Acquired: Rescue / shelter organization
Training: Attended conferences / shows
Posted June 19, 2015
Bailey is a 'red' male malamute who came to us in from a rescue at age one. Malamute puppies are appealing for their cute teddy bear looks and giant paws. But they soon grow into those paws. They need lots of mental stimulation and exercise and if they don't get it, may resort to destructive behaviour around the house through boredom.
Presumably Bailey became too big for his owners to cope with. There were also reports of food aggression and difficulty getting along with other males. While food aggression has not been exhibited, Bailey does show aggression towards males of his own size and breed. Even after neutering, these issues prevail and we occasionally have to muzzle him on walks where there are other sled dogs. He gets on with females and smaller dogs just fine.
It's important to own a reasonably-sized house, and have plenty of room in your yard or garden. Malamutes can be escape artists. Be sure to have an enclosed area they can't tunnel out of, or escape through fence gaps. They are adventurers too, and won't necessarily stay close to you off-leash. In fact it is not generally recommended to let them loose on walks, due to their capricious nature and possibility of non-return.
So be prepared for your outdoor space to be turned into a quagmire! Malamutes love to dig, and Bailey is no exception.
Malamutes can be headstrong, wilful and not easy to train. They may experience strong separation anxiety if you go out to work and decide to take it out on your furniture. Malamutes are, however, perfect if you work from home and love exercise. They will provide day-long love and affection and are always ready for long walks and treats. They are however, despite their wolfish appearance, not good guard dogs. They will usually welcome friend and foe alike with open paws!
Malamutes are susceptible to wheat and gluten intolerance, a filler used in many wet and dry dog foods. For this reason, we feed Bailey and our other red malamute on a raw diet of chicken, lamb and green tripe, which is particularly good for digestion.
In summary, this often maligned breed will reward the time, attention and energy you put in with an equal amount of love, affection and loyalty. But they are a handful, and their obedience can never be guaranteed, being a thing of the moment and often involving wheedling and/or bribery.