Dog Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, my family has a Belgian Malinois. He's four years old and I would like to ask if it is still possible to train him and remedy his bevahior problems. I have had a keen interest on taking care of him when he first came to our home. However, my education forced me to live far from home and leave the dog behind. Unfortunately, he was not well cared for by my family and thought of him more of a guard dog who's only role was to look fierce and bark at any intruders. As such, he was usually kept at a cage for most of his life, but during the first year or two, he was allowed to roam while leashed to a 40m rope. This barely allowed for free movement needed for such a dog. Daily exercise and runs were non-existent, training never took place, food mostly consisted of cheap grains and leftovers, and grooming was rare.

Whenever I came home, I noticed that he was aggressive, though playful. He always wanted to pounce on people, and though I think he intends it to be playful, he actually causes harm because of his aggressiveness. Also, he isn't calm and easily destroys any chew toys I get to buy him. Heck, he even kinda deforms the metal food trays he's given. The other dogs are also very afraid of him and bark at him whenever he gets a run out of the cage (it is interesting though that he rarely attacks and just seeks either a good run or some water).

Now, I'm planning to commit time to give him good exercise, feed him well, and train him. Is it still possible to do this with positive results and will he not be a hazard to other people? I live on a forested hill, but there are a considerable number of people here, as well, and the look of his teeth and jaws give assurance that he can rip apart a throat quite easily.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,031 Posts
I would absolutely enlist the help of a trainer near you who utilizes positive training methods. I do think it's possible to rehab this dog but it will take time and patience. I think it's best for a professional to help guide you.

Reaching out to @San who has experience with Mals.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
84 Posts
Second what Aspen726 suggested. Look for a trainer who uses motivational methods to help you build a bond and engagement with him.

Mals are very smart and driven, a lot of them of quite handler sensitive as well. With a dog that has not had much socialization/basic obedience, I would treat him like a big puppy and start from the very beginning. Manage his environment so he doesn’t have a chance to do things you don’t like. Make yourself the most interesting thing in his world, make him want to interact with you.

It is hard to keep calm when he hasn’t had an outlet for his physical and mental energy. Is he food driven? Toy driven?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
170 Posts
Excellent advice. I too think a pro trainer is the best way to get you started. Most training centers will be overwhelmed by a very active Mal. Do check these places out. Some will want you to get an electric collar but I'd avoid this. It's it's too much to master the collar and work with a hard dog to start with. There is too much room for error that could do irreparable mental damage to the dog.

Add a nice leather or nylon flat collar and a 12" leather or nylon loop tab. Get a 6-8 foot nylon leash and a 30 foot nylon leash. That should be all you need. I like the short tab as it keeps the dog very close to you and it helps prevent the dog from yanking on the longer leash. I just use a flick of my fingers on the tab...just rattle the chain is all my dog needs now. You can reward very quickly too.

I have 60 and 100 foot leashes too that I use in the field but you won't need them yet.

I think the bond you get is probably the key to creating a nice dog here. These guys are very smart and very handler sensitive. I'd encourage you to get him interested in treats. These should be very high value dried liver and an average value...something like milk bones. I cut milk bones into pea sized pieces and liver and hotdogs into a little larger ones. You don't need massive sized treats. Just lots of them. Get used to having treats with you all the time. I have a two pocket nail pouch from Home Depot. I think it was a dollar or so. It looks dumb going for walks with it but it's nice to have the best trained dog in our community. I think a nice tug rope for reward would be good too.

For every good response he gets a treat for a while. Try to present them quickly and with happy praise. Even a small high value treat for eating his dinners. It won't take long for him to follow you around looking for ways to get treats. Once you get here he should be much easier to train.

Then you can hit the training centers for additional help and practice with other dogs.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top