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2 Alaskan malamute owner...Snapped out at my toddler

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by bonoscot, Oct 24, 2012.


  1. bonoscot

    bonoscot PetForums Newbie

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    Hey guys/gals...im looking for some help from experienced dog owners.
    i have 2 alaskan malamutes,brother and sister,the male has been neutered,age:3.....Over they ears the dogs have been fine with each other,they get fed in different rooms,they playfight ok,chase etc fine..
    i have to break up a fight now and again,usually over dropped food,space etc(scary but i can always stop it,only lasts 20 secs)

    I now have a toddler 18 months,the bitch is fantstic with her,no problems whatsoever,however the male(dominant) snapped out at her and lightly bit her face.She is fine.I have noticed previous to this that he doesnt like her near her as much recently..his tail goes down,he arches his back and draws his teeth(this i dont like at all) it actually can look scary to me let alone her.But i dont know why.Maybe she hurt him or something and i havent noticed..

    My problem also is my 2 mals managed to get out the house alone together and ran across the park,when they were out,they apparently injured another dog in a fight,(this dog had a few puncture marks but also fine).The dogs are totally fine when on a harness,dont show aggression much at all,alone or together.

    With this latest dog fight and most importantly the snap at my baby girl,i dont trust them at all now,that bond i had has gone(sadly atm),I dont know how to approach this now,my baby girl loves the dogs,i am fine with the bitch with her ,but i want that bond with the male and its not going to happen,therefor atm i have to just let the Bitch in the house and leave the male out in the yard,i hate the thought of this,it feels cruel as if hes not part of the family,how can this help him?Will it?

    any help at all on how to approach this situation now,any tips on how to introduce my daughter again all over to the male?Im kinda terrified that they could attack her after the dog incident.I hate this situation atm.

    Please let me get this stright tho...they are adorable friendly dogs for years,only fight with each other and thats rare.....I was advised today to maybe think about rehome,this is heartbreaking as i couldnt just get rid of them that easily( i dont want to give up on them at all)If and i say if...sadly i had to rehome,i would have to give both away together it would break my heart to think of them seperated,they have never spent a day away from each other......

    Please advise and thanks in advance
     
    #1 bonoscot, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  2. Dogless

    Dogless PetForums VIP

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    I would keep male dog and toddler separated for now or at least ensure the dog has space (strictly supervised), have a vet check on him and, if there is no medical cause for his behaviour, ensure that you are referred to a reputable behaviourist.
     
    #2 Dogless, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012
  3. GermanShepardOwner

    GermanShepardOwner PetForums Senior

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    Hey guys/gals...im looking for some help from experienced dog owners.
    i have 2 alaskan malamutes,brother and sister,the male has been neutered,age:3.....Over they ears the dogs have been fine with each other,they get fed in different rooms,they playfight ok,chase etc fine..
    i have to break up a fight now and again,usually over dropped food,space etc(scary but i can always stop it,only lasts 20 secs)

    I now have a toddler 18 months,the bitch is fantstic with her,no problems whatsoever,however the male(dominant) snapped out at her and lightly bit her face.She is fine.I have noticed previous to this that he doesnt like her near her as much recently..his tail goes down,he arches his back and draws his teeth(this i dont like at all) it actually can look scary to me let alone her.But i dont know why.Maybe she hurt him or something and i havent noticed..

    Something may well have happened between them, even her standing on his tail, pulling the fur wrong, noise etc. Some dogs are very sensitive to change such as babies etc, toddlers often are fairly noisy, quite rough, run round alot which some dogs do not understand and makes them anxious. Malamutes are a breed which are not the most ideal family pet IMO, as there temperament and needs are very different to alot of other breeds. Im not saying your child is loud, rough etc but this can be why some dogs turn against children as it does make them anxious.

    My problem also is my 2 mals managed to get out the house alone together and ran across the park,when they were out,they apparently injured another dog in a fight,(this dog had a few puncture marks but also fine).The dogs are totally fine when on a harness,dont show aggression much at all,alone or together.

    Make sure however they got out is now secured and they are closely watched. It sounds like a one off thing, you dont know what could have happened whilst they had been out, the other dog could have started, showed bad body language, the dogs may have got stressed, anxious etc.

    With this latest dog fight and most importantly the snap at my baby girl,i dont trust them at all now,that bond i had has gone(sadly atm),I dont know how to approach this now,my baby girl loves the dogs,i am fine with the bitch with her ,but i want that bond with the male and its not going to happen,therefor atm i have to just let the Bitch in the house and leave the male out in the yard,i hate the thought of this,it feels cruel as if hes not part of the family,how can this help him?Will it?

    You can not just leave the male outside unfortunately, it will make the situation alot worse as he will realise he is not getting the attention and something is not right. You need to deal with the situation, not go round it.Dogs which are from the same family i find do have more issues. You need to contact a trainer and behaviourist, as i do not know the dogs, do not know the situation fully. They can assess the dogs and find the root cause of the aggression. It may well be something very simple, or could be a little more complex. But they can help you and hopefully work through it.

    any help at all on how to approach this situation now,any tips on how to introduce my daughter again all over to the male?Im kinda terrified that they could attack her after the dog incident.I hate this situation atm.

    Please let me get this stright tho...they are adorable friendly dogs for years,only fight with each other and thats rare.....I was advised today to maybe think about rehome,this is heartbreaking as i couldnt just get rid of them that easily( i dont want to give up on them at all)If and i say if...sadly i had to rehome,i would have to give both away together it would break my heart to think of them seperated,they have never spent a day away from each other......

    Contact some behaviourts first, get the dogs assessed and then you can work from there, as i said it may well be a simple problem to sort out but could be more complex. The situation the dogs are in may well be too stressful for them, unfortunately babies can cause alot of stress in some dogs. Hopefully you will not have to rehome, but if it is the situation that is causing the aggression then it will be for the best and they will be in a lot less stressful situation. I wish you all the best, contact someone ASAP as the male can not just be left in the yard, it will make the problems alot worse and cause stress.Forgot to say, get him checked by a vet, could well be medical reason, some dogs become very aggressive and defensive when in pain or ill as they feel they have to do that.
     
  4. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    Usually if dogs are going to scrap the triggers that will do it every time is food,toys,treats and chews, attention, confined spaces, times of hyper excitement like visitors coming leads coming out for walks. Trouble is if they do start scrapping and your daughters in the way then she could get hurt too. Once they scrap they can also become disorientated too and end up re-direction the agression onto other things. So whilst the odd scrap over the years might not have been such a problem before it is more of a problem now.
    Avoiding all these triggers is important and being aware of situations that could make them kick off before it starts.

    To be honest Im not sure keeping him outside will not make the situation worse.
    It will keep him separate from your toddler its true so accidents wont happen because he physically hasnt got access but as Mals in the main seem to love attention and attention can be one of the triggers to make dogs squabble then it may have the opposite effect. If he has lived inside all the time and is now isolated on his own, it might cause more incidents in fighting with the bitch because she is inside and him out and its a big change to his usual situation, he may if stressed too become more snappy and reactive as well.
    A better idea may be to purchase dog control gates taller and more robust then a baby gate, and move him around the house that way.

    It does sound like he is not comfortable around your toddler for whatever reason, some dogs just dont get toddlers its often because they are on a eye level, move fast and clumsily and tend to move quickly and put hands in faces and often squeal, some toddlers too will just follow dogs around even if they do try to walk away and have their own space. Does he growl at her anytime first? often a growl is a warning asking for space, if thats ignored then often they will whip their heads round and just airsnap, pushed further they will even nip, which is fine if they do it to each other but can hurt and bruise even if they dont break skin on humans. It isnt acceptable in a situation with a baby.

    There are things that you can do, but in this situation you really do need a behaviourist there to assess him and the situation one who understands body language and signaling and can talk you through it and give you a proper management programme and behaviour modification. Are you in position to get a behavioursit in to help you work through it?

    Ideally you need someone with not only Behavioural qualifications but also Malamute Savvy as well. it may be an idea to contact Alaskan Malamute rescue they not only help rehome malamutes but will give help and advice and assistance to Malamute owners who are having problems and want to work through it and Keep their Mals with them if possible. Certainly worth contacting them and see what assistance they can offer they may even be able to practically help or suggest a behaviourist in your area with Malamute experience. Contact details are on the link below

    AMCUK ~ Alaskan Malamute Rescue UK
     
  5. bonoscot

    bonoscot PetForums Newbie

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    Hi thanks for quick feedback so far,regarding one of the questions above....

    My daughter walked towards him with ice cream in her hand..

    (but it was deffinalty not food related)the reason being the last few few weeks i have noticed him arching back,tail down,ears pricked and te worst and scarily of them all ....silence but with teeth drawn back,gums out etc.....he has an evil look stare in his face,i dont like this look at all,but i dont know if its a frighteened look or not)

    ....he very quickly gave a quick snap as she got close to him and cut her face...he instanlty just started wagging his tail and that stupid cuddly look we all love mals do..teddy bear look as if nothing happ....He then walked into kitched and as i shouted at him to say "NO" him and his sister then faught for about 20 secs....where i had to seperate them....then about a minute after that the 2 of them were licking each other......as if we fine.


    Its not food related...he wasnt even interseted in food like that from her....so im thinking space related...

    BTW i stated that he was in yard...i dont mean all the time and for hours...just when my daughter is in living room he is out...but i fear a jealously backlash as well if i do this.

    Anyways as i type this both dogs are sitting here playing with each other and having fun :eek:
     
  6. GermanShepardOwner

    GermanShepardOwner PetForums Senior

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    Dogs only wag their tails as a sign of interaction, they do not wag their tails when happy as such, they also wag their tails when aggressive, fighting, attacking etc. So please do not think that just because he was wagging his tail it means he is not being aggressive, stressed and is happy.

    By seperating every time your daughter is in the living room, it will cause tension and he will feel their is something to be afraid and anxious of, therefore causing more issues.

    I would most definately get him assessed to find out why it happened, and then if it is space related you can work it out. Also with the body language you are saying he is displaying it is telling me this dog is not happy with something, so it does need to be corrected.

    For now make sure you pay close attention to his body language, any pacing, moving away from your daughter, licking lips, yawning then remove him from the situation as he is stressed and anxious, doing this before he gets aggressive will help calm him down.
     
  7. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    Might be worth getting him checked over at the vets, if dogs are in pain discomfort or somethings up physically then can become snappy and reactive.
    Might even be worth getting him a thyroid profile blood check done too, its common in siberian Huskies and Mals and that can cause behaviour problems and things like agressiveness and fear. Ive got two with it now, one a siberian husky and one a Malamute husky mix, the mix was diagnosed at two and her only sign was seizures shes got the heriditary version. The sibe just got the idopathic one that came on in older age. Ive had my full Malamute boy routinely done too and so far he is OK. None of mine are related either.
    I had two previous siberians with it too. He may well be OK but might be worth getting him vet checked and perhaps the test done as well.

    Certainly worth speaking to the Mal Rescue I gave you the link for too.

    If you want to read more on thyroid and behaviour see link, ignore the bits refering to epilepsy and seizures its from a epilepsy website but the link is about behaviour as well.

    http://www.canine-epilepsy-guardian-angels.com/behaviorandthyroid.htm
     
  8. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

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    I remember you from Icebay when we all told you these siblings would not be a good idea to keep together. Hate to say it but just wish you had listened to people then who had REAL Malamute experience. They were a handful for you then and I have to say I am amazed you are still having difficulties with them, all that should have stopped by now even with siblings.

    Have to go out but will read your post better when I get back. I do know that my guys are very wary of children because they don't have any around and as you had these two before your child they would need very careful monitoring, especially for the first few years of your childs life. As with any dog it's best not to let them too up close and personal where children are concerned until you are fully confident with BOTH that they are very very much at ease with a child becoming part of the family.

    Just read that your daughter walked towards him with an ice cream in her hands. Have you not heard the jokes surrounding the greediness of Mals? This situation may not have been funny but your dog was doing what Mals are renowned to do - nicking easy to get food and most likely didn't intend to target your daughter at all. If you can't manage these kind of situations and have not yet learned what Mals are really like after all the time you have had them, then perhaps Mal rescue could help. Sounds harsh but you were told that may have been a better option for one of the dogs ages ago and as you still have problems seems could still apply!
     
  9. bonoscot

    bonoscot PetForums Newbie

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    No offence but maybe you should have read the post before stating something...My mals are fine together,have been for years now...the problem is with the introduction of my daughter.When i was on icebaymals,i was asking for advice of which you may have given me me as well others. and appreciated..and i have done incredibly well raising both my mals.....they are brilliant together (like any other dog/breed,once every often they might just have snap at each other,i have no problem with this,i have dealt with it and as i say its rare it happens) i have even taught them to walk off a lead/run into woods etc and i call them back....Recently i have had the problem with the introduction of my toddler and her ways(therefore 2 years ago on the other forums i did not know i was going to have a child)....My dogs recently got out on there own together and had a confrontation with a known dog that has a tendancy to also snap...this has been my very first problem outside in 3 years...But hopefully back on topic...its how to deal with my male dominant dog and his ways of easing back into his nice ways with her
     
  10. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

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    I have re read your posts and haven't seen anything I missed apart from your boys apparent wariness towards your daughter. For that reason alone I would not have had her in a situation where she could walk up to him and with food in her hands an even worse scenario. I know from the past that your dogs have had fights, some requiring vet treatment and even stitches if what myself and daughter (CarMar) can remember from Icebay. That shows the level of aggression these two can show towards each other, let alone with a child and food scource around. If they decided to make a fight for food your little one wouldn't stand a chance.
    On the old forum a very experienced person was hospitalised due to a fight amongst her Mals at feeding time, this a woman who had kept Mals for over twenty years who thought she knew how to handle them. Food and Mals are a bad mix if there are conflicts, no matter how rare they may now be. You feed them separately yet your toddler can walk with them with food in her hands - a very dicey thing to allow even with an adult let alone a child who is so vulnerable at at their level too.
    Separating the boy from your toddler will alienate them even further, a better option would be a dog gate on the kitchen so as he can see her and see she is a part of the family. As she grows you may be able to intergrate her with him under sctrict supervision, not allowing contact in the form of her stroking him but just so as she is in the same vicinity as your boy. I'm talking about two years from now, when your little girl is old enough to understand you saying she mustn't pet him, not at the tender age she is now. Eighteen months is way too young to explain to her that not all dogs want to be fussed, she will understand that little bit more with your supervision and explanation as she becomes that little bit older. I can't see how she has done anything to him without your knowing, I mean has she not been constantly supervised when around the dogs in the past? If she has then you would know if an incident had happened. Mals are not like a faithful old Lab, they generally like people but they don't take kindly to any form of physical torment and will react much faster than your average family dog. Even folk on Icebay who have had them for many years had always said they would never leave a child/grand child alone with their dogs. Children can do things dogs won't tolerate and a bite from such a powerful dog can be disastrous - always supervise around these dogs.
    Is your girl spayed? If not that could be a reason your boy gets grumpy. Neutering males does not entirely stop their sex drive, at least not when an in season or coming up to a season bitch is around. I have seen a neutered Dobe tie with an in season boxer, so your boy may have a mating desire which could account for his uneasiness at times.
    I don't know how your dogs got out but can only say poor dog who was at the other end of the fight, they are known dog aggressors and you must now take every precaution that it can't happen again. Mine have never got out and although I have a secure bolt on my side gate I also padlock it just in case it could somehow be opened - as Mals are fantastic door openers.
    If you should ever decide to re home Mal rescue is the best option for your dogs, even if they go to separate homes. I believe Cynthia is not in the country at present but there is always someone willing to do what's best for the dogs, they have a passion for Mals and a long standing knowledge of their requirements and are far better than placing them into a home where someone may not be able to eventually cope and another home is sought for them. Rescue will give owners the support and guidance needed with this breed and home check thoroughly before placing a dog with potential new owners.

    You have done well in standing by these two but with the safety of a child now in the mix should really consider if you can put plans into action for her safety at all times, if you think you may occasionally fail then you need to re think whether you should keep them or not. Through the rescue they could even end up in working homes and to a Mal that has to be the best life ever.
     
    #10 Malmum, Oct 25, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  11. bonoscot

    bonoscot PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you again for your input and advice.I hope i didnt come across nippy,its just a believe i have done extremely well in bringing these two mals up,they adore each other and as i state the rarely even fight now(which is great).Its been hard work but enjoyable,and hope to continue more so.

    The babygate has been placed back up and nanook and taneesh are in the kitchen now with great view of living room,They look sad though as if they aint aloud to participate now(but people obv come first).They still get fed seperatly(although this has been the case from day1,and they are used to it).
    They will sit in kitchen while people are eating and if they do come out they will sit in the corner awaiting us finish.They have never snapped food from anyones plate/hand(therfore i go back to it being a fear factor/dominant factor from nanook)

    My daughter will now be watched as will the dogs over the next few weeks to see reactions etc...

    As some maybe know....the dogs are adorable,very friendly(apart from the fight the other night with the dog)
    I found out my daughter opend all the doors to let the dogs out while i was getting her a drink :(
     
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