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Posted by Spirit of Wildwood who has 4,709 posts.

Wolf Behavior.

The interaction between wolves — not only within the packs, but when they meet on neutral ground — is the core of the roleplay at Ruins of Wildwood. Constantly the characters meet out in the vast world of Relic Lore, and as we put emphasis on realism, body language plays an integral part. The wolf speaks more with their posture than with their voice, and in order to create roleplay that feels natural to both parts, there is a need to play realistically.

It is highly unlikely that any adult wolf will "not know" how to speak wolf, as they have all been raised by wolves.

(This post was last modified: Jul 06, 2018, 06:54 PM by Sahalie.)
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#1
Posted by Spirit of Wildwood who has 4,709 posts.

Body Language.

From the moment they are born, puppies start to learn the language of the wolf. It consists partly of body language such as their body positions, movements and facial expressions, and partly of vocalizations. However, a wolf's posture speaks louder than its voice. In order to help the members play realistically, the staff team has put together a table with a wolf's four most basic 'states of mind' and how they would present them.

Behavioral Guide
Type of behaviorDescription
FearA scared wolf would try to make themselves as inconspicuous as possible: trying to reduce their size, flattening their ears to their head and tucking their tail underneath them. They may also be whimpering, or do barks of fear, and their back may be arched.
AggressionEars may be erect and pointing forwards with the fur bristled, making them appear larger. Their lips may be curled back showing their teeth, and if pushed they may snarl. Depending on the level of aggression the wolf may also snap and get crouched in a ready position to attack.
RelaxationThe tail is normally pointed straight down if standing, the further it droops the more relaxed the wolf is, and it may wag. They can often be found lying on their side or a sphinx-like pose. If they suddenly become tense the tail will point out behind them and they may crouch.
PlayThe tail is often held high in the air and is wagged or 'waved' like a flag. The wolf may bow down its front half while holding its rear in the air, still wagging its tail behind it. Other common behavior is frolicking or 'dancing' around with bouncy movements.

(This post was last modified: Oct 24, 2016, 05:37 PM by Sahalie.)
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#2
Posted by Spirit of Wildwood who has 4,709 posts.

Dominance & Submission.

One of the most important lessons a wolf will learn as a puppy is when—and how—to act submissive and when to act dominant around other wolves. Any wolf would have had experience of this at some point in their life if they have met other wolves and there is no avoiding it. Being dominant or submissive is natural to a wolf, and it does not mean they are a 'coward' or 'wimp' for submitting, and nor does it mean they are a 'bully' or 'mean' when dominating. It purely states their position within a pack in relation to another wolf, and typically a wolf would find comfort in knowing where they stand.

While we don't demand your wolf submits to higher ranks at RoW, not doing so will be seen as a challenge to the higher ranked wolf, and there will be strong IC consequences. How the 'punishment' for insubordination is handed out varies between the packs and the leader's aggression levels. Alternatively, not dominating lower ranked wolves will result in lower ranked wolves challenging your rank and possibly winning it off your wolf.

IMAGES: DOMINANCELevels of submission and dominance
Lower level (constant submission/dominance)
In the presence of a higher ranked wolf the lower, submissive wolf constantly makes sure their body is held below the dominant wolf with their gaze averted away from their superior. Ears may be lowered to the skull and tail tucked beneath the wolf if the wolf is particularly higher ranked or there is tension. The dominant wolf holds themselves the highest; their tail curled over their back, their body posture is confident and can appear 'stiff' and rigid.
Medium level (joining a pack/formalities/much higher ranked wolf)
The submissive wolf would be lowered to the ground and any movements they make would be almost crawling along the floor. Often they would be whining, with their tails tucked beneath them to show their submission, it is also common practice for the submissive wolf to lick the chin of their superior. The dominant wolf would stand over the submissive wolf, their head raised and their tail curled over their backs, in extreme cases the dominant may muzzle grab the other wolf.
Higher level (challenges/acts of displeasure)
Dominant wolves would make themselves bigger than the challenger, standing taller and increasing their size as much as possible by raising their hackles. Blood is rarely spilled during rank challenges, so muzzle grabbing and 'pinning' the other wolf to the floor and sometimes biting the other wolves scruff and back—not to break the skin—are common displays of dominance. In a sense, the dominant wolf is trying to 'force' the offender into submitting, by pushing their body into a state similar to the medium level submission.

SOURCE: wikipediaExpressive characteristics
FeaturesAggressiveFearful
EyesDirect stare; opened wideLooking away; closed to slits
EarsErect and forwardFlattened and turned down to the side
Lips"Agonistic pucker""Submissive grin"
MouthOpenedClosed
TeethCanines baredCanines covered
TongueRetractedExtended ("lick intention")
NoseShortened (skin folded)Lengthened (skin smoothed)
ForeheadContracted and collected over eyesStretched and smoothed
HeadHeld highLowered
NeckArchedExtended
HairBristled along neck and spineSleek, slicked back
BodyErect and tallCrouched low
TailQuivering and held highWagging but held under body

For more on rank challenges and how wolves 'fight', see the wolf fight guide.

(This post was last modified: Jan 17, 2014, 01:16 PM by Mapplethorpe.)
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#3
Posted by Mapplethorpe who has 258 posts.

Communication

In addition to body language, posturing, and dominant/submissive displays, wolves also "verbally" communicate. Whether over several miles or up close and personally, wolves - both rogues and pack affiliated - have a few ways to call upon,  "voice" their opinions to, gossip with, and keep in touch with one another.

Vocal GuideSOURCE: wikipedia
ActionDescription
BarkingWolves do not bark as loudly or continuously as domestic dogs do, but bark a few times and retreat from perceived danger. They may bark when perceived intruders (strange wolves, unidentified threats, animals unknown to them, etc.) approach their living space, when hearing an unfamiliar or unidentified noise, when seeing something that the wolf doesn't expect to be there, or when playing. Barking also expresses such emotions as loneliness, fear, suspicion, stress, and pleasure. Playful or excited barks are often short and sharp and often made when a wolf is attempting to get another wolf or another creature to play.

Wolves generally try to avoid conflict; their vocalizations are part of what allows others to tune into their emotions. (i.e., whether they're aggressive or are in a playful mood...).

The bark of a distressed or stressed wolf is high pitched, repetitive, and increases its pitch as they become more upset.
GrowlingGrowls can express aggression, a desire to play, or simply that the wolf doesn't want to participate in what's about to happen next (being picked up by an adult pack member or being bothered in the middle of an afternoon nap). Wolves normally growl during food or rank challenges. Cubs commonly growl when playing.
HowlingWolves howl to assemble the pack (usually before and after hunts), to pass on an alarm (particularly at a den site), to locate each other during a storm or unfamiliar territory, and to communicate across great distances. Wolf howls, can under certain conditions, be heard over areas of up to 130 km2 (50 sq. mi). Male wolves give voice through an octave, passing to a deep bass with a stress on "O", while females produce a modulated nasal baritone with stress on "U." Pups almost never howl, while yearling wolves produce howls ending in a series of dog-like yelps. Howling, which is described as "song-like" melodies, consists of up to 12 harmonically related overtones. The pitch usually remains constant or varies smoothly, and may change direction as many as four or five times. The howls used for calling pack mates to a kill are long, smooth sounds similar to the beginning of the cry of a horned owl. When pursuing prey, they emit a higher pitched howl, vibrating on two notes. When closing in on their prey, they emit a combination of a short bark and a howl. When howling together, wolves harmonize rather than chorus on the same note, thus creating the illusion of there being more wolves than there actually are.

The wolves of Relic Lore (Northern Canada) possess howls which are loud and have a stronger emphasis on the first syllable. Lone wolves typically avoid howling in areas where other packs are present; in general, however, wolves do not respond to howls in rainy weather or when satiated (well-fed or sick).
WhiningWhining is associated with situations of anxiety, curiosity, inquiry and intimacy such as greeting, feeding pups and playing. It is a high-pitched vocalization that is often produced nasally with the mouth closed. A wolf may whine when they want something (e.g., food or attention). A very insistent wolf may add a bark at the end of a whine, in a brief whine-bark, whine-bark pattern.
Whimpering / YelpingA whimper or a yelp often indicates the wolf is in pain or distress, and is often emitted by wolves that have been bitten too hard during a play-fight. The whimper or yelp is used only when the wolf intends to communicate its distress to a pack member to whom they are submissive or friendly; the other wolf is expected to react positively to the communication. Wolves engaged in serious fights do not whimper lest they betray weakness. They also whimper when they are physically abused or neglected by higher-ranking pack members.

Yelps are often associated with the lowering of the tail between the legs. This form of communication is distinct from barking in that it is softer, higher pitched, and lower volume. Yelping can also indicate strong excitement when a wolf is lonely and is suddenly met with affection, such as when a greeting a fellow pack member when they have been away for so long. Yelping is also often accompanied by licking, jumping, and barking.

(This post was last modified: Feb 03, 2015, 06:45 PM by Skoll.)
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#4