dog aggression makes us wary with a 1 year old daughter

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Human in a dog's- body.
Barked: Tue May 17, '11 5:31pm PST 
I am looking for some serious advice. I've been told that Malamutes don't really like other dogs; in fact, that they like to fight with other dogs. We've had our dog, Trigger, a female, for a year and a half now. She'll be 2 in June, and we've never had a problem with her.

My husband deployed for a short while and I stayed with my parents for 2 months along with our 1 year old daughter and Trigger. A week ago, Trigger attacked my mother's mini-daschund. Trigger has had problems with this dog before, but only warnings and growls and we were taking precautions. One night, we got lax and Trigger attacked the mini-daschund over a spilled drink on the floor. Her injuries were so severe we were forced to put her down.

My parents are obviously very emotionally hindered by the entire event; this dog was very precious to them. So my husband and I are under a lot of pressure to get rid of Trigger. We love our dog and we recently learned that Malamutes aren't good with other dogs, particularly other female dogs (my parents had 3 in their home...) so I am of course feeling very guilty about the whole thing. But that doesn't change the fact that my parents, their neighbors, anyone involved is very adamant about us getting rid of her.

My husband doesn't believe that this action is necessary. I'm confused and frustrated. Probably too emotionally close to this to think straight. The main concern is that Trigger may snap on our 1 year old daughter. They have NEVER had any problems with each other. Just this morning, our daughter was crawling and hugging and loving on Trigger and Trigger just loved it. She loves the baby.

But I'm still scared.

As pet owners, and as anyone who may have been in this position before...what do you think we should do? We are under a lot of pressure from family, but we know that trigger has never been a threat to humans before. And we desperately love her.

Is there a risk? Are we bad parents to keep her? Are we bad pet owners to get rid of her?

Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Wed May 25, '11 2:39am PST 
Try posting this in the behavior forum to get help. These forums don't get as much traffic.

I'm really sorry to hear about your situation.
Tug Boat

Barked: Sun Jul 10, '11 4:40pm PST 
Not sure if you got your answer but I've always been told that Malamutes are not good with small animals. Many breeders will make sure that their puppies are introduced to cats or other small animals to try to hinder that response. We had a 20lb 3 legged dog as a companion to our malamute and never had any problems. They are great family pets and I trust my malamute with all of our small nieces and nephews, very loving. I would talk to a local breeder, trainer, or vet about what happen and you may get some great advice there. I can understand why you would be worried. Good luck!

Tanuk CGC

Sherpa Tanuk of- Everest
Barked: Fri Jul 29, '11 3:42pm PST 
It depends on the Malamute. As a breed, no I don't consider them dog aggressive. However, the vast majority of them are very intense dogs who use a lot of body language other dogs misinterpret - which starts fights. Also, Malamutes ARE prone to resource guarding and strongly correcting other dogs. This is what your Mal was doing, guarding a resource against the Doxie. It's unfortunate, but totally preventable.

Has she shown *any* aggression with the remaining dogs? Has she ever growled or lifted a lip when someone approaches her food/water/toys? Tanuk will not hesitate to go off on a dog for going near his things, but otherwise is very social and playful. He is bombproof with smaller dogs and cats. So I don't but the "not good with small animals" bit. Sure, Mals can have prey drive, but again that's a case by case basis, and nowhere as extreme as a husky's.