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why does my dog step on my foot

Posted by mymimi43 (My Page) on
Fri, Oct 26, 07 at 14:18

My alaskan malamute steps on my foot when I walk down the hall. This is going from the bedroom to the living room area. He started this at about 4 months old, he is now 11 months. At first I though it was cute, but then I decided it was some sort of domination thing. I have not found any references to it online. When he does it now, I stop, tell him to show some respect and then walk when he has removed his paw from the top of my foot. He does it to dh also. He doesn't do it nearly as much as he used to. He is unaltered very dominant personality. My previous malamute was a wolf malamute mix female, unaltered, very dominant, she never did this. I also have a younger malamute female currently 7 months, very fearful submissive, but sweet. She has never done this. Any ideas?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

May be some psychological thing? I always think pets should have and see pet psychologists (is this a profession now), or sometimes even psychiatrists(no offense to your dogs, sorry)


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

My only idea is he likes to chase feet?

When my beagle was a pup, she'd always try to 'catch' our feet with her paws when we walked by her. This stopped after she was just over a year and lost a bit of the puppy behaviour.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

No offense taken. Living with large (potentially dangerous) animals is all psychological (sp). The most important commands are not verbal, they are body language, imho. I had a male scarlet macaw for 10 years, talk about mind games!!!!

Thor only does this when going from the bedroom to the living room, not going from lvg room to bedroom. After removing his foot from the top of mine, he will drop behind me submissively and follow the the lvg room. He is much more dominant than the previous female. I don't know if it is a male thing, or just his personality.

The young female really isn't really submissive, she's just terribly fearful. She's not dominant either, so I really don't know what to make of her. My vet keeps saying to give her time. He says not to be disappointed in her progress, he thinks bold aggressive types learn faster. I didn't know it was even possible for a malamute to experience fear!!!! So Mishka is an odd experience.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

I've had Siberians do this. It did seem to be that they wanted to hold me in place and be taller. My natural reaction was to bend down and give them some loving, so I am sure I only encouraged it. I did occasionally get bruises on the tops of my feet as my dogs were big for Siberians.

Type of touching/closeness, attention-getting, controlling, dominant - I think it could be any of these, depending on the personality of the dog, but certainly should be untaught since in such a big dog it would tend to hurt.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

I had an English Mastiff that put her foot on mine but not when I was walking. Whenever I halted or sat she would put her foot on mine, not weight, just the paw. Her body language said to me "you're here, I'll guard you and not going anywhere without me".


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

My dog will lean into me and step onto my foot when he wants some rubs. I read once somewhere (I think on this forum) that is is a domination thing, but it is hard to discourage him when he's being all cute & snuggly.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

He puts weight on my foot. It comes across to me as a domination ploy now that hes older. He's got a lot of domination, aggressive issues, so he needs to know he is not top dog. None of my dogs have been crate trained. But I went today and got him a crate. I hope I can get him trained without to much drama and trama. I am open for all ideas on crate training a 11 month old dog. He has been sleeping in the garage lately because he wants to come into the bedroom. Just in the last month he has not been satisfied to sleep on the floor. He wants to be on the bed. The bed is not a good place for a dog with dominance/agression issues.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

Malamutes are footy dogs---they use their feet for much more than simply walking and digging. Putting his foot on your foot is dominant behavior. The first thing to change is his position relative to you---he needs to always be behind you. Leading is dominant---and Malamutes have more lead dominant behavior than many other breeds. So, by keeping him behind you at ALL times when walking, you begin the dominant behavior.

I once acquired a Malamute who wound up weighing 140 pounds, his bloodline was show dog, not working and they had doubled the size of that line. I had never had a Malamute before and was surprised when my usual corrections did not work. I waited so long(he was almost 2) to learn how to be the Alpha I had to do some very strange things. The first was to put the dog on the ground while playing---while I never got down to his level. That started the Alpha behavior. That was done several times a session---when he got too playful. After a couple of weeks, he began to resist being put on the ground, so I had to resort to Phase Two. The first time LOML saw me do that, she screamed---thought nI had lost my mind. I the dog on the ground with my upper body pinning his front half on the ground and I was growling and biting his muzzle---over the top of the muzzle---not the nose.

That caused instant submission! Absolutely NO resistance.

Only had to do that once more---and then could just clamp my hand over his muzzle---and soon did not need to do even that. But, from that first time putting him on the ground, I had to always be the Alpha---never letting him show any dominant behavior with me. We could play---on my terms---I always stopped the play and always put him on the ground---or the hand on the muzzle every time we played. That kept him playing by my rules.

So, you can have fun with the dog---I really loved him and we played a lot----but you HAVE to ALWAYS be the Alpha.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

Hi Mac
I appreciate the advice. My previous dog was so dominent, I really didn't think that this one would even match her. But he does. He even tops her dominence. Its probably the testosterone. I practiced the alpha roll with her, but I would never try it with him, far to dangerous. I figured out why he has been so bad lately tho, the female came into season tonite. She is only 7 months old. This is way early. Her dam didn't come into first season until 14 months and my other female was 12 months the first time. I'm not ready. I only have one pair of doggy drawers. I will now have to figure out how to keep them separate and keep the agression down. Both live in the house. My previous dog was always in season for 3 weeks. do I dare hope that this one will be shorter? I don't want pups until the third season.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

Huskys are working breeds. They need to be run every day. They can run 20 miles a day without issues. If you dont run your dog it will slowly go insane, especially a dog who is still intact and is driven by hormonal instincts as well as being a husky which is a more primal breed with a higher prey drive. Get your dog into fly ball or some other training for agility. Find a place you can run your dog for an hour or so. If you dont have issues with it, fix your dog.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

With all respect, if you cannot be the dominant pack leader, you will never be able to successfully control a dog. You said it is too dangerous to roll the dog, to me that means you have no chance of control. Dogs obey instinct and instinct drives the pack behavior. I did not have to get angry or intimidating to control my Malamute. It was done in play mode---we wrestled but I stayed always in the dominant position and applied corrections. Once my dominance was created, only small corrections were necessary---the hand on the muzzle, a grunt or NO!, etc.

My current dogs are a Rottweiler/German Shepherd(a super Alpha male) and a Lab/pit mix(submissive male to people).

I have yet to actually touch either dog in correction---other than a finger jab to the side of the neck-----towering over them until they submit or leash correction is quite effective. The Rott mix was so out of control no one could correct him without fear of being bitten. I simply took the time to make him submit by standing over him until he laid down and relaxed---took ten minutes at first---but I did not get bitten---and he learned I was boss.

Now a simple grunt, pointing finger, and stare is correction enough.

It really depends on the breed or dog as to what kind of control is needed---but you have to always be in control---or be prepared to exert control. That sounds like you cant be a buddy to a dog---not so. We play daily---rough and tumble(within the rules I set) and they both love kids and will play with kids like they do with me---as long as the kids use the same rules. The trick is to exert the rules every session at unstructured times---the play stops on command or cue. And then resumes---on my command or cue. That maintains the humans Alpha status painlessly.

For instance, the lab mix LOVES tug of war---and at 80 pounds can hurt my arm when he gets 'into' the game---the other dog seldom plays Tug because the Lab mix is so ---um---energetic. At some point in a game of Tug, I say "Thank you". Instantly, he releases the ball/rope(the only two Tug toys) and waits for me to restart. I have been told by visitors they never though a pit could be trained to release a bite. Just a little training early on and dogs can learn many things.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

"Thor only does this when going from the bedroom to the living room, not going from lvg room to bedroom."

If he only does this going from point A to point B, put him into a sit stay at point A and call him to you when you get to point B.

I love figuring out what makes dogs behave in certain ways, but no need to make this complicated and wait for an ephiphany before modifing the behavior. Make the behavior stop by replacing it with another behavior: sit/stay then call him to you when you reach the living room. That reinforces your leadership and resolves the foot stomping behavior which seems limited at this point.

If it crops up in another location, give him an 'uh uh' and teach him to back up. I suspect the current behavior started as dominance but is a game at this point, so you'll want to be careful not to unintentionally reinforce playing the 'game' elsewhere.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

I agree that the human must be alpha, and I am. I just dont think that an alpha roll is correct for this dog. I did it with my other female and if needed would have no problem with my current female. I will not lower myself to the males level. All corrections are done with me standing, so he can see how big I am. I stand my ground and he concedes. The thing is that he is so young and impulsive and is still learning. He tests me almost dailey. He wants to be alpha. That's the way the scarlet was, every single day he tried to be flock leader. I rarely have to touch Thor to get him to obey. But I want to get back to the status I had with the other dog. Where my leadership is not questioned and with a soft 'sssppppt' my every command is obeyed. Puppies are highly overrated in my opinion. Give me a well trained adult any day.

On another note the crate went well. Hopefully, tonite it will be just as easy. Now to get the bratty fearful female a crate and get her in it.

Mazor, you are correct. These animals are high energy with an extremely high prey drive. Malamutes are a different dog with different requirements for a happy life. They are not easy. I work outside and my dogs follow me all day. They are happy with the chores I give them and they play ball etc. I will wait and see if I alter the pair. In my early years, I listened to the neuter patrol and had all my animals fixed. My beloved cats had all sorts of health problems brought on by early altering. I only alter now if there is a circumstance that requires it. I don't even like to give my animals the innoculations. Both these pups had reactions to their puppy shots. The male had incontinence for 4 days after each shot and the female had diareah (sp).

Cynthia, I also watch what causes behaviors. He has only done it leaving the bedroom. I suspected that he equated it with the leader leaving the den first. He doesn't do it often these days, but when he does, I stop and he knows he's to stop and drop behind. He's just testing every limit right now.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

I'm confused. Alaskan Malamutes are not aggressive. What's this potentially dangerous thing? They are very easy going friendly dogs. I understand the whole alpha pack theory. But I haven't read anything here that suggests that the dog is trying to dominant.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

Rolling is not always necessary, I did not mean to imply you needed to roll the male. I did, due to letting the aggressive behavior get out of hand before learing of the mistake. So, my solution had to be more powerful to counter the more dominant behavior.

Each dog needs different correction and methods of training. My current two are miles apart in what I need to do to get compliance. In fact, I sometimes scare the more submissive dog when I make a big correction on the more dominant dog.

Puppies are a challenge---up to three or four years sometimes. But---those well trained adults came from the same unruly puppies. ;)

And remember, preventing bad behavior is an easier training method than correctiing.


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RE: why does my dog step on my foot

Mac, if you had a 2 year old malamute that thought he was boss, I'm surprized you only rolled him once! Good for you for chomping his muzzle! I chomped my wolf female's throat more than once in her early years. But this male is different. He is extremely mouthy, and has been since day one. He is far too brazen, far to fast to challenge, he has looked me in the eye and growled when I have verbally corrected him. This has only happened a couple of times but, I cannot let him take an inch. I can see a lot of trouble in the future if I let up on him even for a minute. I can see him weighing his options when I give a command. I don't like the hesitation. He is an extremely intelligent problem solver and was born to lead the pack, and he knows it. I will be so glad when he hits 18 months to 2 years.

Hi Premier, My mals stand about 5 feet tall when standing on their back legs, they currently weight 80 to 90 pounds each, at maturity they will be 100 lbs + and have the ability to pull 30 times their body weight. They can jump a 6 foot fence with only a few steps lead. They can pick up and carry 40 pound objects for several hundred feet with no effort. They are highly intelligent animals with problem solving abilities. They do not experience fear (usually)and they don't usually give second chances to their opponents. They are magnificent!!! No other dog can come close to their abilities imho.

But, all of these traits put together make an extremely powerful and potentially dangerous animal. Malamutes do not guard property. They guard people and resources.

What is minor agression right now for this male, if left unchecked will become a serious problem. (Even trivial domination such as foot stomping cannot be tolerated.) Growling when challenged and commanded (me), growling and snapping when coming too near his food dish (dh), and growling when coming between him and the female (dh) are his current transgressions. I consider these agressive actions that must be immediately and strongly dealt with.

His growl is not benign. I recognize the different growl timbers because of my other dog. My other dog had several different growls, and I knew the difference between them. She could clear a whole exam room of techs with a lip curl (to show off those nice long curved fangs, lol)and a single growl. (She could growl on command and a k9 cop friend declared her growl the nastiest he had ever heard.)

Mals are wonderful friendly dogs to beneign strangers. But an animal that wants desparately to be the pack leader can be dangerous to the pack members (family members). The only aggression that I allowed in my previous dog was my personal protection. She did not allow anyone to touch me. I work from my home and have customers come to my house. I always felt totally safe with her nearby. I miss her terribly.

This male was born the day she passed away. He was born 3 hours after her death. I had so hoped she was returning to me, but it doesn't appear so. This male chose me, I was interviewing the litter and he kept climbing up on me over and over again. Perhaps I want too much of him too fast. That's my vets opinion. I love malamutes dearly but they are not for wimps. lol


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