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Alaskan Malamute — Advice and Questions Welcome!
I’m sure that you’ve researched the breed and come across the ‘downsides’ of owning Malamutes. A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that their little bundle of fluff will be the exception to the rule. They get lured into a false sense of security when they are pups, then wonder what has hit them when their obedient, responsive puppy suddenly turns into the teenager from hell.
During the teenage years and sometimes beyond, they will normally push their boundaries to the limits.
They can aquire selective deafness which can make re-call very iffy.
They can be possessive around food, toys, beds, sofas etc.
Same sex aggression or sometimes all out dog aggression isn’t uncommon.
Mouthing at people can be fairly common too.
Mal’s do not respond at all well to harsh handling. A badly handled Mal normally results in an aggressive Mal.
They are stupidly intelligent which is often labelled as stubborn. In truth, they are bred to be independent and free thinkers. If there is no incentive to do something (food/toys/praise) they don’t see the point in doing it. The secret to training is firstly making it worth their while and secondly making them think that they made the descision. Everyone in the household needs to be singing off the same sheet when it comes to training because if they pick up on a ‘weak link’ they will exploit it to their full advantage.
They mature mentally somewhere between 2-2 1/2. If you have put the work in through the teenage years, at this stage you will see all of your hard work paying off.
They moult continuously. They drop their coats fully twice a year and shed bits all year round. If you own anything black, you might as well shove it to the back of your wardrobe now.
They can be very vocal. Ice cream vans and police sirens can trigger a good old sing song so it’s best to give the neighbours a heads up.
While they are growing, care really needs to be taken with their joints. As a rule, 5 minutes of exercise per month of age until they are around a year old.
Once fully mature and dependant on weather, an adult Mal will take as much exercise as you can give them. Please do bare in mind that you might not be able to let your dog off lead, so you need to be willing to put the miles in.
There are lots of organised events up and down the country that KC registered Mals can enter- Rallies, backpacking (for the WPD title) and weight pull events give the dogs the chance to do what they are bred for.
Mentally tiring them out is as important as physically tiring them out. If they don’t have an outlet for their mental energy, they can invent their own games which can result in parts of your house getting re-aranged. I would strongly advise taking your new pup to training classess. It would also be good for socialisation too.
Where are you getting your puppy from? I know quite a few Mal people.
Sadly over recent years, there has been an explosion in people breeding Moots for money over health and temperament. Some dogs as young as 10 months old have had to be pts because of major aggression problems.
The parents should be KC registered and the breeder should be a member of the breed club-they adhere to breed to higher standards than those set by the KC. They also agree to take responsibility for any pups they breed for life and will take them back if the owners circumstances change.
Health tests for the breed are eyes (should have a clear eye certificate from the last 12 months), Hips (the lower the better and with even scores) and there is a DNA test to check for the long coat gene (which should be clear). Epilepsy is also common in some lines so I would expect the breeder to have traced the lines back as far as possible.
Breeders should be breeding to better the breed. The parents should be shown/worked or preferably both so you know that you’re getting a dog fit for function.
weight pull training @ players club | Southern. Athletic. Canine. Society
The first thing is to ensure you have plenty of time when you’re setting off on a walk
It’s going to take lots of patience
Hold the lead end in one hand, and the centre of the lead in the other to ensure you have control of the dog (retractables are useless for walking to heel, unless your dog is already lead trained)
We have a whole array of dog walking equipment, but have so far found the half choke the best tool (never a full choke, we had one as a show collar and it locked in a strangle once ). We have a Halti, but Brude tries to rip it off whilst walking on his hind legs
The main reason for choosing the half choke is for noise value. The chain rasps as it pulls through it’s loops, giving an audio signal to the dog. We now use the collar as a reinforcement to commands when he’s off the lead too (even if this means throwing it nearby if he’s gone completely deaf )
If using a half choke, make sure it’s adjusted to a size which will only apply a small amount of pressure when at ‘full lock’, and it should be worn high up the neck, and behind the ears. In this position it will produce a ‘gagging’ effect, but will not damage the wind pipe (test this by prodding your own throat )
Position your dog in the ‘heel’ position, hold the lead firmly, and set off. As soon as the dog pulls, stop, give the command ‘heel’ (or ‘close’ or ‘back’, but be consistent), gently pull the dog back into position, and set off again.
Another technique is to immediately change direction whenever the dog pulls. The dog has a determination to ‘get somewhere’, so changing direction changes the focus of ‘where we’re going’, and eventually causes enough confusion for the dog to re-focus up on you and ‘walking’ instead of ‘getting somewhere’
It’s best to try your first few sessions in the house or garden, to minimise distractions, to remove any destination targets the dog may have, and for you to perfect your techniques before making yourself look silly in the local park — it’s difficult to stay calm when training your dog if you feel silly
It’s a long slow process, but you have to be consistent, else no training will ever work. If your dog realises that every walk is an opportunity to test your mood and see if today is a ‘walk nice’ day or not, he’ll continue to pull, no matter how much ‘training’ you’ve done
Good luck Scoop
I had tried everything else and she rubbed all the hair off her nose with headcollars.
I only use the harness for busy places where I can’t control her otherwise but I find that if you want to encourage the dog to learn by being controlled on a normal lead, you can attach a lead to both the collar and the harness so that they don’t associate it only with the harness.
You can also use the harness for training because really you want to train the dog to work for you, not to be controlled by you the harness is a great way of keeping the dog by your side and teaching it that that is where it must stay. Plus, using a halti doesn’t simulate a normal collar anyway, the dogs head is being forced to turn when it pulls and it is actually being led by it’s nose.
I’m sure you’ll appreciate that what with various health problems it’s simply not pheasible for me to not use the harness because she could do me a lot of damage (as she has in the past) by pulling too hard so I don’t really have a lot of choice.
I find that providing you put in the time when you have it to train your dog, it is better to use a restrictive harness or headcollar when you have somewhere to be and don’t have time to do the full training. It’s taken me an hour and a half to get from my house in Crookesmoor, to the pet shop on Broomhill and back again before, a journey that should take only 30 minutes in total!
What do you mean??? my dog is an angel!!!
No, seriously, sometimes I despair, I think ‘we were just getting there’ and I want to just tie her to the nearest railing and put a sign round her neck saying ‘dog free to good home — I’ll even pay you to take her’
But other times, I realise she’s actually doing quite well — all dogs are different and I used to always think ‘why can’t I be one of those people who’s dogs walk by their sides nicely?’ but then I realised that’s like a mother saying ‘why can’t my kid paint a nice picture like that one?’
They’re as different as children are and you can’t compare them to other people’s dogs.
Takara’s nearly 16 months now and she is getting there, slowly but surely. The hardest part for us was finding a training method and sticking to it.
What you are doing will work, you just need to stick with it, whatever you do, don’t try a different method now — the fact that he is interested in the treat that is in your hand is a big improvement, it means he is focussing on something other than the things around him.
I also use a half check on Takara, I find that by adjusting it so it’s too big to actually tighten on her neck, but it will make a noise when ‘yanked’ she recognises the noise.
If it makes you feel any better I broke down in tears in the middle of a main road last night — Eddy was on a mission to get home and kept tripping me up and Takara was actually being quite good until I got stressed and then she too started messing around.
I think people who see me out with my dogs must think I’m a complete psycho the amount of swear words that come flying out of my mouth!! Also it sounds like I’m threatening them when I say ‘I’ll stand on your feet!!!!’ but actually, I’m warning them because I worry so much about their feet getting under mine!
You will get there, he may be 9 when you do, but you will!!
Just remember — tension is transferred down the lead and can cause, more pulling, aggression towards strangers/other dogs, stress to the dog which then causes more pulling…
If you are starting to get wound up, stop, loop the lead around the nearest tree/railing, stand against a wall or something and take deep breaths. Once you feel more calm say ‘come on then boy!! watch me!*’ tell him to sit, get the lead back in your hand, give him a treat and start again — the more positive you feel, the more positive the results will be.
*Have you trained him to ‘watch’ you?
If not, this can be an invaluable command which will help your dog to learn to focus on you. Hold a treat to your nose and wait for him to look at it, as soon as you get eye contact, click and treat. Keep doing it until he’s got it, then add the cue ‘watch me’ or ‘attention’ or whatever you choose — click and treat, then move onto doing it without the treat, hold your finger to your face and he should look at you, it may take a while — but try not to repeat the cue word too much as he will learn to ignore it until the 5th attempt! as soon as he does as you ask, click and treat.
I find watch me incredibly helpful, particularly when she’s offlead and she wants to go and see another dog that I know isn’t friendly, or I want her lead back on and it might just help when out walking too — if he’s distracted by something and pulling, tell him ‘watch me’.
Finally — sorry this is so long!!
While you’re out try adding different commands to the walk — I find that when I’m walking Takara, she pulls when she’s bored and wants to get to the park to have some fun etc.
To prevent boredom and hopefully prevent overpulling, add more commands to the walk, obviously you can’t do this when you’re with your little boy but if you’re training alone, try ‘jog’ or ‘run’ and run with him, then slow down and say ‘slow’. Tell him to sit every now and again — and actually, I tell T to sit when she pulls, tell him ‘go sniff’ and let him sniff a bin or tree.
Hopefully, he will pull less with the ‘go sniff’ command because he knows when he’s allowed to ‘go sniff’ and may not pull to get to things quite so much. If you know you’re approaching something that he’ll sniff, such as a wet wheelie bin or a tree, tell him ‘wait, wait’ or ‘slow’ all the way upto it, then as you approach it and you’ve got close enough tell him ‘go sniff!’ so he can see it, he’ll learn that he doesn’t need to rush because you’re going to let him sniff it anyway
Good luck — hope this helps, it’s longer than I anticipated but it’s just little things I think of while I’m writing!
The dobermutt can pull for England and has tried umpteen halters, headcollars, choke-chains and the like over the past 5 years.
The Canac Gentle Leader and Halti headcollars lasted 5 minutes- one she managed to snap the plastic buckle thing and the other she put her paws behind her ears and simply pulled it over her head…
We’ve had the Lupi harness which is good because it has rubber sleeves over the cords that go under her armpits so her fur isnt damaged by the cord rubbing it when she tries to pull but she can stil pull when she wants to- we had better luck with this when we shortened the bit that connects to the lead and we got the shortest lead we could to clip to it, so she was always close to us.
Personally, I love the eazydog products-
the mongrel short lead, the bungee rope extension and the compfy velcro easy clean collar — Pets at Home have just started stocking them too.
We’ve had the canac and various other harnesses over the years- they are sturdy, but don’t stop her from pulling and at 39Kg she is strong and has pulled me over in her eagerness to get to the park.
The ONLY headcollar we can get on with is the Dogmatic-
this is sized per breed and has buckles rather than plastic clips/fastenings- we used to get the leather ones, but recently have switched to the padded synthetic leather and/ or the padded fabric ones that are easier to wipe or wash clean — the dobermutt likes to roll in the grass and still tries toremove her headcollar but hasnt figured out how to in the past 3 yeasr weve ben using the product.
Dogmatic headcollars are super strong and secure- they were originally designed by a dobe breeder who was fed up of the other unreliable products amd decided to design something herself.
We would only trust this brand, having had some scary moments in public when the giddy mutt has got free on the other brands. I would def recommend either the Dogmatic headcollar (which gives total control) or the Lupi Harness, which is the best of all the harnesses we have tried — and believe me, we have tried a lot!
Hi someone else asked about this recently — we use the dogmatic
we tried the gentle leader, the halti and various other head harnesses and body harnesses, but out of them all we prefer the dogmatic- it is sized acording to breed or if you contact them with your dogs measurements they will advise which one to get.
What do I like about it? — its strong, most of the styles have buckles rather than plastic clips or straps and it gives us the best control over our big daft dobermutt. She still tries to get it off everytime we take her for a walk but after the first few mins she realises it aint coming off so gives in.
nb we had trouble with both the halti and gentle leader head harnesses- the daft dobe managed to get one of them off (I forget which it was now — might have been the halti) by putting her paws behind her ears and literally pulling it off over her head — she did this several times (and each time we made sure it wasnt loose), so no way were we sticking with that.
The other brand (I think this was the canac gentle leader), she very quickly managed to snap one of the plastic catches on it and yet another one (brandname I cant remember — might have been a mikki or something else Pets at Home stock), because she is such a strong dog and has this habit of dancing on her hind legs when she is excited about going in the park (I know, it’s embarrassing, but it soon subsides), she managed to pull some of the stitching loose, so the bit that you fasten to the lead was compromised. Hence, we stick to dogmatics and have used them for about 3 years now.
Weve tried all manner of body harnesses too- only really liked the Lupi but to be honest, she pulled SO MUCH on them all we ended up giving them away on freecycle. We still keep the lupi just in case, but feel happier when she is on the dogmatic.
Thanks for all your help guys, think I`m going to take her down to pets at home (as KATIEB_23 suggested) and try on a halti, that was the one I spent most time looking at and seems to be highly recommended.
Once again thankyou for all your input and I`ll let you know how we get on with it!
I tried something simalar to the dogmatic (think it was a halti) on our 2 staffies, but he would manage to flip it off, and she struggled to breathe properly on long walks. I was told by one pet shop owner that there is a better one for staffies, but I can’t recall its’ name, it may be the dogmatic.
I have just posted a thread requesting advice for our 2, I was thinking of using a harness for the both of the, (at present he is on a choker, and she is on a harness). This thread is of great interest to myself as well!
I would definatley recommend the dogmatic, all 5 of our dogs have them. We tried all sorts of harnesses, haltis, gentle leaders,canny collars etc before finding the dogmatic and these actually work! They don’t ride up into their eyes, they’re very hard for the dogs to be able to get off and mine don’t actually mind wearing their dogmatics.
My friend bought the halti harnesses for her 2 boxers but they didn’t really have that much effect to be honest, she then tried the dogmatics and got a great result.
When you say ‘guard dog’, I assume that you will be treating the animal as a household pet which also has the added advantage of guarding your property , rather than the tethered, lonely creatures one sees in scrapyards etc? You will have to be careful regarding the infamous ‘Dangerous Dogs’ Act. I am not completely familiar with all of it, but you would be on a sticky wicket if the dog mauled anybody, even those loathsome beings called burglars.
I am familiar with English Bull Terriers [own one] and Staffordshire Bull Terriers. Few dogs outside of the ‘fighting’ lines of the American Pitbull Terrier could compete with these breeds in terms of ‘toughness’ in relation to dog-on-dog violence. Those that might are banned [Fila Brasileiro , Dogo Argentino etc]. In any case, Bullies and Staffies tend to be too friendly with humans to be excellent guards, on the whole. One ‘Bull’ breed of dog that is usually stronger and heavier than the German Shepherds , Rottweilers and Doberman Pinschers that make up the bulk of guard dogs is the Bull Mastiff. If correctly trained, these dogs make affectionate if slightly aloof pets, and are often first-rate guards. They were originally bred to guard game-keepers against poachers, and are definately what is termed ‘man-stoppers’. In other words, at [on average] 25-27 inches in height and 90-130lbs in weight, the Bull Mastiff possesses sufficient size and strength to tackle and overcome any intruder. However, I cannot guarantee that the intruder will remain in one piece or that he will not die of terror.
I’ll resist any jokes about ‘goosing’ [ooer missus etc]. What can geese do though, besides gang up together like cowards, hiss vulgarly and peck people? Pecking is annoying but doesn’t really hurt in my experience, unless the bird in question is some sort of Eagle or Vulture [the Eagle at Riber Castle Zoo was a nasty beggar]. I’d rather be chased by a flock of daft, waddling geese than a Bull Mastiff. Come to think of it, I would like to be chased by geese. Sexy little beasts, aren’t they?!
Believe it or not, dalmatians are excellent guard dogs.
Originally bred to run alongside horse drawn carriages to guard the horses and riders, by night they stayed in the stable with the horses so that the drivers could sleep indoors rather than staying in the stable to look after the horses.
The theory was, the dalmatian was too alert to let any horse thief near the horses and should two or three men take one dalmatian on, the dalmatian could guard against them all.
Add this to the stamina of the dog and it meant a dog that could travel with the horse by foot for long distances and still stay alert all night.
We have two, both are territorial and protective of their family members.
They are not naturally aggressive but are protective and do not welcome strangers to the house and have deterred their fair share of postmen from coming to the house
They are also incredibly strong when they need to be and can look surprisingly fierce
If this is what they look like when they smile, you don’t want to see an angry one!
This is true, but there are also dogs who will naturally guard and those who will welcome anyone into the house- and each breed generally follows a trend.
For instance, Northern Inuit Dogs look very much like wolves and people are often afraid of them, but, the majority I know — and I’m by no means an expert on the breed, will welcome someone into the house and kiss them while they steal the TV.
There are breeds who have been bred with specific traits to protect people/posessions/territory etc. and there are those who weren’t so the ones who have the trait bred into them will be far more natural at doing it than those who weren’t although most dogs and every breed, is capable of guarding.
Soldier of Fortune Weight Pull Harness – Culpeppers
MEASUREMENTS OF YOUR DOG(S) ARE REQUIRED WHEN ORDERING THIS HARNESS.
Photo shown is without Spreader Bar
“X” Back harness fitted with Spreader bar. Full spectrum of colours available for both Webbing and Padding. Telephone ordering only. Please allow minimum of 14 days as each order is made to your measurements.
Q. Why can’t I adjust the “X” Back harnesses to fit my dog?
A. The simple reasons are : Placing adjustment mechanisms, i.e., clips and fastenings within the harness, can cause abrasions to the dog. Invariably, adjusters can break and stretch, which means you are always putting the harness back to it’s original position before usage, and in the majority of cases, it just adds more weight to the harness. Some mushers are acutely aware of weight burden issues.
Recommended usage : Weight Pulling.
Not recommended for use as a : Race, Walking harness, Springer and Walky dog bicycle attachment, CaniX.
Weight-Pull harnesses that are padded from front to back, effectively covering the flanks of your dog, then please ask us for a quote.
I just want to say, I placed an order whilst I was in the UK, and my father is pleased, as he is abroad. I would recommend Culpeppers to anyone and everyone!!! Thank You Very Much!!! Never to be forgotten.