Malamute Dog Aggression
Aggression toward other dogs, especially the same sex dog, may
become a problem with your Malamute. You need to understand that this is a characteristic of the
Malamute and you need to train your dog to minimize aggression when they are a puppy and continue
that training through adulthood. Watch for the signs and triggers you will be
able to tell and at that time redirect the dog's attention away from what he/she is looking at
or posturing at and that will eliminate a problem before it starts. Know the signs. Know
An animal as big and powerful as a Malamute can cause serious
injury in the blink of eye. Those are injuries that you will be responsible for. And the
possibility for injury goes both ways. Your dog could be hurt fighting with another dog. The loss
of an eye, broken teeth, deep lacerations, torn off ears, damaged joints and other soft tissue
injuries can permanently disable your dog.
This is where you need to step up and have everyone in your family
understand that recognizing and dealing with aggression must be your first priority. When these
animals get into fights, both dogs usually need veterinarian care. They can also injure each other
by fence fighting. They will bite and claw at each other through a chain link fence. Which means
you can not assume that two dogs who obviously are aggressive will be "safe" simply because a chain
link fence separates them.
Rule 1. Keep Your Dog On a Leash.
Anytime you walk your dog or have them in an unenclosed area, the
dog should be on a leash. This includes puppies. Disregard what you hear about obedient and trained
dogs. Every Malamute can potentially decide to disregard their owner's commands and take off like a
bullet to chase a small animal or confront another dog. Any dog can do this from the smallest to
There are owners out there that think it is cute for their little
bitty dog to bark and growl at a large dog. They will go as far as to say something like "get em
tiger", but remember it will not be funny to them when your dog decides to take a nice big chunk
out of the little dog. It will be your dog's fault because he was encouraging his dog to go after
yours and since yours was bigger, well, you get the picture.
Puppies also like to go exploring and will head any direction,
including across a busy street, if they see something interesting on the other side. Keeping them
on a leash keeps them safe.
Sometimes a Malamute just wants to explore or meet the guy down
the street that they see polishing his car. There's nothing more embarrassing than having to chase
a few blocks after your dog who just forced some stranger to jump up on the roof of their car to
avoid being eaten.
(The stranger doesn't know that the Malamute won't bite him. All
he sees is something that looks like a wolf heading his direction at high speed. In some areas it
can get the dog shot, or accidentally run over. In most areas there are "leash laws" that require
dog owners to have a leash on their dogs and control over them at all times.)
Rule 2. Socialize your puppy.
Start by attending a baby puppy class with your dog. Ask your
breeder if there are any in the area and who to contact for more information. The puppy class is
the ideal place for your dog to learn how to approach and get along with other dogs. The primary
purpose of the puppy class it to train your dog how to behave when around other animals and other
You should continue training puppy by taking him/her to places where other dogs frequent such as
parks or the beach. Ask friends and neighbors who have dogs of their own if they would assist
you in training by allowing your puppy into their home or yard.
Rule 3. Immediately correct aggressive
Immediately correct any form of aggressive behavior. Your puppy
will do what comes naturally. Growling and biting as play are natural behaviors. However, NEVER let
your puppy growl or bite (play bite or otherwise) at anyone. Correct this behavior immediately and
correct it every time it occurs. Give your dog a firm and loud NO command and flick them under the
chin or on top of their nose. Never allow a Malamute puppy to think it has the advantage or can
dominate in any situation. A Malamute will absolutely take advantage of the
There is never a reason to strike or punch or slap a dog with any
force, but a light slap or rap on the nose (along with a forceful voice command) will get their
attention. As the dog matures, voice commands should be adequate. A newspaper slapped on a table or
a wall will also work.
Puppies learn quickly and if they think they can bite or growl to
intimidate you or someone else, they will. While this can be cute as a puppy, as they grow, this
will become a display of dominance that will make the animal hard to control and frustrating to be
around. No matter how funny and cute you think it is now, when the dog is an adult it will not be
cute and funny and you could have a potentially dangerous dog.
Always correct growling or biting
This goes for adult dogs as well. If you are walking your dog
on-leash and another dog approaches and you hear or feel your dog growling (you can feel it through
the leash,) use a quick, short jerk on the leash and a voice command to let him know his behavior
is not acceptable.
If possible, put some distance between your dog and the other dog.
Cross the street to the other side if necessary. If that is not possible, make sure you are
positioned between your dog and the other dog, and make sure you have firm control of the leash and
direct your dogs attention to you.
After the other dog has passed, pause and praise your dog as if he
had shown the correct behavior.
Keep in mind that your Malamute puppy will, at some point, could
go from a playful and easy going animal who gets along well with other dogs, to an aggressive,
often ferocious menace that will be hard to control if you do not correct aggressive behavior as
soon as the puppy does it. The same dog that used to gently play with other dogs, now terrorizes
Generally you'll encounter the change in behavior when the dog
approaches 18 months, especially if they have not been spayed or neutered. (This can also happen
even if the dog has been "fixed". Although is does appear to occur less frequently.) This is why it
is important to always keep your Malamute on a leash when outside in open areas and to train them
NOT to become aggressive by socializing them as puppies and reinforcing that training as they
If you think that your Malamute was "raised right" and knows how
to behave, you are foolish and will encounter unwelcome surprises. You'll be taking your dog to the
vet or paying for some other dog owner's medical bills because he got bit trying to defend his dog
from your dog. Because the fully grown Malamute will appear larger than most other dogs, you and
your dog will be blamed for any confrontation, regardless of the circumstances
We can not stress enough the importance of Obedience Training. We
recommend using the Koehler Method of training for a Malamute. Some dogs do well with nothing
but positive reinforcement training, however, because of the Malamute's intelligent, but
stubborn nature, they need to know that there are consequences for their actions. This is what
the Koehler Method emphasises.
Rule 4. Keep your dog healthy.
If a Malamute is under some form of stress they may become more
aggressive. Make sure your dog is current on his shots and heart worm medication. Keep him groomed
with periodic baths and thorough coat brushing every couple of days to remove any parasites, grass
seed, burrs and other dirt. Keep his nails clipped. An active dog will wear down their nails so
that frequent clipping may not be needed. Sedentary dogs need nail clipping so that they do not
hurt themselves when walking or climbing with long claws.
Make sure the dogs teeth stay healthy. Either brush them (which
dogs never like) or provide them with "Dent a-bones" and hard beef bones to chew on. This will help
reduce tartar and promote good gum health. Raw beef femur bones are fantastic also.
Rule 5. Love Your Dog.
Make time for your Malamute. Allow him to become part of the
family. Don't forget that he will require a lot of exercise and that you will have to "lead the
charge". Just having an open space or fenced area for the dog is not the answer. A Malamute will
not keep himself in shape. He must be led to exercise by following you. Take him along when jogging
or biking. Make walking your dog an every day priority. Some exercise is a lot better than no