Dog Forum banner
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I hope to cover everything here. I had 2 Lab mixes for the past 13 years. I recently lost one, and myself and the other dog (an old Lab/Husky mix, deaf, with good disposition) have just been lost without him. So I had been looking for a newish pup, or teenager to fill our void. I got in touch with a rescuer, and found 3 young dogs / puppies to go see. We arrived with older dog and found that 2 of the 3 were way too much for my older dog. (They were very sweet, but large, and very young and puppy like) The third, Ruby, which I was told was a GSD mix, 6 mo. old was brought out. She had a very nice energy, and Dave, my older dog, seemed ok with her. Very sweet puppy. We were discussing what all she was mixed with, and the rescue guy mentioned Malinois, and she has some dark sports on her tongue, and some other traits that may indicate Malinois. Let me first say that this sweet puppy has not exhibited any aggressive traits, whatsoever. But the more I look at her, and research the breed, I think she has a LOT of Malinois in her. I have no problem with this breed, BUT know enough to know I wanted no part of it, as they need so much mental and physical stimulation, that I know I am not equipped to deal with. I take my dogs for daily walks, and take them with me in the car, anywhere they can go. So, I am not a total slouch, but I know Malinois need much more than that to sustain a properly balanced dog. I am extremely concerned that I cannot give her what she needs. I have also read many things that say Malinois are NOT meant to be pets. That was what I wanted. Just a pet that was easy going, and ok with what I had to offer. (My yard is fenced, but not very big). Am I freaking out prematurely? I would never forgive myself if she became aggressive due to lack of stimulation, and did something to my lab mix, or some kid, or stranger. And I also don't want to wait til that happens, and have to get rid of her after falling in love with her, and having something bad happen. I had her out back, and my neighbor was out putzing around in the yard, and she seemed very fixated on him, but maybe any young dog would be. She came in without incident. I'm just having all kinds of misgivings about this sweet girl, and maybe have read some wrong things about this breed absolutely NOT being a family pet. I can tend to freak out about things that haven't happened yet. So could any of you Mal owners or anyone with experience with this breed, please educate me as to what to look for, or what to do. I can tell you now that I wont be able to give her all of the mental and physical things to keep her an ideal pet of this breed. But I don't know what else to do. I guess maybe wait and see if any of this even comes to fruition. But for her sake as well as ours, I need some direction. I am aware of what this breed is capable of. HELP. This is not what I signed up for and don't want to be irresponsible with this dog that could potentially grow into a Maligator. (Read this too. Maybe should stay off the computer, huh? Thank you, and sorry for the novel. I feel very unsettled, and concerned.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
1,293 Posts
I hope to cover everything here. I had 2 Lab mixes for the past 13 years. I recently lost one, and myself and the other dog (an old Lab/Husky mix, deaf, with good disposition) have just been lost without him. So I had been looking for a newish pup, or teenager to fill our void. I got in touch with a rescuer, and found 3 young dogs / puppies to go see. We arrived with older dog and found that 2 of the 3 were way too much for my older dog. (They were very sweet, but large, and very young and puppy like) The third, Ruby, which I was told was a GSD mix, 6 mo. old was brought out. She had a very nice energy, and Dave, my older dog, seemed ok with her. Very sweet puppy. We were discussing what all she was mixed with, and the rescue guy mentioned Malinois, and she has some dark sports on her tongue, and some other traits that may indicate Malinois. Let me first say that this sweet puppy has not exhibited any aggressive traits, whatsoever. But the more I look at her, and research the breed, I think she has a LOT of Malinois in her. I have no problem with this breed, BUT know enough to know I wanted no part of it, as they need so much mental and physical stimulation, that I know I am not equipped to deal with. I take my dogs for daily walks, and take them with me in the car, anywhere they can go. So, I am not a total slouch, but I know Malinois need much more than that to sustain a properly balanced dog. I am extremely concerned that I cannot give her what she needs. I have also read many things that say Malinois are NOT meant to be pets. That was what I wanted. Just a pet that was easy going, and ok with what I had to offer. (My yard is fenced, but not very big). Am I freaking out prematurely? I would never forgive myself if she became aggressive due to lack of stimulation, and did something to my lab mix, or some kid, or stranger. And I also don't want to wait til that happens, and have to get rid of her after falling in love with her, and having something bad happen. I had her out back, and my neighbor was out putzing around in the yard, and she seemed very fixated on him, but maybe any young dog would be. She came in without incident. I'm just having all kinds of misgivings about this sweet girl, and maybe have read some wrong things about this breed absolutely NOT being a family pet. I can tend to freak out about things that haven't happened yet. So could any of you Mal owners or anyone with experience with this breed, please educate me as to what to look for, or what to do. I can tell you now that I wont be able to give her all of the mental and physical things to keep her an ideal pet of this breed. But I don't know what else to do. I guess maybe wait and see if any of this even comes to fruition. But for her sake as well as ours, I need some direction. I am aware of what this breed is capable of. HELP. This is not what I signed up for and don't want to be irresponsible with this dog that could potentially grow into a Maligator. (Read this too. Maybe should stay off the computer, huh? Thank you, and sorry for the novel. I feel very unsettled, and concerned.
Hi. Welcome to the forum. Sorry it's under the circumstances.

First of all, I must hold my hand up and say I don't have any Malinois experience.

However.

The biggest concern about boredom is that it can lead to destructive behaviour - not aggression. Aggression is mostly fear based. They learn that their "please leave me alone" signs are ignored (as far as they're concerned) and they escalate. They don't pick a fight just because they're bored. They chew the door, or the carpet, but that's destructive behaviour, not aggression.

But. If you can't meet her physical and mental needs, then the kindest thing to do will be to hand her back to the rescue now and give her a chance to find a perfect home for her while she's still young. There's no shame in admitting you're outdogged. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
Can you have her evaluated by a behaviorist or trainer that works with Malinois? At 6 months old, somebody that has experience with the breed should be able to tell you whether she displays typical behaviors and traits of the breed, recognize her individual personality traits and tell you if she is likely to be a good fit for your lifestyle or not.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice. But, you know, after thinking about it, calmly, and logically, she doesn't seem to have a mean bone in her body. Maybe she doesn't have that much Malinois in her at all. Not that that is a bad thing, but for a certain, highly active person.(But she sure looks like she does.) So until she gives me a reason to have an issue with it, I will just enjoy her for who she is, and quit pre panicking! I do plan to do a DNA test, as I would like to know what she is. Right now she is part cupcake, part wiggle worm, part smart, good girl. And I feel bad about profiling her like that. I just read some stuff about how horrible Mals can be, and should have known that every dog, of any breed, is a case by case thing. Hopefully I don't bore her to death! 😴 P.S. I truly hope I didn't offend any Malinois people. Just a case of ignorance, and forgetting that you can't believe everything you read on the internet. And letting your mind wander to places it should not go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
272 Posts
The thing about a Mal, like with any large breed dog, they can potentially cause serious damage if they inappropriately decide to bite someone or another animal. So, like with any large breed dog IMHO, it falls to the owner to train them to a higher level than might be required with smaller dogs.

That said, Mals can be great pets if their drives and energy level fits with what you can provide.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
The thing about a Mal, like with any large breed dog, they can potentially cause serious damage if they inappropriately decide to bite someone or another animal. So, like with any large breed dog IMHO, it falls to the owner to train them to a higher level than might be required with smaller dogs.

That said, Mals can be great pets if their drives and energy level fits with what you can provide.
Agreed. I am looking into training, and we're headed to the bike trails where she can run to her hearts desire. It's a start, right?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,569 Posts
Agreed. I am looking into training, and we're headed to the bike trails where she can run to her hearts desire. It's a start, right?
Just beware of her joints - at 6 months, her growth plates won't have closed so don't overdo the exercise.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just beware of her joints - at 6 months, her growth plates won't have closed so don't overdo the exercise.
Right. Thanks. Haven't had a puppy in 13 years. There is much I have forgotten. She is an incredible athlete. I'm kicking around the idea of getting some agility equipment for the back yard, for her. She is 7 months. I was off, but when do her growth plates close?
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
5,569 Posts
@agility collie mom is probably best placed to answer that and advise on agility, but I think you are a few months too early. I'd wait until she is at least a year - same for some agility moves including weave poles and jumps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
511 Posts
This article maybe be helpful to you.
When to Train a Puppy for Agility | Agility for Puppies (thatmutt.com)

When I got my border collie pup (he is now just over 3 yrs), I heard a lot of 'gasps' and comments like "He will keep you 'busy'!" and who quickly earned the title of 'Sonic dog', (with no 'off switch') I found that 'brain games' - activities that required 'thinking' - learning new tricks, skills, playing games like 'find it', teaching skills like 'settle'/wait/stay, leave it (helps in learning 'self control') and giving him things to do that were 'calming' for him, such as laying down working on a frozen Kong, using snuffle mats and interactive toys (problem solving) that didn't necessarily require much physical activity - worked well in helping him to be a 'calmer', focused adult dog. I did introduce him to some agility equipment at a young age as part of his 'socialization'/learning opportunities, helping him learn that 'new' is not necessarily 'scary' and can be a lot of fun for him.

My thinking was that 'yes', he is a high energy dog, he didn't necessarily need to be encouraged to do 'more' physical exercise, (the more physically tired he got, the more 'wound up' he would get, resulting in not being able to focus or think) but what he did 'need', more than anything, was the opportunity to learn new things, activities that 'slowed him down' physically and required him to focus and think for himself (use his brain) instead.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JoanneF

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This article maybe be helpful to you.
When to Train a Puppy for Agility | Agility for Puppies (thatmutt.com)

When I got my border collie pup (he is now just over 3 yrs), I heard a lot of 'gasps' and comments like "He will keep you 'busy'!" and who quickly earned the title of 'Sonic dog', (with no 'off switch') I found that 'brain games' - activities that required 'thinking' - learning new tricks, skills, playing games like 'find it', teaching skills like 'settle'/wait/stay, leave it (helps in learning 'self control') and giving him things to do that were 'calming' for him, such as laying down working on a frozen Kong, using snuffle mats and interactive toys (problem solving) that didn't necessarily require much physical activity - worked well in helping him to be a 'calmer', focused adult dog. I did introduce him to some agility equipment at a young age as part of his 'socialization'/learning opportunities, helping him learn that 'new' is not necessarily 'scary' and can be a lot of fun for him.

My thinking was that 'yes', he is a high energy dog, he didn't necessarily need to be encouraged to do 'more' physical exercise, (the more physically tired he got, the more 'wound up' he would get, resulting in not being able to focus or think) but what he did 'need', more than anything, was the opportunity to learn new things, activities that 'slowed him down' physically and required him to focus and think for himself (use his brain) instead.
Thank you for this! Like you, comments like Land shark, and Maligator, and how they need 4 hours of physical and mental stimulation,daily, panicked me terribly. And I have noticed that after a good run, she will be way overamped. But you have shared some awesome advice, and I'm now making her a snuffle mat, and she has some interactive toys to dispense a treat, however she has decided that tearing it apart was also another way to get the treat. Baby steps. But thank you very much. I always said I never wanted a Border Collie, Malinois,etc, any dog that was smarter than me. But there are ways to overcome that. Hopefully! :oops:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@agility collie mom is probably best placed to answer that and advise on agility, but I think you are a few months too early. I'd wait until she is at least a year - same for some agility moves including weave poles and jumps.
What are your thoughts on Flirt Poles? Is there an age to start that, if at all?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
511 Posts
It is a big shift in mindset (and lifestyle) from having older, predictable, dogs, (my other three dogs were seniors) to working with a very busy pup. For sure, it can be a bit of a 'challenge', and I found it a lot of fun, but one day at a time, learning what works for them and what doesn't, is all part of the learning curve for both us and our dog, and is all part of getting to know 'who' they are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
It is a big shift in mindset (and lifestyle) from having older, predictable, dogs, (my other three dogs were seniors) to working with a very busy pup. For sure, it can be a bit of a 'challenge', and I found it a lot of fun, but one day at a time, learning what works for them and what doesn't, is all part of the learning curve for both us and our dog, and is all part of getting to know 'who' they are.
So true! Older dogs are so easy. Unjustly makes you wonder why your new pup can't measure up to your old one. Totally new mindset. But puppies do such cute, funny things, that our older ones don't. It's a good 'trade off', if you will. Must stay adaptable, and ready for anything. Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
What are your thoughts on Flirt Poles? Is there an age to start that, if at all?
I love flirtpoles! However, as with agility, the dog should be fully grown including the growth plates closed and adult teeth well set in the jaw. Even then, there are a few rules I follow to use them safely: keeping the toy moving low to the ground, avoiding sudden turns and jumps... I don't really use them primarily as an exercise tool, but as a tool to teach self control and impulse control through play, while working in drive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,321 Posts
Labs are called land sharks e huskies are notorious for being crazy and hyper high energy escape artists yet you've had a lab husky mix for years plus another lab and been fine.
There's also been studies that vets and shelter staff and experts are mainly wrong guessing dogs breeds by looks. The only way you're going to know what breeds a dog really are is by doing a DNA test.
My dog looks like mainly a lab. The shelter said he was mainly a lab mix, both his previous owners said he's a lab mix everyone who sees him tells me he's a lab. Strangers on the street literally argue me and tell me I'm wrong because they think he's definitely mostly lab.

His personality is not at all lab. He could care less about fetch and hates water and us very protective and loves to protect my apartment, my car, the dog park at night especially and literally just patrols the fence line once it gets dark. I never taught him that, it's natural and what he always chooses to do.
I did the DNA testing e he's 12.5 percent lab.

He's way more other breeds. 25 percent each of German Shepherd, Chow and boxer and then 12.5 percent American Staffordshire.

But he looks like a huge lab.

So just because your dog looks a lot like a Malinois doesn't mean she really is at all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Labs are called land sharks e huskies are notorious for being crazy and hyper high energy escape artists yet you've had a lab husky mix for years plus another lab and been fine.
There's also been studies that vets and shelter staff and experts are mainly wrong guessing dogs breeds by looks. The only way you're going to know what breeds a dog really are is by doing a DNA test.
My dog looks like mainly a lab. The shelter said he was mainly a lab mix, both his previous owners said he's a lab mix everyone who sees him tells me he's a lab. Strangers on the street literally argue me and tell me I'm wrong because they think he's definitely mostly lab.

His personality is not at all lab. He could care less about fetch and hates water and us very protective and loves to protect my apartment, my car, the dog park at night especially and literally just patrols the fence line once it gets dark. I never taught him that, it's natural and what he always chooses to do.
I did the DNA testing e he's 12.5 percent lab.

He's way more other breeds. 25 percent each of German Shepherd, Chow and boxer and then 12.5 percent American Staffordshire.

But he looks like a huge lab.

So just because your dog looks a lot like a Malinois doesn't mean she really is at all.
Very good point. That is what I've been hoping for. One of my former dogs was shepherd /lab, and looked 100 % lab, so yeah, you're right. She has some Mal in her. I'd bet the farm on that. But the guy at the rescue said she had some in her. I am going to DNA test her, for curiosity, mainly. But thank you for making that point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
So my Mal mix, and I are working it out, and doing pretty good. However, I can't get this dog interested in playing ball, frisbee, going over a low hurdle (she tried to go under it) nothing. And she's an amazingly athletic dog. And
I know some dogs just don't like to fetch, but thought it was in the Malinois handbook that they have to be wildly excited about it. She doesn't even have a favorite toy. She does, however take great joy in stalking and chasing tiny little critters. And she also enjoys stealing money out of my purse. Any thoughts or suggestions, or is she just gonna be a nose work kind of dog? I wanted her to learn all kinds of tricks, but she needs some inspiration.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
272 Posts
Do you use treats for training? Training anything is best done without any distractions initially, like in your living room or in another room where it's just the 2 of you.

If you're not familiar, there are tons of great videos on YouTube that can show you the mechanics of luring to teach a new position.

My dog didn't show a high ball drive until she was about 9 months. But when it kicked in it was all she wanted to do.

But I taught her the game when she was pretty young using a Wubba from Kong. It's a squid like toy, with canvas covered squeaky ball in the top for the "head", and 1 inch strips of heavy canvas for the legs. Made an awesome flappy noise that really got her excited!

I'd flap it around to get her attention, then throw it. She race after it and thrash it all around, then I'd call her back, have her drop it (all commands she knew), then back up and sit.

That play made her learn all of those commands really well, and helped lay the foundation for fetch later. You just have to find something that excites her!
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Top