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Alaskan Malamute Training and Grooming

Alaskan Malamutes need you to be their leader

The loyalty of these dogs is unparalleled but raising Alaskan Malamutes is hard work! Everyone falls in love with the fluffy little puppy but aren't prepared to control the extra large, stubborn adult dog. Too many of these beautiful dogs end up in pounds or destroyed because people aren't prepared to take on this breed. Please do your homework first and WANT to give 100% into training your odog to assure a loving relationship between you and your best friend.

They NEED you to be their Alpha and if you can't handle the task than they'll take it upon themselves to be your Alpha. The first six to eight months is so incredibly important in training. I cannot stress this enough. Malamutes do NOT respond to spanking and we do not hit our dog's snout! Malamutes WANT to make you happy so they need to understand how to do it.

Anytime my dogs have ever done anything wrong I don't yell at them. I don't give them negative or positive attention. I simply clean up their mess slowly, mumbling to myself, acting quite upset and letting them watch and observe. It's quite impressive to watch their response because they really feel bad about making me upset. Malachi, my male I raised from puppy hood but Shiloh, my female I rescued when she was 15 months old. Training a Malamute puppy is much easier than an adult that has been mistreated. She tested me for almost two weeks daily, chewing things she shouldn't, eating throw rugs, looking at me and deliberately going potty in the house. These dogs if punished improperly will not fear you, they will resent you. For her, she was only ever used to getting bad attention. Every time she would do something she shouldn't she would put her tail between her legs, lay on her back and tremble waiting for her punishment. It was so transparent when I would come that if she didn't destroy anything while I was gone she would come right to me waiting to be petted but if she was 'bad' she would not even make eye contact with me.

I never let on that I was ever upset with anything she did. I would just clean up her mess, mumbling, acting upset about the situation (it really was not an act most of the time) until one day she walked over to me while I was cleaning up the feathers from my down comforter she had destroyed, she got in my face and started giving me kisses and would not stop. I taught her that she would not get attention from me by acting out, I gainer her trust and she has never done one thing wrong again. She never leaves my side. So, for puppies it's a matter of them understanding what is right and wrong, with an adult it's a matter of them knowing what to do to make you happy.

When Malachi was going through his teething stage I cannot tell you how many times I had to take my shoe or whatever he had stolen to chew out of his mouth and switch and give him a toy. They don't understand that a shoe is not a toy yet. You have to teach them. Now, they have 3 toy boxes in three different rooms and not only do they take the toys out of the boxes, they put their toys back in too! I will come home to every toy out of every box all over the house and I say 'toys away' and they'll put them all back. Malamutes are working dogs and like to have a job to do or they get bored so they more time you invest in them and the more things you teach them the happier they are. They love to learn! Both of my Mals will wait when coming inside if it's wet out and allow me to dry their feet. My aunt's Malamutes will step all four paws in the foot bath at the door one by one prior to entering. Malachi and Shiloh even know the difference of which leash to bring me if i say 'walk' or 'dog park'. The tasks you can teach them are endless.

Training your Malamute can be the easy part but if you aren't prepared to walk your Mal at least once a day and I don't mean down to the corner and back then this breed is not for you. You have to give them proper exercise or don't get mad when they destroy their home! You give a little and you get a lot in return! I can't remember the last time my dog's did anything 'bad' but I also can't remember the last day we didn't go for a walk....rain or snow! Do NOT ever let a Malamute off their leash. It doesn't matter how well trained these dogs are, how many classes they go to, they are bred to run hundreds of miles! Also, most dogs will run alongside of a road, Malamutes and Huskies will not! Eye on the prize....whatever they see is what they're going after. If they need to run in front of a car to get that squirrel across the street they will! This is why there is such a high number of them hit by cars. Do not let your dog off their leash or out of the yard. Please!

Alaskan Malamutes just need to be taught that yes, they are your best friend but at the same time you are their leader. They will test you but don't give in. You will win and they will love and respect you for it. Always remember to use eye contact with this breed. They are very big on it and it really means something to them.

Are you up for the Alaskan Malamute challenge?


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When can my Mals pull a sled?

An Alaskan Malamute's bones are not fully developed until at least 18 years of age so please do not have your Mal attempt to pull anything of weight until then. Of course your child, a plastic sled, a harness and some snow are just fine.

An Alaskan Malamute's bones are not fully developed until at least 18 years of age so please do not have your Mal attempt to pull anything of weight until then. Of course your child, a plastic sled, a harness and some snow are just fine.

Should I crate train my Mal?

I'm not going to put down crate training. My one aunt has crate trained all of her dogs and has had great success. The dogs are happy and have their little safe den. I however, chose to not crate train Malachi. I just couldn't do it. I bought a puppy gate and blocked off my kitchen so he had a sleeping area with a bed and toys, his water feeding area and potty pads close to the door. He also had enough room to run around a little and for me it worked perfect. When I told him bedtime he knew he was going to the kitchen.

My only suggestion and one key point I hope you get out of this hub is something I stumbled upon by pure accident. I caught him after a few days looking in the full length mirror so excited to see 'another' puppy so I came up with the idea of putting a mirror in his sleeping area and he never whimpered at night again. I guess he felt like there was another dog there with him. Something so simple gave me very peaceful nights sleep. I would go and sneak up on him and find him sleeping with his nose pressed against the mirror. Such an adorable site!

The FURminator

Grooming your Malamute

If you don't have a loving relationship with your vacuum cleaner then please don't bring a Mal into your home! Let me say first, the winter months are a breeze. Some people assume that malamutes shed constantly due to their long coats but the really don't. They blow their coats twice a year. Personally I don't feel the fall 'blowing' is bad at all but perhaps when you're comparing it to the springtime fun then you're comparing it to the worse time. It is important to brush these dogs constantly. I don't mean a few strokes of the brush either. Let's speak of the majority of the year first being summer through end of winter. Brushing once, preferably twice a week will keep their hair from getting mats. I recommend the furmanator. It may cost a bit more then the other rakes on the shelf but it is worth every penny and if you have a cat, it's good for then too. Mals are very clean dogs. They are odor free and you will often find them cleaning themselves like a cat. Their hair is wonderful that it doesn't hold dirt. My mals can be out getting filthy, playing in the rain and the dirt and come inside for a nap and hours later when they wake up they're perfectly clean. Of course the floor where they decided to lay is far from clean but it's a lot easier to clean a floor then throw an extra large dog in the bathtub. So with the exception of spring their grooming is fairly low maintenance. Now let's talk about this spring coat blowing. Just like the change of the season, this lasts all season. They're hair literally can be pulled out in clumps! Forget about skipping a day brushing them. It's a must to be done constantly and this is easiest done outside. Brushing also helps a TINY bit with hair around the house if you have a wooly. My male is a part wooly so is undercoat really holds the loose fur waiting to be brushed out. My female is not and although her hair is much shorter then his, she seems to shed more around the house and less during the brushing. You WILL vacuum everyday and it will look like a desert on your kitchen floor only it's not's dog hair forming in balls blowing around with every breeze. Let me also mention just for sympathy purposes that besides for my two dogs, I also have a long haired persian cat. There are days in the spring that I brush out a pile of fur from these animals so large that it fills a shopping bag and I cannot believe there is not a place I can donate this fur to for some company to make homeless people warm coats or blankets. There will be so much fur it will look like another dog laying there in a pile. I don't know where it comes from but if you can't deal with it then don't get one of these dogs. If you have a job where you wear all black, I suggest you buy stock in lint rollers! People will stop and stare to see your gorgeous dog with it's fur coat pulling you in the snow.

So aside from the fur balls their grooming is very low maintenance. A bath now and then, frequent brushing and teeth brushing is all they require. On the plus side they really don't need to go to the groomers or get a trim or anything else like that so save your money and spend it on toys and're gonna need them!

What's your dog's name?

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on April 28, 2012:

This time of year I use it every day. During the rest of the year I typically use a pin brush or a comb and then use the furminator once a week.

redj on April 28, 2012:

hey how often do u use your furminator? ive just bought one fro my husky and malmute but id heard if u use them to often it damages their skin???

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on September 21, 2011:

My Mals LOVE the rain. Of course they don't stay out in all day but they are happy for us to go for a walk in it and they are equally as happy to get muddy so I can clean up a mess. :) Of course...they prefer snow.

Dragan on September 21, 2011:

Do the malamutes like the rain i have 9 months malamute

Sinea Pies from Northeastern United States on June 09, 2011:

These puppies are so CUTE! I do believe that one is not enough. We are yellow lab enthusiasts (along with every other kind of dog) and have 2! Lexi & Troy! Both rescues. Both being spoiled rotten by yours truly. Love it!

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theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 30, 2010:

Yes these are definitely not dogs for just anyone. Training is not easy since they have a mind of their own but done properly, it certainly is rewarding. they are the most wonderful creatures but I would rather warn someone that they really need to think long and hard about bringing one home before they bring one home and decide they can't handle it. It is so unfair to the dogs!

BkCreative from Brooklyn, New York City on May 30, 2010:

What a super great hub - and what great photos. You have certainly covered everything here. This hub will prepare everyone who is thinking about a malamute - they have a right to be taken home by someone who is not an idiot (too much of that going on).

Certainly rated up and more. And you're right, you can't help but to want more than one!

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on May 21, 2010:

oooooh I hate your neighbors!! Don't people realize what they put dogs through when they just get "tired" of them? That is so horrible! I love that your cats let you wipe their paws down too when they come inside!! lol That is awesome!

Christine Mulberry on May 20, 2010:

Beautiful dogs, they look like little bear cubs as puppies. We had a German Shepard as a kid and that's what she looked like as well. Love smart dogs and these obviously are. I agree, I think it's so important that people know what they are getting into before they get a dog (or any type of pet). I have some neighbors who get a dog, have it 9 -16 months, get rid of it, and 6 months later they have a new one. They've had 4 dogs in 5 years. Drives me NUTS.

I have to laugh though, some of what you say coincides with my experience with our cats. Constant brushing in the spring AND, they come in from outdoors and wait for me to wipe them down and dry their paws before proceeding on into the house.

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on April 20, 2010:

Ahhh yes...mine go into a bit of hibernation state in the summer as well! lol Malachi's hair is so long that he overheats with anything over 70 degrees but they he wants to be outside and play all night.

shibashake on April 20, 2010:

Your Malamutes sound a lot like my Sibe.

I think the greatest challenge with these dogs is the amount of energy they have. They just keep going and going. The other day one of my neighbors asked me - do you ever go home? - lol!

My Sibe does slow down a bit during the summer months. Heat and humidity are not her friends.

"Malamutes are like potato can't have just one"

Love this and love the pictures.

theherbivorehippi (author) from Holly, MI on March 14, 2010:

Thanks for reading! is certainly never a dull moment with these dogs...they are like people only I think they're smarter. lol (and right now, mine are muddy!! Rain and thaw out of weather is not my favorite time of year!)

Sandy Mertens from Wisconsin, USA on March 14, 2010:

I am a dog lover. I always thought these Alaskan Malamutes are one of the most beautiful dogs. Learned some new things reading this. And it was a nice change from reading all the health hubs.

Paradise7 from Upstate New York on November 02, 2009:

Oh, what a good hub. My cousin had a husky, and she had some things she needed to learn. These dogs are wonderful! Thank you for a great hub!

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on October 23, 2009:

Thanks for stopping by my hub - I did not know anyone else on here did one on MALS! That is awesome - will have to link you to some of my upcoming one - the saga continues! Your puppies are absolutely adorable!!!!! Our Griffin is 5 months old this very day and we are so in love. He is absolutely the sweetest thing and his personality is just amazing. Our 7-1/2 year old rescued mal is still not having anything to do with PLAYING with him but I'm hoping one of these days the old lady will get over herself! Griffin is persistent, however. We have been training them both to pull the scooter (Denaya already does this just fine but Griff is too young yet for weight)....although I'm not too keen on getting back ON the scooter after my fall off THAT! First the roller blades and then the was like "WHAT am I DOING?" I don't think you really should start something like that when you are as old as dirt! Anyhow - keep in touch! Not too many folks understand mals but I saw from your blogs that YOU do! Griffin I think is a fuzzy or a wooly so he is a bit of a cuddly duddly and I just gotta love that puppy smell....haven't had it for 10+ years and hate to have him grow out of it! They are great, great dogs but you totally have to be ON TOP and in charge at all times - and never strap on rollerblades unless there is a fire!

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