Alaskan Malamutes for Dummies

* Be advised this is one person’s opinion and experience of owning an Alaskan Malamute… oh that’s kind of what a blog is.

Like owning a pet of any kind, Alaskan Malamutes are a huge responsibility.  You have to devote a part of every day to exercising, playing with, training, etc.

I got my Malamute, Simba, when he was about 10 weeks old, during winter break.  He’s now 11 months. Was it a smart idea to get a puppy while still in college? Probably not. None the less, I don’t regret my choice. He has changed my life for the better.20160131_141429

When I decided to get a malamute, I did a lot of research on the basics of the breed’s characteristics, personalities and training. Was I prepared to raise a malamute? Hell no.

I now had this little fluff ball in my life who was energetic and adorable. I was clueless to how to raise a dog, even with all of my research. I didn’t know what kind of shots he needed and for how long. It was one of those times when you call your mother to ask how to do your laundry. I did call my mother, got the vet’s number that we’ve used for ages and looked online about puppy kindergarten. I found out to participate in puppy kindergarten he had to have his first set of shots. Simba ended up going it Sit Happens for puppy kindergarten an hour a week. This is crucial for puppies to socialize with other dogs while they are under 5 months.

I also didn’t know how much to feed him, especially when he was rapidly growing until 7 or 8 months.  He gained about 10-12 pounds every 3 weeks when he visited the vet.  Therefore his food amount increased often.  I mainly followed the directions on the back of the food bag regarding how much to feed him.  While observing if he finished all his food, and if he was getting a little too skinny or fat. It was actually very hard to tell when they are still in the growing phase. When he was young I fed him 3 times a day because it was better for his digestive system. Now he has 2 cups of food in the morning and 2 cups in the evening. Furthermore while malamutes are younger, you shouldn’t allow them to jump over anything that is the same height or higher than their shoulders to prevent hip complications since they are more susceptible to hip dysplasia.

Malamutes need exercise. A lot of what I read said Malamutes are energetic and need exercise to the extent that they need work to do – whether it be running, hiking, walking or playing with you or other dogs. An exercised Malamute is a happy Malamute … and owner. That’s the truth. When Simba was younger, I left him while I was in class for 3 hours. When I returned, he’d chewed up the couch cushion and toilet paper is all over the floor. He now stays outside while I am away. Also getting a hike or an hour walk each day.20160722_181211

Malamutes are independent and at times stubborn. I constantly experienced this every single time we did dog training classes. Simba would only follow commands as long as it benefitted him. In other words, as long as you had food to give him.  So don’t be surprised or disappointed if your malamute doesn’t follow your every command. In many instances Simba still won’t come on command.

On hikes, due to being independent, he would wander off by himself for short periods of time. One time on a hike, when he was 4 or 5 months, he disappeared during a walk. I spent 20 minutes calling his name and walking back and forth on the trail. I was in full panic mode. I ended up calling my mother and brother to see if they could come and help me find him. Fortunately, my brother was walking his roommate’s dog in the same area and drove past my car. Sitting by the car was Simba. To say that I was relieved was an understatement.

Malamutes like many artic breeds, are extremely friendly. Therefore they don’t make the best guard dogs. They are more likely to invite an intruder in and ask them for pets. Simba displays this characteristic to a T. He is extremely friendly to everyone he encounters to an extent that he will occasionally jump on them. He doesn’t realize that most people don’t want an almost 100-pound dog in their face. Let’s just say he is still learning not to jump on people

All and all malamutes are  intelligent, energetic, independent breed that requires dedication to raise them.  But once you earn their respect they are a family member for life.20160723_082617

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