The Alaskan Malamute Club of America puts out an official publication titled The Alaskan Malamute an Introduction. It states that from the beginning, when malamutes were used as sled dogs, an independent nature was often important. A malamute sometimes could follow the trail or determine ice conditions better than its owner. The wise musher often would put much faith in the experienced dogs to make decisions. Even today, the malamute has this independent temperament; some call it stubbornness or even lack of intelligence. The malamute is fairly intelligent but needs to be motivated. It needs to see a benefit for itself to behave as its owner would like. Often praise from the master is not sufficient motivation. Fortunately, the malamute is not above taking food bribes, which can produce amazing results. The Alaskan Malamute Club of America has several publications that you can order.

Basic Commands

Your malamute should be able to learn many different commands no matter what its age. Please see the article Why train your dog?

It is important for your family to use the same language with the dog so that he has consistency. We use the following:

  • "No" - general unhappy word said with great authority
  • "Bring it" - when we want the dog to bring something over to us
  • "Give it" - when we want the dog to give us an object
  • "Take it" - same as fetch it or go get it
  • "No Bite" - when the dog puts his mouth on us.
  • "Go Potty" - when we want the dog to go to the bathroom.
  • "Off" - when we do not want the dog jumping on people or things. We do not use the word "down" because that is the command to lie down.
  • "Sit" - when we want the dog to sit and wait for the next command
  • "Down" - when we want the dog to lay down and wait for the next command
  • "Come" - stop what you are doing and come to me
  • "Stay" - when we want the dog to stay in place while you walk away
  • "Wait" - when we want the dog to stay in place until you call them
  • "Leave it" - when we want the dog to leave it alone, don't smell it, don't look at it
  • "Heel" - when we want the dog to walk next to you and not pull on the leash

Puppy Training

If you have just gotten a puppy then we suggest that you sign up for puppy kindergarten classes.

Puppy Kindergarten classes are obedience classes for 8 week old to 6 month old puppies. Your puppy should be current in its vaccination schedule before enrolling in the classes. A good class requires that all attendees be up to date on their vaccinations.

During puppy kindergarten your pup will socialize with other dogs and people and learn to interact positively with them. You will also begin to learn basic commands such as sit, down, stay, come. using positive reinforcement such as food, treats, play and praise. Graduates of puppy kindergarten are usually better behaved and better-socialized than non-participants. The instructor can also offer help with housebreaking, good toys, grooming, fixing problems and correcting bad habits. To find classes near you look in the newspaper, call local breeders; call your vet or your local dog club. They will be able to put you in touch with instructors. Remember, at this age the main goal should be socializing the puppy...and exposing the pup to basic commands...Not teaching the pup to obey. That comes later in obedience classes...

If you have an older puppy, an unruly dog or a new rescue dog we suggest that you sign up for an Obedience Training class.

Obedience training should be fun for you and the dog. The goal of obedience training is to build a bond between pet and family and to enjoy the process. A training class should be fun, informative, and helpful. The results should give you a dog that is a pleasure to live with, travel with and generally be around!

First you will need to find an obedience (NEED LINK) class near you. Decide whether a group class or private lessons fit your situation and your personality. Then ask your veterinarian, your dog's breeder, the rescue, or your local breed club where to go for lessons. Next, visit a few of the classes you are considering before making a decision. Talk to members of the class and ask what they like/dislike about the class. Talk to the instructor about their feelings on training malamutes.

You should see the following:

  1. An instructor that likes all dogs and people.
  2. Good, clear advice and instructions being given.
  3. Extensive praising and happy, happy, happy voices being used. (We also like classes that train with treats if it works for the particular dog.)
  4. A well-paced class that is not moving too fast...each dog must have time to learn the new commands.
  5. An indication that the instructor knows the difference between different personality types of dogs. There are shy dogs and confident ones, fearful dogs and aggressive ones, submissive dogs and dominant ones. A good instructor is willing and able to tailor training techniques to different dog characters and attitudes.
  6. A variety of breeds and mixed breeds

You should not see:

  1. Biting, out of control loose dogs
  2. Pinch/prong collars being used on many dogs. Ask why...
  3. Shouting, yelling, hitting, or any method that hurts a dog.
  4. Owners being allowed to behave badly.

If you see any of the above ask the instructor why. If you are not satisfied with the answer leave the class.

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