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malamute help updates

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by Thorpup, Sep 14, 2013.

  1. Thorpup

    Thorpup PetForums Newbie

    Aug 13, 2013
    Likes Received:
    last time i posted we were having lots of biting problems, thought i'd come and let you guys know how we're doing. thor is much better, we are still having some biting issues on the lead but things are definately getting better. he is really settling in.

    he is quite reactionary on the lead when he sees other dogs... he isn't aggressive (though i understand mals can be dog aggressive when they're older), he just really wants to go over to them and roll around. when meeting other dogs he is very forward, ears up, faces them straight on, so it's a bit over-confident, and if allowed to meet another dog he plays very boisterous regardless of size. i have observed the few he has met to be at first friendly and very quickly appear to show signs of feeling stressed with his behaviour. interestingly the only dogs he has been immediately submissive with have been other malamutes. i am not sure how to combat his reactive behaviour, we don't react when we see another dog, we act as if it isn't there, but he will immediately start pulling on the lead and trying to get to it if he sees it. he is sometimes people reactive as well, but it is difficult to go into town and stop everyone from coming over and petting him, i have felt quite rude a few times. i had to push someone away because i was crossing at a traffic lights while there was another dog coming the other way and this woman was stood right in my path squealing at him, with the cars there and thor pulling at the lead =\
    we tend to try to just walk through town now and say we are training him when people want to stroke him but i never realised how dog ignorant people can be. i know most people are just being friendly but i find a lot of their behaviour a bit impolite. it's a blessing when someone asks before petting him.

    here are some pics of the little guy :)




    #1 Thorpup, Sep 14, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2013
  2. Malmum

    Malmum PetForums VIP

    Aug 1, 2010
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    Hi again :)

    Its good to hear Thor is beginning to settle down a bit but remember with Mals it can take as long as three years before they become what you want, even longer in some. Its funny how my Flynn was five in May and over the past couple of months has matured immensely - in fact I though he was ill and had bloods run because the change was so drastic. All bloods came back fine and other Mal folk I have since spoken to have said five is a good age in a Mal where most settle down into adult behaviour - at last! :)

    Thor needs to be prevented from going overboard where other dogs are concerned and if he's boisterous needs removing from the situation until he calms down, otherwise he'll learn that this kind of behaviour brings results. Whenever he's too excited or reactionary its best to not allow it by simply ignoring him and taking him in an opposite direction, so as he learns that that kind of behaviour gets him nowhere.
    The more he is allowed to go off at other dogs the more that behaviour becomes learned and normal for him, so either turn around and say 'let's go' taking him away from the 'trigger' or have treats to hand an get him to 'sit' and focus on you as soon as you see a dog. He can look at it briefly too but mustn't be allowed time to react, you want him to focus on you and the treat, this will eventually mean - see a dog=nice things, such as food. Being a Mal he should enjoy the treat so much that he won't give a damn about the dog. He's still a young lad and its so much easier to teach him acceptable behaviour and doggie manners while still small. What you don't want is a fully mature, male Mal who reacts in the way that he is now, other dogs won't accept that and you WILL have fights because Mals really don't back down if another dog goes for it - I saw Flynn go from an amicable boy to a fighter in an instant when he was challenged by another dog. Its something that all Mal owners on the Facebook group and forum have said about their Mals, male or female and as you say is known in the breed. They can be great friends with other dogs who accept them though but don't take kindly to being challenged.
    Once he is in a calm state you can let him greet another dog, if the owner is happy for you to do so but never let him run up to an on lead dog (not fair on owner or dog) and don't allow him to be over zealous either, it can teach him the wrong way of approaching all dogs and one day a dog will not accept it, then you'll have a problem on your hands because it only takes one bad experience to totally ruin your boys relationship with other dogs. If that happens then you could end up with a very reactionary Mal, not necessarily aggressive but fear reactive, like my Flynn.
    So, if he goes a bit bonkers walk him away, don't pull or jerk the lead, or say anything but just 'let's go' and off - no reward for bad behaviour that way.

    I don't know how you've managed the biting/mouthing, I think I said before that with Flynn I used to pop by thumb on his tongue and hold it for a couple of seconds, saying nothing as I did so. He hated it and stopped biting on and of almost immediately and it tapered off completely over a couple of months. The ignoring and walking away or the 'ouch' high pitched achieved nothing with him and have since been told by a behaviourist after his assessment that the best way to work with him is in silence because words just hype him up more. If he's biting the lead just stop walking until he stops, move on and if he starts again, stop and so on.
    I don't know what it is about Mals but everyone I have spoken to, breeders, showers, workers and pet owners alike have said Mals react much better with other Mals than different breeds. So if you can walk with a well behaved Mal Thor may learn from example and calm down

    We have three Mals but Marty is my daughters and my son had the most input with Kali as a pup/youngster, so I never really had to deal with them but Flynn has only ever had any training or been walked by me. Its not been easy because of his two hip replacements and recovery/rehab which took him out of the doggie social circle for nearly two years of his young life, being set on by another dog also took its toll, so he's still reactive to dogs but only if they react first, the focus and treats worked well and he would ignore dogs even though he knew they were passing - if you think Thor is going to react then sit him or move him away. He can still meet them but has to be calm first. Socialisation isn't only about letting dogs play and rough about, it can also be achieved by them just walking amongst other dogs in a controlled manner. If you could find a 'Mally meet' that is a great way to socialise and any unwanted behaviour is deemed as part of the breeds difficulties and understood - also you'll get advice from other Mal owners who've been in the same position. If you have friends/walkers who have Mals they may know of a meet and you could go along for fun, if not there's a great group on Facebook - Malamute Matters - who post about meets and just general Mal chat.

    You've got a long haul ahead of you but if you can get rid of some of that excitement you'll get better results all round. What's Thor like when you're preparing to take him for a walk? I used to put Flynns harness on a couple of hours before I planned to walk him so as he'd calm down and if he got excited I'd leave the walk til later. Its easy to think 'I'll just deal with the initial excitement because he'll calm down after ten mins or so - get it over with or we'll never get out' but that teaches him that going nutty gets him a walk. Its far nicer to have your dog walk sensibly out of the door and makes for a better walk plus dog, in the long run. By putting the harness or lead on and not going out immediately he'll soon learn that the harness doesn't hold the excitement he thought it did. Flynn would just sleep in it and very soon didn't react at all (still doesn't) and has always been a good walker, he does wear a head collar but that's for in case we see a rabbit - after all he is a Mal. :)

    Lovely to hear from you again and Thor is growing so fast, looks quite the lad now doesn't he? I love that puppy transition stage where they are growing into those ears and I love the naughty spells that go with it, as long as they don't take it too far. He's a gorgeous looking little boy and I'm so pleased you are getting some results, you know with this breed it takes time but they're well worth it. ;)
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