Thank you for wanting to adopt — or foster — one of our precious rescues! Many of these dogs have been through tough times and will need time and patience to help them acclimate to a new home. We only adopt to the Western U.S. (no farther east than Colorado). Transport help may be possible.
THIS IS NOT AN ADOPTION APPLICATION. These Quick Questions will get us started. Please copy and paste the questions below into an email fill in the answers ON THE SAME LINE. If you are interested in a particular dog, please specify in the email Subject line.
Send your answers to BOTH emails:
1. Which dog are you interested in?
2. Where did you find out about this dog?
3. Your Full Name
5. Phone Number
6. Full Home Address
7. Is it rural or urban?
8. How hot does it get there in summer, and how cold is it in winter?
9. Do you own your home or rent?
10. What is the size of your yard?
11. Please describe your fencing.
— what kind (i.e., wood or chain link)?
— the height at the lowest point?
— are you willing to reinforce if needed?
12. Please list all animals on the property. Include breeds, ages, and genders.
13. Are any not spayed or neutered?
14. Doggie door?
15. What is your occupation?
16. Do you work away from home?
17. How many hours would the dog be left home alone (for whatever reason — work, shopping, movies, vacation, etc)?
18. Where would the dog be left while you are gone?
19. Others in your household? Please give relationships, ages, and genders.
20. Are you usually very active outdoors daily [i.e., hike in the woods, walk around the neighborhood, and/or go to dog parks]?
21. Are you looking to adopt a wolfdog or a northern-breed dog? Please specify.
22. What experience do you have with these breeds, and what negative behaviors have you personally worked with? Please give details.
23. Are you able to help with transport?
— If yes, what kind of vehicle [i.e., sedan, SUV, truck]?
— Where would the dog ride in the vehicle?
24. Please attach the following photos:
— back of house taken from yard
— your fencing and yard
— where your dogs sleep
— your wolf dogs (current or past)
— your other dogs (current or past)
Thank you! We will get back to you promptly. If you don't hear from us within 24 hours, please contact us again to ensure your email did not go to our SPAM.
All Potential Adopters must have a Home Visit to ensure that the fencing and environment suit the animal. Please review our Adoption Requirements and Fencing below.
Please note there is usually an Adoption Fee/Donation unless waived before adoption. There will be a $250 Spay/neuter deposit if needed.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Wolfdogs bond very strongly with their families. When their lives are disrupted, it may take a long time and lots of love and patience to form new bonds and rebuild their trust in humans. Please be aware that your new animal will probably need lots of extra time, daily exercise, and behavioral training — but just as important, patience from you and everyone in your household. By adopting from Lake Tahoe Wolf Rescue, you agree that you will provide this.
Some or all of these requirements are needed not only for wolfdogs but also for most northern breed dogs. It depends on the needs of the animal you are interested in.
Wolfdogs are high maintenance due to their unique needs. We prefer persons who have stability in their jobs and their place of residence. It is preferred that you are over 30 years of age and own your home, and not about to move within the next 6 months. We have found that persons who rent or are under 30 years of age are more likely to move pretty often, change lifestyle, or change work schedules. Ideally, we look for adopters who are at home much of the day — work from home, retired, etc — to give the animal the special care and attention it needs. These are not animals that should be left at home all day — or even more than 3-4 hours — while you go to work. They need daily exercise, discipline, boundaries, and lots of interaction. They can become destructive if left home alone, even for short periods. Wolfogs and many northern breeds do not like to be crated. We recommend creating only for sleeping at nighttime and only if needed.
Walks need to be given often and daily. Depending on the age and physical health of the wolfdog, two walks — 45 minutes to an hour each walk/hike — twice daily are recommended if the dog is in good condition. More strenuous hikes are fine for the young, strong wolfdogs but we advise against having them run alongside mountain bikes or runners for long periods of time. This can cause stress-related injuries to their joints. It's better if they can stop and smell the roses and enjoy the intoxicating scents of the wilderness. These animals have a lot of energy and need to get daily exercise and stimulation or they will start having behavior problems. A tired dog is a well behaved dog! Older dogs don't need as much, but are more relaxed and happy if they can get out for a few short walks a day. Remember not to overwork your young pup. Pups under 18 months old are still growing and too much exertion at one time can cause injury to their spine and joints. They can also overheat which can cause organ damage. Senior dogs should not be overworked either as this can result in inflammation which can exacerbate arthritis and joint pain. More frequent and less strenuous walks are more beneficial in these cases. You want to respect the physical nature of your wolfdog yet give them the enrichment they need.
We do not place our wolfdogs into homes with children and here's why... Some dogs are exceptional with children and others are not. Even some more sociable wolfdogs do not do well around children, since children have a tenancy to want to hug them and give them too much of the wrong [excited] type of attention. Many northern-breed dogs do not like to have someone's face in their face, and may react with a warning growl, nip or snap. This is not considered aggressive behavior — remember, dogs talk with their teeth! And they are trying to say "back off and give me space!" Northern breeds like a calm and structured household. Children will always be children. They tend to run around, yell, play loud TV/games, fight, etc. This makes dogs very nervous, and when they nip someone, they are then sent to the shelter. Children are also the cause of most dogs escaping from doors and gates left open. Chocolate and candy left on the floor can be toxic.
A select few wolfdogs are good around small dogs and cats — MOST are not. Some are fine with the ones they grew up with but may not be with a new one. Most have high prey drives and chase small things that squeal! With dogs that become playful, the smaller pup can get injured. Chickens and prey-type animals like rabbits are out completely.
Wolfdogs require a highly nutritious diet of mostly raw meat, some veggies, and some cooked meat. Many High-Content Wolfdogs and will not eat or tolerate kibble (which is mostly filler and can be toxic). ALWAYS add vitamin supplements to a home-cooked diet. See Feeding Your Canine under Resources.
Some of our adoptable wolfdogs are well-behaved and trained, and others are not. Wolfdogs that have been abandoned or abused may be fearful / anxious or have eating disorders. It does not mean they will always be this way, and many blossom into wonderful companions when placed with patient and experienced owners. But it takes time — sometimes months, sometimes a year or two. We evaluate each animal to insure that the placement is suited to the adoptor's experience level, but if people misrepresent their experience, it could mean failure. We need to be certain that wolfdogs that are unsocialized, have behavior issues or eating disorders will be rehabilitated by placing them with experienced adopters. Commitment for a trial period should be at least 6-8 weeks.
We recommend at least 50' x 50' for one dog and 100' x 100' for two. All enclosures must provide sufficient shade, access to water at all times, and protection from the elements. Platforms, dens, kiddie pools, misters and other enrichment tools are helpful for dogs that will be kept in an enclosure most of the time during the day. A large dog house is recommended to protect from the elements as well as a roof or awning. Igloos are not always acceptable depending on the severity of the climate — plastic is cold in the winter and hot in the summer (like a doggie sauna!). Here are the basics:
This means 9-gauge chain-link fencing 8'-10' high, with overhang/lean-ins to prevent climbing and jumping, and some kind of Dig Guard to prevent tunneling out. For high-escape-risk dogs and high contents, a double-gated entry is necessary. If other enclosures are adjacent, double fencing is also needed to prevent "fence fighting."
This means 7' fencing, or 6' fencing with lean-ins. Options are: 9-gauge chain-link; wood with cross rails on the outside so dog cannot gain purchase by stepping on the cross rail; block walls OK with "canine" hot wire. Some kind of Dig Guard for all of these. This is fine for most dogs that are somewhat determined, or are too heavy to climb an 8' fence..
This means 6' fencing with no outlets for escaping [i.e. holes in fence, loose boards, space between bottom of fence and ground]. Lean-ins are recommended if a dog is a jumper. This is sufficient for dogs that are not typically escape risks such as too heavy or too old to jump or climb, and for most Domestic breeds used to this type of containment. Dig guards are recommended if the animal is a digger. Cross rails on wood fencing should always be on the outside, all the way around enclosure.
1. Hardware cloth is good to lay down as dig guard for those not very determined, and it's not too expensive. It usually comes on a 3' roll. You can just roll it flat around the perimeter up against the fence and stake it at both sides. It should extend out into the yard from the fence the full 3'. Use the tightest metal weave — they can't get through it; they just get a manicure. Make sure it is staked down at both ends with metal stakes and cover it with 3-4" dirt.
2. Poured concrete, buried concrete blocks or railroad ties are also good for Dig Guard.
3. The vertical chain-link fence itself can also be used by adding 24" to the height above ground and burying it in the ground, i.e. you would have 7' above ground and 2' below ground.
4. Lay fencing — like hog wire, wire mesh, welded wire, etc.— around the inside perimeter of the enclosure. Stake it at both ends and cover with 3-4" dirt.
DIG DEFENSE is a product that works really well to reinforce the bottom of chain-link fence to protect against digging under. It Is made from 4 gauge steel and is 15” height. You add to the bottom of the fence and it digs straight into the ground. It is quite expensive, but often you can find similar stuff at Home Depot.
Remember, folks: Wolfdogs are not your average canines. The are very smart and inventive!