Four paws hit the ground after leaping off a high boulder, a slight crunch of leaves beneath. A huff was let out as the creature slowly approached the mysterious cardboard box that had been placed in his domain. He slunk low to the ground and weaved through the trees, ears flat and tail down. He was cautious, but curious. The box had been placed there about two days ago, its contents unknown to him. He sniffed the air and detected no threat. Finally, he had reached the box. Carefully, he sniffed its four sides before taking a look at its contents.
What do you give a wild wolf in the wilderness? Well they are dogs, so why not give them a box full of various balls! That is exactly what I did. I had placed a cardboard box in the forest filled with an array of balls. Squeaky balls, bouncy balls, a tennis ball, one with a rope and a Kong with snacks inside. I left a few cameras hidden around it to capture all angles; hopefully the wolf would interact with it.
He was a lone male, or so it seemed. The pack may not around at the time. He sniffed the balls and the one with treats must have caught his attention, because he shoved his face in there. One of the squeaky ones squeaked, and he jumped back startled. With a low growl, he approached the box again slowly, pawed at the side viciously and tipped it over. The balls rolled out and he scooted back, watching them roll until they bumped into something to stop them. He went for the Kong first, pawing at it before picking it up in his mouth. He tried biting down but discovered that the snacks he desired were inside of it. He laid down in the fallen leaves and twigs and began gnawing on it passionately. It did not take much for his long, sharp teeth to bite through it enough to get the sweet reward inside. Once he ate those he glanced around at the other balls, debating which to destroy next.
Each ball was a different color. The Kong was black, but easily seen by him because of the scent. The squeaky one was red, since dogs can see red more vividly than other colors. He went for that next. He lowered himself to the ground, stalked it and leapt. When it squeaked he growled at it and hit it with his paw. It squeaked each time he did this, and he made a discovery. He nudged it with his nose, then pressed it into the ground. It let out a loud, slow squeak and his tail perked up. He began pawing and poking it. His claws scratching it up slowly until he took it in his mouth and squeaked it with each bite. However, the rubber did not mix well his sharp teeth and it got stuck. Seemingly flustered, he pawed at it until it fell out and moved on to the next, never returning to the squeaker.
The tennis ball was the classic yellow color. He stumbled upon it next but did not find it as interesting. He chewed on it briefly, tearing off the fuzz, before becoming bored and looking at the rest. The one with a rope through it was red and blue. He went to it next. He pawed at it to see if it would roll or squeak like the others, but it did not. He sniffed it and suddenly bit the rope, tossing it up in the air and watching it land. He did this a few times before bounding around with it in his mouth like a joyous puppy. He shook it vigorously like he was killing prey and carried it off as he went out of sight of the cameras. Later, a pack of wolves came by and had their way with the balls and box. But the lone male never returned.
I did not know what to expect from this experiment, but I did not think that the rope would be the favorite. Seeing his distaste with the squeaky one after it got stuck was curious to me because my dogs, who beta tested the same types of balls, never got “bitter” with any of them and always went back to play with it. His joyous reaction to the rope was also curious because we often make wolves out to be vicious, dangerous creatures that hunt and kill. However, they are in fact dog-like in nature and learn to enjoy themselves when given the opportunity. I can only imagine how a group of wolf pups would react to a box of assorted balls.