How Do You Calm Down A Malamute? (Veterinary Insight)

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Despite their size and gentle appearance, Alaskan Malamutes are an energetic breed. They require lots of daily exercises and plenty of human affection to keep them occupied throughout the day.

Unfortunately, there are times when no matter what you do, your Malamute simply won’t settle down, leading to frustration and sometimes sleepless nights. If exercise doesn’t work, then just how do you calm down a Malamute?

The best way to calm down your Malamute depends on the reason for them being restless in the first place. Energetic Malamutes will benefit from toys or chews that distract their minds and use up energy. Nervous Malamutes may require calming tools such as a weighted blanket to help them feel secure.

Keep reading to learn tips for calming your Malamute down from owners with veterinary insight.

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What Causes A Malamute To Become Restless?

The methods we use to calm our Mals down vary depending on the apparent reason for them being so energetic in the first place. It’s important to understand why your Malamute isn’t settling down so you can help them in the right way.

It can also help to identify any potential triggers that are causing your Mal to become restless so they can be avoided in the future.

Firstly, it should be noted that Malamutes are inherently an energetic breed. They were bred to pull heavy cargo over long distances, and as a result, their stamina is very high. Malamutes are not an easy breed to look after, and whilst these tips have worked for us, a lot of patience is still required.

This holds especially true for Malamute puppies which is why we don’t recommend them to first-time owners.

As Malamutes get older, they usually become content with having one long walk a day, although there can still be occasions where this simply isn’t enough. Restlessness can be caused by the simplest of things, such as eating more or the ambient temperature around them being cooler than normal.

The best thing you can do is make a note of when this behavior occurs so you can keep track of potential triggers to be avoided.

Just like any breed, Malamutes are prone to anxiety too. We’ve previously owned Mals who are terrified of loud banging noises, so you can imagine the struggle when fireworks are involved!

These triggers are much more obvious, but unfortunately, they are often out of our control. Situations like this require different methods to calm our Mals down to keep them feeling relaxed and at ease within the home.

Do Malamutes Calm Down Naturally?

Malamutes, like other dogs, do tend to calm down as they get older.

This is a natural process, and for Malamutes, it usually occurs after they reach two years old, but it can start as early as one year.

This doesn’t mean they will stop getting excited at the thought of going on walks or nervous if there are fireworks, but it does mean that their temperament will become much calmer, and they will be more relaxed at home and in general.

Tips For Calming Down A Nervous Malamute

Struggling to calm down a nervous Malamute?

Don’t worry, we’ve been there too!

Whether it’s fireworks, guns, thunderstorms, or anything in between, dealing with your Malamute’s anxiety is important to keep the trust you’ve formed in your bond.

You may dread the thought of one of their triggers cropping up, but lucky for you, we’ve already tried every trick in the book. Keep reading to find out what has previously worked for us.

Weighted Blanket – Weighted Lap Pad By HomeSmart

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For a non-US alternative, click here.

In our experience, a nervous Malamute will try to hide. This seems all well and good until you remember just how big Malamutes are and how few places they can even fit. We’ve woken up many times to our Malamutes trying to dig to get under our beds during a thunderstorm, and all it leads to is more stress when they can’t get where they need to.

Hands down, our go-to solution for this is a weighted blanket. It turns out Malamutes can be pretty easily tricked and by covering their heads in a weighted blanked it’s as if they think no one can see them anymore.

We’ve tried this with a normal blanket, but it seems the added pressure of a weighted blanket makes them feel more secure and they stay calmer for longer.

We love the 7lb Weighted Lap Pad from HomeSmart as it’s smaller and has a lighter weight than most weighted blankets and making it perfect for Malamutes. The fabric is super soft to the point where we’re actually jealous of them using it, and the best part is that it’s machine washable, so you can throw it in the washer when it starts to smell too much of dogs.

We’ve personally found that by just covering their heads, they’ve still felt at ease, even with their noses poking out! We prefer this, too, as it prevents them from getting too warm and keeps fresh air circulating around their noses.

If you find that you need to cover their entire bodies, make sure the room they are in is on the cooler side and offer them water frequently. You should keep your Malamute supervised at all times whilst they are using a weighted blanket to ensure they are not overheating and to make sure they can leave if they want to.

Tips For Calming An Energetic Malamute Down

Malamutes are a highly energetic breed, and a firm hand is required to keep them from running around and chewing up furniture 24/7.

Even the most well-trained Malamute still has energy spurts every once in a while!

Thankfully we’ve found a few toys that helped to keep our pups calm and occupied long enough for them to tire out eventually.

Treat-filled Chew Toys – Stuffable Extreme Dog Toy by KONG

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Our go-to for overly energetic Malamutes is a treat-filled chew toy. Mals are highly food-orientated and love to play so nothing is more perfect for them than combining the two. These toys are essentially just chew toys with hollowed centers that can be filled with any treat of your choice.

The toys make it difficult to get the treats back out again and have the added benefit of keeping your Malamute occupied by themselves.

Our favorite is the Stuffable Extreme Dog Toy by KONG which can be customized to suit any dog. For pretty obvious reasons, we use the XXL size toy in the ‘extreme’ strength, and we’ve had good success with it.

The toys are definitely not indestructible as they claim to be, but they’ve survived longer than others we’ve tried and we usually get a good couple of months out of them before our Mals manage to tear them apart.

We personally like to fill them with a spoonful of peanut butter and try to smear it around to coat the inside of the toy. In our experience using a paste rather than a solid treat keeps our Malamutes invested for longer.

We should note that it’s important to use discipline still when you are giving these toys to your Malamute.

We suggest showing the toy to your Malamute and make them sit for a couple of minutes or perform a few of their known tricks before handing it over to them. This way they will begin to associate being rewarded with good behaviour rather than with the energetic behaviours you are trying to stop.

Rawhide Chews – Large Rawhide Rolls 3 Pack by Pet Magasin

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For a non-US alternative, click here.

Another personal favorite of ours is to give our Malamutes a rawhide chew. These are very long-lasting dog treats made up of dried beef rawhide that take a long time to be eaten. Our Malamutes love rawhide chews and would happily chomp on one all day if they could.

Our Malamutes even seem to be more well-behaved on purpose just so we will give them one! Rawhide chews can be very hit-or-miss in terms of quality, and cheaper chews tend to break apart, posing a choking risk to your dog.

Our go-to has been the Large Rawhide Rolls from Pet Magasin which come in a pack of three. These are on the more expensive side, but it is more than worth it to know you’re getting a quality product for your Malamute.

Pet Magasin claim the chews promote better oral hygiene and are ‘treated to eliminate bacteria without adding any preservatives’ so you know you’re not rewarding them with anything harmful.

One of these treats usually lasts us up to a week, and we allow our Malamutes to have access to them for only an hour or two a day.

In the same way, as with the chew toys, we recommend you show the treat to your Malamute and make them behave well for five minutes before giving it to them. This way, you still retain some control over their feeding times, and they will begin to associate treats with calm behavior.

In Summary

There are many products available that claim to calm your Malamutes down, but these are our tried and trusted methods that have saved us from several sleepless nights.

It’s important to remember that whilst having a relaxed pup is nice, Malamutes are an energetic breed, and dealing with their outbursts is simply part of the job. No matter how annoying they can sometimes be, we still love them all the same.

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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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