Bringing your malamute home
Reduce stress and reinforce calm.
Provide a routine.
Create a spa-like environment.
Minimize stimulation to help reduce anxiety.
Provide sniffing, chewing and licking outlets.
If after a walk, you go inside and walk away,
and your dog urinates it could be from anxiety of being left alone. Imagine being so scared that you urinate. This is why we want to help your dog know he/she is safe and secure in their new home. Emily Larkham, Dog Training by Kikopup on YouTube has wonderful videos to reduce anxiety.
Separation Training for Puppies and Adult Dogs by Dog Training by Kikopup
The Calm Settle by Dog Training by Kikopup
Capturing Calmness - how to train calmness in dogs by Dog Training by Kikopup
Training tips illustrated by Lili Chen
Print out handouts from Decompress for Success
Print out dog body language illustrated by Lili Chen
Important tips to follow while your rescue is decompressing
Create a peaceful spa-like environment. Give your new family member time to decompress. How long? Well, that totally depends on your dog. Each dog is a unique individual. Some may take up to a year before they are comfortable going into other areas of your home without going over their threshold. Dogs, especially Malamutes, worry about what is going to happen next? Routine is so important, and it helps reduce stress. Even potty-trained dogs need to learn where to go potty in a new environment.
Most importantly, practice positive reinforcement. Mark (verbal "Yes") and reward good behavior with TREATS! If you lived in a world where all you heard was "No!", how would you feel? However, if someone taught you what to do and then rewarded you for collaborating, how would you feel? Knowing what to do builds confidence.
What is Positive Reinforcement Training? By Miki Saito and Lili Chen
Your choice affects your dog's choice. By Miki Saito and Lili Chen
We implore you to please DO NOT do the following below. Your dog's life is literally in your hands. It is so much easier to go slow, then have to work twice as hard after a trauma from a dog bite or dog fight. Please WAIT until you have had time to build a relationship and understand your dog's likes and dislikes.
Please DO NOT solicit the dog's affection
They are processing a lot right now. They do not know how wonderful
you are. Give them time and wait for your pup to come and solicit
affection from you. Try a consent test.
Do not lean over them, pat their head, stare, or take their photo
(staring is intimidating in doggie language and some dogs
do not like a scary camera pointed at them). Instead, position
yourself sideways and calmly pet them under their chin or side,
count 1, 2, 3, and stop. Let them process and have the option to
walk away or they may ask for more petting.
An exposed belly is not always an invitation to rub it. Your dog may be telling you, "I mean you no harm." Why? Because they don't know you (yet) and are in a new environment and might feel scared. Understanding dog body language is critical. If you "correct" a dog for communicating their warning, you inadvertently punish their growl or ignore them, depending on the dog, they will feel they have no choice but to escalate with a bite. Have you ever repeated yourself so many times or given warnings only to be ignored, then suddenly you explode or do or say something in the heat of the moment that you regret later?
Please DO NOT take your dog to the pet store
Too many smells, strangers, etc. can be scary or cause overarousal, which can lead to jumping on people, lunging, air snapping, etc. Get to know your dog first and understand their limits. You are still a stranger and taking your dog to a new potentially scary or overwhelming place can set your dog up for failure and exposes them to practice unwanted behavior or worse a bite!
Socializing your dog By Sara Reusche and Lili Chen
Please DO NOT invite friends and family to meet your dog
Wait until your dog has had time to feel "safe" in his new environment and trusts you. Some dogs may behave differently in a home and possibly guard their space from strangers. Always proceed slow and have a plan. It is always best to meet new people, dogs, etc. outside first.
Calm and relaxed? or shut down? By Lili Chen
Please DO NOT take them on a long walk
Let them sniff during their walks please, this helps them "read" the environment similar to what social media does for humans. You can start with your backyard. We highly recommend limiting walks to the backyard or short distances from your home for the first couple of days and possibly longer depending on your dog. If your dog gets too excited that he/she starts to jump and bitey, or do zoomies, then shorten the walk. It is possible that your dog is overstimulated, frustrated, or afraid of the new environment.
If your dog stops walking, stop with them and let your dog decide if they want to go back home. You can take a step behind them which offers your dog a choice to move forward or turn around. Your dog will thank you for this! Consider walking with another family member to protect your dog from off-leash dogs and if people approach you, your family member can say, "We are training and need space please."
Avoid critters! Malamutes were born with a natural desire to chase critters AND pull! Redirect your dog with a super delicious treat to prevent your dog from dragging you. Practice loose leash walking inside your home, then the backyard, then slowly expand the space.
Polite Leash Walking By Irith Bloom and Lili Chen
Please DO NOT give full access to the house
It is best to let your dog spend his/her first day(s) in his/her safe place (blocked-off area where their crate or bed is located) and then outside to go potty. This helps your dog understand where to go potty. As your dog decompresses, you may slowly allow access to one room at a time. We highly recommend keeping your dog leashed while they are learning their new environment (inside your home). Too much freedom will cause your dog to become overstimulated. He/she may begin to do zoomies, chew on furniture, jump, and nip, etc.
Ain't misbehavin'! By Lili Chen and Elisabeth Weiss
Please DO NOT grab your dog's collar
Dogs, especially Malamutes, do NOT like being pulled by their collar. They may react by turning their head and air snap, growl, and/or possibly bite depending on the circumstances. We recommend keeping a leash on your dog and keep treats close by in case of an emergency. Prevention and management are best! If you do not want your dog on the sofa or in a certain room then we must remove the opportunity for your dog to make a bad choice. How? Block off the room with a gate or close the door. Then teach your dog where to go by leaving treats on their doggy bed to reinforce him/her for going onto the doggy bed where you want them to be.
Please DO NOT take things away from your dog
It is critical that your dog associates you as a "giver" and not a "taker" to prevent resource guarding. Put things away that you don't want your dog destroying until you know your dog. Imagine taking a child to the candy store and not letting them touch anything?
Resource Guarding in Dogs: A Fear Free Approach: https://youtu.be/LnSUerpBt1U
ALWAYS trade up with your dog. Keep treats nearby to drop on the floor to redirect your dog by leaving a Hansel & Gretal cookie trail. You can also make yourself exciting and drop treats away from the item your dog is about to get him/herself into trouble. Many Malamutes are food motivated and can quickly become possessive about the item they are chewing, "My precious!"
A Dog's Emotional Cup By Sarah Owings and Lili Chen
How to Deliver a Treat to Your Dog By Sara Owings and Lili Chen