Can Alaskan Malamutes be Left Alone?

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This article has been fact-checked by Dr. Dilber Hussain, DVM, to ensure we're providing the most up-to-date guidance. READ MORE

No dog should be left alone all day, every day. However, some days, we need to complete human chores that don’t allow the company of a giant Alaskan Malamute.

Although no large breed is great at being home for long periods, Alaskan Malamutes are especially bad. This breed is used to spending time in a pack and thrives on both human and canine company. Without it, they can get frustrated and destructive. Eventually, too much time alone can lead to temperament issues and depression.

Read on to discover how long Alaskan Malamutes can be left alone and how to make alone time better for them.

Can Alaskan Malamutes Be Left Alone?

On average, Alaskan Malamutes can be left alone for no more than 3-4 hours. Although this number largely depends on the temperament and age of your dog, Alaskan Malamutes are generally prone to separation anxiety and destructive behavior.

Primarily because they were traditionally bred amongst other arctic working dogs, Alaskan Malamutes have a strong social desire and crave both canine and human company. Being alone too long can not only be detrimental to your belongings but can be detrimental to your dog’s mental health.

Test How Long Your Alaskan Malamute Can Spend Alone

Although it’s never good to leave any dog home for too long, there are techniques to make long times alone more manageable for the dog. This is especially necessary for Alaskan Malamutes.

First, how long your Alaskan Malamute can manage to be home alone depends on their personal tolerance, temperament, and age. From there, here are steps to tell how long your dog feels comfortable alone:

1. Perform small tests.

Each day, leave your Alaskan Malamute home alone for longer increments. Start with 30 minutes, then 1 hour, and more and more every day.

2. When you come home, check for signs of distress.

When you come home every day during the test, check for signs of distress in your dog.

  • Body language: calm, relaxed dogs will appear that they just woke up from a nap, whereas stressed, anxious dogs will be panting, ears tucked behind their head, and their tail might be between their legs. In addition, anxious dogs may be overly excited (in a fearful way) when you return.
  • Destructive behavior: if you come to any rips, scratches, or destroyed furniture, it may be a sign that your dog reached their tolerance for being alone and went the destruction route. This is very common for Alaskan Malamutes and signals that they were bored and/or frustrated.
  • Whining/howling: Before entering your house, listen for whining, howling, or crying. Although it’s normal for Malamutes to do this shortly after you leave, it’s not a good sign if they are still doing it when you return. Crying for an extended period can signal stress, boredom, and/or frustration.

3. Monitor their behavior.

Because of modern technology, you can also monitor your dog’s behavior while you are away. Many dog cameras allow you to peek in on what your dog is doing from your phone. This way, you can test their behavior without having to replace some of your belongings.

Adverse Effects of Alaskan Malamutes Spending Too Much Time Alone

Be careful not to leave Alaskan Malamutes alone for too long, as too much time alone can be detrimental to their health. Some of the ailments caused by too much time alone are depression, stress, isolation distress, separation anxiety, destructive behavior, aloofness, disobedience, and temperament issues.

Easy Ways to Lessen an Alaskan Malamute’s Time Spent Alone

There are many ways to lessen the time an Alaskan Malamute needs to spend alone. Through flexible hours, community help, and modern technology, it’s easy to give your Alaskan Malamute outlets while you’re away.

Hire a Dog Sitter/Dog Walker

Nowadays, with numerous apps and professional websites, dog sitters are everywhere. Not only that, but dog sitting and dog walking services are cheaper than ever. In 2020, the average cost for a 30-minute walk cost $22.56. Although this largely depends on where you live, this is an excellent option for lessening the time your dog has to spend alone.

Dog walkers give two specific benefits to you and your dog:

  1. They have experience. Most dog walkers have a plethora of experience and are trained in animal CPR and first aid. They know how to get the most out of your dog and how to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  2. They can give you updates. Dog walkers/sitters largely communicate through apps and websites nowadays and often offer you pics and updates on your pup when they see them. With a dog like an Alaskan Malamute, this can be super helpful in knowing how they are doing alone.

Flexible Hours or Taking Lunch at Home

Although this is not a feasible option for everyone, it is really helpful. Especially when combined with a dog camera, going home during your lunch break is a great intervention method.

While on your lunch, you can take your Alaskan Malamute for a walk, give them a bathroom break, and exercise them. Doing this even once a day significantly breaks up the time they are left home alone and can deter them from destructive behavior.

Ask Friends or Family for Help

Again, this option may not be feasible for everyone – but, if it is, it can be a huge game-changer for your Malamute.

While retired family members are often the best option, make sure they know the proper protocols for your dog. This is important because Alaskan Malamutes can weigh up to 100 lbs and can easily hurt someone, especially if they are old.

Even if you can get someone (or a mixture of people) to interact with your dog 3-4 days out of the week, it can make a big difference for your dog’s mental health.

Doggy Daycare

When done with a credible, safe business, doggy daycare can be an excellent way to get your Alaskan Malamute out of the house. Good doggy daycares are a great way for your dog to socialize and get mental and physical exercise. Not only will they not have to spend the day at home alone, but they will likely come home wiped out!

It’s essential to do your research, as some doggy daycares are better than others. Good, reputable ones usually offer your dog additional interaction options, like training, grooming, treats, or even professional massages.

Ways to Keep Alaskan Malamute Happy When Home Alone

Exercise Them

The best way to keep an Alaskan Malamute happy and not stressed when home alone is to exercise them beforehand. On average, Alaskan Malamutes need 2 hours of exercise per day. Pent-up energy can lead to boredom and destruction, so it’s important to take care of it before you leave the house. In addition, unexercised Malamutes can become depressed and frustrated very quickly.

Exercising your dog before you leave allows the dog to feel relaxed and tired instead of stressed and frustrated.

Leave Some Sound on

Put yourself in your dog’s place. You’re home alone, bored, and all you can hear is the outside noises. Mix that with the dog’s instinct to protect their space, and you’re left with an anxious, stressed pup.

Calming noises, or even just a TV show, can entertain and relax your dog. Some noises and TV shows are even made for this exact purpose!

In addition, it’s become more and more popular to record yourself talking casually and playing that sound while you’re away. Some people report that it helps with their Malamutes anxiety and can even help curb separation anxiety.

Create Closed Off Space for Them

Although Alaskan Malamutes do need to roam, sometimes creating a smaller space can help them to relax. However, I wouldn’t recommend this option for extended periods.

In creating a closed-off space, you are recreating the feeling of a den, which is instinctually comfy and safe-feeling for a dog. The area should be away from outside noises and contain their crate, water bowl, safe toys, comfort items, and blankets.

Provide Interactive Toys

Next to exercise, interactive toys are hands down the best way to help stimulate your Malamute. Luckily, there are many different options for interactive toys on the market today.

These toys are like puzzles and are great for keeping your dog challenged and entertained for long periods. Examples include snuffle mats, frozen peanut butter kongs, and puzzle feeders. With the right toy, your Malamute will be so entranced that they don’t even notice you’re gone.

Click here to read our list of the best toys to keep Alaskan Malamutes busy!

Two-Way Pet Camera with Audio

Although I wouldn’t recommend this option to help with your Malamute’s anxiety, it is a great way to monitor your dog and intervene on bad behavior. It is also a great method to use in addition to any of the other ideas above.

Two-way pet cameras allow you to see what your dog is up to, and if you catch them on bad behavior, talk to them through the audio function. Some pet cameras can even move throughout the house, so you can find your dog no matter where they are!

If your Malamute is being good, they can also dispense treats.

Final Remarks

Leaving an Alaskan Malamute alone can be challenging as the breed is notoriously bad at spending time alone and can be destructive.

Luckily, there are numerous ways to both lessen the time your Malamute has to spend alone and ways to entertain them while you’re gone. These methods can leave you with the freedom to do things outside of the house and leave your Malamute entertained, exercised, and happy.

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About The Author

Caitlin is the owner and lead writer for The Malamute Mom. She has over 10 years of experience with Alaskan Malamutes and Huskies. She is currently working on getting her PhD in materials science but continues to write for The Malamute Mom in her spare time.

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