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Alaskan Malamutes and Children

983 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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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
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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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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