1. UNDERSTANDING BEHAVIOUR
You select your Alaskan Malamute so that you and your loved ones can have a companion, a protector, a friend and a four-legged family member. You invest time, money and effort to care for and train the new family member. Of course, your choice will behave perfectly! Well, perfectly like a dog.
Think like a dog
Dogs do not think like humans, nor do humans think like dogs. Unfortunately, a dog is incapable of figuring out how humans think, so the responsibility falls on the owner to adopt a proper canine mindset.
Dogs cannot rationalise and dogs exist in the present moment. You cannot reprimand a dog for something he did a while ago - you cannot even do ot for something he did 20 seconds ago - catch him in the act or forget about it. In his mind his reprimanded for something he is doing at that moment, which might be for cuddling to you for your affection. Patience and understanding are virtues that must dwell in every pet-loving household.
(a) Aggression towards humans can be a very big problem in dogs. Fortunately, the Alaskan Malamute is a large but sweet-natured breed and aggression is rarely a problem. Socialise your dogs from an early age by allowing him with human by walking with your dog at shopping malls.
Aggression, however, when not controlled, always becomes dangerous. An aggressive dog, no matter the size, may lunge at, bite or even attack a person or another dog. Aggressive behaviour is not to be tolerated. Whilst not all aggressive behaviour is dangerous - growling, baring teeth etc., can be frightening. It is important to ascertain why the dog is acting in this manner. Aggression is a display of dominance, and the dog should not have the dominant role in its pack, which is, in this case, your family.
It is important not to challenge an aggressive dog as this could provoke an attack. Observe your Alaskan Malamute's body language. Does he make direct eye contact and stare? Does he try and make himself as large as possible with ears pricked, chest out, tail erect? These body signals tells you that your Alaskan Malamute thinks he is in charge, a problem that needs to be addressed. The best solution is to consult a animal behavioural specialist.
(b) Aggression towards other dogs - in general, a dogs aggression behaviour toward another dog stems from not enough exposure to other dogs at an early age. In Alaskan Malamutes, as with other breeds, early socialisation with other dogs is beneficial. If other dogs make your Malamute nervous and agitated, he will lash out as a defensive mechanism. a Dog who has not received exposure to other dogs tends to believe that he is the only dog on the planet. a Way to correct a dogs aggression towards other dogs, is to let your Alaskan Malamute approach another dog when walking on lead. Watch very closely and at the very first sign of aggression, correct your Malamute and pull him away. Scold him for any sign of discomfort, and then praise him when he ignores or tolerates the other dog. Keep this up untill he stops his aggressive behaviour, learns to ignore the other dogs or acce3pt other dogs. Praise him lavishly for his correct bahaviour.
(c) Dominant aggression - a Social hierarchy is firmly established in a wild dog pack. The dog want to dominate those under him and please those above him. Dogs know that there must be a leader, if you are not the obvious choice, the dog will assume the role of leader. Thus the owner must surpress the dog's urge to dominate by modifying his behaviour and making him obedient. Although it may be difficult, do not give in to your dogs wishes everytime he whines or looks at you with his pleading eyes.
With a dominant dog, punishment and negative reinforcement can have the opposite effect. The best way to prevent dominance is never to give him reason ti think that he is in control in the first place. During training your dog will constantly challenge your authority during the training sessions. seek the help of a qualified trainer who will work with you and your dog to teach you effective techniques to use at home.
Superwise your Alaskan Malamute's interaction with people and other dogs, and praise the dog when it goes well. If he starts to act aggressive in a situation, correct him and remove him from the situation. Do not let people approach the dog and start petting him without your express permission. That way, you can have the dog sit to accept petting, and praise him when he behaves properly. When focusing on praise you are modifying his behaviour by rewarding him when he acts appropriately.
By being gentle and by supervising his interactions, you are showing him that there is no need to be afraid or defensive.
Dogs exhibit certain sexual behaviours that may have influenced your choice of male or female. If a bitch is not bred during the heat cycle, which is twice a year, it is not uncommon for her to expereince false pregnancy, in which her mammary glands swell and she exhibits material tendencies towards tys or other objects. Mounting is not merely a sexual expression but also one of dominance. Be consistant and persistent and you will find that you can 'move mounters'.
The national canine pastime is chewing! Every dogs likes to chew something. Dogs needs to chew, to message their gums, to make their new teeth feel better and to exercise their jaws. This is a natural deeply imbedded in all things canine. Our role as owners is not to let them stop chewing, but to re-direct it to positive chewing, chew-worthy objects like strong nylon bones made for active dogs. Be sure that what he is chewing is save. Its the owners responsibility for ensuring a dog proof environment. The best answer is prevention ; that is put your shoes, handbags and other tasty objects in their proper place away from your growing Malamutes mouth. When they are tasting your furniture re-direct them to their toys. Encourage you dogs to play with his toys, and praise him.
Jumping up is a dogs friendly way of saying hello! Some dog owners do not mind if their dogs jumps up, which is fine for them. The problem arises when guests come to the house and the dogs greets them in the same manner, changes are that the visitor may not like to be jumped over. Therefore, it is probably best to discourage this behaviour entirely. Use the command OFF when he jumps. Place him on the ground on all fours and have him sit, praising him the whole time. Always lavish him with praise and petting when in the sit position. That way you are giving a warm affectionate greeting.
What is seen as a destructive behaviour to humans, is actually quite a natural behaviour to dogs. Whether or not your dog is one of the earth dogs, his desire to dig can be irrepressible and most frustrating to his owner. When digging occurs in your garden, it is actually a normal behaviour redirected into something the dog can do in his everyday life. Perhaps your dog is digging as a reaction to boredom, the answer is to provide the dog with adequate play and exercise so that his mind and paws are occupied, and so that he feels as if he is doing something useful.
Dogs cannot talk - barking is a dogs way of talking. It can somewhat be frustrating because it is not always easy to tell what a dog means by his bark - is he excited, happy, frightened or angry? Whatever he is trying to say, a dog should never be punished for barking. Only when the barking becomes excessive, and when the excessive barking becomes a bad habit, does the behaviour need to be modified. When you get visitors and the dog don't know them, he will bark because it is strangers invading his territory. You will become able to distinguish your dog's different barks.
Never give a treat to your dog to stop him from barking, you are just encouraging him, because he believes you are rewarding him for barking or scratching the door. He will keep on doing it until he is rewarded with a treat.
Your Alaskan Malamute may howl, whine or otherwise vocalise his displeasure at you leaving the house and he is being left alone. This is normal reaction. If you are endlessly fussing over your dog, he will come to expect this from you all the time and will be more traumatic for him if you are not there. You should never have a dependent relationship with your dog - leaving him heartbroken when you leave.
When the dog is alone in the house, he should be confined to his designated dog-proof area of the house. This should be the area in which he sleeps and already feels comfortable so he will feel more at ease when alone.
2. CHARACTERISTICS OF THE ALASKAN MALAMUTE
Is the Alaskan Malamute the right dog for you?
Malamutes are affectionate, loyal, devoted, playful companion that easily adapt to many different living environments. They love people and children, but at the same time cherish their independence. The Malamute can make a wonderful addition to a family's home, depending upon how well matched the family's lifestyle and that of the Malamute's. The Malamute has a enormous amount of energy and requires appropriate ways to release this energy on a daily basis. It needs outside exercise, they need to run, play and keep busy. It needs to exercise it's mind and body. If your lifestyle requires that you work all day, you should answer the following questions honestly:
Do I have a fenced-in garden or adequate space for the Malamute to exercise, and if not, do you have the time necessary to take your dog on long brisk walks to a park or nearby field to get that required exercise? If not reconsider choosing a Alaskan Malamute as your breed of choice. a Bored restless Malamute, like other bigger dogs, can quickly turn into a owner's worst nightmare. Alaskan Malamutes require a lot of time, energy and feedback (talk) from their owners, especially during their puppy years. Beside exercise, the dog will need a great amount of grooming - the lush coat requires brushing and combing on a regular basis.
Alaskan Malamutes make wonderful family pets but if the new owner has children under the age of five, they should be especially careful. The young puppy can easily knock down small children while in a playful state and should be carefully supervised when around youngsters.
Once you've decided that the Alaskan Malamute is for you, there are several things to think about before making your final decision:
If you are able to answer these questions honestly, and can give a realistic assessment of what you want in a dog, it will make it easier to choose the dog of your dreams.
Deciding the type of dog you want is never an easy decision. Dog ownership is a tremendous commitment, and it is an important decision that must be given serious consideration.
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