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Alaskan Malamute behavior behavior

Understanding Malamute behavior requires understanding life in an aboriginal Arctic village.

Malamutes were originally bred to think and act independently for the sake of protecting the sled team. Hazardous and unpredictable Arctic trail conditions rewarded the ability of a Malamute to rely on its own senses and, when necessary, override the sled driver's judgment and commands. As such, the breed is notorious for displaying a highly independent streak that manifests itself as stubbornness. Malamutes are sometimes downright insubordinate toward their human handlers and may ignore commands, particularly when young.

At the same time, Arctic life required that Malamutes be bred to behave as consummate members of the sled team, family, and village community. Therefore they are usually very affectionate to members of their own pack - human and dog members alike. A Malamute may talk in glee in greeting a returning family or pack member after a period of separation, and howl in protest when it feels ignored, neglected, or excluded from group activities. Also, Malamutes are usually friendly to other humans outside their own pack, often demanding their attention and affection as well. The Malamute's gregariousness and tendency to openly, unreservedly give affection make them highly attractive to many dog owners; these same qualities make a Malamute a poor guard dog.

The harsh conditions for which Malamutes were bred rewarded a strong prey drive, as food was occasionally scarce. Consequently, Malamutes may instinctively attack animals such as house cats, squirrels, rabbits, chickens, quail, and even deer (however, many households enjoy harmonious, mixed "packs" of cats and Malamutes). Historic competition for food is also a reason why Malamutes may regard dogs outside their own pack or team with disdain or hostility.

Malamutes dug for food when required, and digging is now a common way in which Malamutes deal with boredom. It is not uncommon to see a Malamute digging madly in pursuit of a mouse, mole, or gopher. Malamutes may also dig to escape a fenced yard, and have been known to dig escape tunnels underneath houses. This tendency to dig can be particularly frustrating to owners who maintain yards or gardens.

Owing to the Malamute's independent nature, physical strength, and its high levels of energy and intelligence, most experts on the breed advise that Malamutes not be adopted by people who:

are inexperienced in training dogs,/
lack the time, energy, and space to exercise them, or ,/ lack the patience and stamina to repeatedly engage in contests of willpower with a large, powerful animal without becoming angry.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alaskan_Malamute".
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