DogCast Radio
Home Episodes Articles Blog Breed profiles Book reviews Photos Contact

Episode 196 - The Wisdom of Wolves with Jim and Jamie Dutcher


Released Sat June 30, 2018
Length: 1:02:19
Download MP3 (28.5MB)
(To save MP3 file, right click and select 'Save Target As')

Jim and Jamie Dutcher

This episode focuses on the incredible experiences of Jim and Jamie Dutcher, living with a pack of wolves. The Dutchers lived with a pack of wolves in Idaho for 6 years.

We wanted to get inside a pack of wolves and study their social life. So we started with puppies and gained their trust; from the moment they opened their eyes we were bottle feeding them. Then we let them loose in a huge, huge enclosure at the foot of a ten thousand foot mountain, in the Sawtooth Mountains, and then camped with them for six years.
 - Jim Dutcher

They were able to get unprecedented access to never-before-seen social behaviors of wolves. The Dutchers observed a complex, compassionate, family-oriented creature that debunks the myths and fairytales that have maligned wolves for centuries. No one has ever done what Jim and Jamie Dutcher did and no one would ever be able to do this now due to permitting issues, so the Dutcher project was truly special.

I did all the sound recording. I could start to identify the wolves without even seeing them. And you knew they were having conversations, from the way that they would vocalise and then certain things would happen. They have a very rich language that we just don't understand.
 - Jamie Dutcher

In this fascinating interview, Jim and Jamie tell Julie in detail about their time with the Sawtooth Pack. Along the way they share insights into what a wolf family is like, the wolves' attitude towards pups and immature wolves, the sounds the wolves made, how wolves interact with the natural world around them - and what that tricky term "alpha" really means. There are also lots of anecdotes illustrating the subjects discussed.

If we can allow the wolf to get a foothold in these areas and allow them to survive, it's not only good for us - for our souls - but it's also good for the land; wolves are a keystone species, they improve ecosystems.
 - Jamie Dutcher

The Dutchers wrote about the lessons the wolves taught them in a book called The Wisdom of Wolves, and there is a lot of information at their website Living With Wolves, and for their Wisdom of Wolves book, if you're in the USA click here and if you're in the UK click here.

We put our camp in the middle of the enclosure and put up chain link around us so the wolves wouldn't steal everything from us, but they would sleep right around us. One of them, Wahots, who was a youngster at the time he would actually sleep probably four feet from our heads.
 - Jim Dutcher

DogCast Radio News

In the news, Julie and Jenny bring you the dog related news items you might not have spotted. New research reveals a dog's month of birth may affect his health, scientists are also investigating how being overweight affects a dog's appetite. There's another Chinese dog who turned out to be...well, not a dog! Plus the rescue Beagle who's living in a palace, the centenarian who had trouble adopting a dog - and a new breed has toppled the Labrador Retriever from being top dog in the UK, but is it good news or bad news?


Buddy the black Labrador passed away this month at the grand old age of fifteen and a half. He had a long, full, happy life, but as you can imagine, when Julie gives thanks for, and pays tribute to the dog she loved for so long, and lost, there are tears alongside the remembered laughter.

Without Buddy there would never have been DogCast Radio.

As we mourn his loss, we thank you for sharing our joy in him.

Run free Buddy.


272 - dog AITA and having fun with your dog

In the first podcast of 2024, Julie considers some dog themed AITA questions from the Reddit site.Who are the goodies and who are the baddies of some canine conundrums? And here's a new year's resolution you can stick to - have fun with your dog! We have lots of suggestions from listeners about fun activities with your dog.

189 - The Dog Healers and War Dogs Remembered

In this episode you can hear Mark Winik talk about his debut novel, The Dog Healers, and listen to Julia Robertson explain why she founded the charity War Dogs remembered. Plus there's the DogCast Radio News, and what Mischief the German Spitz puppy has been up to.

188 - Service Dogs UK and Roxie the Doxie Finds Her Forever Home

In this episode you can hear about Service Dogs UK, a fantastic charity which trains assistance dogs to support veterans of any service - military personnel, police, firefighters, paramedics and the coastguard - who develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder due to their job. Also, listen to Dr Jody A Dean, a clinical psychologist talk about how her book, Roxie the Doxie finds her Forever Home, is helping children understand and talk about adoption and other family issues. Plus the DogCast Radio News and some thoughts on the alpha dog myth.

187 - Muffins Halo and Chorley Fun Dog Show

In this episode you can hear about Muffin's Halo for Blind Dogs, and what motivates people to enter their dog in a fun dog show. In the DogCast Radio News, listen to stories about the latest dog related research. Plus there's a new member of the DogCast Radio team!

186 - Maxwell Muir on wolves

In this episode you can hear trainer, behaviourist, writer, broadcaster and wolf expert Maxwell Muir talk about what wolves mean to him personally, their plight in a modern world, and his hopes for their future. Plus we have the DogCast Radio News.