Dominant Alpha Male – Anxiety with Strangers

QuestionsDominant Alpha Male – Anxiety with Strangers
tomtay asked 1 year ago

I understand this website is for Huskies, but since Malamute’s are very similar breeds I think I may be able to find help here.  
6 weeks ago I rescued Brute, a 2 year old neutered male alpha Giant Alaskan Malamute.  Brute is very overprotective, dominant, and doesn’t trust strangers.  His previous owner let Brute have complete control of the household.  Also, his son was physically abusing Brute as a puppy and when the breeder learned of this he took him back.  Brute ended up in shelters for about a year.  
Since I’ve taken in Brute, I’ve established dominance over him.  Our daily routine is as follows:  5:50am I wake up and greet Brute in the kitchen.  I make my coffee, get dressed, and we go for a walk.  I make sure that I’m always the first to exit the door, and the first to go down the stairs.  I correct him on his walks when he pulls (which is rare); he does generally well here but can use some minor improvement as he’s usually distracted by nature and other animals.  After a mile, we’re back at the house and I let him stay in the yard (unless its raining) while I get ready for work.  When I let Brute inside, he walks calmly into his crate.  I praise him and leave for work.  When I get home, I open the crate door, but make Brute stay until his energy level is calm.  Once he’s calm submissive, I release him from the stay and he exits the crate.  I let him play with his toys while I settle in.  After 20-30minutes we go for another walk, this time for 3-4 miles. When we come back, I prepare his food and make sure he sees me eating first.  He sits, waits, and watches me ea before I give him his food, and I take it away just before he’s finished it all.  After he’s done eating he usually just lays around and relaxes.  When I’m ready to relax, I direct him to his crate because it’s in the same room I relax in; I do this to ensure he doesn’t associate the crate with isolation.
He’s a wonderful dog, listens well, and submits to me.  The problem is when we have a guest.  Brute is very overprotective and becomes very anxious around strangers.  When someone come to the door, he barks and charges.  He will sniff and lick any guest that walks in.  After he’s sniffed and licked them, he will follow them around the house and watch them intently.  If my guest attempts to pet Brute face to face, he will curl his lips at them, but standing over and petting him from the side is acceptable to him.  Brute also does not like quick movements, until you’ve earned his trust.  A quick movement will cause him to nip at the guest.   I’ve instructed all my guests to completely ignore him and move slowly (which is hard because he’s so fluffy and beautiful, and when he greets by sniffing and licking, people automatically think he’s friendly).   After a couple hours, he will approach the guest and let them know it’s okay to pet him, face to face hand reaching over the top of the head. 
I’ve tried different techniques.  For instance, I had a guest come over and made Brute sit and wait while I opened the door and greeted the guest first.  I want him to see that I’M in control of deciding whether or not the stranger is friend or foe.  Brute will sit, bark and whine, until he’s allowed to greet the guest.  This causes severe anxiety and results in soft stool.  The longer I make Brute sit and wait in front of a guest, the more agitated he gets (but he will not break his stay).  When I release him, he charges at the guest and excitedly sniffs and licks them (to which I have to remind the guest to continue to ignore him).   If the guest gets up to walk to the bathroom, and I don’t allow Brute to follow, he will become anxious again with whining and barking, and if I release him from the stay, he will bolt to the room the guest is in and patiently wait until the guest exits, and then escort them back to me.  
What methods can I use to counter condition this overprotective nature?  Desensitizing has not worked, because as long as the guest is in the house, even though he sees the guest being friendly with me, he will still whine bark and become agitated until he’s allowed to sniff/lick/follow them.  The only time he’s nipped at a guest is when they moved entirely too quickly (against my warnings) or when the guest attempted to pet him immediately upon meeting.