CHAAMP is led by volunteer board members who are Malamute lovers dedicated to learning and working towards making their world a better place. We follow and embrace AVSAB's recommendations that only reward-based training methods should be used for all dog training, including the treatment of behavior problems. It is the best way to communicate with this majestic furry and animated breed.
Losing their family
Malamutes are highly social and consider themselves part of the family. Imagine the confusion and anxiety they face with the loss of their family and home. This can be traumatic causing emotional distress, frustration, and even depression. Not all are ready to receive affection immediately, and some need more time to warm up or get settled into the new environment. Malamutes let you know exactly how they feel, which can take humans by surprise. They are highly intelligent and independent thinkers. They will talk back and express themselves. When afraid, they may react with WOOs, low growls, nervous zoomies, and possibly air snap or put their teeth on your skin. It looks adorable to the naked eye because they are so cute and fluffy! However, they are screaming for our help. They maybe protesting, afraid, or overwhelmed with all the change. All dogs need to have a routine (potty, mealtime, nap/bedtime) to prevent anxiety. Their world has been turned upside down and it's a lot to process. For this reason, it is critical to learn how to read dog body language to respond appropriately. We don't want to push them over their threshold (i.e. the straw that broke the camel's back). Have you ever tried with the best intentions to help someone, but they responded with "I need time to be alone right now. . . "? If we persist, they may yell or even push us aside if we don't give them space. Each person and Malamute are a unique individual with different needs.
CHAAMP is extra cautious to minimize stress, create peaceful interactions, and slowly rebuild trust between humans and Malamutes in our rescue. Malamutes need time to process their feelings and emotions. If we do not listen to what they are trying to tell us, they may be pushed outside of their comfort zone and feel threatened to the point they feel they must bite to defend themselves. All they see is a stranger is staring at them with their body facing them, which in doggy language is a threat. We are happy to share our knowledge and experience. Our trainer, Stephanie Peebles, taught us so much! We continue to learn so we can do better. Join us and let's learn together to make their world a better place.
Malamutes respond wonderfully to rewards-based training. This working breed loves to earn delicious rewards. If they are working hard such as learning not to chase squirrels, which is a natural behavior, they deserve a high value treat like chicken, turkey, provolone cheese, or a meatball. When training with Malamutes, we help set them up for success by controlling the environment, minimizing triggers, and being extra calm ourselves. We remove opportunities to practice unwanted behavior (bad choices) and offer (teach) good choices instead. For example, to prevent counter surfing close access to the kitchen and don't leave food out on the counter. If your cooking, give them a frozen Kong or natural chew in their crate or safe place. By offering and reinforcing good choices, Malamutes learn, and your bond grows stronger.
Safe & Secure
At the CHAAMP kennel, we provide routine (morning potty, breakfast, frozen Kong, afternoon potty, afternoon frozen Kong, dinner, evening potty, natural chews). We keep it nice and cool with the A/C and fans blowing during the summer. The white noise provides a peaceful environment for a nap. They feel safe and secure.
When a Malamute goes home, we highly recommend providing them with their own "space" where they can feel safe like a crate or an area in your home blocked off with a baby gate where they can eat and sleep in peace. Some prefer to sleep on the cool bathroom tiles or in your bedroom. Just don't be surprised if your Malamute decides to get their own room if you get up in the middle of the night to go potty or snore too loud, LOL! Providing a calm environment really helps Malamutes adjust to a new environment. Go slow as you both get know each other.
Meeting a Malamute is exciting for everyone! Did you know that not all zoomies are expression of fun and happiness? Some zoomies are done because they are anxious or possibly too excited to contain themselves. Too much too soon can easily nurture jumpy, bitey behavior, oh my! It's not fair to get them all excited and then get upset when they jump up and possibly knock you over. We want to do our best to set them up for success. It's tough because they are super cute.
Not all exposed bellies are a request for a belly rub. It can mean that they are communicating to you in doggy language that "I am not a threat." Please give them "space" instead of affection until you get to know each other better just to be safe. Toss a treat away from you and they will eventually come closer to you when they are ready. Let them sniff you. Give them time to process all their feelings of the new environment and meeting someone new. Dogs can smell you and your emotions at a distance, there is no need to extend your hand to their face. In doggy language, it may appear to be rude. "How to greet a dog and what to avoid" by Sofia Yin.
The more excited a Malamute becomes, the calmer we must be. We strive to keep Malamutes under their emotional threshold. Rescues have been through so much change, losing their home and family. Help us set them up for success. It is easy to misread excitement with stress.
Rewards-Based Training using Positive Reinforcement
We like to teach Malamutes what to do and reward them. Practice good behavior until it becomes the new norm (muscle memory). When we reward the behavior, we wish repeated, we simultaneously minimize unwanted behavior. Plus, you are building your Malamute's confidence and strengthening your bond. Good things happen when they choose you.
Let's learn together and make their world a better place! It starts with us. Volunteer your time and talents, foster and/or adopt.