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Sep 23, 2009
North Carolina
Yes, this was our big vacation for the year. After signing up for the coaster tour, we decided to add the wolf training to our schedule as well. And like everything else at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, it was AWESOME!

The trainers are great and very friendly. We were taken from the Lorikeet glen down to Wolf Valley. Lakota and Kashmir were out wandering around. Kash was acting odd, which the lady who is usually at Wolf Valley when the park is open was going to tell the trainers about. But she did come over and we tried to get her to howl. She was at least slightly cooperative. She gave a little ahroo, but she wasn't really in the mood to howl.

We then went up to the area where they do the shows and we were going to get to try and have the wolves do part of their training and give them a treat. The treat looks like... well, it's pretty much Spam. It's meat and bones all ground up together and shaped into squares. They first brought out Seiko to show us the hand signals they use and the vocals they call out. They are friends with the wolves, but do not try to make themselves a pack mate. They were working on him jumping over logs, but he would have nothing to do with it.

In fact, Seiko didn't have much to do with anything. While we were being given our instructions, they tried calling him back, but he wouldn't go. They eventually sent his brother, Orion, out and he still wouldn't go. They're 3 and still rather stubborn. Finally, the only male trainer, Conor, called them and they went back. It proved how stubborn they are. We did learn lots of interesting wolf facts in that time. Like that they can "scent mark" every four minutes. And when they scratch at the ground after doing so, it is to spread the scent and mark their territory bigger.

There were nine of us on this tour, so the first six got to work with Tala. She is the alpha female in the pack with the two new pups. They said she works really hard because she LOVES her treats. She did do most of the behaviors, with a little help. The behaviors we were doing were ones they were working on with these wolves, so basically, we were helping them out!

The last three of us got to work with Durango. He's the male alpha of the same pack. And boy, he really wasn't paying attention. I was last and went out onto the little deck above the area. They wanted me to get him to get up on the stump that's in the middle of the stage. I called him to get his attention and he just stared at me. It wasn't intimidating, much. :D He's just so handsome. I did the hand signal and said "Stump!", but he just stared at me and we started chuckling. He eventually did it, with help from the trainer on stage. He came back for his treat and I tossed it out, which he caught. The trainer with me was impressed and gave me another treat to give him. That throw wasn't as good, but he got the food anyway.

Despite the wolves not wanting to cooperate (the Pet Shenanigans show was going on at the same time and was a distraction along with Durango having to scent mark over everything Seiko and Orion had done), it was lots of fun. I'd love to do it again!
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