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Sirius of the Week for January 2 - 8, 2005

Our submitter writes,

"Sebastian is a 7 month old Alaskan Malamute puppy. He's of the strain known as 'gentle giants'. He's already 28 inches at the shoulder and 90 pounds. He has the potential of being close to 150 pounds (his weight-pulling daddy is 131 pounds and his metaled weight-pulling granddaddy is 147 pounds). He's my third Alaskan Malamute, but the first as a puppy (the other two were rescues). Having experienced the sweetness of Mals, I was also aware of their independent minded ways. Let me tell you, independent thinking in a sprouting large pup is handful."

"Sebastian was a bit shy when he arrived at 2 months old, and we enrolled in puppy kindergarten. By the end of the 5 week stint, all shyness was gone, he came when called and would sit on command, and couldn't wait to play with his pals. What a difference from the first week, when he peeked around people to watch the other puppies playing.

"He's just the sweetest thing, except preceding a growth spurt. Then 'Yukon Sam the Wild Man' emerges, also known as BratsRUs! I swore at some points he was growing before my eyes. I can't imagine what it must feel like for leg bones to grow 2 inches in a week, can you? But that did happen. I guess I'd be bratty, too.

"We've also been through Basic Obedience training, twice. He's so young, and my first puppy in ages, I wanted to make sure we had that structure so things would stick. He can do sit/stay and down/stay for over a minute, walks well on a leash (we use the gentle leader to discourage the sleddog pulls of a regular leash), performs the place command extremely well (it's his favorite command) and does the agility tunnel on voice command. We're going to agility training in the spring.

"Sebastian is the busiest Malamute I've ever seen. He has his own agility tunnel in the backyard, and he moves it around the yard daily. You just never know where that "big slinky" is going to be! He 'digs water' out of the trellises, every day. Just loves water - try and get him in from the rain - he's too busy trying to catch the drops. And of course, he's looking to free the population of China via the holes he digs in parts of the backyard. Told you he loves water, well, he adores mud! And he likes to share his mud. He is non-stop play with his outside toys and his inside toys. Oh, is he a busy boy. Mals are usually fairly laid back, and he may get there, but not yet!"

"He is also a lovebug. Loves giving kisses, leaning into people when they pet him and thinks he's a lap dog (of course!!) He's also learned how to turn on the charm when people fawn over him, one of my favorite Malamute traits. He sits so sweetly for them, giving them an eye twinkling Mal smile, with a slight tail wag. It often gets him the treat he's after. Sebastian pushes boundaries every day, just to be certain that it's really a 'no' in a specific area. 'Just checking, Mom!' Sometimes he tries to charm his way around it, and sometimes he tries to be persistent in doing what he wants. Either way, he doesn't get his way, and I've found that over time he gives in, but by then we've moved on to a new set of things to push boundaries over.

"In some areas where he's given in to the inevitable, he likes to make things challenging. Two examples are getting his gentle leader on, and getting his safety harness on for car rides. My big goofy boy gets excited when I bring out the gentle leader, because he knows we're either going for a walk or a car ride and he can't wait. But, he wants me to work to get it on him, and he makes a game of it. Then in the car, he hunches himself down into the corner of the backseat, making it quite the challenge to get the harness around him and on him correctly. Once it's on, he sits up & gives me a big ole wet one, and the Mal smile comes out. 'Gotcha!' Oh, one other area can't go without mention. He knows he's not to jump on me (or anyone else). So, when we're playing in the back yard, he'll run straight at me and leap toward me, touch my shoulder with his nose and run off. Did he jump on me? No. Is he getting as close as he can and have fun with it? YES!! Is he thrilled with himself over it? YES!!!!

"He's a good sport with play, always giving me a turn with the ball outside. Inside he likes to move his 'pile' of toys to wherever I am, and sometimes giving me one to play with while he's busy with his 'pile' :) He goes to day care once a week for continued socialization. He can't wait to get there and play with his pals. He's out like a light as soon as he gets home. I guess I just never realized that play was such hard work :) Sebastian so badly wants to play with the cats, and is very good about approaching them slowly - now. But, they remember when he wasn't so polite and he doesn't get as close to them as he'd like, but that's coming with time. He's a handful, he's beautiful and he's sweet - the basic definition of a Malamute!"

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