Chesapeake Area Alaskan Malamute Protection (CHAAMP) offers support, free resources, education, and referrals to dog professionals who follow Humane Dog Training as recommended by The American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (avsab.org).
CHAAMP is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to rescuing Malamutes from shelters, neglected situations, and other unfortunate events. We have been around since the 1990's. We serve DC, MD, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WV, and offer virtual support to anyone in need. CHAAMP runs on 100% donations and volunteer power! Join us, there are so many ways to contribute.
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CHAAMP's goal is to rescue Malamutes in need and find each a loving home that meets the family's lifestyle and the dog's personality. We practice and advocate the use of rewards-based learning for dog training and modifying behavior as recommended by the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) position statement on animal welfare.
Positive Reinforcement Training – Does it Work for the Working Group?
By Chelsea Murray, ATDI, CPDT-KA, KPA-CTP
Our goal is to create positive experiences and offer choice(s) for Malamutes to have a fulfilling life. They are independent thinkers, free spirited, opportunistic, suspicious, and highly intelligent. They learn best when we respect their "space" (invisible bubble) and consider their feelings. They want to know, "Why should I listen to you? What's in it for me?" So we offer the opportunity to exercise their brain to earn a delicious treat for collaboration. Pretty soon good habits are learned, and good behavior becomes the new norm. One way is to start by luring our dog into position. Luring uses a treat close like a magnet to the dog's nose and guide them into position. Then we just use our hands without the treat, and then add the verbal cue. Training is simple but not easy. Please check out free resources from professional dog trainers to learn more.
Another option is to capture and reward good behavior. This is especially smart to do when you are welcoming a new dog into your home. They need time to decompress, and we don't want to overwhelm them. Kathy Sdao, MA, ACAAB author of "Plenty in Life is Free" developed SMART X 50. It stands for See Mark And Reward Training X 50. The object is to have easily accessible 50 high value pea-size treats and throughout the day watch your dog perform any good behavior. When you See the behavior, Mark it with a "Yes" or "Good Boy/Girl" And Reward (deliver the treat to your dog) Training. Any good behavior is rewarded.
Calm behavior is often taken for granted. Why not reinforce calmness so your dog will most likely repeat it.
Jumping! If your dog gets excited and wants to jump, immediately reward your dog when he/she has four paws on the floor by delivering the treat on the ground to reinforce four paws on the floor.
If your dog looks at you before running to the door, reward that! Baby steps as we build our relationship.
The foundation to a healthy relationship is communication. We communicate our feelings and/or what we want, and we listen. Dog's speak using their dog body language and barking, growling, etc. Therefore, we must learn to read dog body language to be able to listen to our dog. Training starts with the humans learning how to show our dog what we want in a fun manner, so our dog wants to engage with us. It's teamwork! Together we build new habits. Training should be FUN for you and your pup. If it is not fun, seek help from a professional certified dog trainer.
Lastly, dogs' see the world through their powerful nose and need time to process new smells in the environment. They can smell your emotions (excitement, frustration, etc.), which can be very stimulating and potentially overwhelming. Please don't place your hand in a dog's face. Some dogs may consider it quite rude and turn their head away. Some dogs might find it as an invitation to chew or bite your hand. When meeting a Malamute for the first time less is more. Each is a unique individual. Some are shy and others are easily excited. An excited Malamute may start to run like a lunatic and then jump or tackle you! Give them time and space to process their feelings first. In time, they will discover how wonderful you are! Set them up for success.