Toilet training is one of the many things you can expect to look forward to if you are planning on adopting an Alaskan Malamute puppy. Luckily, Malamutes are intelligent and clean dogs so owners have it relatively easy, but their stubbornness in teenage and adult years can make it harder to train older dogs.
In our article we’ve outlined our 10 tips for success with Alaskan Malamute potty training. So, keep reading to find out how to toilet train an Alaskan Malamute!
1. LOOK FOR PATTERNS IN WHEN THEY GO POTTY
One of the best things you can do is look for patterns in the times when your Malamute goes potty. If you notice that your Malamute needs the toilet at roughly the same times each day, you will be more prepared and should be able to take them outside before they soil the house.
Most dogs will need the toilet after they’ve had food or water and woken up from a nap – much like us humans! If you take your Malamute straight outside after they’ve eaten, drank, or woken up, there is a good chance that they will go potty.
Remember that puppies will need the toilet more frequently, sometimes once an hour! Take them outside at regular intervals to give them the chance to do their business in the right place.
2. KEEP THEM ON A LEASH WHILST OUTSIDE
Whilst you are outside, keep your Alaskan Malamute on their leash. This will make it easier for you to keep an eye on them so that you don’t miss if they go potty.
Keeping them on their leash will also allow you to encourage them to walk. Movement can help to get their bowels moving to make them need to go potty. Give them a brisk walk around the garden to stimulate them into needing the toilet.
3. TAKE THEM TO THE SAME SPOT
Malamutes can be a little fussy about where they want to do their business. We think some surfaces must make them feel more comfortable than others. Whilst you are raising your Malamute puppy, you might notice that they go to the same spot in the house to do their business each time.
Once you’ve seen your Malamute go to the toilet outside, try to take them back to that area on their leash. If they have previously had success there, it is likely they will continue to use that spot to do their business.
It’s also not uncommon for Malamute puppies to learn to use the bathroom outside by being out on walks. If you find that your puppy is using the bathroom fine whilst on walks but not in the yard, try to change your walking routine to have shorter but more frequent walks to give them more opportunities to go potty outside. Eventually, they will associate the outdoors with bathroom time and will be more willing to go potty in the yard.
4. CHOOSE A SPOT THAT ISN’T NEAR WHERE THEY SLEEP
Alaskan Malamutes are known for loving the outdoors – so much so that they will often doze outside for hours on end if they’re allowed to!
You will probably find that your Malamute has a couple of designated sleeping spots in the yard. When you are taking them to go potty, take them to an area that is not close to where they like to sleep. Malamutes are clean dogs and they don’t like to make a mess of the places they sleep. They much prefer to have separate, designated areas in the garden for sleeping and for going potty.
If you don’t have a particularly large yard, this could be what is causing the problem. In this case, try to make a more defined sleeping area so your Malamute can distinguish between it and the rest of the yard.
5. DO NOT PUNISH THEM FOR SOILING IN THE HOUSE
This is an important one – do not punish your Malamute for having an accident in the house.
Toilet training is a process that needs a lot of patience and no matter how much your try, there are going to be accidents along the way. That’s all part of the fun of raising any dog!
There is a myth that rubbing a dog’s face in their business will stop them from doing it in the house again, but all this does is build fear. Punishing your Malamute for having an accident will simply make them try to hide their business next time, and will build a negative relationship between you both.
If your Malamute does have an accident, just clean it away without making a fuss. They won’t associate a positive or negative emotion with it that way.
6. DON’T RELY ON PEE PADS
A lot of people choose ‘pee pads/puppy pads’ to help their potty training sessions. These are absorbent tiles that can be put on the floor to make cleaning up accidents easier.
Whilst they are very popular, we actually recommend avoiding them if you can. In our experience, puppy pads simply teach a Malamute that they are meant to do their business on those pads. This can delay the potty training process and confuse them as to what their goal is.
Get yourself a good mop and an enzymatic cleaner, and be prepared to clean up a few messes that are going to happen on your floors.
7. GIVE THEM LOTS OF POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT
Although negative reinforcement doesn’t work for potty training, positive reinforcement certainly does!
You Malamute will want to do anything to please you if it means getting some attention. When they use the bathroom outside, make sure to give them verbal praise and lots of fuss. Using positive reinforcement will make them associate going potty outdoors with being good behaviour much faster.
You may choose to give them a little dog treat (Malamutes are highly food motivated after all) but be warned that this could lead to them thinking that using the toilet anywhere will yield the same results.
8. USE CRATE TRAINING
If nothing seems to be working, it might be time to try crate training. Crate training is an excellent tool for training adult Malamutes, in particular, to use the bathroom outdoors.
As we mentioned previously, Malamutes are clean dogs and they don’t like to make a mess of the places where they sleep. This means that they will be very unlikely to go to the toilet whilst they are in their crate.
If they are holding in their bladder overnight whilst in the crate, you should be able to lead them straight outside first thing in the morning to use the bathroom. Over time, they will start to associate the outdoors with going to the bathroom and will be more encouraged to go through there through the day as well.
9. STAY CONSISTENT!
Finally, the most important thing you can do is stay consistent. Alaskan Malamutes love routine so if you can incorporate designated toilet time into their day, they will be much more likely to stick to it.
Having consistency will give your Malamute confidence that they are doing the right thing. Once they build confidence and understand the routine, they will experience less anxiety leading to fewer accidents.
It can take several months before you stop experiencing accidents but stick at it! Toilet training is highly rewarding and a great opportunity to build trust with your Malamute.
NOTE ON TOILET TRAINING
If you still aren’t seeing success after trying for a couple of months and accidents continue to occur, we recommend talking to a vet. Medical issues can sometimes cause an Alaskan Malamute to have toilet related issues so it’s worth ruling them out!
So, toilet training an Alaskan Malamute is mainly about staying consistent and rewarding good behaviour. If you stick to a routine, you should have a toilet-trained Malamute within a couple of months.
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