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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 115 lb. neutered male malamute that is as strong as a bull!! He's 4 years old. He needs to be walked with a gentle leader only, otherwise he'll drag anyone that's walking him. Okay, here's my question. He gets along great with other dogs. He doesn't want to attack them or anything. Just wants to go up and meet them. But, he's an alpha male. I want him to play with other dogs, but I'm afraid of a fight with another alpha. We won't be able to control him because he's so powerful and I don't want either dog getting hurt. He gets lonely and I have thought of adopting a play mate (submissive female) for him. He's very territorial though. Any suggestions?
 

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You worry too much about "alpha". There is no such thing in the real world. The dominance theory of wild wolves has pretty much been discredited. Sounds like your dog needs training and socialization. He is late in life to be socialized and you will have a difficult time of it.

What about his behavior makes you think he is "alpha"? What about his behavior makes you think he can't play with other dogs?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, because I used to work at the petsmart petshotel. And I decided to try him in with the other dogs. He did play with them, except for this bulldog that kept annoying him. So, after my dog stopped playing, he started circling the room, and other dogs would follow him and do whatever he would do. I didn't know this at the time, but trainers tell me that he was forming his own little pack and that he was the "leader." So I immediately took him out because him and the bulldog were gonna go at it.

As a puppy, he was socialized a lot with other dogs. But was also beat up a lot. I guess I'm just worried about his strength, because believe me, he can and will defend himself!
 

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I didn't know this at the time, but trainers tell me that he was forming his own little pack and that he was the "leader."
Trainers used to, and many still do buy into the "alpha" theory. The trainers that keep up with the latest developments by attneding seminars, reading books, and getting on trainer chat lists, ect generally don't.

So I immediately took him out because him and the bulldog were gonna go at it.
I haven't seen your dog but I have seen many others that their owners described like you have your dog and I suspect that you panicked and took him out too fast. I think he would have been ok. They were probably just "tustling" or play fighting. That is the normal part of dog play. Sometimes (often) dogs play very rough by human standards but rarely does anyone get hurt.

As a puppy, he was socialized a lot with other dogs. But was also beat up a lot. I guess I'm just worried about his strength, because believe me, he can and will defend himself!
I wouldn't worry so much about it. I have 2 Great Danes and they tustle with other dogs, even small dogs, quite often and no one ever gets hurt. They understand that they are a lot stronger than the others. Sometimes they use this to their advantage by intimidating without touching the other dogs when necessary.

Methinks you are a worrier. [smile]

ETA: I think the other dogs followed your dog around after the skirmish because he was the one doing something and they wanted to be part of the action. He wasn't laying over in a corner being by himself. They wanted to play.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
The dogs that were following my dog around had bared teeth and hackles up, just like my dog. They all jumped on the bulldog, but we stopped it in time. Will try this again, probably on neutral ground. Because he's very territorial. Even more when he's with me! I'll try not to worry next time, he can probably sense that and sees me as a weak person.
 

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Yes, dogs pick up on our emotions very easily so if you're stressed or scared, your dog will be stressed and scared. Just try to relax and remain calm, that should help your dog do the same and hopefully you both can have a good time.
 

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I can't say but

It seems the majority of the malamute males have a big time social problem if they aren't socialized early in life(as do a lot of large breeds). My german sheperd has been attacked 2 times by malamute males. Now keep in mind my puppy was only 4 months old when attacked. In one case I called the cops and they almost arrested the guy and if he is seen at the park again he well go to jail. I hope your dog isn't like this dog. I would suggest to try again but keep a close eye, because you now know you have an aggressive dog and knowing that you could have a big time legal problem if something bad happens. Good luck !!!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
OMG no! My mal is really great with other dogs actually. I took him to the park when he was younger to play, and he did fine. I think it is because of me. I'll try to relax.

Another thing, if were thinking of adopting another puppy or adult, how should they be introduced? Because he is very territorial when it comes to the backyard. And he's also very protective of us.
 

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OMG no! My mal is really great with other dogs actually. I took him to the park when he was younger to play, and he did fine. I think it is because of me. I'll try to relax.
I agree. I think he is sensing your fear and thinks its fear of the other dogs.


Another thing, if were thinking of adopting another puppy or adult, how should they be introduced? Because he is very territorial when it comes to the backyard. And he's also very protective of us.
I suggest getting a puppy. He will accept a puppy with no problems.
 

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Well, he might have some problems at first but not nearly as much as if you get an adult. A puppy of the opposite sex with probably be your best bet. It will probably be best to introduce them on neutral territory and be extremely calm about it. And make sure you give him lots of attention and feed him first and make the puppy wait to eat. This should help him to adjust easier.
 

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You worry too much about "alpha". There is no such thing in the real world.
I beg to differ here, after years of daycare experience.
There most certainly ARE dominent males and females in every single play group. We have a Shepherd that comes every single day, and any time a new male comes, he will size him up, and when challenged, take him to the floor, and problem settled.
There is absolutely NO way in hell you could convince me there are not alpha males and females in the real world. I see it six days a week, for the last few years of my life.
 

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It seems the majority of the malamute males have a big time social problem if they aren't socialized early in life(as do a lot of large breeds).
I have to disagree. Most large (and giant) breed dogs do very well with other dogs, if anything the issue is the other dogs being immediately imtimidated by the big dogs size. Malamutes are no different.

My german sheperd has been attacked 2 times by malamute males. Now keep in mind my puppy was only 4 months old when attacked.
german Shepherds are the single most problem dogs in daycare when it comes to playing and socializing properly. (no discrimination here, I have a shepherd male, too!) They are by nature an assertive breed, and to put it quite honestly, tend to be jerks to other dogs they see as a "threat" which ironicly seems to be every other dog of the same size and sex. :rolleyes:

I would suggest to try again but keep a close eye, because you now know you have an aggressive dog and knowing that you could have a big time legal problem if something bad happens. Good luck !!!
I think that we're jumping to a much more dramatic conclusion than need be, but it's hard to say without seeing the dog's reaction and behaviors.
I'd say it's pretty safe to bet that the dog may be a little dominent, but most of the issues are coming from the owner's nerves radiating off of them, therefore making the dog on edge, too.
 

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I really have to put my two sense worth in here, Malmutes were meant to work, if they do not get enough exercise, RUNNING for long periods of time, what do you expect them to do with that pent up energy? Malmutes are cold weather dogs, whoever thought of bringing them to warm states?
 

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I beg to differ here, after years of daycare experience.
There most certainly ARE dominent males and females in every single play group. We have a Shepherd that comes every single day, and any time a new male comes, he will size him up, and when challenged, take him to the floor, and problem settled.
There is absolutely NO way in hell you could convince me there are not alpha males and females in the real world. I see it six days a week, for the last few years of my life.
After 15 years of training everything from dogs to wild animals, and reading several studies, I learned the "alpha" theory has been discredited. Many people think that the alpha wolf is the biggest meanest toughest wolf in the pack. Thats just not so.

A natural wild wolf pack is made up of a daddy wolf, a mama wolf, and their offspring. As in most human families, daddy wolf is in charge with mama wolf close behind. Daddy is obeyed because he is daddy and has years of experience and much more knowledge than the others. They follow him and learn from him. No one challenges him the daddy wolf the same as in a human family. The children don't challenge daddy to take his place of dominance in the family. They may not always do what he says and they are punished but he his authority is not seriously challenged.

All of what I just said is for a natural wolf pack in the wild. This is per research done over 30 years in the wild by L. David Mech. You can google him and get all that information. He is the world's foremost wild wolf researcher with many books and many more studies to his credit.

With all that said, the alpha theory came from observing what I call "artificial wolf packs" made up of unrelated captured wolves. Anytime you get a bunch of wolves or dogs or humans thrown together there will naturally be more and less dominant personalities and the more dominant ones usually run things. Again, this doesn't have to be the biggest toughest bad ass in the group. This will not be the alpha as in a natural wolf pack as he will never have the authority of daddy. The dominant dog in a pack very well can be the smallest dog. I have seen that happen many times.

The idea of an "alpha" dog running roughshod over the others is nothing more than an unsocialized dog not knowing how to interact with other dogs. These dogs can be taught proper behavior without using "alpha" methods yourself. They can be taught using positive training methods.
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
I'm not saying my dog doesn't get any exercise. He runs for 3 miles everyday and is going to start scootering soon!! I know it's hot here in the summer, but in the winter brrrr!! I live close to Bakersfield, Ca and the temp. sometimes drops down to 30 degrees fahrenheit. I know it's not cold for some of you, but that's just what I'm used to. Plus, we have a cabin in big bear and we take him sledding there in the winter...

There's a ton of nordic breeds here in California. So, I guess send them all back to Alaska???

And thanks a lot corgipaws!! I too used to work at a daycare and would see the same thing with dogs over and over!!!
 

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Corgi, I really am not sure if I agree with you or not. The issue I had was how young my dog was when attacked and it wasn't a little spanking. He was in no way a threat to the other dog. I kinda of agree that the Malamute needs more exercise because they were breed to run and pull. My buddies malamute pulls his kids around for hours at time on their skate boards and it gets crazy at his house sometimes because of all the kids wanting to get their turn.
My dog goes to the dog park every day (rain or shine) and on the weekends twice daily so it well be interesting to see how he acts towards other dogs when he is 18 months or so. Just my 2 cents.
 

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Many people think that the alpha wolf is the biggest meanest toughest wolf in the pack. Thats just not so.
This I know. The dominent dog is not always the biggest, or meanest. I have sen amny cases, one in my own home. Grissom is the boss in my home, and he's a Corgi living with a 90lb Shepherd mix, and a Boxer.

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A natural wild wolf pack is made up of a daddy wolf, a mama wolf, and their offspring. As in most human families, daddy wolf is in charge with mama wolf close behind. Daddy is obeyed because he is daddy and has years of experience and much more knowledge than the others. They follow him and learn from him. No one challenges him the daddy wolf the same as in a human family. The children don't challenge daddy to take his place of dominance in the family. They may not always do what he says and they are punished but he his authority is not seriously challenged.
I am in no way trying to say that a play group of dogs functions to the extreme of a natural pack of wolves. I do howeve believe that there are more dominent dogs. I see it all the time. How else would you explain marking habits, submissive behavior, and dominent behavior?

The idea of an "alpha" dog running roughshod over the others is nothing more than an unsocialized dog not knowing how to interact with other dogs. These dogs can be taught proper behavior without using "alpha" methods yourself. They can be taught using positive training methods.
I disagree. I see how different groups function. For example, in my group of dogs at home, Grissom is definately the boss, then Champ, and Annie is super submissive, and will stand down to anything, be it them taking a toy from her, to them taking her dinner. However, in daycare, Grissom turns into Mr. Submissive. Champ is dominent, and Annie is too young to know what she is, she has not learned proper communication yet, but is getting there. When a new male comes into the play yard, Champ will size him up, every time. Throw his head over the other dog's shoulders, and if the other dog submits, all is well, and they'll even play nicely together. If the other dog doesn't, they do not play, and may even snap at eachother throughout the day. Grissom will run up to the new dog, and flop over to expose his belly.
I have a hard time swallowing that Champ is "unsocialized" and not knowing how to interact when he has spent the last two years in daycare, plays very nicely, and and is excellent at both calming signals, and warning signals.
 

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Corgi, I really am not sure if I agree with you or not. The issue I had was how young my dog was when attacked and it wasn't a little spanking. He was in no way a threat to the other dog.
I have absolutely no studies to back up what i am about to say, no proof other than what i see every day in my line of work, but I will say it anyway.


A LOT of adult dogs just don't like puppies. They get picked on a lot in socialized groups. I don't know why, they just do. Maybe it's all a part of learning how to socialize, I do not know wat i do know is puppies thrown into a group of adults get picked on every single time. Perhaps RFD can provide insight as to why this might be, or entirely shoot this down and say this is not so. I am not the best trainer in the world, I can not explain all the ins, outs, and whys to he becavior I witness. What I do know is what I see.


Furthermore, I don't know what you're disagreeing with. The only large breed dogs i've ever encountered socialization issues with are shepherds, goldens, and akitas, and I firmly believe the goldens are due to overbreeding, and akitas due to the owners. Shepherds are usually jerks in daycare, my own inclluded. In fact, in three years of full time daycare work, I have yet to meet a single one that really does "well".
 

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I disagree. I see how different groups function. For example, in my group of dogs at home, Grissom is definately the boss, then Champ, and Annie is super submissive, and will stand down to anything, be it them taking a toy from her, to them taking her dinner. However, in daycare, Grissom turns into Mr. Submissive. Champ is dominent, and Annie is too young to know what she is, she has not learned proper communication yet, but is getting there.
See? This proves my point. There is no "alpha" in your home group. In some situations one is in charge and in other situations, the other is in charge and when the pup gets older she too will sometimes be in charge. All your dogs are more or less equal and one or the other will lead in certain situations. This is the normal case for dogs who live together. Dogs always behave in a manner that they see as being best for them in a particular situation and rarely is one dog what we could traditionally call the alpha.

In the old dominant alpha dog theory, there would always be one dog in charge no matter what the situation and he would rule with an iron hand. This situation just doesn't happen in the real world.

When a new male comes into the play yard, Champ will size him up, every time. Throw his head over the other dog's shoulders, and if the other dog submits, all is well, and they'll even play nicely together. If the other dog doesn't, they do not play, and may even snap at eachother throughout the day. Grissom will run up to the new dog, and flop over to expose his belly.
I have a hard time swallowing that Champ is "unsocialized" and not knowing how to interact when he has spent the last two years in daycare, plays very nicely, and and is excellent at both calming signals, and warning signals.
Maybe we are using the same words to mean different tihngs. By unsocialized, I mean not well behaved, pushy, spoiled. In this paragraph, you portray Champ as 2 different dogs. At first he is not well behaved, pushy, and spoiled and by the end of the paragraph he is the model of good behavior. So which is he? The one thing he is not is the traditional view of what an alpha wolf is.

In todays world of dog training, the trainers who ignore the traditional alpha theory are generally the most successful. These trainers see themselves more as dog teachers rather than dog trainers. This teaching method is used by most professional animal handlers not only of dogs but of wild animals also.
 

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I am not making him into two different dogs, rather explaining two different reactions. As long as male dogS in the group show submissive behavior towards him, he will play with any one of them. He's relaxed, great at signals, and everyone's best friend. If he feels challenged, he will not. in such cases, He is much more on edge, and absolutely will take them to the ground, though has never bit or caused damage. He's also taken dogs to the ground for mounting him, or barking excessively. If he doesn't like it, he lets them know. I wouldn't call him a true alpha, but definately a dominent personality. Out of curiosity, any insight on why puppies get bullied or picked on often by adult dogs? Sorry for one big chunk of text, using my phone to respond.
 
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