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Finding a New Home for Your Alaskan Malamute: 2

Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5

Step 1. Soul Searching

Do you really have to give up your Alaskan Malamute? There's a big difference between being forced to give up your dog and wanting to "get rid of him". Search your heart for the real reason why your dog can't live with you anymore. Be honest with yourself. Your answer will probably fall into one of two categories: People Problems or Dog Problems.

The Most Common People Problems:

"We're moving - we can't find a landlord who'll let us keep our dog."...

Many landlords don't allow ''d never give up one of your kids if you couldn't find the right apartment. Affordable rental homes that allow pets are out there if you work to find them. Most people give up too easily. See the "Moving, But Can't Take Your Dog?" article for suggestions that might help you find housing and still keep your dog.

"We don't have enough time for the dog"...

As a puppy, your dog took far more of your time than he does now. Grooming need only take an hour a week. Are you really that busy? Can other members of your family or dog loving friends help care for your dog? Will getting rid of your Alaskan Malamute really make your life less stressful? When they look closely at their lives, people often discover that the dog isn't cramping their style as much as they think.

The Most Common Dog Problems:

Behavior problems... If you got your dog as a puppy and he now has a behavior problem you can't live with, you must accept the fact that you are at least partly responsible for the way your dog is now.

You have 4 options:

1. You can continue to live with your dog the way he is.
2. You can get help to correct the problem.
3. You can try to give your problem to someone else.
4. You can have the dog destroyed.

Obviously the first option is not feasible or you wouldn't be reading this pamphlet. You're probably most interested in Option 3 so let's talk frankly about that for a moment.

If you were looking for a dog and could select from all kinds of dogs and puppies, would you deliberately choose one with a behavior problem?

No, certainly not - and neither would anyone else. To make your dog desirable to other people, you're going to have to take some action to fix his problems.

Most behavior problems aren't that hard to solve. We can help you with them if you'll give it a try. Think hard about Option 2 before deciding it won't work for you -because the only option you have left is number 4: Having the dog destroyed. That's the bottom line. If you, who know and love the dog best, won't give him another chance, why should anyone else? Think about that.

IF YOUR DOG HAS EVER BITTEN ANYONE

If your dog is aggressive with people or has ever bitten anyone, you can't, in good conscience, give him to anyone else. Could you live with yourself if that dog hurt another person, especially a child? Can you deal with the lawsuit that could result from it? You stand to lose your home and everything else you own. Lawsuits from dog bites are settling for millions of dollars in damages.

Our society today has zero tolerance for a dog with a bite history, no matter how minor. A dog that has bitten - whether or not is was his fault - is considered by law to be a dangerous dog. In some states, it's illegal to sell or give away a biting dog. No insurance company will cover a family with a biting dog. And to be perfectly honest, no other dog responsible person in his right mind would want to adopt a biting dog. No matter how much you love your dog, if he has ever bitten anyone, you only have one responsible choice - take him to your veterinarian and have him humanely put to sleep. Don't leave him at a shelter where he might be frightened and confused and put other people at risk. Don't try to place him as a "guard dog" where he might be neglected, abused or used for dog fighting. As hard as it is to face, putting a potentially dangerous, biting dog to sleep is the only safe and responsible thing to do. It's the right thing to do.

Step 2. Call your dog's breeder

Before you do anything else, call the person you got your dog from and ask for help. Even if several years have passed, responsible breeders care about the puppies they sold and will want to help you find a new home. They may even take the dog back. At the very least, they deserve to know what you intend to do with the Alaskan Malamute and what will happen to it. If you can't remember the breeder's name, look on your dog's registration papers. If you got your dog from an animal shelter or rescue service, read the adoption contract you signed when you adopted him. You may be required by the contract to return the dog to that shelter.

Step 3. Evaluate your dog's adoption potential

To successfully find a new home, you need to be realistic about your dog's adoption potential. Let's be honest: most people don't want "used" dogs, especially if they have health or behavior problems. Your dog will have the best chance if he's less than 4 years old, is healthy, friendly to strangers, obeys commands and adapts quickly to new situations. Look at your dog as if you were meeting him for the first time. What kind of impression would he make? Would you want to adopt him?

You already know that Alaskan Malamutes are special dogs for special people. Those special people can be hard to find. Many people interested in Alaskan Malamutes today have never had one before. They want a dog that will greet them with a wagging tail or will at least allow them to pet him. If your dog is aggressive to strangers, is "temperamental" or has ever bitten anyone, finding him another home may not be your best option.

What kind of home do you want for your Alaskan Malamute? A large fenced yard? Another dog to play with? Children? No children? Make a list of what you feel is most important for your dog. Then get real. No home will be perfect, of course, so you'll have to make compromises. What kind of people are you looking for? What will you be willing to compromise on? Once you have a firm idea of what you are looking for, it will be easier to plan your search and get the results you want.

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