Friederike Zenth

July 2015 - December 2015
University Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
Project at the WSC Behavoir of Wolves and Dogs in a complex training situation
Favourite wolf tale La Loba

I love dogs, at least since I was about four or five years old. We were on a visit at my sister’s godmother’s place. I was outside alone, playing, when I fell and hurt myself. I had started to cry when Askan, the landlady`s big, old Newfoundland Dog came to lie next to me and to comfort me. Later the adults found both of us together, cuddling and happy in the garden.

I am doing my Bachelor in Biology at the University of Kiel and came to the WSC for an internship and writing my Bachelor-Thesis. At the University of Aberdeen, where I studied as ERASMS for a year I had the first opportunity to take courses in behavioral biology. To do practical work and research at the WSC now is just great. I have learned so much already and I am very grateful for that. To the wolves, dogs and the people! Not least for the wonderful time I passed with the animals, at work and with the other students in the house. It feels like a family and I’ve been very happy here!

I am taking part in the „Treadmill Project“. Letting the wolves and dogs trot on the treadmill shams the chase phase during hunt and will eventually provide us a deeper insight into the proximate mechanisms that mediate cooperation in the species. At the moment we are still in training. I take part in the training of our “Black Pack” consisting of five wolves.

It’s great to see how everybody progresses. I got very fond of all our trainees and I am always happy to see them- The sensitive Chitto, the beautiful but headstrong Tala, who decides just about every second session that she feels like working with us, the large, leisurely Aragorn, who made me laugh many times, but also administered me some shock when all of a sudden he decided to scent role on the treadmill, while it was running at full speed and we just managed to stop it in time( which is why we decided to allow him “scent-rolling time” prior to every training session). Kaspar the alpha male of the pack is always perfect and Shima made the greatest progress during my time here I think. She is amazingly motivated and decisive in what she is doing.

I do not code the videos I am recording during my own training but the ones of the first training phases. I look at the wolves as well as the dog training and am already excited for behavioral differences we might find between them in this quite complex training task!