How to Potty Train an Alaskan Malamute

How to Potty Train an Alaskan Malamute
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon3-6 Months
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

If this is your first Alaskan Malamute you are in for a treat, ask anyone who has owned them. These incredibly beautiful dogs make one of the best large breeds for family pets. They are incredibly strong-willed, independent, powerful, and fun-loving. Don't let those wolf-like eyes and grin fool you--raised properly, Malamutes are gentle giants who will protect their pack to the death. 

But, until you get your pup potty trained, what you have is a bundle of fluff with oversized paws and ears that are too big for his head, who leaves you with not so little surprises all over the house. Fortunately, Malamutes are incredibly intelligent and can be trained to do a lot of things, including go potty outside. 

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Defining Tasks

The task at hand is teaching your Alaskan Malamute that the only place he is allowed to go potty in outside in his designated spot in the yard. Sounds simple and in reality, it is. Potty training is, for the most part, about choosing a training method and then sticking with it until your pup starts to let you know when he needs to go out and is no longer booby-trapping every inch of your floors. The only real hard part is that Malamutes tend to be quite stubborn--it's not that they can't learn to go potty outside, it's more like, "Hey human, I will learn to go potty only when I am good and ready!" Be patient and keep working with your pup until he finally does what you are asking of him. 

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Getting Started

The good news is that you can start working on potty training your Alaskan Malamute from the moment you bring him home. By the time he is 8 to 12 weeks of age, he is capable of starting to learn where he can and cannot go potty. You also need to learn to recognize his specific signs that he needs to go. These might include sniffing the floor, pawing the door, lifting a leg or starting to squat. Along with this, you might find these items come in handy:

  • Crate – To place your pup in when you can't be there to take him out
  • Treats – Use his favorite treats to reward your pup when he "goes" outside
  • Leash – To walk your pup outside to his "potty area" of the lawn
  • Cleaning supplies – For those occasional accidents that are going to happen

Beyond this, you will need plenty of time to work with your pup, and the patience to keep trying long after you start to feel frustrated. In the end, your pup's strong desire to please you will win out and he will no longer see the inside of the house as a place where he can go potty when he feels like it. 

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The Outside Spot Method

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1

Pick your spot

Or in this case, pick your pup's spot in your yard that will become his personal toilet. Be sure it is close enough to the door that he can make it there without having an accident on the way, but far enough away to keep any smells out of the house.

2

It's showtime

Start by picking a cue word, "outside" is a nice easy one. Clip your dog on his leash and walk him outside and straight over to his spot. Stay there with him until he goes potty.

3

Good boy

Once he goes potty, be sure to praise him and give him a treat. This helps him to associate good things with going potty outside.

4

Set a pattern

Setting up a training pattern is one of the most important aspects of potty training. At first, you should be taking him out every 30 minutes.

5

Increase the duration

Keep working with your pup and extending the time between taking him out to help build his stamina. With hard work, consistency, and patience, your pup will learn to do his business outside.

The I Said No Method

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Lay in some treats

Head out to the store and pick up a healthy supply of tasty treats for your pup.

2

Watch closely

Keep a close eye on your pup at all times. If you can’t, put him in his crate for a few minutes until you can. At the moment you see him behaving like he is thinking about going potty, tell him "NO!" in a firm voice.

3

Outside

Pick your pup up, put him on his leash, and take him straight out to the yard so he can go potty. While you are on your way out the door, start using a cue word like, "Outside" so your pup associates the cue with going outside to go potty, and being rewarded.

4

Be patient

At first, it might take your pup a while to go but be patient. In time, his need to go will overcome his nerves. When he does, be sure to praise him and give him a treat. Head back inside.

5

Rise to the challenge

From here, all you need to do is remain consistent, and slowly increase the amount of time between when your pup goes outside until he is the one who is letting you know he needs to go.

The Good Spot Method

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Run to the pet store

For this method, you need a bottle of puppy potty training spray. This stuff not only helps him locate the spot you have chosen for his bathroom but is also designed to help trigger his need to go.

2

Spray that spot

Find a spot on your lawn that is to become your pup's bathroom. Spray it liberally with the potty spray.

3

Come have a sniff

Hook your pup on his leash, give him an "Outside" cue and then take him outside to the spot you have marked. Let him walk around and get a good whiff of the spray. Give him 15 minutes to go, if he doesn’t, no worries, just take him back inside and try again in a few minutes. Be sure you are keeping a close eye on him in case he starts to "go" inside.

4

Keep to your routine

Along with the above training, there are specific times of the day when you need to take him outside, no matter when he was last out. These include after a meal or large drink of water, after a period of indoor play, when he wakes up in the morning, and last thing at night.

5

Keep rockin' it

Keep working with your pup, taking him out when he looks like he needs to go potty, sticking to the routine, extending the time, until your pup no longer uses his indoor potty but instead bugs you to take him out where he can use his official outdoor potty.

Written by PB Getz

Veterinary reviewed by:

Published: 02/21/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Nala

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Malamute x Rottweiler

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17 Weeks

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Question

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I trained her to potty outside and she was fine for 10 days but suddenly she’s now doing it again everywhere at home even in the crate.

Nov. 23, 2021

Nala's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Reham, First, know that it generally takes about 2-3 months for a puppy to become fully potty trained, so the accidents could be related to pup being given too much freedom at home too soon, before pup fully understands the concept of potty training. Check out the crate training method from the article I have linked below. Pay attention to how the crate is set up - something absorbent in the crate or too big of a crate can lead to accidents in there. Pay attention to the timing of potty trips - crating pup for too long can lead to accidents. Pay attention to how to manage pup's schedule so pup is only free with an empty bladder. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If pup is still having accidents after adjusting those things, I would consider a trip to your vet, especially if pup is having to pee more often than every hour or pooping more than three times in 24 hours. I am not a vet, so check with your vet about any medical concerns. Something causing incontinence or diarrhea could lead to potty training issues. If pup is still struggling after applying the above suggestions, then I would confine pup in an exercise pen in a room you can close off at night an when you leave, for pup to use a disposable real grass pad in that pen only during those times, then I would follow the Tethering method from the article I have linked below when you are home to teach pup to hold it while in the rest of your home. You want the exercise pen to be somewhere you can close off entrance too in the future because you want pup to learn that that's the only room in the home where pup can go potty and not in the general part of the home, then once pup can consistently hold it for the entire night and while you are away, you can get rid of the pen and grass pad in the future, and just be sure pup is staying in a dog proofed room to avoid destructive chewing dangers until pup grows out of that also. Tethering method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Getting pup used to a confined area if needed - Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Nov. 26, 2021

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Shadow

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Malamute

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12 Weeks

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She will not stay in a crate and will not potty outside, when she does I reward her with treats. Having a huge problem with potty, poop inside house even after she goes outside. Teething and chewing up everything have teething toys not helping wants to bite constantly. This is our third malamute but not a puppy

Oct. 11, 2021

Shadow's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cindy, Are you leaving the crate door open, and that's why pup isn't staying inside, or do you mean that she cries while inside so you let her out? If either of those scenarios, I highly recommend practicing the Surprise method from the article I have linked below. Know that the crying is very normal, especially the first two weeks of practice. If you let pup out of the crate when she cries she will learn that crying gets her out and won't have the opportunity to learn to settle in the crate and see that she is actually safe in there. Working pup through the crate now can actually prevent future adult separation anxiety later, which is far more serious. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate If pup is physically escaping from the crate, then often wire crates can be reinforced to close gaps using zip ties or small carabiners, or by using a higher quality crate or different type of crate. Once pup is doing better with crate training, I would use a combination of the Crate Training and Tethering methods from the article I have linked below to potty train. Crate Training and Tethering methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Check out this article for the chewing too, which includes using confinement like an exercise pen or crate when you can't supervise pup, like when you leave and at night. I would also work on some of the commands like Leave It, using deterrent sprays like bitter apple, and providing acceptable toys that interest pup to chew, like a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy or kong. Since you are new to puppies, I have included a link to download a free PDF e-book as well. You can click on the puppy icon that says AFTER Your Get Your Puppy at the website below. I hope you find that helpful too. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Oct. 11, 2021


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