Dog Socialization in Kennels
1) There are definite differences in temperament between lines.
There is no doubt that there differences in this area. Unfortunately for the dogs,
I believe it to be a learned experience from generation to generation. If the dogs
are not properly introduced to each other, left at certain times to fend for
themselves or work out their problems on their own, they will. This usually
evolves into continuous fighting, and a growing distaste for one another within
the kennel. If not checked properly, supervised, and adjustments in attitude
worked on, the problem not only escalates, but is passed on to the next
generation. These dogs are then labeled as trouble makers, etc., and not allowed
to socialize, which propagates the problem even further.
Temperament is not just inherited. It is also a learned experience, with applications
to whatever they have been allowed to develop into. They also learn from each
other. If a dog is not corrected for a mis-conduct, it is tantamount to condoning
the bad behavior, in their mind.
2) Dogs need to be placed together when introduced as puppies
When ever a new puppy is introduced, socialization is a must. The puppy is let
out with another dog (at an appropriate age-which is when it can actually get
out of another dogs way), and the numbers of dogs released with that puppy
is increased over a period of time. This can take days or weeks, depending
on the number of dogs you have. If you have a group of dogs that like to run
in a pack at full speed with no care for what they run over, the puppy should
not be let out with them, unless supervision will keep them in check.
Socialization is of paramount importance at this time. The puppy must learn
what is acceptable behavior, as well as the adults. Any indication of a superior
attitude from a puppy should be dealt with by you, with correction. (Please see
#15). They need lots of supervision, and teaching as to sharing, what is
acceptable behavior and what is not.
3) New, older dog introduction needs to be supervised in incrementally
longer duration’s, with a strong hand involved.
When an adult dog is introduced, never let them together with the rest of
the kennel members at first. Introduce a male, one at a time to your
females, out of sight of the rest of the males. Never kennel the new male
directly next to other males. Put a bitch or two in between. Never put the
new male next to a bitch in season. (The male in your kennel that thinks
that bitch is his, will have fit, and remember it when introduced to the
Depending on your ability to separate dogs from each other view, and the
amount of room you have, it is important to introduce the new male to
males in the kennel as soon as possible. This should be done outside of
the actual kennel area, one at a time, under controlled conditions, with
leashes and collars. Now comes the part that will activate tremendous
outrage from animal rights activates. Any display of hostility must be met
with a correction.
Some sled dog drivers use a short rubber hose for correction and control.
This is what we use. One swack across the muzzle usually does the trick,
followed by as many as it takes to stop the growling. Not hard, injury
causing hits, just enough to let them know you mean business. After a
period of time, this method works to your advantage more than you can
ever imagine. Every dog comes to know what the rubber hose means,
dislikes it, and all you have to do when a problem occurs, is bring the
hose out and show it to them. 99% of the time, that’s all that is needed.
New dogs sometimes learn without ever having to be hit once. They see
the other dogs reactions and instinctively understand it is something not
to be taken lightly.
Every good behavior after a correction must be met with praise. After the
correction, when the grumbling stops, (even if it’s only for a couple of
seconds) praise is given and the dogs separated for a few seconds. Just
walk them around in a circle and right back to each others face. Don’t let
them too close at first, bringing them closer with each successful encounter.
This will take much time and effort, but will pay off in the long term.
Eventually they should be able to be lose together, one on one, and maybe
with a group.
Adult bitch introduction works the same way. Except a watchful eye should
be kept for any antagonism from the new female to your males. Bitches can
sometimes have this gender cross-over problem. Never found a male that will
go after a bitch, unless the bitch first initiated the altercation.
4) Understanding of each dogs temperament is a must. Including what sets
one off or upsets another and when.
Every dog has its own temperament to some degree or another, just as with
humans. One dog might not be a morning dog, or get real uppity he feeding
time gets near. Some males consider certain bitches in the kennel to be
theirs. Some males have more problems with in season bitches than others,
and can also tell long before others when a bitch is coming in season,
displaying modified behavior to the condition before others.
Some bitches enter their season with little or no mood swing, others live up
to the title. Just as each dog will react to meeting a strange dog when your
on a walk, so will they exhibit different behavior from one another to similar
Here’s an example of training working at its best: Yesterday I took our oldest
male, now 6, to the Vet to check his prostate. He has this problem whenever
a certain bitch in the kennel comes in season. At the Vet’s office there where
three other dogs in the waiting room. A Dauchhound, a Golden, and a Lab-
Shepard mix. The office cat decided to take a stroll through the middle of all
of them to get to a window sill. Every on of the dogs reacted to the cat
differently, but all tried to get to it. (What they all had on their individual minds,
I don’ t know). What I do know, is that the Malamute was the only one that did
not react to the cat except to look at it. The discussion that ensued about the
Malamutes reputation and the misconceptions that people had was amassing.
Every one of the people thought that the cat would have been history since
there was a Malamute in the room. Another example of poor information being
spread and correction training working. We have a cat, and the dogs are
trained to ignore him.
Some have a favorite ball, toy, etc. that set them off when another dog gets
near it. Some don’t like other dogs around when they go to poop. You get the
picture. Every dog has its own little eccentricity, and it is mandatory that you
figure out what they are, what sets them off, how to separate or control each
one as it crops up.
5) Bitches in season should never be allowed with other bitches, nor other
males they get testy with at times.
This one is pretty much self explanatory. Don’t trust a bitch in season with
other bitches at any time, even supervised. We do on occasion, but under
very controlled conditions. There are also certain males, a bitch in season
will get uppity with. Don’t let them out together either.
Keep the in season bitch in her own run and away from males. The only
exception is if you have a male that thinks she is exclusively his and he
stops eating, etc. We place that male next to the bitch in another run, and
it calms him down knowing no one else is getting to her. Never switch runs
with males and in season bitches, unless the run is completely sanitized first.
The male will have a change of attitude that you may not detect until it’s too
late when let lose with others.
6) Males that are known to have periodic spats are never allowed together
with other males when a bitch is in season.
Again, fairly self explanatory. The bottom line is, know your dogs every
detail, and be more preventative to a potential situations problem, than
7) Never leave anything that can be personalized out for the general group.
Some dogs have special items they believe are more theirs than others.
These should be kept in that particular dogs closed kennel or run, where
no other dog can get to it. This also means that the personalized item should
never be seen by that dog, being played with by another. They remember.
8) Questionable relationships are always separated when unsupervised.
If there is ever a question as to the relationship between two or more dogs,
the rule is to separate when not supervised. Keeping a close eye on the
dogs mood shifts will give a good warning that something is happening,
and it can change from day to day.
9) Known mood swings are watched and cataloged.
Every dog has its own mood or temperament as mentioned earlier. Each
dog should have a record kept on them. If you don’t have many dogs, this
can be in your head. If your brain is full of garbage like mine, you’ll need
to write it down and catalog them. Changes, conditions that set them off,
outside or internal forces, sickness, etc. all should be cataloged for each
dog, and a record kept of each reaction or behavior that manifests itself
from them. This will give you forewarning of an approaching problem in
the future, remind you how best to or not to deal with it, and also remind
you that it happened before and it’s not a new problem to get excited over.
10) Socialization is a must.
I can’t stress this enough. It is the root of most problems. A dog that is not
socialized with people, dogs and other animals will not develop the
necessary fundamentals of proper behavior. Along with the socialization
goes the corrections for inappropriate behavior.
Frequenting parks, shopping centers, shows, etc. are all excellent
socialization opportunities. It is amazing to see only a few Malamute
owners taking their dog for walks at a show, other than to go take a
dump. When marveling at and making comments over how we can put
three and four Malamutes in the same exercise pen together, they never
stop to think that it was through a lot of work and training. Their dogs are
no less intelligent than mine. It’s what they wrongly perceive to be the
inherent traits of my line. Well, wait a minute, if that is in fact the case,
why are they not using their breeding program to weed out the inappropriate
traits and produce only the ones that are acceptable. Because, with few
exceptions, (and there are certain lines that display temperament problems),
every line could have basically the same outward temperament, if they were
all brought up and trained over a period of generations by the same person.
Since everyone trains, corrects, raises, and breeds differently than everyone
else, there are no two environments or conditions the same. Even the
temperament of the human, their reactions to given situations, their mood
swings, training abilities, etc. all go into the makeup of their dogs. This helps
to create a difference in what is perceived to be temperament. If you, yourself,
take every one of the items in this message, and implement them, you will not
come out with the exact same results I have.>
11) Obedience training is a must.
This is another topic of considerable conflict among breeders. I don’t care, if
you want your dogs to get along, if you want your dogs to be controllable,
and you claim you want them to act like mine (that’s not directed at you, just
a general statement), then you need to obedience train them. This does not
mean rigorous, regimented training. It means training to some degree that
will help you in your control. Your dog needs to know that when a skirmish
breaks out. and you yell for it to stop, that you mean business, and they can
expect a distasteful reaction from you should they not stop immediately.
(WOW, similar to kids, isn’t it?) Ring any bells?
12) Spare the rod and spoil the child scenario applies.
I think the topic above explains this one. Along with #’s 13-14-15&16 pretty
much sum it up.
13) Alpha dog mentality is a must in a kennel.
Guess who is supposed to be the Alpha dog? You!!! Not any one of your dogs.
There can and should be a secondary Alpha within the kennel. We have a bitch
that assumes that role. She, through our cataloging and experience with her,
is controlled during her displays of eminent superiority. If you don’t have control
over the dogs in your kennel, and they know it. All else will fail. This control is
gained by training, individual attention, group control of situations, a certain
amount of fear and intimidation, along with respect. They must respect you, and
they must know that you respect them. Only by working with them individually,
and in a group can this be accomplished. Takes a lot of time and effort, but is
well worth it, and it gets immensely easier as time goes on, since they train
newcomers themselves to some degree.
14) Work with dogs after incidents is mandatory.
Another important aspect of the training is what happens immediately after
an incident. Most, get the dogs separated, put them in runs or kennels far
away from each other to keep them from growling at one another, and leave
it at that. (Even worse than that, put them next to each other to fence fight
or stare each other down).
WRONG…. Talk about building animosity, hate, revenge, etc. These dog are
not dumb. They remember the last incident. They remember who they dislike.
They remember that they did not get to finish what they started last time.
The only thing you want them to remember after a fight or incident, is that
they did not like what happened to them when they did fight. Immediate
correction after separation is imperative. Just as imperative is that they
not be removed from each others presence. On the contrary, after correction,
bring them back together, administering correction as needed each time
grumbling is present. Just as important as the corrections, is the praise.
As soon as they face each other and don’t grumble, even for a few seconds,
praise them. Then try it again. This take time and patience.
It also take time to get them back together, lose. Supervised at first, and
then gradually unsupervised.
The next issue is, what did we learn from this. Well, hopefully, we discovered
what set it off in the first place. You must check out everything that could
have created the fight. When you find it, you have just cataloged another
item to remember, and control, so that the conditions are not presented
again for a repeat session.
15) Correction is not an option.
If correction is not going to be a part of the plan, don’t ever plan on putting
any dogs together unsupervised at any time. They will just become kennel
dogs. Some will take offense at this, since they do not believe in obedience
training, hitting the dog, punishment of any kind, and think that the breed
was meant to be unruly, and in what they consider a natural condition. I
would like to hear from the first person that can intelligently explain how
the Inuit tribes got their dogs to obey any given command to pull sleds
(which they really were breed for), without training of some sort. Must have
been some breeding program. The puppies popped out knowing what Gee
& Haw meant.
Number one mistake by many. Treat each indiscretion with a different
approach or severity of correction. Correct only occasionally. Administer
correction when you feel like it. All are a recipe for disaster.
If you don’t want you dog to beg at the table, you don’t sometimes feed them
something once in a while. They become confused, and thereby continue to
beg. Same thing with any other conditioning program. After all, that is exactly
what you are doing with your training. Getting a conditioned response to
specific actions and reactions.
If the reactions are not consistent to a given action, confusion will reign, and
the learning process cut. Every reaction should be the same, with the same
severity, each and every time. If they become aware that you don’t back up
your commands to stop fighting, they will continue to fight. You must back up
Let me make a further example of my belief that heredity is not the culprit here
to a great degree. We have introduced and incorporated, over several years
two other lines into our kennel’s genetic makeup. We needed outcrosses to
enhance the attributes of our own line. These outcrosses came with some
inbred baggage, but for the most part, they where raised with our dogs in
our way, and became sociably acceptable family members, running lose
with all our other dogs. These dogs came from kennels that have difficulty
believing this is possible. Different concepts, different ideas, different
implementation, different outcomes. You only get out, what you put in. It grieves
me terribly to listen to old timers, telling newcomers that it can’t be done. They
are untrainable. They were bred to be this way. It only serves to propagate a
misconception, myth, and present an incredible danger.>
The danger is ignorance. Let me relate another story, if your not asleep by now
anyway. About __ years ago we started showing, after obedience training,
sledding, weightpulling, etc. When we walked down the aisles of the showgrounds
with our dogs, between rings, everyone, (with and without a dog) took a wide
berth around us. We began to check out deodorant. Seems that, over the years,
Malamutes had gotten the reputation of being nasty, fighting, in your face terrors.
Unruly, untrainable, and something to stay away from. It took years, but the mood
gradually changed as we, and a few others helped to change it.
Apparently it was common for a Mal to go up a handlers arm, chewing all the way,
bite a judge, etc. Where did they come from? How were they trained? Can’t say
here. But suffice it to say, they were not trained, because they came from the
untrainable syndrome kennels.
Don’t get me wrong. There are certain dogs that are prone to violence, more than
others. There are bad seeds. There are untrustworthy dogs. As a whole though, the
breed is a gentle giant, with social skills that must be honed.