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Care and feeding
Understanding your Malamute puppy
The Alaskan Malamute is known as the “snow locomotive”. It’s a breed that presents a few challenges, especially when they’re young!
To understand and manage your puppy’s behavior, you must first understand the origins and nature of the breed.
Originally bred by the Inuit tribes of northwest Alaska (the Mahlemuts), the Malamute was developed by selecting the strongest dogs to produce a powerful, robust breed of dog capable of surviving and working in an extremely harsh environment.
These early Malamutes were used to hunt and to pull extremely heavy loads over long distances through the snow- and ice-covered wilderness. As such, they need the physical and mental attributes that these tasks require.
The Inuit tribes held these dogs in high esteem and relied totally on their ability to work. There was no room for weak or sick dogs (who would have been killed by the rest of the pack), so only the hardiest dogs survived.
The Malamute, as a breed, has endured thanks to the efforts of a few dedicated people, who fell in love with these wonderful dogs and strove to protect and preserve those characteristics that make them unique. The standard was then developed and Alaskan Malamutes were recognized and registered as a breed by the American Kennel Club in 1935.
Today’s Malamute still has the characteristics of its ancestors. These dogs are very much oriented towards group or pack interaction, with a strong survival and hunting instinct, as well as an independent, dominant and sometimes strong-willed character. They are extremely intelligent and have incredible strength and stamina. They are also capable of unlimited loyalty and affection for their masters.
*When your puppy joins his family, the stress of arriving in a new place can cause a little diarrhea. If this is the case, reduce the amount of kibble by half and try adding a little chicken or fish with a tablespoon of well-cooked rice for a few days. Then gradually return him to his original diet. If the diarrhea persists for more than a few days, or your puppy doesn’t seem well at all, consult your veterinarian.
*We strongly recommend that you prepare a special space for him as soon as possible when you bring him home (rug, basket, kennel, etc.). Some breeders recommend installing a cage (vari-kennel, fabric, metal…) in the house: we don’t, unless the cage remains OPEN. This can make her feel safe and offer her a place of peace and quiet. It’s also an opportunity to get used to this useful object for transport, for example.
The best way to get your puppy used to his space is to make sure you’ve put a cushion or blanket, toys, a water bowl and a few treats nearby, and play with them to make the place more fun.
If it’s a cage, when you’ve finished playing with it, if it decides to stay inside, go away but leave the door open so it can come out freely. The most important thing is to always make it a very pleasant place, and NEVER use it as a form of punishment or to limit your space for “practical” reasons.
Let him settle in for a while, walk around and get used to new smells, etc.
After he’s slept, if he’s indoors, as soon as he wakes up, put him outside in the grass to relieve himself. When he’s finished, congratulate him and give him a treat.
Always praise and encourage good behavior, preferably verbally or with a treat, rather than simply reprimanding bad behavior. Remember, your puppy only knows the rules you teach him. He wasn’t born with a built-in guide to human expectations and rules!
* Your puppy will probably howl when you go to bed after the first few nights. Don’t be tempted to give in and comfort him. His howling is just a way of expressing his displeasure at being left out. Take comfort in the idea that if you’ve got him settled, he’s got water, a warm cushion, toys and is safe too. Let him cry, and after a few days he’ll be happy to sleep peacefully in his own space.
Your puppy will need to be wormed regularly. He was dewormed at 2-week intervals from the age of 3 weeks with Strong id, Drontal Pup and Milbactor . You should continue the protocol every month until he is 6 months old.
Any dewormer kills the worms inside the puppy when he takes the treatment, so after that, his deworming takes place every 3 to 6 months. It’s important to use a good quality dewormer from your vet, as they are more effective.
It’s not uncommon to see worms in the stool, but they’re supposed to be dead. Heavy worm infestation in young puppies, left untreated, can lead to severe illness and, in extreme cases, death. We deworm our adult dogs alternately with Milbactor and Drontal Plus tablets.
If you live in an environment with pigeons or poultry, ask your vet for advice on deworming against coccidia (coccidiosis).
* As previously stated, Malamutes are pack dogs, even if some people play on words and dispute this. It’s simply that they haven’t had the same opportunity as we have to observe the interactions of our malamute groups for over 30 years. You and your family must now become your Malamute’s “pack”. Their position in your family group is very, very important to them. Many of the problems new owners encounter with their Malamute develop because they haven’t established clear guidelines with their new puppy: you need to make it clear what is expected behavior and what is unacceptable behavior.
A Malamute respects instructions and is content to know its position. But if you fail to establish this organization, your Malamute will do it for you! These are dogs who seek to have as many prerogatives as possible within the group – be it human or canine ;-).
Every Malamute has an instinct for opportunism towards the other members of the pack, and they will easily be tempted to take on the role of leader if they get the chance.
You can’t let that happen.
As a Malamute owner, you must earn his respect from an early age and maintain firm, consistent guidelines, always with WELFARE and, above all, CLARITY. Your dog must UNDERSTAND what you expect.
Even if the pack order is established (even if they are adults), your Malamute may try at regular intervals to show demanding behavior. He only does this to make sure you’re able to be the leader and control what’s going on (which is exactly what he does with the other dogs in the pack, if you have any). Sometimes this behavior can be so subtle that the owner is unaware of it, and sometimes it’s so explicit as to be comical.
Always be ready for his nonsense, and never back down once you’ve made a request of your Malamute to which he hasn’t responded. But always end your training on a positive note for your dog, once he’s done what you asked. He’ll quickly get the hang of it.
A Malamute, happy and secure in its position in your home, is a wonderful companion, but don’t forget……………
If you let him get the better of you, he will!
* Malamutes can also have “anti-social” and annoying habits.
Your Malamute could… :
…and all with a “smile” on their lips and a mischievous, innocent look on their faces!
* Socializing your Malamute with other dogs is essential. The breed is known to have a tendency to assert itself in front of other dogs, so socializing him early can help him learn correct behavior.
We usually keep our puppies until 10-12 weeks or even 15 weeks to meet the health requirements sometimes demanded by protectionist countries. This ensures that your Malamute has had the greatest opportunity to interact with and learn from other puppies and adult dogs, but also that there is no pause in his social development during the formative weeks that are the most important in his life. Your puppy is ready to discover the world and new people.
The importance of socialization cannot be stressed enough, because the more you avoid other dogs or social situations, the less sociable your Malamute will become.
Start training your puppy to respond to simple commands such as sit, stay, down, heel, etc. as soon as possible.
Training is much easier with a young puppy than with an adolescent dog.
Always make your training fun, and use plenty of treats (even if it’s just his kibble) to encourage and reward good behavior. Then replace the treats with lots of praise and petting if he asks for it.
Your Malamute has a low boredom threshold and won’t appreciate repeating the same tasks over and over again. They’ll just pick up. Therefore, vary your training and the things you teach her, but never leave the workouts on a negative note.
Always end with a play session, so that your Malamute is eager to learn new things. Have a special toy for your puppy to play with after each training session, and put it away until the next session.
Your Malamute has a good sense of humor, so use that to your advantage, and don’t be afraid to look silly if he plays along. With Andrée, for example, we often had to run across a field, waving our arms in the air, shouting with high-pitched yelps and running unopposed just to be interesting enough for them to come back!
* Your puppy’s bones are constantly growing, and your Malamute won’t be fully grown until he’s around 4 years old. Even if your dog has finished growing (between 18 months and 2 years), it’ll take a few years before he’s truly adult and “finished”.
As a puppy, he won’t need much exercise. Running around the garden and short walks, as in puppy school, will be sufficient until he’s 6 months old. It’s very easy, especially with large breeds, for young dogs to get tired or injured, as they lack the muscle tone and control of an older dog.
From the age of 6 months, exercise can be gradually increased, but don’t overdo it.
For walks, a little longer with the family at weekends, a 4-5 month-old puppy can go out for 3 to 4 km. As with all things, common sense and observation come first.
Malamutes have endless strength and energy as adults. They need exercise. They love to be active, and you’ll enjoy many activities with them, such as hiking, sledding, canicross, canitrotinette, swimming, agility and more.
They need to expend themselves mentally and physically, and can become destructive if bored.
* Malamutes need regular maintenance. They shed slightly all year round, and moult twice a year.
With females, this normally coincides with their heat; neutered bitches tend to keep a better coat and don’t shed as drastically as normal, but develop a big shed every year anyway.
Males adapt their coat to the seasons and tend to shed in spring and just before winter. If they are not brushed properly and regularly (2 times a week should be enough), their undercoat will become matted and hard, which can be uncomfortable for them.
When they moult, their thick, oily undercoat almost completely disappears. So your Malamute will need more regular brushing to get rid of unwanted hair. If you let the undercoat come out on its own, it will spread over a longer period. So it’s best to try and get it out over a few serious grooming sessions.
If your Malamute walks on hard surfaces, its pads will harden and its nails will wear, so it shouldn’t be necessary to trim its nails, except for the dewclaw, which should be trimmed under supervision every two months. If he’s on soft ground, you’ll need to trim his nails fairly regularly. It’s worth investing in good nail clippers and getting them used to cutting them at a young age.
Your puppy has been fed ROYAL CANIN MAXI PUPPY ACTIVE dry complete food twice a day – the MEDIUM PUPPY product is also suitable. Since the food is a complete diet, your puppy won’t need any supplements to maintain healthy growth of bones, teeth and coat. (We add a little water before giving them the bowl).
These kibbles can be used until he reaches adulthood.
If you want to change your puppy’s food to a different brand, do it very gradually, adding the new diet to the old one and reducing the portion of his old kibble while increasing the portion of the new one (for about 1 week).
!!! One of the most common ways a Malamute tries to challenge you is with his food!!!!
Malamutes generally have a very good appetite, but it’s quite common for a young dog, after eating a diet for a while, to refuse to eat or touch it as if he didn’t like it. Don’t be surprised.
If your Malamute seems healthy and active, not lethargic or wobbly, don’t be tempted to change or add to its food.
A healthy dog doesn’t starve itself, and if your dog is fussy and you change its diet too often, or add fresh food too often, you’ll end up with a dog that’s very difficult. We never add extra food to our puppies, as this creates fussy dogs.
Your puppy food bag contains a rough guide to feeding requirements. Calculate your puppy’s food according to his expected ADULT weight (females are around 30-35 kg and males around 35-40 kg).
IF your puppy seems to need more food, or if he’s very hungry and has recently been wormed, simply give him a little more. They need plenty of quality nutrition to cope with their development, and we like to see a puppy that’s healthy (but not fat). As he reaches adulthood, you may need to adjust the amount he eats, and can reduce meals from 2 to 1 a day when he reaches 15 months of age.
Adult Malamutes generally have a very slow metabolism, so for their size they need relatively little food. An adult Malamute should not never be overweight. It is often necessary to reduce manufacturers’ recommendations for adult food by 20 to 25%.
We always use Frontline or Nexgard as a preventive treatment for. If you don’t want any problems, depending on the environment, it’s advisable to treat your dog regularly, as fleas can live very well in your environment all year round. Both products are available from your veterinarian, who remains your first point of contact for all health-related questions! Avoid social networking forums.
Your puppy has been fully vaccinated against distemper, Rubarth’s hepatitis, Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and the various valences of Leptospira (L4). From 12 weeks, your puppy is vaccinated against rabies. He will need a booster every year or every 3 years, depending on the veterinary protocols and vaccines used.
The kennel cough vaccine is a separate nasal vaccine. If you’re planning to board your dog or take part in dog club activities, it’s worth thinking about. It is recommended that the dog receives the vaccine about a week before going to the boarding kennel.
Your dog has a microchip with a unique identification number. Your vet will fill in a form and send it to the official national society to complete the registration in your name and details, simply by using his European passport and the certificate of sale in your possession.
If you have any concerns, questions or just want to talk about your puppy, you can contact us.
Keep in touch! Send us lots of photos of his progress, as we love to see and hear how he’s doing.
You’ve got a beautiful puppy, now it’s up to you to turn it into a good malamute!
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