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Tel walking 6 Malamutes on lead

Relaxing with the pack

Off lead walking

Working on the farm

Ready for a pack walk

Pack Harmony

Regroup on the walk

5 Malamute - Stand stay

Down & wait while I get the camera out

6 Malamute - Down stay

7 Mal team. Chief Kali & 5 of their pups

Pack Leader

A basic guide for beginners
Written for AMCUK Rescue and used by previous AMCUK Rescue Co-ordinators.
 
Also printed in AMCUK club magazine The Sleddog 2009, with permission from Terry.
Copyright Terry Bogue - Celticwolf Alaskan Malamutes
 
By Terry Bogue
 
Pack leader is a  tough job. They are responsible for food, defending the pack, and maintaining the pack order. The pack leader has to keep alert 24/7, they can't let up for even a moment, or someone else will step in and take over.
The job of pack leader is a stressful job for a young dog without experience, so most pack members are happy that someone else has the job, and will leave all the responsibility to them.
Alaskan Malamutes need to be able to trust their leader to do their job, if they don't have trust in their leader,  they won't be able to be their follower.
 
One of the hardest concepts for humans to grasp is, that humans don't have an automatic right to be Pack Leader, simply because they are human.
We don't become pack leader just by saying the words, or because we ' expect ' the dog to see it that way
 
Alaskan Malamutes are a dominant breed, and will move towards the job of pack leader, if they are given the option.
They were bred to be like that. Its what gave them the will to work and survive in the environment they lived in.
They need a positive and consistent pack leader. If you stop being pack leader at any time, and offer the job to your Alaskan Malamute, they will happily oblige.
In a dogs mind, there must be a pack leader. If a Malamute can't see a clear Pack Leader, they will assume the job is there's.
 
Being Pack Leader
 
It is the Pack leaders responsibility to ensure the pack is fulfilled, with exercise, food, play and mental stimulus. A weak pack leader or one that doesn't do their job, will cause stress in the whole pack.
 
Consistency - You are the role model.
You don't have to be bossy, but everyone in the pack has to be consistent.
If your dog is allowed the top position in one thing, but not in another, it will confuse the dog and cause them to challenge you.
 
If you have the opportunity, start when the dog is a puppy. If a dog can do whatever it likes as a pup, they will see no reason why they can't do whatever they like as an adult, when they are bigger and stronger. Don't wait until problems develop. Prevention is better that cure.
If you are starting with an older dog, set the rules as soon as you get the dog home.
 
Basic rules
 
Top dog goes first.
 
Go through doorways and gates first - Teach your dog to sit, and politely wait for you to go first. Be in control.
Don't allow pulling out in front on the lead - Teach your dog to walk to heal.
Malamutes are intelligent, and can easily be taught not to pull on the lead, and to pull when they are in harness.
 
Right of way
 
Don't walk round if they are laying in the way - step over or make them move.
Have some boundaries in the house - The pack leader has the run of the den, and decides who goes where.
Pack leader decides who can enter, or leave, the packs home.
 
Control the food
 
Put your dogs food down, and get them to wait and ask for permission to eat, by giving you eye contact.
Don't be lazy and leave food available all day - feed 1 or 2 times a day.
Pack members will back away from any food if the pack leader comes close. Pack leader and can take food away at anytime, no questions.
Your dog should happily give up food, bones, toys etc, if you quietly tell them to. No shouting or dramatics needed.
 
Playing
 
Pack leader will play with the underlings, on his or her, terms.
If you play tugging games, you must win. The leader always wins.
Pack leader doesn't follow the underlings around, shouting and prostrating about letting things go. Pack members take things to the pack leader, and give them up.
No mouthing, play fighting games, or pulling on clothes. It may be funny when they are pups, but it is not so funny when they are adults, and are mouthing visitors and kids.
 
Who's the boss
 
Never give a command unless you are in a position to enforce it. Once you have told your dog to do something, make it happen. Don't keep repeating yourself or give up, or you'll teach your dog to ignore you.
Teach your dog down stay. Laying down and showing the belly, is a submissive position. Your dog should willingly turn on its back for you.
Teach them to stand still for cleaning and grooming.
Check teeth, touch feet, tail, ears and private parts, as part of your praise, and get them used to being touched all over, it will help when you visit the vets or go in the Show ring.
Remember to praise or reward your dog when they do something right.
 
If you do the right job of being pack leader, you will have a happy, relaxed and respectful Alaskan Malamute, that doesn't pull you around on the lead, isn't aggressive over food, and is welcoming to strangers.
 
By Terry Bogue - Tel The Dog - Celticwolf Alaskan Malamutes
 
For those that copy and paste this without permission, please do the decent thing and keep the author's name attached. Thank you.
 
 
 
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