Kitto The Alaskan Klee Kai

Temperament is one of the most important characteristics to look for in a breed.  A great resource for you to look up Alaskan Klee Kai temperament in general is The Alaskan Klee Kai Association Of America.  We’re members, and we recommend you join.

Kitto is our only AKK.  Our data sample size is One Purebred Dog, so when generalizing to guess your dog’s personality from ours, keep in mind that your dog will vary.  A lot depends on the personality they’re born with, and how we raise them, and where we succeed and goof.  Still, we think you’ll find this interesting.

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Car Tolerance – Kitto likes the car because we always go somewhere fun in it.  In this picture he’s in his SleepyPod Mobile Pet Bed, one of the only carriers to pass crash tests for safety.  Kitto grumbles for the first minute or two on the leaving side of trips.  On the way home he’s typically exhausted and curls up immediately to sleep.  Kitto has never been carsick that we know of, and does not have accidents in the bed. We make regular stops on trips longer than an hour.

5 months: Kitto is easy to have in the car, and enjoys riding.

Dog Tolerance – Kitto is quietly interested in all dogs. He may bark or growl softly if they’re close, and will initiate play by play-pounce-nip/bark.  He’s not aggressive, but his play style is “All Husky.”  He well with dogs that are gentle, and few are intimidated by him.  This helps him be calm and friendly in the more common ways, and there is tail-sniffing etc.  As of 4th week of Puppy class (15 wks old), he is able to mingle freely on dropped lead with other dogs in class.  There is a bit of challenge-then-run-to-daddy’s-legs-if-they-three-on-one-me behavior, but no fighting or fear.  He runs right back in after coming to a human to stabilize an encounter.  Note: At 15 wks old, Kitto began to show signs that he had decided to be a Big Boy Now and many behaviors became smoother and more obviously intentional/thought out.

5 months: Kitto is at ease around dogs and strangers and super fun to take to community events.  Early and heavy socialization effort, puppy class, and the bark park helped most!

Environmental awareness, inside – Pays closeattention to the house environment.  Knows when people come or go (sometimes even from the same room).  Cares about being left out (of anything).  At 15 wks, will alert bark at an empty clothes hamper left in the middle of the living room, or a random video cable left on the floor.

Environmental awareness, outside – Very high interest in anything that makes noise or moves.  Very strong prey drive.  Will hunt bugs flying or crawling by.  Would chase small animals, and would likely harm them if caught.  Does not enjoy cars whooshing close by him at highway speeds, and might chase them down if allowed.  At 15 wks old, we can take him for walks along streets with cars going 45 mph and he is no longer triggering barks/chase behavior.  We can sit at an outside café and he pays them no interest.

Grooming – Kitto had his first bath with us in his 15th week.  We washed him in the sink in 4 inches of warm water with a little dog shampoo, while he was leashed.  He didn’t complain once.  We fed him AllProvide while we bathed him — that covers a lot of ills.  We were surprised that he’d be so easy about the bath.  He wriggles A LOT when we try to cut his nails to the point that it’s almost impossible to do safely for him.  We need to work on desensitizing him to that process over the next few weeks.

Husky – Kitto is all husky, all the time.  He plays, teases, runs, nips and chases like a husky.  He is smart, and sweet, and surprisingly gentle especially in the most important contexts (when meeting or being held by a senior, or a child).  At 15 wks old, he sometimes nips us or pulls hair or tugs on shoelaces or anything flannel (what is it about flannel?) for attention from family members (only), behaviors that we’re working on.  He can balk at “come”, run when he has something I want out of his mouth (like mulch.  What is it about bark?), and grumble like a larger husky if he is frustrated.  He rarely barks, and we’ve never seen him howl.

Noise Tolerance – Our house is either quiet, or the XBox or a movie is on, or there are teenagers over.  It’s loud and there are plenty of surprise noises.  This doesn’t seem to bother him.  In a quiet environment he is likely to curl up to go to sleep.

Offered Behaviors – Pretty Sit (for everything he wants or is interested in that we control), Stare-at-empty-space-that-contained-a-favorite-toy (Don’t know how he learned this, but it means “I want the toy you hid that used to be right here.”), Sit-for-leash-on-exit-kennel, Humans-go-first-through-doors.  “Place Sit” (We have folded towels around the house on the floor that we use as default places Kitto sits.  He likes to use them.)

(The) Office Tolerance – Kitto is an easy companion to have with me at work in both the home office and when I drive in to to work in a house (like a cubicle but it is very like a house).  My work environment is small, quiet, with dim lighting (I am constantly in a computer environment) in both places.  Kitto does not mind the boring “Dad is working” parts of the day.  He naps or plays quietly next to me.  I take him outside every couple of hours for his relief and for mine.  This is the first time in a long time I take regular short breaks from the PC screen, and it feels wonderful.

People Tolerance – Likes people, enjoys and seeks out petting from strangers, and tolerates excessive petting without complaint.  Somehow knows that children and elderly are special and is extra sweet and gentle for them.  He doesn’t like people grabbing at his face with a hand full of fingers, or two hands reached out to either side of him to “Grab The Husky”.  We usually hold him when introducing to strangers (15 wks old as I write this), and invite them to pet the soft end without puppy teeth.  He likes people in uniforms, and people who look, dress, and smell different than his own family.  He’s good with men who pet him roughly, and women who say hello differently or are wearing perfume.

5 months: Very tolerant of people of all types and configurations.  Enjoys meeting strangers and approaches them for petting.

Potty Behavior – At 15 wks, he’s 5.5 lbs.  He eats around a half a cup of food per day, a mix of half kibble BARF diet (Orijen Puppy and Six Fish, Merrick Grain Free, etc.) and half AllProvide (raw BARF diet, cooked enough to pasteurize it so it’s safe for humans to touch).  From the first night we had him  home, he slept through the night at 9 wks old without asking us to get up.  Today (15 wks) he sleeps until I get up (5:30 – 7:30), goes straight outside  for #1 and #2.  Half an hour later, #2 again (usually after eating or playing).  Then he’ll need to go out every 2 hrs for #1, with #2 once more after 4 PM.  We take him out once more  and then just before bed.  When we do this, there are zero accidents and everyone is happy.  Kitto will relieve himself on command.

Prey Drive – Kitto will chase anything that moves, and he will eat whatever he can catch.  He eats a lot of bugs as a result, and usually spits out leaves.  He likes to carry leaves and sticks. He doesn’t seem to mind cats.

Run – Kitto gets out a lot with us, every day.  But a husky will run!  We keep him on a lead for this reason (even indoors, as a puppy), and have him microchipped.  He is not off-lead outside, ever.

Separation Anxiety – Kitto is with a family member almost 100% of the time.  At four months old, he’s only been alone in his kennel (when not overnight or napping)  for about five hours total.  He’s happy when we come home and doesn’t appear distressed, but we can tell (from rearranged blankets etc.) that he was annoyed.

The Alaskan Klee Kai loves his people and is strongly pack oriented.  He wants to be close.  He’ll follow a family member around the house just to nap in the same room.  We are very happy with our decision that Kitto is an “inside dog” (though we have a back yard).  Being with family all the time is perfect for him, and it’s fun for us too.

Example side effect of taking Kitto everywhere: Extended family wanted to go to a hamburger place nearby on Father’s Day. Walking into the door with Kitto (carried) broke the restaurant as sixty people turned to look and smile and point.  We ate outside, and in that time three groups of strangers came by to say hello.  This is our new life!

Sleep – Kitto puts himself to bed around 7 – 8 PM.  He’ll curl up somewhere near us or in the kennel, and we’ll know he’s down for the night.  We often pick him up to carry him to the kennel goodnight, usually with a game of “pass the Klee Kai” first because it’s fun to hold him on your lap in the rare moments he is still.  We get a lot of kisses in return.

5 months: Kitto prefers to sleep near whoever is up latest, and is unhappy when he is put to bed early.  The last one awake picks him up and carry him to his kennel, where he’s happy to go to bed by that point.  This is a bonding thing we all enjoy equally, even if it spoils him a little.  We haven’t seen any poor side effects from doing it.

Training – At 14 Weeks Old.  Sit, Down, Stay for at least 5 seconds, 80% or better success.  Puppy Pushups (Sit, Down in rotation).  Cookie Sit (Sit with a treat visible near or far, with distraction and handler being goofball, 15 seconds or more until “Take It!” release.).  Spin (clockwise).  Come (at gallop).  At 15 wks, he can suddenly wait for long Cookie Sits with major distractions we could never do just days before.  Note: Kitto passed an internal milestone at about 15 weeks.  It seems to be more than just “a lot of care and training paying off.”  It was as if everything became easier, and at times harder at once, as if he is in a more adolescent stage.  He is REALLY fun!

5 months: We work on Duration, Distance and Distraction now with the basic skills we’ve already learned.