Friday, May 6, 2016

Two Weeks

Stuck has been at my house for two whole weeks! Everyday the transition to having her gets better and better.

I will admit to sharing this article: Belgian Malinois Look Don't Touch

After having a malinois in my house I do feel like most of what people say is true. Belgian Malinois are not for uninvolved pet owners. I also think it is really important to research your breeder and bloodlines because Belgian Malinois seem to vary in appearance and temperament depending on how they are bred.

I think if a person does not plan to do bitey things with their malinois they probably should not be buying working line mals bred from generations of bitey dogs.

Stuck is my very first real working/sport dog. I am a pet owner. My three other dogs run loose in the yard together, two of them sleep in my bed, they pretty much have run of the house but are not allowed on the furniture. 

When I got Seppel, my pit bull, some things did change in my house. He is not left out unattended with the cat. If he cannot be supervised he is crated. He sleeps in his kennel when we are not home. My other two dogs can be loose in the house when we are gone. They don't bother the cat and for the last 8yrs have gotten along fine. I was more strict with Seppel when I first got him, but he can now be outside with the other dogs unsupervised and they all get along fairly well. Having Seppel really changed how I manage my dogs, after my other two dogs (Seth and LiLo) are gone, I will always keep my dogs crated when I am not home. I doubt I will ever have dogs who can be loose in the house when I am gone again.

My experience would probably be different if I was raising a puppy. Please keep in mind this experience is based off of acquiring an adult dog who was used to primarily living in a kennel type setting.

When I brought Stuck home she was kind of wild and couldn't settle. The first few days she spent quite a bit of time in her crate. I took her out for potty breaks/exercise/training but then she would need to be crated again. I decided if this was really going to work I should buy a dog run. I felt bad that she was spending so much time crated. A LOT of people in the working world keep their dogs crated or kenneled all of the time. There is nothing wrong with housing dogs this way, but I would prefer not to keep a dog that way.  I purchased a chain link dog run that my dad helped me set up. I put Stuck in there when she cannot be supervised in the house and when I have things I need to do and need her to be contained. Putting her in the kennel run makes me feel better because she can at least move around, but it doesn't leave her loose in the yard to get into things or try to escape.

My initial plan was to get an x-pen to section off part of our living room, but as it turns out Stuck does really well when I put her on a dog bed. She is to the point now that she can sleep and settle while I am making breakfast in the kitchen or sitting in the room with her watching TV. Generally speaking she doesn't leave the bed unless I release her. She cannot just be left loose in the house because she will not settle down. She is still a little too curious with my cat. I think she thinks he's a small dog (she greets him like she does the dogs) but I have to keep a close eye on their interactions.

The only real "issues" we are having right now is that she will occasionally play keep away with toys which is extremely irritating. She also does not want to come inside when we are 'done' and she will run away if I call her to come in with me. She is not impossible to catch but it is really irritating. What sucks is that she is very intelligent and if I put a drag line on her she won't pull this crap at all because she knows I can catch her.

She has only been here for two weeks and I know our relationship is just starting. I anticipate things will continue to improve as we start working together more and more.

I have to repeat, everything they say about Malinois is pretty much true. Having her is not difficult, but I have had to make some changes to accommodate her in my life. While it might have been different had she been more of a house dog, I know several people who have raised mal puppies who still spend a lot of time crated or in kennel runs. A friend asked for advice on preparing for her new mal and most of the responses mentioned some form of crating.

Stuck wants to do things ALL THE TIME. Even when she is sleeping on her bed near me, she's just waiting for me to be like "Let's do the thing!" She is always ready to spring into action. I thought my pit bull was very driven, but he is totally lackluster compared to this dog. I am not sure anything really could have prepared me for having a malinois, however I feel like Stuck's energy level is kind of mid-way, she is more dog than I have had before, but not so much that I feel overwhelmed. She also at this point has shown me no handler aggression or issues with redirected aggression, which was part of why I was very anti-mal before. She has great nerves and even if something weirds her out she recovers really well. Her world was kind of small before she was brought up here and she has really great genetics to help her get through "scary" things. Stuck seems at this point to be the perfect match for me, I just hope I can be a good handler for her.


  1. I love your perspective on transitioning to mal ownership. It's inspiring to me, as I embark on buying a baby gator (this will be interesting). I too plan to buy a kennel, because as much as I love crates, I'd still rather my dog had room to at least stretch out during the day. I hear that having a dog who wants to do things all the time, even when sleeping. Mesa isn't high drive, but she is high energy, and the moment I get up, she's dancing around, barking at me and muzzle-punching me. I think I'm ready to take it up a notch and step up to the malinois! BTW is Stuck a Mauno child?

    1. Thank you! It's a very big learning curve for me and I think the experience is worth sharing even though I am starting with an adult dog.
      Stuck is a Mauno pup, she is Mauno x Zala - Grace has Zala now named Siege.

  2. I think it's awesome that she is only displaying a few annoying behaviors! Especially since you just never know what an adult dog is going to do and be like. :) I'm sure that once your relationship is more solid and you've spent more time working with her that those things will improve. I also think it's awesome that she's not immediately wanting to eat your cat. I'll take a little too curious over, "PREY!!! MUST KILL" any day. :D

    She sounds like an awesome dog! Good for you for going for it!