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Is the Belgian Malinois a very intelligent dog breed?
Yes, which makes them as wonderful as they are exasperating. My Mal is very smart, but not as reactive, luckily. She is only “reactive” when my partner comes home or interacts with her, because he gives the dogs more leeway to act like idiots than I do. (For example, I won’t enter the yard until their bums are on the porch. If they get excited or jump on me, I ignore them, go into the house, and then shut the door. If they are calm, and bum on the porch, I’ll pet them, go inside to drop my bag, and then I go out the backdoor to play with them. He just loves the excitement he gets coming home, so they are idiots, and like a Maligator, she’ll nip his pants because she needs something in her mouth.)We were able to train her “prey drive” out of her as we have two cats. She doesn’t chase them anymore, but she will watch them, fascinated they get to do things she can’t. She also knows exactly how far she can cross the line. She is not allowed in the kitchen when I’m cooking, so she sits where the tiles meet the hallway. Then she’ll lay down, pays just over the line. Then she’ll sit up, then lay down again, more over the line, until she’s almost all the way in. I bought her a toy once that she had to remove part of it to move food down a tube to get to the bottom. This worked for weeks until once she watched me fill it from the top. She looked at me, looked at the tower, and whacked it with her paw, knocking it over, and the food spilling every where. She showed me!The only “stupid” thing she does has to do with her “mouthy-ness”. I’ve heard all Mals like to have something in their mouth. A toy, ball, rag, for when they are excited. If my partner is coming home, and she is napping with me, she will wake up, find a toy and sit near the door with it in her mouth. If she can’t find a toy, she literally tries to keep water in it. She doesn’t drink it, she just dribbles it everywhere. If there is no toys or water, she goes, “SNAP SNAP SNAP with her teeth. Her “brother” is a border collie who loves to herd balls. So we got him a hard plastic staffy ball. He rolls it with his nose like an expert. She just wants to bite it, but can’t. It drives her batty. She makes this exasperated bark/whine and will zigzag around the yard with just trying to get it with her teeth. She’ll do this until shes exhausted, so we only let her have it in short spurts.So as you can see, having a mouthy Mal that is so smart is incredibly hard work! They aren’t for everyone as they just require so much care, time, and input. You cannot be someone who does not train their dogs, or continue the ongoing training after they are puppies. Even then, there are lines of Mals that are far more active than mine. They need an outlet for that brain!(Also, since we are all commenting on the cliff - She won’t run off a cliff, she’ll just stare off the cliff for hours hoping her ball comes back).
What are the differences between a Belgian Malinois and a German Shepherd?
Origin, form, function and use. Their origins are tandem, though developed in different countries in Europe, they are both bred to guide and guard a flock of sheep as their primary development. The Belgian Shepherd falls into four categories: Belgian Tervueren (pronounced Ter-Vur-Oon, the placement of some of the "e"s indicate umlauts, the dots over a, o, and u, the pronunciation of which we lack in English), which has a longer coat of fawn or darker color, the Belgian Malinois (Mal-In-Nwah) the most commonly seen in the U.S., is short coated, fawn with a black mask, the Belgian Groenendael (Groon-En-Dell), which is long coated and black and the Belgian Laekenois (Lak-En-Nwah), with wire or rough coated fawn or grey. Their lines follow the function of ages of herding for the Belgians, who developed the breed with an eye to proud carriage, square, solid physique and keen intelligence. Because they are less popular than their German cousins, the breed is primarily devoid of genetic weaknesses. In some countries, they are considered one breed, interbred commonly, but in the U.S., the AKC limits registration that evidences interbreeding three generations back. They register all but the Laekenois.They are generally not considered as pets, as their utility is of high function. They can be companions in the family order, but will always be alert to Doing A Job. They require early training and socialization, though they do not tend toward dominance, rather they tend toward becoming that smarty-pants over-achiever that drove the teacher crazy. If they don't have a job, they will invent one.German Shepherds from Germany were of a more varied stock originally. Like the "collies" in the British Isles, form fitted function, but in that case, distinctive separate breeds arose. Over time, before our worlds collided, the governing group developed one solid breed standard at the turning of the nineteenth century, and German Shepherds from that era, though not as refined, bear striking resemblance to what we know today. They are also guiding guarding dogs, but with a greater range of utility, hence you will see Seeing Eye German Shepherds, but will not see Seeing Eye Belgian Shepherds commonly. They are stockier in build, their heads a little coarser, with great jaw strength. Their coloring is either the classic tawny and silver or black, with the darker color draped across the back like a mantel. They may also be Black and Tan, with no white. This marking is similar to the Rottweiller, with eyebrows, feet and vent (under the tail) a reddish color. The colors must be rich and not washed out.Because of Rin-Tin-Tin (the cowboy version of the farming Lassie), popularity shot up to the deficit of quality, hence today, the breed struggles against hip displasia, skin and bone problems. Additionally, the unfortunate development of a dog that will naturally slope has become a weakened animal. The original topline of this breed was straight and sturdy--as they still are in their homeland--however, the show stance, when stacked, is one leg well back, the other well forward. This was meant to show a dog ready to spring into action and power, but breeding has developed a dog that has a sloping topline. These dogs are wonderful learners, but tend toward the dominat side, thus, one must be a firm, consistant trainer and training must commence early, with loads of socialization to round out a friendly family pet.These are more common as family pets than the Belgian cousins, due to their popularity. Like the Belgians, they must have a job or they will find one for you. The distinction between the two is subtle, but worth noting.One last note, unless you are performing in Schutzhund work, it will not be necessary to Sentry or Attack train any of your Shepherds. After the second year, they will develop their own sense of protectiveness, if you have done the homework in time--early socialization--you will have a buddy who will welcome all, great or small, unless an actual threat or home invasion is occuring, then the dog will do what they do naturally--they got your back!
When is a Belgian Malinois out of the puppy stage?
Most dogs exit the puppy stage around 6 months.Basically the developmental stages of most dogs are:0–2 weeks: Neonatal StagePuppies are blind and deaf with no teeth. Mama dogs take care of everything including keeping them warm.2–4 weeks: Transitional StageEyes open, they start responding to sounds, light, and movement. Teeth start growing, they can start to “crawl”, and recognize their siblings/mom.3–4 weeks: Awakening of sensesBecome fully alert and aware of the environment. This stage is critical to remain with mom and keep changes/noises to a minimum to ensure negative associations aren’t created.4–7 weeks: Socialization PeriodHandling puppies for short periods of time (less than ten minutes) is important in this stage along with the beginning learnings of discipline enforced by their mother. Puppies should remain with their mother during this time as it is a critical period.8–12 weeks: 2nd Socialization and Fear PeriodTraumatic events, loud noises, harsh discipline should be avoided at this time. Ensure plenty of human contact during this stage.3–4 months: Juvenile stagePuppies need structure and gentle leadership during this time. 80% of the puppy brain is developed and cemented by 16 weeks so foundation training should be taught before this point.4–8 months: Flight Instinct periodPuppies will usually forget everything you have taught them. This is also lovingly referred to as the teenager phase.6–14 months: Second Fear Imprint PeriodDogs of this age usually go through a period where confidence is lacking. Things that they didn’t fear before are suddenly things to react to negatively and become afraid of. This is a period you need to be calm and positive. Don’t force them to face their fears at this point as it will usually backfire and make it more difficult to overcome in the future.18–24 months: Young AdulthoodAny areas lacking confidence become apparent in this phase. Dogs may tend to test boundaries, but are pretty set by this point. Leadership and consistent positive training ensure that your dog is set up for life.Although, like humans, dogs never stop learning so continued positive training for the rest of their life will only make your bond with them stronger.For more detailed information on the stages see: Stages of Canine Development
How much do I have to walk a Belgian Malinois?
A Belgian malinois is much like most working breeds though not like an Australian shepherd, which i have seen actually run ruts in the carpet from running circles around the dining room table.They like at play ball, catch etc.Walk a minimum of 3 good 30-40 min. A day.Play catch. My akita likes to run up and down the hallway about 20 min. Before a walk. He is much happier.Any extra time your dog will love. If you have to ask that and do not have the dog yet, consider getting a smaller dog, if you are not going to be home enough, don't get one at all.
How do I train my Belgian Malinois to guard my house?
Belgian Malinois make excellent personal protection dogs - and lousy guard dogs.To train your pet for personal protection, I would recommend finding the closest Schutzhund/IPO club and asking how you can get involved and train your dog.A guard dog needs to have a measured approach to intruders and Malinois don’t do that so much. A livestock guardian breed or something like a Tibetan Mastiff would be a better choice for an animal to guard something while you are not present.
What are some tips on training a Belgian Malinois?
You have to be smarter than the Malinois - and that is not an easy thing to do!Belgians are perfectionists that happen to also be the gifted child in school with ADHD that is captain of the rugby team.My Belgians have all learned very, very well with the ideas of shaping and marking behaviors.Each of my Belgians has also reached a point where they walk up to the line in the sand, step over it, and look at me. They are not “disobedient” or “stubborn” but they really, really, really need to know what the boundaries are.Will you Malinois need a prong collar to learn? No, almost certainly not.Will it quite possibly need one for five minutes to learn that rules are rules at some point? Well, probably yes.Also realize that your Malinois is going to teach itself a great deal and learn things you had no intention of teaching it!My first Mal adored vegetables (she was weird). Two minutes of observing a human in the garden and she figured out how to harvest her own carrots. She wasn’t a digger, and she wouldn’t dig anywhere else in the garden, but she would dig up and eat carrots.My second Malinois liked being first to the front door when there was a knock or a ring - the “normal” (read non-Belgian) dogs in the house learned that you have to slow down to take the 90 degree turn on the tile. The Malinois learned the angle you needed to bank off of the wall so that your momentum toward the door was maximized.Also realize that Malinois are full-contact dogs and will remain so for life! They are physical and protective and that can get them into a lot of trouble.Malinois #2 once flattened a whole “flock” of early elementary children. He body-slammed them onto the ground, did a circuit of the yard and came back to “clack” in their faces to express his joy at playing with them. The children though they were about to be eaten.My Malinois once when I had a friend helping me fix my car - we were pulling two rusted-together parts apart and apparently I grunted or something. There was very suddenly a Malinois. He did not make a sound, but 65# of dog put 200# of friend up against the Jeep with a nose-punch to the thigh. Then there stood the dog, ears snapped forward, tail stiff, eyes boring into my friend’s soul. If he didn’t have a 100% recall at that moment I’m not sure what would have happened.I also recall the Malinois that would “catch and release” chipmunks* when he saw a mink in the yard. Snap - toss up the bank, be there before it lands - crunch the spine - shake - toss - repeat. The mink was very dead before he was done.Your Malinois, if properly trained, will be the most obedient dog you will ever own. And when not “under command” they will do more stupid stuff than any other dog you will ever own. Their default is to mouth, grip, and body-check. Their default is to run a perimeter check of your home every hour on the hour and eliminate anything they see as a threat with whatever violence necessary - strike that, with far more than necessary.*Yeah, so the dog was very prey-driven but not really into killing stuff as prey, only as a threat. So if it moved he would grab it, but then unless it fought back he would drop it again. He would sometimes spend 10 minutes grabbing and dropping the same chipmunk before the poor thing either escaped on its own or a human intervened.
How do I train my Belgian Malinois to track a scent?
Here is my answer to the post How do you train dogs to track smells?Malinois are very good at this. Have fun!
How big does a female Belgian Malinois grow?
Malinois as a whole have significant size variances depending on the lines. Unlike German Shepherds for which people mistakenly call malinois “tan German shepherds “, malinois tend to not be as consistent to a breed standard for weight and size. To give you an example within my own lines, I have a female who is 70lbsHer dad is a musculsr 105lbs, massive by any malinois standard and her mom around 66lbs.Here is one of my males. He's about 62lbs. His sire was 70lbs and his mom around 60lbs.Both are very healthy and fit. If you're curious about how big a puppy may get, look 2-3 generations behind them. If you are planning to get a puppy I discourage going for the biggest. We dont want people out there breeding purely for size with no consideration for soundness of body and mind. A malinois is not meant to be huge. You'd be surprised how easily a 45-50lb compact malinois could flatten a 200lb man in bite work when the dog is launching at 30mph into a bite.
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