possible Medical Causes of Aggression
- Why Everything You Know About Wolf Packs is Wrong
Links provided here provide Irish Wolfhound-specific, sighthound, and/or general canine information relevant to Irish Wolfhounds.
Disclaimer: The Irish Wolfhound Foundation provides the information on this website for the education of its readers. No information on this website should be used for veterinary medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically, or otherwise. Consult a veterinarian before attempting to medically treat your dog or changing your dog's medical treatment.
Note: Links to content outside iwfoundation.org may become inactive over time.