The “Malamute Mood,” or My Dog is Smarter Than I Am

Some days Rumpy and I go for walks and things go smoothly.

And then some days, Rumpy gets into one of his moods.

Rumpy is a typical alpha Malamute, which is a nice way of saying he can be stubborn as a mule.

Take yesterday, for example.

We went for a walk on our new route. It’s a new route because a certain dog one day refused to walk the old route any longer.  Our new route takes us down the sidewalk beside a busy street. Why do we now walk this way? I don’t know, but it was either that or not walk at all (yes, he did refuse to walk unless we went “his” way).

Anyway, yesterday he decided that he wanted to take a detour through the parking lot of a building that’s for sale. We went, because I thought he was looking for a place to poop. Instead he maneuvered us toward three fellas standing outside the back door of their business. It was clear that Rumpy wanted to go and say hello, but I could tell the men weren’t comfortable with him, so I tried to steer Rumpy away.

But no, he was determined. 

I tried to redirect. I tried to just wait him out. I even yelled at him (I know it doesn’t work, but I was clearly frustrated). This went on for five minutes, and all in the view of the three men.

But eventually we did leave the area and return to our usual route. What finally changed his mind?

The guys went inside.

I have to say that I envy those of you with dogs that always follow commands. It must be nice to not have to argue with your dog about which way to go, or have to push your dog out of the street because he is determined to smell that spot in the middle of the road.

But then again, walks with Rumpy make life exciting.

And after a good walk, a cookie is expected.

49 thoughts on “The “Malamute Mood,” or My Dog is Smarter Than I Am

  1. Hahahahahahahahaha! I’m laughing, because compared to Jack – Rumpy is one of those Westminster dogs. Jack isn’t stubborn, he’s outright belligerent.

  2. We call it being selectively deaf aka being a pain. Recently we’ve had a battle of wills with Maggie who has been refusing to do her business unless out of the marina grounds. Not very good to be seen padding round the Avenue in my bunny slippers.

    1. I have learned that during the times I’m ready for a long walk, Rumpy wants to paddle around the yard. It’s those times that I’m tired, or not appropriately dressed, that he wants to venture out into the world. *sigh*

  3. My Malamute use to do this also he’d have to stop at every three or bush he saw and sniff it and then pee on it. He’d also stop a smell a spot for minutes on end. He would also know when we were headed back home and he’d drag his feet the whole way back walking behind me at a snails pace. It wasn’t until we got out little dog that walking him became enjoyable, because I used a split leash to walk the dogs so our little hated stopping so much that one day she bite him on the leg and he never stopped again. I was like horrified at first when she did it, but hey he didn’t stop the rest of the walk and didn’t again after. I know he loves exploring the world I feel bad he had to get beat up by a 15 pound dog when he way bigger, but it worked out in the end. I miss my malamute so much though I lost him this pass Christmas and taking the other dogs for walks now I kinda miss the stopping.

  4. Well he ain’t alone..Forrest might be 12 in august and classed as a pensioner pup but that lab nose and staffy strength..hmmm he is stronger than our Rottie was and twice as stubborn…he wants to go after a smell well like an end of wedding congo line we all tail shoulders are stuffed…hahahaha 🙂

    1. I know what you mean about the shoulder thing. This morning during our walk we came across an elderly woman who was clearly afraid of Rumpy, so I turned him around and led him away until she was in her vehicle. Fortunately, this time he either understood or wasn’t in a mood to fight me.

  5. I had almost the same experience about Kevin when we used to walk together. He was stubborn, too and all of sudden, he tried to do what he wanted or to take the road he loved to go…..he was not big but when he became stubborn, I was powerless to pull him……so what I had to do was to carry him in my arm and walked on our way…..

  6. I loved reading this! My mallie, Rainier, is blind and he has a very specific route he has to walk on, even down to the spot he chooses to cross the street, even though I would rather go down to the corner, noooooo he wants that same spot in the middle of the block and walk in the street to the end of the block till we get to the park. If I want him to leave the sidewalk to avoid an obstacle in the park, do you think he would, absolutely NOT!!! I have come home soaking wet because he won’t change the route to avoid the sprinklers!! Just gotta love the Mallies!!!!

  7. When I was a child we have an overactive terrier dog. Walking him was no exercise at all. It could take an hour to go 50 feet. He was a smeller and pee-er. He had to sniff and sniff and then pee on top of everything that grew. Carrying him home was not an option. He would leap of your arms.

  8. Jen you are not alone in cow-touing to your dog. BJ is part terrier and takes on the stubborn terrier trait. Unless I have to do something I Iet him decide whether we go left or right when we begin. Then there are times that there is “discussion” on which way to go. He’s only 20 lbs. but when he digs in I can’t move him and i don’t want to strangle him. As soon as I let up on the leash a little he veers to where he wants to go. I usually give in.

  9. I know about that! Mac is a very stubborn, big, strong, black lab. We tend to do things his way quite often. If it’s really important or dangerous, he will listen and do what I want though. Commands are considered “suggestions” and may be ignored at will. 🙂

  10. We must keep our moms on their toes, R. I usually do obey…eventually. But I make sure Mom says, “This way.” and “Heel.” and “Lets go.” 85 times first.

    Love and licks,

  11. Geez, sounds like walking a beagle. How can one medium size dog plant himself so firmly that he can’t be moved? It’s a mystery and one I wish I could solve.


  12. Once a Malmute focuses on something, it’s difficult to move them along. Part of that independent thinker quality. Along with that Malamute great sense of humor. Negotiation skills get a work out. (Rumpy, we had a close scare with Molly recently. Luckily she willingly responded to “trade?” last week…she gets too playful with “drop it” and that becomes a keep away game, but she will trade an object for a rare bacon treat if we ask. Whew. Green rat poison chunx: unthinking neighbor, some animal that grabbed his bait, and dropped it later in our yard. Very dangerous time of year according to the vet.)

      1. Going to be hard to keep her at a calm activity level for the next 4 weeks…nice weather! (and we had to sit much longer than I would have liked watching the men walk around the bulkhead repair zone this morning…once a Malamute is focused on something….not going to move on until satisfied…do you think this instinct/intense focus comes from having to watch for dinner in the wild with snowy climates?)

      2. Yesterday we had a couple of homeless people try to be friendly with Rumpy and he was not having it, so we’re practicing maintaining a safe distance from strangers, at least until the homeless influx dies down.

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