5 Belgian Malinois Training Tips
The Belgian Malinois is arguably the best working dog breed in the world. These dogs are intelligent, loyal, obedient, and fearless. It is no wonder this is the first pick of many K-9 units around the globe. However, many of these dogs are shifting to the role of a pet. That is fantastic if they get an owner who knows how to handle these dogs.
The first thing you should know about Belgian Malinois is - they are active. We don’t just mean active like a Labrador; these dogs seem like they’re on performance-enhancing drugs all the time. No matter how much you exercise them and exhaust them, they never seem to get enough. They always want more. Downtime is not a word in the Belgian Malinois dictionary.
Training a Belgian Malinois
These characteristics are exactly what you want to see in a working dog. Professional dog trainers and handlers praise Malinois for their reactivity and response to training. However, casual dog owners are often stunned at how much energy the dog has. Unfortunately, that often ends up bad for the dog. Malinois owners that don’t know what they’re getting themselves into often end up giving up their dogs. That’s why Belgian Malinois training is a critical part of sharing a life with this dog. Luckily, World Dog Finder prepared a list of helpful tips that will help you handle your Malinois. Here are our 5 Belgian Malinois training tips all future owners should know.
1. Start early
Belgian Malinois training should start as soon as your Malinois puppy arrives at your home. Start by covering basic things all puppies must learn. Since the dog is still young, their physical activity needs to be monitored and limited. Overexercising can have a harmful impact on the dog’s hips and overall development. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start training them. Here are some of the basics you need to cover with your dog;
Crate training will teach your puppy they have a special cozy place for themselves. They can sleep there and rest without anyone bothering them.
As soon as the dog is used to their crate, they will not want to soil their bed and the place they sleep in. That will make potty training easier. Make sure you take your dog out for potty breaks often. The puppy needs to go out as soon as they eat, wake up, or play. Here’s a handy guideline to remember - A puppy can hold it for 1 hour for every month. That means a 3-month-old puppy can hold it for 3 hours.
Basic obedience and instinct control
The puppy doesn’t have the attention span of an adult Malinois, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start basic obedience. Teach your puppy commands like “Sit,” “Leave it,” or “Down.” This is an excellent groundwork for more advanced training in the future.
2. Confidence building
All well-trained and well-behaved dogs have to be confident. Shy dogs are dangerous. They don’t know how to react, and often, when a dog is scared, their main reaction is defense, which is biting. You don’t want to end up with a dog that is scared of other dogs, strangers, noises, or traffic. The best way to do that is to socialize your puppy as soon as they come to your home.
Meeting new puppies might not be the best option since your puppy is not fully vaccinated yet. However, you can expose your new puppy to sights, sounds, different surfaces, loud noises, and people. Make sure that the puppy has a pleasant experience every time they socialize, and you will build their confidence. Use praise, treats, and toys for rewards, and pretty soon, your puppy will grow up to be a well-behaved and confident dog.
3. Physical activity
This part of the Belgian Malinois training cannot be emphasized enough. These dogs need physical activity; lots of it. Belgian Malinois were bred for hundreds of years to be as athletic and intense as possible. These dogs have powerful herding instincts as well as protective and high prey drive. That is their purpose - work. You can’t expect them to sit idly at home and enjoy a cozy night in. If you have a Belgian Malinois, you have to prepare to spend at least 3 hours a day trying to exhaust your dog.
Even the most experienced dog trainers and handlers can have problems with achieving to get a Malinois tired. We advise you to try out different sports to help you achieve this goal. The dog will certainly enjoy whatever activity you choose for them. Some of the things you can try are cycling, hiking, running, canicross, bikejoring, skijoring, obedience, or swimming. These are just some examples, and you can choose anything that will help your dog spend the crazy amount of energy they possess.
4. Mental activity
Another critical aspect of Belgian Malinois training is mental activity. Simply exhausting your dog will help, but your dog will still need plenty of mental activity. As we mentioned earlier, these dogs are incredibly smart. They are capable of solving problems and performing complicated tasks. However, their owners need to invest time in their training. Without it, their intelligence will be the main reason they develop behavioral issues. They will get bored and look for ways to entertain themselves, which mostly means getting into some sort of trouble.
If you’re becoming a Malinois owner, the best thing you can do is prepare different types of mental activities for your dog. This will help them develop their cognitive skill and respond better to future training. Get different dog puzzles, sniffing mats, play shell games with your dog, and teach them new things. You can train your dog tricks or the names of their toys. Whatever you can do to exhaust your dog mentally will be a good thing.
DOG TRAINER TIP: Whatever you choose to do with your Malinois, you have to make sure the training experience and environment are positive. Instead of using negative training methods like punishment, fear, or pain, use positive methods and reward the behavior you want your dog to perform. That is the only way to ensure the dog develops a stable and confident character.
5. Ask for help
This is something many dog owners don’t do. However, owning a Belgian Malinois can be pretty overwhelming. There is no shame in asking for help. You can enroll your dog in obedience classes where they’ll work with professional dog trainers and personnel that know how to handle a high-energy breed. They will ensure your dog gets plenty of physical and mental activities every day. These things are becoming more popular because modern life rarely allows someone to dedicate most of their day to their dogs.
Another option is hiring a professional dog trainer to come and help you. If you have a budget for it and you can pay someone to come and play and train your dog every day or 5 times a week, it might be a good option. Professional dog trainers know how to handle these dogs, and they can be lifesavers for Malinois owners. That can be the difference between you keeping your dog and having to give them up.
World Dog Finder team