Wayeh Kennels, along with most malamute breeders and rescue groups, strongly recommends a physical fence secured at the bottom against dig-outs and tall enough to discourage dogs jumping up and people reaching over. You can use wood, wire, concrete block, any material you want – just understand that if there is a way out, the malamute will find it. If your dog is tagged and lucky, it will end up back in your care and you can “fix” that particular escape route. Depending on your individual dog, this may be a constant effort between the dog finding a way out and you finding a way to block it back up!
About Invisible/Electronic Underground Fences
The curse of dogdom worldwide. Breeders usually insist on physical fences because Infernal, I mean, Invisible fences work on the concept of zapping the dog with a jolt of electricity when he strays beyond the predetermined border. This assumes three things:
- The dog doesn’t want the squirrel enough to take the zap.
- The dog hasn’t shaken his head enough to rotate the collar onto the furry part of his neck.
- Batteries last forever.
Now you have a dog roving through the neighborhood who may get zapped if he tries to come back home on his own. PUT UP A PHYSICAL FENCE. They are not perfect, but they DO a much better job of protecting the dog from strays, thieves, and children.
Breeders insist on fences and that the dog is on leash when outside the fence. You know why, don’t you? We’re all too stupid or too lazy to train our Malamute to work off leash. That’s it isn’t it?
Boy, are you in for a rude awakening. Picture this:
- A herding breed working with their shepherds, trained to glance back, work with, take cues from their shepherds, who are generally on foot.
- A hunting dog with hunter on foot or with horses, but following commands, either verbal ones, hand signals, or the horn.
- A toy breed carried in the arms.
- A sporting breeds who sticks close to the hunter, can flush or retrieve, and come BACK to the hunter.
- A working dog protecting or guarding, often with their owners close by
Now, picture a dogsled team. Malamutes and Siberians have been SELECTED over thousands of generations to work on dogsled teams, to run as far and fast as they can — AWAY from their owners voice. Picture that dogsled team. Sometimes the musher is breaking trail out front, but, more than likely the musher is riding on the BACK and if there is a command, it generally involves locomotion AWAY from the sound of their voice.
So many people think they can get their Malamute to work reliably off leash no matter the distraction because they’ve already done this type of training before with a Border Collie (herder), a Golden (retriever), or a Rottweiller (draft dog used for protection).
Good luck. It does happen. But it is NOT the norm. And it has everything to do with the individual dog and very little to do with your determination.