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Malamute Service Dog?

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Kodiak

The cheese ninja
 
 
Barked: Thu Sep 6, '12 8:26pm PST 
From your description, Kodiak is very different than Vance. He is what I've heard described as exuberantly social. He approaches all other dogs and people as playmates and friends until proven otherwise (humans have yet to prove otherwise- he's only met nice people). On the other hand, I think he would be a horrible choice for support work. I am not a small person, and pretty strong, and he gave me a horrific knee wound dragging me across gravel after I fell, long before he was full grown (and after lots of work on leash manners, and we were neurotically consistent about not allowing pulling). Even after you spend months working on general leash manners, not greeting other dogs without permission, and self control with prey drive toward bunnies, birds, squirrels, flies, falling leaves, etc, all it takes is for that intense pulling instinct to win out once to cause serious harm. It's dangerous for anyone, but it could be fatal for a disabled person. I can see him square his jaw, lower his head, and hunker down. When that happens, I don't exist until he snaps out of it. Kody is also very prone to gut infections, one of which was very serious, and several of which were very expensive, and he has probably been on 10 antibiotics in his young life. This was very likely bad breeding and/or bad care by the breeder, but Mals are famous for sensitive stomachs, and is her background known? He is also hands down the least protective dog I have ever met in my life. I believe he would protect me in case of a clear physical threat (ie, someone hitting me or dragging me) but he has no inclination to protect our home, car, yard, etc from strange people or dogs approaching, touching us, etc. If a homeless person ducks out from an alley suddenly in the dark or someone knocks on the door late at night, he still thinks of them as friends. On the other hand, in case of a true physical threat, I would rather have him in my corner than anyone else. Most dogs would put up a big show and then run away, but he is fearless- once when he was a pup, I was giving bf a very rough back massage that must have looked very much like assault, and Kodiak pinned me and put his body in the way to 'save' him. I agree on the mental stability. As an adult, he is nearly imperturbable. He also didn't get the memo about being aloof- he is a cuddly baby and goes totally nuts when he unexpectedly sees someone he knows- zoomies, kisses, howling, pulling on leash, the whole 9 yards. I guess it just goes to show you that you have to evaluate each dog individually.
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Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 7, '12 7:08pm PST 
I'm not talking about Vance. He was a Husky. I'm referancing all the Mals I have known. Of course every dog is going to have his idiosyncracies but that is the breed I have known in generalizations.
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Ocea

1154845
 
 
Barked: Fri Sep 7, '12 10:18pm PST 
I have a husky SD. While i was not intending on using her for service work, that's how we ended up.
Growing up with the breed it's safe to say, like any breed you get your smarter dogs and your more stubborn ones, your lazy ones, the more aloof ones and your affectionate ones.
My girl happened to be highly driven, affectionate and intelligent, which really has worked in our favour.
While we have succeeded where others may fail, i do still believe other breeds should be considered before taking on a breed which is knowingly going to have a less successful rate in regards to trainability.
BUT, really it souly depends on the individual animal.
My adopted big malamute boy is intense, he's responsive, driven, affectionate, gets along with all animals, including other male mals.
If it weren't for his past which has caused some fearful issues, i would say he is a great SD candidate.
But like huskies, i've been around malamutes of all sorts.
It is the individual dog.
As an owner and a handler you do have to really assess your capabilities with highly prey driven dogs, which do tend to have a stubborn streak.
If you are not experienced with them, or open to different training techniques, i'd scrap it.
Or be really open to help, research as much as possible and make yourself as driven, hard headed and witty as that animal. Otherwise it's just a waste of time.
Just my two cents.
Goodluck smile
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