Can You Tame a Wolf and Make it Your Pet?

If the wolf is with you from its birth and you decide to keep it and domesticate it, then it is possible to make it your pet. However, it is not possible to tame a wolf that has been living in the wild for several years already.

can you tame a wolf

That is because wolves have a set period of socialization of around 4 months. During this period, they will learn social patterns and will also imprint on the animal or person they are around.

By the end of the period at around 4-6 months, the wolf will have developed social features and behaviors that will be very hard to reverse after that.

Furthermore, in most of the world, it’s illegal to own a wolf as a pet so most of this information is hypothetical only.

Why Can´t you Tame a Wild Wolf?

Taming a wild wolf is very hard if not impossible. Here’s why.

1. They Don’t Trust Humans

The first reason for that is because these wolves have grown in the wild, they will most likely avoid any contact with humans whenever possible.

They don’t trust strangers and are actually afraid of humans, especially if they have a big territory and if you live in an area where there is not a lot of human population. Wolves will stay clear of buildings, humans, and roads whenever possible, which is why taming a wolf will be hard in the first place.

Read Also: Are Wolves Afraid of Fire?

2. It’s Hard to Reverse Wild Animals’ Socialization Behaviors

Another reason is that once the wolf has gone through its socialization period, it will be impossible to reverse what it has learned through that period of socialization later on.

Even if you try to endear the wolf and make it accustomed to your vicinity, it will never form a closer bond with you. While there have been reports of people keeping close contact with wolves, not many of these people were able to keep the wolf as their pet because the wolf would always wander away on its own and return back to its pack.

Another reason why taming a wolf that has already gone through with the socialization period is that wolves tend to fully develop their senses after this period.

The first sense a young wolf will develop is hearing, however, it might take several months before the eyesight of a wolf pup is fully developed and functional. Sometimes, this period exceeds the socialization period.

After the socialization period is closed, the wolf will start comprehending unknown sounds and sights as threats and will avoid them actively.

This means that when a wolf meets a human in the wild, it will be scared of it and because it doesn’t hear the sounds of a human voice often, it will run away.

So despite the fact that many people perceive wolves as aggressive animals, they’re actually scared of humans and will avoid us whenever possible. This means that forming a bond between a human and a wolf is hard and only possible in special circumstances.

Related: Why do Wolves have Red Eyes?

3. It could Harm the Wolf

Not only that taming a wild wolf is not easy, but it is also not the best idea in the world. It’s not beneficial for the wolf for several reasons.

  • Firstly, the wolf would actively avoid humans and be scared, so taming the wolf would not be possible unless you would offer it food constantly – even then, it’s likely that the wolf would turn aggressive, which could result in injuries.
  • Another reason why taming a wolf is not a good idea is that these wolves then get isolated from their packs. And without the wolf pack, the wolf would not be able to get as much food as it would with the pack.
  • It would also be more vulnerable to other animals and it would be much weaker than it would be with the pack.

For these reasons, wolf taming has only been tried rarely and by people that live in remote areas of the world.

However, Taming an Adult Wolf has Happened

While fully taming and domesticating an adult wolf is not possible, there have been some reports of people taming wild wolves to a certain extent.

For example, one man living in a remote area of Alaska was able to have a wild wolf come to him and receive food from the man, and the wolf would come back regularly. The two even established a closer bond, although the wolf was never fully domesticated.

In any case, fully domesticating a wild wolf is not possible.

How About Domesticating Wolves?

Domestication is when the wolf is raised with humans from birth.

Domesticating a wolf is possible, but only if it is done from a very early age.

Keep in mind, it’s illegal in most of the world.

But isn’t a domesticated wolf the same as a dog, then?

Well, technically they are close but they’re not exactly the same, even if you domesticate the wolf and raise it as your own.

The wolf would still be much different than the dog in terms of behavior. Any wolf owner will tell you that the wolf will not like strangers, and it will be very afraid to approach strangers. Dogs, on the other hand, are very receptive to strangers and don’t need a lot of time to get close to them.

Domesticated wolves are also not as closely attached to their human owners. While dogs will lick humans and will also obey commands, wolves are unlikely to exhibit those behaviors. For that reason, domesticated wolves are not the same species as dogs and cannot be the same, even though they’re both domesticated.

Final Thoughts

Wouldn’t it be nice if it was possible to tame a wolf and own it as your pet?

Unfortunately, that is not possible. Adult wolves are very independent and love freedom, which is why they would not accept being confined and closed. They’re also scared of humans, despite the common misconception where people believe that wolves are aggressive and will attack you if they see you.

Some people are also happy owners of domesticated wolves. But these have been conditioned to homes from a very early age, and if that is not done at an early age, then full domestication will not be possible.