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Malamute Aggression

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 your dog.

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 the largest.

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 people.

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 behavior.

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 circumstances.

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 immediately.

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 them.

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 mature.

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 activity.