Nordic Breed Information and Help
A new thought on Malamutes
Alaskan Malamutes are a step above when it comes to quality companionship within a dog breed.
If you have ever looked for that perfect animal companion that will willingly run through the fields of life with you and share years of joy with, and are willing to cater to the simple needs of a rewarding companion, then the malamute can be the best gift that the world could offer.
Malamute's, or mal's, are best suited for the more energetic, but as long as they have another dog to run around with and alot of snow, dirt, grass, sand and or vegetation to run on, then they will be able to keep themselves very happy without a highly active guardian. The Malamute is not suited for an exclusive outdoor, or exclusive indoor lifestyle. It is best to keep this near 50%/50%. If your in a hot climate, its best to let the Mal sleep outside at night, and hang out in the house in the daytime. They are wild creatures, and love to play anytime in the icy cold sub-arctic outdoors, and sleep out in the cool summer nights. They like to retreat from the heat in the house on the linoleum or tile floors during hot days to stay cool.
As soon as you wake up in the morning, if not before, something is going on inside the malamutes head. There is a feeling inside their head, that at times can be the most wonderful feeling of all for them. That feeling is called anticipation, sweet anticipation. The feeling of anticipation for a mal can sometimes be better than the actual event because it is actually an accumulation of memories from all the previous experiences combined, the accumulated feeling. So, it is to say, if you don't live up to the Mals expectation, then it's the anticipation that was more satisfying than the actual event. Likewise, if you out-do yourself each time with the actual approach you take and the way you present yourself, their dinner, give attention, or even train, then you are making the event more rewarding each time thereby fulfilling their anticipation 110%. At least attempt to make the event as rewarding as, but maybe slightly different than, the last time (they like change). These are the single most effective policies you can adopt to keep the morale of your Malamute, and many other types of dogs, at its best.
So, it's up to you how you treat the dog. The more you analyze, the more you can see what the needs of your Mal is. Since the mal is a very social animal, it loves a lot of regular positive attention. If you treat this companion with regular loving affection then it will yearn for this kind of attention and equally share it with its companions (dogs, cats, neighbors, friends, you).
So what are some of the things I should do? That's not hard at all. It is very simple. Your mal has already been alleviated of the responsibilities of raising the family, that's your job, yet you still treat is as a family member. So, already, the mal is living a carefree-yet-loved life. Off to a good start, what's next? The next thing is to start to recognize the anticipation and react. This is actually the point where you become the slave of the dog, but don't tell anybody. Ok, you're not actually the dogs slave, rather, becoming in tune to its needs.
Want to take a progress test? Just come up to your mal like you are going to pet it, and just short of petting it (no more than a few inches away) completely pause for a couple seconds and hold that pose, and then give your mal a big happy smile. This should turn on their radar (if it's awake). If you have to, say something, and with a little practice, you will see it beckon you (usually a lift of a leg, or a muzzle rub) for the attention that it desires every time you do this. Sometimes the beckoning may appear to be no more than a complacent tribute to your efforts,or it can be real subtle, depending on character and especially mood, so pay close attention for the subtle signs. Sometimes it's just a subtle motion of the foot or face, spoiled creatures aren't they? In this way, you're teaching your mal how to react for and appreciate positive attention, therefore building a bridge of congruent, in-tune emotions between you and your animal.
Once you start to get the knack of anticipating the dogs anticipation (did you catch that?) and get an idea of what it might be thinking or needing, then you're tuning yourself to your dogs needs. It becomes easier with time. Within no time your thoughts and your dog's thoughts are in sync with one another, and you begin to communicate on another level with each other. I might add that this level of communication is the level sought after by all dog owners, complete communication.
This is the way it has always been between dog and man, but in modern times most people need to be taught this or their dog may already be 5-10 years "old" before it teaches you, when you finally start to notice and learn these communication skills. It is my hope that you can practice this with your dog from puppy hood forward, and become fluent at it.
If you ever begin to think that your mal seems to be complacent, or unconcerned towards the attention, remember to practice being a good friend by understanding and fulfilling your mals anticipation whenever possible.
Every morning just before you wake, a mal is beginning a new day of hope and anticipation of the arrival of attention, affection, and nourishment which it will use to share with its companions. You can be the beneficiary and mutual catalyst of these emotions, all you need to do is give the dog your concentration and effort to try and understand and fulfill its anticipations and expectations. This should be reminder enough that you have a more than companion for life, and the rewards work both ways.
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