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10 Secrets to Stop Your Alaskan Malamute from Barking

Written by: Arlene Divina
Arlene A. Divina, a resident of the Philippines, is a devoted fur mom to two adorable dogs: a Shih Tzu and a Beagle. With a passion for animals and storytelling, Arlene has channeled her love for dogs into her career as a content writer at iHeartDogs. Her writing captures the essence of the bond between humans and their furry companions, offering insights, tips, and heartfelt stories to a wide audience of dog enthusiasts. Read more
| Published on May 8, 2023

Alaskan Malamutes are known for their strong-willed and independent personalities, as well as their tendency to bark reactively at strangers, other dogs, and even household objects. While this behavior is a natural part of their protective instincts, it can create a stressful home environment for both the dog and their owner. In this article, we will explore ten effective strategies to help an Alaskan Malamute overcome reactive barking and develop more positive behaviors. These strategies can help create a happier and more peaceful home environment, allowing both the dog and their owner to enjoy a stronger bond and a more fulfilling life together.

⚠️ Note: While the tips below should get you started, its important to realize that your Alaskan Malamute’s excessive barking is symptom of reactivity. Consider looking into an online training course that specifically addresses reactivity (we like SpiritDog’s “Tackling Reactivity course or K9 Institute’s Dog Masterclass)

1. Identify and Understand Your Alaskan Malamute’s Triggers:

The first step to addressing reactive barking is to identify the specific triggers that cause your Alaskan Malamute to bark. Observe your dog closely to determine what situations or stimuli provoke their barking, such as encountering other dogs, strangers approaching, or loud noises. Once you understand the triggers, you can develop a targeted plan to address the issue.

2. Desensitize Your Alaskan Malamute to Triggers:

Desensitization is a gradual process that involves exposing your Alaskan Malamute to their triggers at a comfortable distance, allowing them to become more accustomed to the stimulus without reacting. Over time, you can slowly decrease the distance between your dog and the trigger, always rewarding calm behavior. This process helps your dog become less reactive to the trigger, ultimately reducing their barking.

3. Use Counter-Conditioning with Your Alaskan Malamute:

Counter-conditioning is another technique that can help change your Alaskan Malamute’s emotional response to a trigger. By pairing the trigger with something positive, such as treats or toys, your dog can begin to associate the stimulus with a positive experience rather than fear or anxiety. Over time, this can reduce your dog’s reactive barking.

4. Use Positive Reinforcement with Your Alaskan Malamute:

Reward your Alaskan Malamute for remaining calm and quiet in situations where they would typically react with barking. Consistently offer praise, treats, or affection when your dog displays appropriate behavior in response to their triggers. This positive reinforcement helps your dog learn that there are better ways to cope with their triggers than barking.

5. Teach Your Alaskan Malamute the “Quiet” Command:

Train your Alaskan Malamute  to understand and respond to the “quiet” command. When your dog starts barking in response to a trigger, calmly say “quiet” and wait for them to stop. As soon as they are silent, immediately praise and reward them. Repeat this process consistently until your dog associates the command with the desired behavior.

Related: What online dog training program does iHeartDogs recommend for reactive barking? 

6. Redirect Your Alaskan Malamute’s Attention:

When your Alaskan Malamute begins to bark reactively, try redirecting their attention to a more productive activity. Offer a favorite toy, initiate a training session, or engage in play to refocus their energy. This helps your dog learn that there are alternative ways to react to stimuli, rather than barking.

7. Provide Adequate Exercise and Mental Stimulation for Your Alaskan Malamute:

A well-exercised and mentally stimulated Alaskan Malamute is less likely to engage in reactive barking. Ensure your dog receives enough physical activity and mental stimulation daily through walks, play sessions, and interactive toys. This can help reduce pent-up energy and frustration, which can contribute to reactive barking.

8. Create a Calm Environment for Your Alaskan Malamute:

A chaotic or noisy environment can exacerbate your Alaskan Malamute’s reactive barking. Create a calm and quiet space for your pet, with a comfortable bed and designated area for their toys. Use calming scents, like lavender or chamomile, and soothing sounds, such as classical music or white noise, to help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

9. Manage Your Alaskan Malamute’s Environment:

While you work on addressing your Alaskan Malamute’s reactive barking, consider managing their environment to limit exposure to triggers. This may involve using window films to obscure your dog’s view of passersby, creating a designated “safe space” for your dog to retreat to, or using baby gates to restrict access to areas with high trigger exposure. Managing your dog’s environment can help reduce their reactive barking while you work on implementing other strategies.

10. Try an Online Dog Reactivity Training Course

If your Alaskan Malamute’s reactive barking continues despite your efforts, consider consulting with a professional dog trainer or behaviorist.

2 online dog training programs we like are:

1. SpiritDog’s “Tacking Reactivity” Course

The SpiritDog Tackling Reactivity Course is an online training program designed to help dog owners address their dog’s reactive barking without the need for expensive in-person training. The course aims to help owners understand their dog’s triggers and teaches techniques to calm and accommodate reactive dogs. Developed by experienced dog trainer Steffi Trott, the program offers video lessons, instructional PDFs, quizzes, and access to trainers for support.

2. K9 Training Institute’s “Dog Masterclass”

More than just an obedience course, this more comprehensive training course tackles any behavior problem you might face with your dog.

10 Reasons Why an Alaskan Malamute Might Be Reactive Barking

  1. Territoriality: Alaskan Malamutes can be fiercely protective of their home and family, leading to reactive barking when they sense a perceived threat.
  2. Anxiety: Like many dogs, Alaskan Malamutes may bark reactively when they are feeling anxious or stressed.
  3. Lack of socialization: Dogs that haven’t been properly socialized may become fearful of new people, animals, or situations and resort to reactive barking as a response.
  4. Separation anxiety: Alaskan Malamutes may bark excessively when left alone or when they sense their owner is about to leave, as a sign of separation anxiety.
  5. Reinforced behavior: If reactive barking has been unintentionally reinforced by their owners, the Alaskan Malamute may continue this behavior as a way to get attention or rewards.
  6. Lack of obedience training: Without proper obedience training, Alaskan Malamutes may not understand how to behave in different situations, leading to reactive barking as a way to express frustration or confusion.
  7. Genetics: Some Alaskan Malamutes may be predisposed to reactive barking due to their breed’s genetics or past experiences.
  8. Sensory stimuli: Alaskan Malamutes have a strong sense of hearing, and may bark reactively at unfamiliar sounds or voices.
  9. Boredom or lack of exercise: A lack of physical exercise or mental stimulation can lead to boredom, which can in turn cause an Alaskan Malamute to bark reactively.
  10. Health issues: Certain health conditions, such as hearing loss or cognitive decline, can cause dogs to bark more frequently and uncontrollably.

In conclusion, reactive barking can be a challenging behavior to manage in Alaskan Malamutes, but with the right strategies and consistent effort, it can be overcome. By identifying the underlying reasons for the barking and using positive reinforcement training techniques, owners can help their Alaskan Malamute learn to behave appropriately in various situations. Additionally, providing adequate exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation can help reduce the likelihood of reactive barking due to boredom or anxiety. Through a combination of patience, dedication, and love, Alaskan Malamutes and their owners can develop a deeper bond and enjoy a more peaceful home environment.

NEXT UP: Can an Online Training Course Help Stop My Alaskan Malamute’s Barking?  

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