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Alaskan Malamutes and Children

985 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Kensi
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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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.
"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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