|Malamutes are NOT for neat freaks
|...and other 'information'
|They have incredible jaw pressure.
This can is one of the least destroyed, however,
the dog who did this was 12.5 years old at the
time and his teeth are a bit worn. He managed to
do this and not only sucked all of the condensed
soup from the can but also didn't even cut
|Leather couch cushion.
This was NOT done with teeth. This
was from wet faces, claws, and the
desire to nest. Being a more 'natural
dog' they do really like to dig and
|DO THEY SHED?
Well of course they do. And it gets everywhere. One to two times per year they do a big shed. We call
this 'blowing coat'. This is different than normal shedding. During this time they lose everything
except the guard coat (the top coat) and they will even lose a lot of that. First time owners are often
shocked and worried at the amount of hair that comes off the dog. It's totally normal.
Bumper above getting 'blown out'. We have a forced air dryer which makes drying dogs go much faster
and it works well for blowing the loose hair off the dogs. The birds around our house undoubtedly have
very well insulated nests. For every malamute home, even if you have just one, I recommend
purchasing a nice forced air dryer. With dryers, you get what you pay for. We purchased the K9-II back
in 2000 and it's still going strong today, even with all of the use.
For grooming tools, avoid many of the 'shedding tools'. Many have a blade in them that cut the guard
coat, leaving it less manageable and healthy. We only use a 10" steel comb (we prefer the Andis brand)
with moderately wide tines. It will get through most standard coated dogs easily and costs all of $10.
Buy 2 though for when you lose the first one. Rakes are ok but if you do get one, watch the blades to
make sure they are not sharp. If it is uncomfortable for you on YOUR skin, it's not an appropriate tool
for your dog. Brushes are really not all that effective until most of the coat is out.
If you can't handle the hair getting *everywhere*, this breed is not for you.
|It's hard to believe but this is the same dog, totally "naked" after puppies and later in coat.
This is normal shedding and may happen 1-2 times a year.
|DO THEY DIG?
Well...small puppies dig. The adults Excavate. Malamute owners should not expect their yard, at least
not the part where the mals run, to look like yard of the month. Our dog yard has small trenches deep
enough to cover a dog up to the shoulders. They LOVE to tunnel. This is especially important to
remember when they are left in the backyard as malamutes are less likely to go OVER a fence than they
are to go UNDER. Or through. They will go through. Be sure to check your fence line from time to time.
Can you train them out of it? Maybe. But if digging is a big deal to you, this breed is probably not for
|DO THEY ESCAPE?
Sometimes, yes. This was one of many attempts to contain one of the dogs while we were gone. Our
then resident Houdini went through 9 crates/pens the first year we had her. We thought stacking the
crates would discourage her from getting out. Nope, she just bounced it down off the bottom crate an
'supermanned' out the bottom. So we bungeed this crate to the top one. It worked for all of a day.
We apparently missed locking the bottom of this crate and a 75# dog squeezed out through that
opening. Shortly after, she figured out how to unlock it from the inside and was out before we could
get our front door locked to leave.
They remind me of the Velociraptors in Jurassic Park. They're always thinking and learning. Our
escape artist, when she couldn't find a way to either unlock or dismantle a crate from the inside,
resorted to brute strength. She would systematically test the perimeter of the crate/pen door with her
nose and once she found the sweet spot she'd hit it with everything she had until the crate gave. Her
FACE broke welds and usually without any obvious damage to the dog. Incredible.
As a 10 year old at the 2008 National out in Olympia she was crated in the back of a van. She
figured out how to pull the back of the crate in, squeeze around it, get out the door (or window?) of
the van and was found entering the hotel lobby through the automatic doors. In the process she'd
lost her collar and tags. I never found the tags.
Chainlink, welded wire, and some of the strongest, best made crates could not hold this dog. Her
story is not totally uncommon in this breed. It's not about giving them bones and stuffed Kongs--we
did that. They decide they don't want to be contained. She also learned how to open some doors and
when that didn't work, she ripped the door off the hinges and blew a hole in the drywall.
Her most impressive feat was when she escape the old Kennel-Aire Commander Series crate (pictured
below). We had it welded so it no longer folds down and the only possible opening is the door.
Everything else is 1" welded squares. We put her in it to go to the store and we came home to her
sitting next to it. None of the welds were broken and the door was still LOCKED. The door really
does not bend much and the door is quite small. Obviously she had to have squeezed out but only she
knows how she did it though there was a small tuft of hair on the top of the door. I still cannot
believe she made it out of that tiny space.
|If you cannot or will not spend the money on GOOD crates and
GOOD containment and understand that you may have to replace
those things from time to time, please, DO NOT get a Malamute.
|As time has gone on, we've had to make modifications. At our current home, we were lucky that
there was already a 6ft wood privacy fence enclosing the dog yard. To help with the fence line digging
though, we bought rolls of 5' welded wire fence and folded it so it goes halfway up the wood fence and
then 2' out into the yard. It was stapled up the vertical and we used landscaping staples to secure the
horizontal. The fence has since grown into the ground. The idea was to deter any digging at the fence
and if they got wise to the border of the fence in the ground, we would have ample time to detect any
tunnels that were headed for the fence line.
Speaking of 'underground'. Underground fencing really isn't appropriate for any dog but it is
definitely NOT APPROPRIATE for Malamutes.
The reasons include but are not limited to:
*Underground fence does not keep other things out. Malamutes tend to be dog aggressive. If a loose
dog comes into the yard, one or both stand to get hurt.
*Malamutes like to chase other critters and are not often deterred by pain when they are keyed in on
something. When they blow past the barrier however, the excitement is over and they're not likely to
take the shock again to get back into the yard.
*More and more behaviorists and trainers are noting greater behavioral problems with dogs of any
breed who are on underground fences. It makes sense: at first, they want to go see people or dogs
who approach. They approach the barrier being friendly and they get zapped for it. They come to
associate people and other dogs coming toward them as a bad thing and become fear aggressive.
|We presume the cabinet wasn't 100% shut. All it takes is the tiniest opportunity...
She opened it fully and went shopping, sharing it with other dogs. More was strewn
throughout the house. We also had to install a slide bolt on the lazy susan corner cabinet
we use as the pantry because there was a similar scene after she got into our food.
Including the brand new 5# bag of uncooked rice. Malamutes are NOTORIOUS for
scavenging, no matter how well fed or how many toys they have.
Malamutes are opportunists.
Malamutes are notorious counter surfers.
Last week, different dog:
As I pass the dish walking through the kitchen, "Why did you make the 3rd chicken breast?"
His response as he enters the kitchen maximum 3-5 SECONDS later, "Taking it to work."
Him: "...Where is it?"
"Where is what?"
"What do you mean 'where's the chicken', it's in the dish."
(disagreement as to the current location of said chicken continues)
Dog is noticed licking a spot on the floor. Burps in confirmation of what has just happened.
While this is level of ninja theft may not be QUITE the norm, counter surfing is.
Malamutes are opportunists. If you aren't watching, even for moments, they are happy to
take advantage. Nobody can watch their dog every second, no one is expected to, but if you
can't live with a dog who is likely to do this, do not get a Malamute.
|Tie outs are not excellent but they are, in my opinion, better than an underground fence. While they
do not keep other animals out of the yard and they are not fool proof, at least the dog knows the
perimeter by a physical marker. If you must use tie outs, buy the next heaviest strength from the size
of the dog you have. Make sure there are NO structures within the dog's reach. Not picnic tables, not
other fences, no bushes, no trees, nothing. A dog who gets caught can die from choking if they get
stuck around something.