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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We have a 6 year old who, though we actively try to teach him, struggles to respect dogs and their boundaries. We will never stop teaching him to respect dogs and their bubbles, and hopefully will one day achieve this.

We are researching Alaskan Malamutes and my heart is set on it, though not set in stone as we want what is best for us and our family. We are looking to buy in the next 2 or 3 years. We have a small miniature dachshund, and though she is patient with our child (and we realize that is fully because of luck and the temperament of our dog), we don't want to make the same mistake with the next dog we buy, and thus why we are looking so far into the future to buy another one as we hope by then our child will be old enough to understand why we want this respect given to dogs.

I am not looking for parenting advice, but for advice on if you would think that an alaskan malamute would have the patience needed for an 8-9 year old child who may or may not struggle with boundaries (hard to tell yet as it is not the future).

Edit: due to concerns in the comments I'd like to clarify my son does NOT abuse our dog. He does not hit her, hurt her, or in any form abuse my dog. By boundaries i mean he picks her up and gets squeaky and loud and that would obviously stress any dog out. He has 0 alone time with her for this reason alone (not being able to tell she is stressed as no 6 yr old would be able to) but as time has passed he is MUCH better and I can forsee this as something he could grow out of with consistency.


Edit 2: with the responses given me and my husband have come to the decision that maybe a malamute is not best for our family, specifically for the sake of our other dog. For those concerned we'll probably go the route of a golden, lab or other breed similar so we get something befitting for our child AND our little dog. Maybe a malamute could be in our future 10-15 years from now. Thank you to all who answered.
 

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ANY breed of dog is a risk with a kid (or an adult) who is not able to respect boundaries.

And vice versa because a dog may be punished for acting naturally when it is scared

The larger the dog, the more physical ability for injury.

IMO, it is a disservice to a dog to set it up to fail in terms of tolerating harrassment even if its from an innocent/unmeaning source
 

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I'm with Shell. All dogs struggle with humans of any age who don't respect boundaries. The larger the dog, the more damage will be done when the dog has finally had enough.

We have a small miniature dachshund, and though she is patient with our child (and we realize that is fully because of luck and the temperament of our dog), we don't want to make the same mistake with the next dog we buy,
If the doxie is patient with your child, what's the problem? Are you avoiding saying that the kid's behavior spills over into abusive and the poor dog puts up with it?
 

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Forgive me for the barrage of questions...how did you decide on Alaskan Malamutes? How old is the miniature dachshund? How does your daughter struggle to respect boundaries with dogs? I am glad that you are making the effort to teach her properly. While I do think small dogs and big dogs can cohabitate well, care must be taken to keep the small dog safe and choosing a big dog with the proper temperament. Malamutes, unfortunately for you and your existing dog, have high prey drive (a lot of dogs do really). Big dogs, especially ones with high prey drive, don't always see small dogs as...well...dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm with Shell. All dogs struggle with humans of any age who don't respect boundaries. The larger the dog, the more damage will be done when the dog has finally had enough.


If the doxie is patient with your child, what's the problem? Are you avoiding saying that the kid's behavior spills over into abusive and the poor dog puts up with it?
I edited my post for your comment alone.
So you dont think a malamute would be good with children who may get loud and hug all over it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Forgive me for the barrage of questions...how did you decide on Alaskan Malamutes? How old is the miniature dachshund? How does your daughter struggle to respect boundaries with dogs? I am glad that you are making the effort to teach her properly. While I do think small dogs and big dogs can cohabitate well, care must be taken to keep the small dog safe and choosing a big dog with the proper temperament. Malamutes, unfortunately for you and your existing dog, have high prey drive (a lot of dogs do really). Big dogs, especially ones with high prey drive, don't always see small dogs as...well...dogs.
I read on that, and have not researched it much yet unfortunately it is on the list of things to consider yes. Would training and making them do bonding exercises or anything really help with said prey drive. My mini is part of the family and I do consider her wellbeing in this equation as well. She is about 10 lbs but not submissive to other dogs, would this cause more issues with the prey drive? Again, I'm not jumping into the decision, I'm on at least a 2 yr waiting period beforehand with research
 

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Honestly I think you should be looking at a Golden Retriever and not a Husky breed. Think about what Huskies are bred to do (pull in concert with other dogs). This is not a family pet breed. Huskies will readily enforce their boundaries themselves and that might not go well with any child.

Every dog needs children to have boundaries. I would not allow a child to pick up cat or dog at the age your child is. I would also separate pets from kid when the screeching starts. This is not about your parenting decisions.. I would not for the safety of the child.

When your child is 8 he may behave better all the wah around.. but I still would not get a Husky breed.
 

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In my reference to boundaries, I was pretty much imaging what you described about your son's behavior--
stuff like hugging, getting in the dog's face, screeching or squeeling.
Stuff that is not abusing but that IS stressful to a dog and risks a reaction.

I think it will end up depending a lot on how much progress your son makes as he ages and how much you are willing and able to supervise for the long term.

I think you are looking in the right direction to go for a retriever type rather than a working dog like a Malamute or Husky.

It is important that even when you are supervising, any dog always has the ability to exit the interaction whenever they feel the need. No "cornering" a dog physically and always have a
space like a room or large crate where the child is not allowed to approach the dog at all. Mealtimes and toys/chews raise the risks too and should be child-free times.
 

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I read on that, and have not researched it much yet unfortunately it is on the list of things to consider yes. Would training and making them do bonding exercises or anything really help with said prey drive. My mini is part of the family and I do consider her wellbeing in this equation as well. She is about 10 lbs but not submissive to other dogs, would this cause more issues with the prey drive? Again, I'm not jumping into the decision, I'm on at least a 2 yr waiting period beforehand with research
Prey drive isn't something you can train out. Dogs are predators after all. They all have it to some degree, just in varying amounts. I read your edit, and I'm glad you decided against Malamutes. That said, even with dogs like goldens and labs, still have to be vigilant for the sake of your small dog and child. Genetics can take care of a lot of things, but it doesn't take care of everything.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Prey drive isn't something you can train out. Dogs are predators after all. They all have it to some degree, just in varying amounts. I read your edit, and I'm glad you decided against Malamutes. That said, even with dogs like goldens and labs, still have to be vigilant for the sake of your small dog and child. Genetics can take care of a lot of things, but it doesn't take care of everything.
Yes! I want to give our dog a loving and safe environment, and I also read about Malamutes being pack dogs, and that they will follow a pecking order, I don't want my son or my small dog to be in a low order and therefor prone to being "disciplined" by the said malamute. I will absolutely get one, but I also think it'd be best to get more training under my belt before we tackle such a dog.
By the time we get our next dog, my son should be 8 or 9 and have a better and clearer understanding of dogs and their boundaries. As of now, it is a constant "Put Lucy down please, you're in her bubble" and until he gets that she will come to him when she wants love, not a cat and mouse chase her for love, we just cannot have another dog. We got lucky that our dog, so far, has never bitten him or reacted to it, but that's not to say she won't in the future, and since we know that it is an issue, another dog is just not an option yet. But hey, that gives us plenty of time to look for and research one. Thank you for your time in responding to us.
 

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"Pack order" in terms of human and dog interactions is not really a thing. Its an outdated term from pack/dominance based theory that has been debunked.

Prey drive is real and common and only trainable to a degree. Basically, some dogs are hardwired to see tiny critters as prey and small dogs can be accidentally classified as prey due to predatory drift; even if during times of low excitement, the dog does see the smaller dog as another dog.
 

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Basically what Shell said.

Forgive me for sounding intrusive, but I would personally suggest doubling down on managing your dog and your son for the time being. From what you say here, it sounds like your son is improving slowly. That does not mean you can immediately relax. It seems like even when you are supervising them together, your son's excitement gets the better of him. I've heard of implementing a "no handling rule unless I say so" system from my parent friends. Basically, even when you are supervising, do not immediately allow him to handle the dog. Does the dog have it's own space that's kid-free to retreat to? If so, when the dog retreats there and if it's in a room, lock the door, and do not let your son in.

I commend you for recognizing that this current situation is not right for a second dog. I am also glad you are aware of how patient your dog is with him, as even stable dogs have their breaking point.
 

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A dog like a Malamute is liable to respond to squeaking by eating the squeaky thing.

I'd say wait for another dog until your kid is older and more able to control himself around dogs. If then you want a more kid-friendly big dog, I'd suggest maybe a well-bred Newfoundland. They're usually pretty unflappable. My buddy has a Newfie that's basically a rug you have to feed and let outside on occasion. Also, labs and Goldens are classic family dogs for good reason, and you can often easily find a nice adult lab or golden mix in rescue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A dog like a Malamute is liable to respond to squeaking by eating the squeaky thing.

I'd say wait for another dog until your kid is older and more able to control himself around dogs. If then you want a more kid-friendly big dog, I'd suggest maybe a well-bred Newfoundland. They're usually pretty unflappable. My buddy has a Newfie that's basically a rug you have to feed and let outside on occasion. Also, labs and Goldens are classic family dogs for good reason, and you can often easily find a nice adult lab or golden mix in rescue.
Newfie was for a long time on my list (past 4 years really) I don't know why, but my husband seems against them, I guess they don't fit the aesthetic he wants for a dog.
Basically what Shell said.

Forgive me for sounding intrusive, but I would personally suggest doubling down on managing your dog and your son for the time being. From what you say here, it sounds like your son is improving slowly. That does not mean you can immediately relax. It seems like even when you are supervising them together, your son's excitement gets the better of him. I've heard of implementing a "no handling rule unless I say so" system from my parent friends. Basically, even when you are supervising, do not immediately allow him to handle the dog. Does the dog have it's own space that's kid-free to retreat to? If so, when the dog retreats there and if it's in a room, lock the door, and do not let your son in.

I commend you for recognizing that this current situation is not right for a second dog. I am also glad you are aware of how patient your dog is with him, as even stable dogs have their breaking point.
Yes!
Our dogs safe space is her crate. The #1 rule that is never broken is if Lucy is in her crate she IS NOT TO EVER BE TOUCHED. Not because she's dangerous, but this is HER SPACE. That's her way of saying Leave me alone please and he does respect this rule. And our office is usually a safe place of refuge for her to be unbothered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
A dog like a Malamute is liable to respond to squeaking by eating the squeaky thing.

I'd say wait for another dog until your kid is older and more able to control himself around dogs. If then you want a more kid-friendly big dog, I'd suggest maybe a well-bred Newfoundland. They're usually pretty unflappable. My buddy has a Newfie that's basically a rug you have to feed and let outside on occasion. Also, labs and Goldens are classic family dogs for good reason, and you can often easily find a nice adult lab or golden mix in rescue.
Newfie is on my desired list of dogs! Has been for a while. For some reason though my husband hasnt clicked with that breed of dog. It's easily top 3 for me though.
 

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It really depends on the individual. If you really want a malamute, look for one that displays the traits you want. You could also look for a malamute-like dog at a shelter.
 
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