Dogs only learn through repetition. You must never, ever, ever, give your pup the chance to go potty in the house. I strongly recommend buying a pup in the spring. Plan on spending more then half of your time outside with your puppy waiting for him to coincidentally potty, then lavish him with hugs and praise, and, in a very high pitch tone of voice, say "good girl go potty!". Say "potty" over & over while your dog is going potty! Your pup needs to learn the actual word "potty". Let your pup have play time in the house, on the floor, only immediately following him having gone potty outside. The key to excellent house training is this:
Never let your pup out of your site.
I can not stress how important this is! Even if you just have to run upstairs for one second, call your pup to follow you, or carry him up. Never let your pup out of your site until he is at least 1 year old. NEVER NEVER NEVER!
Dogs learn through repetition, I'm going to keep saying that. If he never has the chance to do anything bad, then GOOD behavior will become the norm. YOU have to program your dog. If your dog has an accident in the house, expect another very soon, because now, in the dog's mind, even if you scolded him and ran him outside, he now has a piece of programming in his internal memory that says "I have the ability to pee in the house". Nothing you did after the deed is done, matters. You let him do it. Now it is OK to potty in the house. If a dog can do something, whether you see it as good or bad, it is "OK". You might as well of told him to do it and cheered him on. Because you didn't stop him, he now knows that he won't die if he pees on the rug or sofa. In fact nothing bad at all happens. You need to keep this a mystery to your dog. Eventually, if it never happens, it would simply be alien to do so. So he won't be able to.
Run your dog out side every 15 minutes under 10 weeks old. Every 30 minutes between 10 and 14 weeks old. No water in the house ever! This is just setting your puppy up for failure. DO NOT bring him back inside until he has gone potty in the designated area no matter how long it takes. No one ever said puppies were easy. You will need to use the same area each time you take him outside so that he learns where to pee. DO NOT just let him romp all over the yard and squat when the mood strikes. If this happens, do not scold him, don't say anything, simply scoop him up and whisk him away to the potty spot as quickly as you can, set him down, and say, "good boy! go potty!" Walk him back and forth on a leash in the potty area until he has to go.
This is why a designated potty area is so important:
The puppy thinks, "If I can pee on the lawn, and I can pee in the dirt, and I can pee in the neighbors flower bed and I can pee in my kennel and I can pee in my crate and I can pee on the side walk...." Then guess what?... he can pee ANYWHERE! This includes inside the house! The puppy isn't distinguishing outside from inside, that is far too vast for a puppy's mind.
NARROW it down, please. From what I've seen, over half of the adult dog population has at least a monthly accident in the home, if not more then that. If you follow my instructions, your dog will NEVER potty in your home after he's 4 months old (bladder control at this age). Or even on your grass (if the potty spot is dirt, he'll learn only to potty on dirt).
So, strap that puppy to you like you would a human newborn and never let it out of your site! And come on, if you are reading this as one of my puppy buyers, you can leave your malamute puppy outside until he has bladder control (age 4 months) if need be. You will go crazy trying to keep that puppy within arms reach 100% of the time! Put him on a little stake and chain with some toys that reaches over to his potty spot for a few hours a day so you can get a break! Malamutes need fresh air and lots of outdoor time anyways. Even in winter, an Alaskan Malamute puppy is just fine outdoors. Provided he has an insulated dog house with fresh, clean straw for bedding, and some toys and a filled water dish. Never leave him alone for more the a few hours on his stake out. A chain & stake out should only be used when you are home, as kind of a play pen. Put the puppy in a fenced outdoor kennel run or in his crate indoors if you are to leave. Even for the shortest errand.
THE DRAG LINE:
A drag line enables you to immediately put an end to what ever he is doing that you don't approve of. Instead of chasing him all through the house while he has that sock in his mouth, or wants to play "can't catch me" when you're running late to an appointment, you can simply step on the drag line. It is very simple & convenient. Simply tie 6-10 feet of clothes line to a leash clip (clothes line & clip available at any hardware store). Let the pup play with & chew on his drag line if he wishes. You get 500 feet of clothes line in a package for 4 bucks so don't sweat it. At least he's not chewing up anything fancy.
What you will need:
1. A Clicker (at any pet store, they run $1. or less)
2. Closable treat bag that attaches to your belt or belt loops.
3. A very large supply of soft treats that can be broken or cut into very tiny pieces. I use Bil Jac liver treats.
4. A Gentle Leader or Halti brand head collar. These nifty head collars completely eliminate your dog's natural response to pull against you/ the neck collar when pressure is applied to his neck.
USING THE CLICKER:
The job of a clicker is to mark the behavior you want from your dog. You will teach the dog that a treat is always followed by the sound of the click. Even if you click it on accident. Treat MUST follow every single click. The precise moment your dog does what you've asked him to do, click the clicker one time & immediately give him the morsel. The clicker is more precise and much faster at marking the dog's action then you are when you give praise or a treat. Seconds are precious when you are trying to get a dog to make a connection. The clicker is very fast, so the dog makes the connection much faster about what you want out of him, and thus, the clicker speeds up training time by 40% or more.
Attention is vital if all other training is to be successful. You must teach the dog to look at your face, preferably into your eyes, every single time you say his name. This is called the "Attention" command. And it is very easy. Say the dogs name and the moment he looks at your face (not your chest or the hand that has the treat) click and treat. Practice this over & over & over & over! Draw out the length of time before he gets his click & treat after a few sessions. You need to get your dog to hold his gaze on your face for up to 10 seconds. If the dog breaks the gaze, then simply try again but this time click and treat a few seconds earlier then before and continue practicing at that time level.
Hold the clicker in one hand and the morsel in the other. If you are training on-leash, always hold the clicker in the same hand as the leash. Keep the leash tight, only a foot of slack, and move into your dogs 'personal space', hold the treat right above his nose and bring it back towards his forehead while you walk right into him saying "sit". Only say the command once. Wait for your dog to sit, the precise moment his hind elbows hit the floor, click and and give the treat. I am going to use c/t (click & treat) for an abbreviation from here on out. If your dog did not sit, then you did something wrong. Lure the treat backwards over his head while walking into him, and he has choice but to sit. Remember, if the head goes back, the butt goes down. You are not moving the treat in the right direction over his head if he did not sit. Move away from him so he stands then repeat. After about 80 times your dog will know it for life. Treats need to be slowly phased out at some point. Train all of these basic commands for a couple of hours a week for 4 months and then Begin phasing the treats out.
Put the morsel in your hand and make a closed fist, clicker in the opposite hand. Let the dog sniff your hand and then slowly bring your fist to the ground. The precise moment the dogs FRONT elbows (not the back ones like in sit) touch down, say "down" and click & treat (c/t). Practice this over and over until he has a pretty good sense of what is going on. After a few days (assuming you are practicing everyday). Lower yourself less and less as you give the down command.
Eventually, you need to be able to remain standing and say "down" and your dog downs immediately. This is hard as many owners naturally bend a little to tell the dog "down". It is OK if he paws at your hand or licks at it as he's going down, so long as he's going down. SO, front elbows hit the ground, say "down" click, open your hand and let him take the treat.
Never give a command before they have done it when they are first learning it. You need him to associate the action with the word. Never repeat yourself over and over, the command will then become "down down down down down". Also, it teaches the dog that they don't really have to do it. Guess why? Because you are saying it and they are NOT doing it! *chuckle* When you think your dog knows the command, it is ok to say it twice, about 30 seconds apart. Other wise turn and walk away and ignore him for a few minutes. Then return and try again. Remember, you need to speak the command as he is simultaneously doing the corresponding action, for about 100 repetitions. That's a lot! Keep your expectations low.
IMPORTANT: Dogs learn by doing. So, if a dog is allowed to do something, even if you don't like it, he is learning that behavior is OK, because it has been done and nobody died as a result so that makes it just fine. Dogs do not care about the word "no" and you can yell until your blue in the face (please don't yell at your puppy), but that doesn't erase the fact that he did it anyways. Once something is done, it can not be undone. You don't have a time machine (call me if you have a time machine). The only way to teach good behavior, is to prevent bad behavior.
You are on your own on this one, I'm a musher!
I believe the word "training" should be phased out of the word obedience training all together. It is really about "programing" your dog.
If you have any problems, need advice, or just want to talk please email me. Our address is at the bottom of each page. I actually do know all the other commands as well as problem solving and other tips and techniques that work beautifully. I am a very NICE person. Raising dogs is all I do! If I sound strict here, it is only because I want people to enjoy their new Alaskan Malamute puppy and spare you the years of "hell on 4 legs" that I went through figuring it all out. When I first began attending obedience training schools, their method of training a dog was to give it the command, then snap a choke collar that was around it's neck if it did not do it- even if it did not know the command yet. Treats were not used, only punishment. How cruel. For many years, I was "programed" to train dogs this way, and it took me a very long time to shake it off, so to speak. Stay POSITIVE.
So many advances have been made and so much has been discovered about dog psychology in recent years. I ahve been attending dog obedience classes, with one dog or another, since I was 10 years old. That gives me 20 years now. And I can honestly say that I have seen a dozen methods and fads of dog training come and go, and some come back around again and some come back slightly modified or tweaked. And some have vanished all together. I feel I have leanred the perfect combination of methods that work best for my breed. Although you will need to find this combination for yourself, it can not be taught at any one particular school or in one session, or on one website, (varrying voice tones and body movements are just a few examples), overall,
POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT is the best way to "program" a dog.