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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My new boyfriend has a 10 month old MALE Belgian Malinois.
He's good with everyone, very friendly.

When I go over, he jumps on me and nips at me.
If my boyfriend leaves the room, the dog comes at me and chews my arm aggressively but looks playful. The more I try to get away and say "NO" the harder he comes at me. It's getting worse.

I've went on walks with them and he's fine.

I slept over and the dog slept between my legs, I think he's keeping tabs on me.

Everyone is telling me I need to dominate the dog. Grab him by the scruff of his neck and yell NO. I'm not going to do that!

How can I make him like and trust me?

Give him attention and rewards? but how? he comes at me right away.

My arms look like they were pinned between two cars.... bruised everywhere. when will he break the skin???? HELP
 

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Can you make him sit down when he comes over to you that might help :) It does sound like he is playing a rough player. Your boyfriend probably plays roughly with him and he thinks you will too. maybe sit and then pet him :)
 

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Everyone is telling me I need to dominate the dog. Grab him by the scruff of his neck and yell NO. I'm not going to do that!
Ahhh Don't do this. This is a sure fire way to get bit. Also don't ever trust the people who told you to do this ever again.

Have you spoken to your boyfriend about this? Does the dog have any level of training? Sounds like something like a training class with you will build a trust that can leave you feeling comfortable with the dog. Also how much exercise both mentally and physically does the dog get? Mals are usually very high drive dogs and usually require a job. If he is now not engaging the dog because he is spending less time working with his dog and more time with you he may see a regression in his dog's training.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
My boyfriend is worried and wants to fix the problem quick.
Boyfriend trained him to sit and wait for food, basic tricks and stopping/sitting before they cross the road. This is what I've seen...

The dog gets out a lot through out the day during the week. Friends kids and neighbors go over and walk him. When Boyfriend comes home from work he runs him for over an hour. Weekends... trail walking, dog park etc.

Maybe we need to walk him more together, maybe I should walk him?
Should I walk in front of them? Lead the pack....

I've never had an issue with any animal, they all loved me. This is crazy
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My boyfriend is worried and wants to fix the problem quick.
Boyfriend trained him to sit and wait for food, basic tricks and stopping/sitting before they cross the road. This is what I've seen...

The dog gets out a lot through out the day during the week. Friends kids and neighbors go over and walk him. When Boyfriend comes home from work he runs him for over an hour. Weekends... trail walking, dog park etc.

Maybe we need to walk him more together, maybe I should walk him?
Should I walk in front of them? Lead the pack....

I've never had an issue with any animal, they all loved me. This is crazy
 

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First step, your boyfriend needs to stimulate the dog's mind more. Like I said, most mals usually need job. Basic tricks aren't enough. If I were you two I would look into training classes. Learn advanced obedience. The dog needs to think. He has a brain he needs to use it.

Walking together would be great. That leader of the pack nonsense is BS. Walk with your boyfriend. Put the dog between you. Have your boyfriend show you how to make him sit. Go to the classes with your boyfriend. You have to earn the dog's respect. Just like how he has to earn your.
 
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Agree dont try to dominate....agree good way to get bit. Herding breeds are mouthy anyway. The boyfriend needs to be firm with dog.
Hey wait a minute arent there some malinois owners on here?
OP, try posting this in the working dogs or dog sports sections. I think I saw some mal owners in there.
You know they call them maligators right? Lol
 

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I think a fair amount of people say "dominate" and are misusing the word. Dominate" sounds sooooo heavy-handed and if applied in that method to a soft dog will usually result in a dog which will exhibit avoidance behavior and perhaps when pressed too hard might bite. With a hard dog, you'll just get the bite probably.

I've dealt with this issue with my current dog as she's the domineering type, she knows who she can press, who she can herd around, who she senses some trepidation in and exploits it. Basically, she used to size up individuals and proceeded accordingly and if she can get away with her domineering crap, she would.

Two solutions I have used.
1.) For my friends and frequent visitors who have absolutely no inclination to "work" my dog, I am in charge and the dog is under my scrutiny/command/control the entire time when these guests visit and she doesn't try her "routine" with them. Your boyfriend could take this position and stop any undesirable behavior which you have described BUT solution number 2 is the real ticket.

2.) This is more pertinent to your situation. You need to take an active role in making the dog earn his resources and I mean everything as in EVERYTHING. Study up on NILIF protocol and apply it consistently regardless of the situation.

Some of my friends who are a bit intimidated by my dog and are willing to follow my instructions as to dealing with my dog have soon discovered she's not pushy once the dog realizes the individual cannot be intimidated into a position which reeks of apprehension and yielding. They simply make the dog earn any and all resources, such as attention/affection/"treats" etc. There is no confrontational moments, no power trips, no harshness, just a plain and simple learn to earn environment and the dog loves it.

Dogs aren't stupid and they know who they can bluff and bully.

jclark's advice is solid. Advanced obedience training with you actively involved will make a huge difference and I have a feeling you might be rather impressed at how your dog will cooperate. Your Mal should thrive on this type of handler/dog interaction.

I always enjoy this video and perhaps it might inspire you, it always humbles me.

 

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Maybe we need to walk him more together, maybe I should walk him?
Should I walk in front of them? Lead the pack....
I was just thinking about this comment and the first part makes sense but I am wondering about the "Should I walk in front of them?" idea. I'm shooting from the hip here but something in me says I wouldn't walk in front as it might just make the dog feel more like it is constantly herding you and complicate things.

Treat the walk like an obedience exercise if you have the leash in your hand. The "walk" begins before you ever leave the front door and if the dog does well, he has earned some loose leash scenting at a specific place you might walk to. Have it all designed with a specific beginning and ending point per your verbal cues.
 

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Thinking about previous GSDs I have had as well as my current one, something else came to mind regarding fearjayme's situation. The age of 10 months might just be the beginning of that "special" age of passage from a pup to an adult. Many a dog going through adolescence brings about marked differences in previous "puppy" behaviors and many times it is not such a good thing. My experience with my dogs over the years suggests adolescence might require revisiting previous boundaries and proper behavior etc. Your boyfriend might explore this possibility and raise expectations regarding the dog's proper behavior.

FWIW, a small part of the NILIF protocol could take place immediately by you and all you need to do is be the one who feeds the dog at times. When you feed the dog, put the dog on a sit/wait and maintain that the dog does as you command. Build some duration as the days go by and then per your command release the dog to enjoy his meal. Incorporate other skills the dog already knows and put the dog through his paces before releasing the dog to eat. I'm not a fan of training over the food bowl but this is a bit different as it is more of an emphasis placed on the control of the dog's resources and the dog has to earn his meal by displaying a small amount of obedience conducted by you. It's a beginning but will start the overall process with a valued resource.
 

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From your description, and general knowledge of what makes a working shepherd breed tick, my guess would be that this is likely a resurgence of mouthing behavior, and likely more related to play than aggression.

I agree that stimulating this dog's mind more is probably a good idea. I also agree that NILF is a good way to go with a dog like this.

Certainly some kind of structured game like tug or fetch should be part of this dog's exercise routine. Structured meaning that the game follows the NILF protocols- the dog needs to perform a requested behavior prior to gaining access to the resource. I generally incorporate obedience routines and tricks my dog knows.

Going off of this, I would suggest training at least once a day in obedience and/or some kind of trick behavior(s). This allows you to get fluency to incorporate these behaviors into play, and also further stimulates the mind. I'd be aiming for one meal being fed through a training session or two, and one meal being fed through some sort of interactive food puzzle toy (stuffed kong, kong wobbler, magic mushroom toy, starmark food toy, etc).

I'd also suggest a perspective shift away from this dog being "disrespectful". A Mal is a physical dog. They use their mouth a lot to express themselves- vocalizing as well as mouthing. This is their natural impulse- especially in the true, hard working lines, they've essentially been bred for grip and a desire to put things into their mouth for quite a few generations. This is not a dog that is being "disrespectful"- it is a dog that belongs to someone who has not adequately taught it how to interact with the world.

NILF is not about gaining the upper hand or showing a dog who is boss. It's about structuring the dog's life so that you have better input over their choices, and teaching a dog that they gain access to the things they want only by displaying the behaviors you request. Example: you have a chew toy a dog really wants. Dog's natural inclination is to flail around trying to get the toy, grab it from hands, grab at arms in excitement, etc. This is not a "disrespectful" dog. It is a dog who has not been taught better. You want the dog to sit nicely, wait for you to put the item on the ground, and then wait to be released. You work through this scenario by teaching the dog that it gets the thing it wants only by offering the behavior you want. You use other (still valuable) rewards to slowly build up to the end behavior. You hold the toy, the dog flails. You ask for a sit (note: sit has to be built up strongly enough for this to work). You reward the sit with food or the toy reward. If you want to push it you reward with food, then ask for a stay while the item is placed on the ground (note: stay must be strong enough to do this). You then release, rewarding with the toy.

All this is easier to solidify when a dog is still a pup, especially with this kind of dog. At 10 months, you're going to start seeing adult behaviors from this dog, and behaviors that maybe weren't such a problem as a pup are likely to escalate.

In terms of how to get a handle on this behavior, my suggestion would be to work through good basic obedience with this dog- sit, stay, down, walking on a loose leash, recall- and strengthen them to the point that they work in real life. When he gets mouthy, ask for an alternative behavior. Sit is often the easiest one. Down can be too hard for an excited (or stressed) dog to hold.
 
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