Should You Get a Pet Malinois?
What do you need to know if you want a Malinois as a pet?
OK, so I’m not going to mince my words here. Here’s what you need to know if you want a Malinois puppy as a pet.
Can a Malinois live as a pet. Yes, they can. Raven does. But one of the reasons that she’s so successful is that I have trained her to be a good dog. She naturally has a social nature but that doesn’t mean she will naturally make good decisions. That’s learned. That’s through good training.
I know people who even live with very difficult dogs as their pets. But of course, they have the leadership skills, the management and the training in place to enable them to live with these dogs. I also regularly get calls from people with less difficult dogs asking me if they should take on their friend’s Malinois who is showing aggression to the friend’s wife.
What to Know When Looking for a Malinois
Let’s firstly understand the breeder’s goals. The breeder wants to place their pups in homes that will showcase them. That means agility, obedience, Schutzhund homes will always be preferred. That means, firstly, the breeder isn’t going to give their best pups to pet homes. You’ll likely get the nervy ones, which as a pet person you probably don’t have the skills to bring around. Trust me, as a breeder, my best pups are going to go to people with the skills to make them look really good as potential breeding dogs. Why would I put my best pups in pet homes?
You’re only lucky I’m being honest here. Mind you, I also don’t want any of my pups being labelled as aggressive, so I can guarantee you that unless I have a unicorn puppy, I probably won’t let you have a puppy to be “just a pet”. I have far too many homes wanting a unicorn puppy than I’ll probably ever be able to supply in a lifetime.
What Should You Be Prepared For?
OK, so, firstly, you should put aside AT LEAST the amount you invested in your puppy for training. Yup. And you’ll likely have to double that (because as it goes with human nature, you’ll try to do it on the cheap, then still have issues with your dog and then have to spend all that money again on a different trainer or maybe you paid a lot of money for that trainer but they didn’t understand the breed as well as they pretended to). And that’s only to train your Malinois how to fit into your home as a pet. We’re not even talking club fees, entry fees, food or vet bills here. That’s just training.
Part of the reason I’m telling you to double what you’ve invested in the dog is that there are hardly any trainers that I would go to if I had a Malinois I needed help with. There are plenty of Malinois owners who call themselves trainers whose dogs are attacking other dogs and who live their lives inside a crate and only come out for training.
If these trainers can’t manage their dogs, how do you think you’re going to learn how to teach your Malinois good manners? You need a good teacher, the problem is there are only a few of us who can really help you if you get stuck. Don’t look at someone who’s a breeder or has a club to help you.
Your local Dog Sport Club can’t help you, because training a sport dog is different to training a dog to be a good family dog. Yes, you can do both. But the priority for 99% of Malinois owners is to get a Malinois you can live with. That’s actually the harder part. And people who enjoy the sport training side, often hate the pet training side, and they’ll likely also lack the people skills to help you understand what your dog needs and why.
Oh and before you tell me that your 9 month old Malinois is your pet… um… every 6 months you should expect your Malinois temperament to change. Every 6 months I notice more confidence, more defiance and more Malinois tendencies.
So what behaviours will you likely need to understand how to deal with?
Biting. Malinois like to bite. Who am I kidding? They don’t just like it THEY LOVE IT! They use it to solve their problems.
Resource guarding. Your dog might decide to guard you, their food, their toys, their pen. Basically everything.
Aggression. These dogs often have aggressive tendencies.
What are you going to do with a dog that has become aggressive towards your spouse or your children. Do you think anyone else will want a dog like that? And to make matters worse, the breed often lives to 15. The breed needs attention, training and consistency from their owner.
Can you be honest and say that you can give that to your Malinois when I have owners who can’t even be consistent with their super soft, lovely Bichon’s or Papillions who just want to please them? So are you SURE you want to get a Malinois? Can you give your Malinois what they need? What are you going to do with this Malinois?
Why do you REALLY want a Malinois?
Is it because they look good?
Do you want a Malinois to stroke your ego and appear aggressive at the end of your leash?
Do you want a dog who is an active running buddy?
Then don’t get a Malinois.
Only get a Malinois if you want a dog who will challenge you. A dog that will improve your skills. A dog you’re prepared to invest time, money and energy into. Because if you don’t want to do that you shouldn’t have a Malinois.
I can tell you that Malinois are great dogs. And that can be the case, but usually only in experienced homes. Remember, I am a dog trainer. I see dogs daily that owners have tried very hard with and still got things wrong and most of the dogs aren’t even Malinois. I don’t want you to fail. I know what that feels like. So I want to paint a realistic picture so that you go into this with your eyes open and aware that you will have to step it up and get help.
Need help with your Malinois?
I have owned and trained Malinois since 2013 and in that time I’ve trained and owned more than 10 Malinois. One of my Malinois is currently serving as a Military Working Dog (MWD) and another is now an Explosives Detection Dog. I’ve also raised a litter of puppies where 60% of the puppies are now MWDs. Not only that, despite what my Malinois went onto become, they were all able to accompany me to cafe’s and out in public.
So, I believe I’m one of only a very small handful of very experienced Dog Trainers in NZ who can successfully handle the breed. Because I understand the breed. I am also part of Malinois Rescue as well as the breeder for HausTralis Malinois and am the Dog Trainer behind SolutionK9 Dog Training.
I also exclusively board Malinois because I understand the breed’s specific nature. So, if you need help with your Malinois, give me a call on 0211444368!
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