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Alaskan Malamute - any tips?

(80 Posts)
Mouseface Fri 11-Feb-11 19:47:05


We've just got a Malamute. He's 12 weeks old (and gorgeous) grin

I wondered if anyone had any tips on care/feed/walking/sleep/training etc?

We are crating him but only got him today so tonight should be interesting.

hephaestus Fri 11-Feb-11 20:36:00

Have you ever had a northern-type breed before?

Laska Fri 11-Feb-11 20:45:04

I bet he's stunning - congratulations!

I imagine you will have thoroughly researched the breed already, and had advice from the breeder on care too, especially as Mal's are not an 'easy' breed and not for the faint-hearted grin. So what advice specifically are you after?

WRT the crating, remember to make it a pleasant place to be, with good associations (lovely toys, a t-shirt that smells of you, feed him in there, etc), not somewhere he's shut away.

Tsil Fri 11-Feb-11 20:50:54

As Laska said hopefully you have thoroughly researched the breed and taken advice from your breeder.

The only things I would add is make sure he knows you are boss, they are not a breed to be lenient with the will take control. Dogs in general always keep on a lead in public never wort the risk no matter how friendly he is and take him to puppy/ dog classes if you can. Worked wonders on our collie who was becoming a bit of a tyrant.

And enjoy him they are beautiful dogs!

Tsil Fri 11-Feb-11 20:51:54

Worth not wort damn iPad

hephaestus Fri 11-Feb-11 21:05:17

"Mal's are not an 'easy' breed and not for the faint-hearted"

This is what I was insinuating, LOL - if you've not had a spitz type before you're really in at the deep end. grin

If you can't/won't feed raw/BARF, pick a hypoallergenic complete dry food that doesn't contain wheat and other fillers, happy to recommend brands if the breeder hasn't done so already (I'd hope he'd come with some of what he was weaned on to gradually switch over). Along with huskies they have a tendency to wheat intolerance and often do poorly on commercial diets.

No walking at this age, just free play in the garden. As a large weight bearing breed it must be little, often and very gradual. No jumping (for instance, over stiles or in/out of the car) until after 12 months, some will say 18 months.

Crate must be a super-good-nice-place-to-be - filled puppy kongs in there, nice smelly t-shirt, gradually increase the length of time in there and the length of time that you're out of the room for. Never return while pup is howling, never try to reassure (you're just reinforcing that there's something to be worried about), just try to arrange it so pup is tired and ready to nap when placed in the crate. They are very prone to separation anxiety so start leaving him for short periods straight away.

Training these dogs is very... interesting. grin They need a job to do - canicross, bikejoring, dryland mushing, backpacking etc. They don't really make a good household pet for this reason.

Broadly speaking they are not dogs that can be let off the lead - in securely fenced areas away from livestock maybe, in your local park no. They have very poor recall and even with extensive training are a bit hit and miss. A 50ft long line is your friend (flexi leads are crap). I do not mean to upset you but the number that get hit by cars or shot by farmers, along with their close cousins the husky, is really high. If they see something, they will not come back.

hephaestus Fri 11-Feb-11 21:08:51

Also expect to replace your hoover annually and to use it twice daily. wink

Mouseface Fri 11-Feb-11 22:05:07

Thanks - he's actually 8 weeks, not 12 blush

Spoken lots to the breeder and looked up on the internet and in books. Spemt weeks getting to know about them.

You are going to think we are mad but this is our first dog.

We wanted one (have land and huge garden) and DS is less work than he was at birth.


He's been in his crate for a while, he's howling now, he's on Bakers puppy which is what he was on before, what would you recommend?

Can you move in please? grin

I want this to work. I'll take all the advice I can get.

Where shall I out him tonight? First night here.

Mouseface Fri 11-Feb-11 22:20:37

'put' sorry.

Mouseface Fri 11-Feb-11 22:21:29

'spent' doh!

Mouseface Fri 11-Feb-11 22:24:22

Sorry, off to bed but will check back tomorrow ASAP.

Thank you so much for your help xx

JaxTellersOldLady Fri 11-Feb-11 22:24:59

I just wanted to say Congratulations on your puppy and have a little but sharp intake of breath at "this is our first dog" shock

I would ditch the Bakers personally. I use Royal Canin for one of my dogs and Burns for the other. But there are many good brands out there and when the dogs are older/well again I think I will switch them back to ARden Grange.

Everyone has their own brand preference on feeding dogs. smile

hephaestus Fri 11-Feb-11 22:44:36

Ditto Jax that different things work for different dogs and everyone has their preferences but please, for the love of god, ditch the Bakers ASAP! I always recommend Fish4Dogs, Arden Grange and James Wellbeloved are fine also, I'm not a fan of Royal Canin because of the wheat content. Taste of the Wild is also grain free... (wracking brain) erm... Skinners is ok and VAT free as it's marketed for working dogs.

"I just wanted to say Congratulations on your puppy and have a little but sharp intake of breath at "this is our first dog""

Ditto again. shock

If he's that upset in the crate then for the first few nights I would move the crate into your bedroom - you will need to have him nearby to hoist him out for wees initially anyway - and gradually move the crate out on to the landing, cover it with a blanket so he can't see you, then eventually move it to where you want him permanently.

TheButterflyCollector Sat 12-Feb-11 00:02:52

Good God, yes, please ditch the Bakers. It is full of additives and there are some convincing links between these and attacks of canine epilepsy and of canine hyperactivity.

Fish4dogs is a good alternative, as hephaestus said, or Naturediet.

Ditto the sharp intake of breath.

wildfig Sat 12-Feb-11 08:33:48

Have you joined the breed club? If you're not geographically close to the breeder, it might be helpful to know where your nearest source of experienced Malamute advice is, especially if your vet's not familiar with them.

midori1999 Sat 12-Feb-11 09:21:46

Good luck!!! I love Mals but can't see myself ever having one because I love the easy life my Goldens give me. I know a few people with Mals who don't really look after them as they should, (couple of hours walking a day, some off lead and minimal training) and they are constantly escaping. Over 6ft fences, under fences having dug out.

Also, I'm scared of any breeder who uses Bakers asits widely known to be shite I'm afraid. Or for that matter, who sells a mal pup to a first time dog owner.

Sorry! I prefer to be pointed! Still, you have him now and for all we know might turn out to be the best owner in the world! The fact youre even asking for advice is a great start.

I second the advice to join the breed club and attend some of their events so you can meet other Mal owners. It's great to know others who have a love for the same breed as you and no one can offer practical advice quite so well as those who are living with the same dogs on a daily basis. Plus, it will help decide what activities you'd be interested in with your pup once he's old enough.

Can we have a picture please? Mals are the most adorable fluffy bundles as puppies!

Laska Sat 12-Feb-11 09:57:34

I'd be a bit concerned about this breeder too for the reasons Midori states.

Well, he's home now (thankfully, and off the Bakers Puppy - hurrah!) and I hope that the first night went well. Remember he's just a baby and reassurance will increase his confidence, so don't be scared to have him close to you initially - hephaestus crate advice is good.

Although he can't be walked yet, I'd be carrying him everywhere I went so he can get used to lots of sights, smells and sounds when out and about, and he's not fazed by them later.

Mouseface Sat 12-Feb-11 13:36:37


I've put a picture on my profile, he's the one on the right. Photo was taken at the breeders house when we first went to see him.

We kept him in the lounge with us all night and DH slept in here with him last night.

His crate is massive and in the kitchen so he goes in the kitchen, lounge, hall and outside. He can't do stairs yet.

DH took him to the vets this morning to have him checked over, weighed and get his jabs done. The vet said he's very healthy and has been very well looked after.

But to keep him on Bakers for another week or so, just until he settles here to avoid and tummy upsets.

So one week then I'll wean him off it to one that you have suggested.

He is KC regd and I have found an ex Malamute breeder in the village here, who has a nine year old bitch. She's lovely and has given us lots of advice so far.

Plus the vet has a breeder (she's a nurse there) who has 3 Malamutes and runs a puppy training school.

We've enrolled him in that.

Lots and lots of praise, cuddles and reassurance.

We've had 7 wees on the floor and 1 poo. He did manage to go outside for a poo earlier.

So, I have another question...... how do you respond to indoor wees and poos? Ignore and clean up or scold and clean up.

So far I've just cleaned it up and ignored him.

He understands sit so when he sits, there is lots and lots of praise. He is happy to lie in the door ways too, not a fan of being hot.

DH and I are at home all day; I care full time for DH who has complex special needs and DH runs his own business from here.

We have 1/4 acre of lad and there are plenty of fields around for long walks.

Not that any of you need my life story grin

hephaestus Sat 12-Feb-11 15:33:17

I've just seen from your profile that you are in Shropshire - if you ever get stuck or want to try out canicross/scootering/bikejoring, give me a shout, I'm mid-Shrops.

Ignore any indoor wees and poos but try to pre-empt them wherever possible - after meals, after a play session, after a nap, pretty much every half hour take him outside and if he goes, go 'WEE WEES YAAAAAAY!!' grin and let him know he's the cleverest puppy in the world.

Mouseface Sat 12-Feb-11 17:15:15

Thank you so much smile

I'm north Shropshire, nearer to Wales.

I did think that about wees and poos indoors. DH told him off this morning so I told DH off grin

I've been putting him out when he wakes, after food, every now and again. He likes being outside and is learning to settle in the kitchen for short periods on his own.

He's uber cute I can't stop stroking him!

DooinMeCleanin Sat 12-Feb-11 17:20:22

envy but shock that you have chosen this as your first dog. You know if he ever becomes too much I can build myself a house big enough to fit him in wink grin

You sound like you know what you have let for yourself in for.I'm sure you will do great with him.

Mouseface Sat 12-Feb-11 18:10:21

Thanks Dooin smile

We thought long and hard about it, did our homework, looked at mortality, illness etc.

I'm hoping he'll love us as much as we love him.

MotherJack Sat 12-Feb-11 23:40:41

I happen to know someone with 2 Malamute dogs. Their owner was somewhat worried to let them play with my mini-staff as the youngest, at 2 years old is typically immature and at least 10 times her size, but it turns out they play well. They are absolutely beautiful dogs and SO well behaved, although I do know they are trained as sled dogs and run through the forests here on a regular basis. The walks we meet them on are possibly when they are fulfilled and knackered!

Food here for mini-staff is James Wellbeloved mixed with Naturediet. I came across it and started to understand the benefits for previous-Staff with KC registered inbred problems of every sort (previously fed on Bakers, funnily enough!) It's really good stuff. smile

Mouseface Sun 13-Feb-11 11:07:47

Hey MJ

The vet recommended James Wellbeloved too. I'll be glad to ditch the Bakers, it's vile stuff. I've heard no good reports about it at all.

And after reading the posts on here, I too am shocked that any breeder would start a puppy off on it.

We had a really good night, he slept all the way through in the kitchen (DH was in the lounge just next door) and he even went in his crate of his own accord.

He understands 'no' wait' 'sit' and 'down'. He's very giddy when he first sees you and nips your clothes but a firm 'no' seems to work, along with some physical contact.

He did manage to change the programme on my washing machine for me, clever boy. Cookery class next week? grin

Slowly, slowly smile

Laska Sun 13-Feb-11 11:30:36

"but a firm 'no' seems to work, along with some physical contact."


Glad you had a good first night. Remember that commands he understands in one place may not work in another - they need to be 'proofed' for lots of different situations. His understanding 'sit' at home doesn't mean that he will automatically understand that it means 'sit' when he's out at the park wink

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