The Belgian Malinois are that breed of dogs that you can rely on completely. Their confidence, affability, and sociability make them the right candidate as a pet. Whether you keep it as a companion for the elderly or a playmate for your kids, the Belgian Malinois shines in every setting and occasion. So how about their training?
Once you get the Belgian Malinois trained, they are ready to assume their role as a full member of your household. Thanks to their high intelligence, friendliness, and alertness, they are easy to train. What would take other breeds weeks to master, the Belgian Malinois would usually pick up in one session and not forget it again. That’s how easy they are to train.
But where to start? That is the question on everyone’s mind. Not just what commands and type of training the Belgian Malinois need to master, but also the best time to start? And what if your Belgian Malinois is an untrained adult dog? How is training them different from training a puppy?
What is the Best Time to Start Belgian Malinois’ Training and Why?
We’ll start with the most pressing question about the best time to start training your Belgian Malinois. Most canine experts recommend you start training this breed as early as possible. We’re talking the very next day you bring your Belgian Malinois to its new home. Why is this important?
Let’s just put it this way, every day that your Belgian Malinois go without training is a day wasted. Not only that but it also means that whatever bad habits the dog had picked somewhere else will be reinforced and become harder unlearn or replace. Not to mention the other habits the dog will pick up at your house. So before you even go get the puppy, make sure you have a training plan in place.
This would also help you decide on the best age to get your puppy. The younger the Belgian Malinois puppy you get the better. Puppies are easier to train and more than willing to please you. Also those habits you instill in them at an early age will stay with them for the rest of their life.
Belgian Malinois Training Challenges
As smart as they are, the Belgian Malinois also have some character flaws that might pose a challenge to their training. Some of these include their short attention span. You’ll notice that your Belgian Malinois is easily distracted. You can be teaching him to do something but he sees a butterfly and starts to chase it. Or something on TV comes up and he totally forgets about you and all the training you’ve been preparing for so long.
Another challenge to the training of the Belgian Malinois is their temper. It’s not a big problem but these proud dogs tend to get offended easily. If you scold the puppy for not getting it right the first time or say a bad word, that would put them off the training altogether. Worse, they might not even be willing to train again and become stubborn.
You should use positive reinforcement instead of scolding. Use treats to encourage good behavior and withhold them if the dog misbehaves. If you opt for punishment, you risk alienating the puppy and make it hate training. That’s not what you want anyway.
One of the most important types of training you need to deal with and pay attention to is obedience training. It’s the difference between a wild and feral animal and a domesticated one. Since you live in a home in a nice neighborhood, that last thing you’d want is to have a wild puppy running amok running the neighbor’s lawn and getting you sued on top of everything else.
So where would you start with obedience? It should be the first thing you focus on. Before you teach the dog how to behave around other animals or pets in the house, you need to teach it how to behave with you. How to obey your commands. How to sit when you want it to sit and how to go outside when you want it to go outside.
It’s also important that your dog learns to follow orders and obey them. Not just from you but from other members of the family. It doesn’t make sense to train the dog to listen only to you. It has to be a good dog with everyone. That’s what obedience training is all about.
Just as soon as you finish obedience training you start with potty training. Some experts recommend you run the two in tandem. Don’t delay the potty training either. It’s messy and can lead to problems. You should start this one on the first day you bring the puppy home.
How you potty train your Belgian Malinois is no different than how you train other pets or even your baby. It’s all about being patient and take your time to explain how things work. Your dog is smart enough to understand what you’re trying to convey to them. But it’s your temperament that makes the difference between good training and a bad one.
If you show patience and don’t scold the dog if it doesn’t follow the training or makes a mistake, you will go a long way into building a strong bond with the pet. That bond is the basis of all future training. Your Belgian Malinois likes it when you show them an appreciation for all the good work they do.
Socializing Your Puppy or Adult Dog
Your puppy is a sociable animal. All Belgian Malinois are that sociable. They love the company of others. But they also crave to be around other dogs. It has to do with their mental development, social skills, and also the ability to communicate and understand humans. A lonely dog is always stressed and restless. They also might go on a rampage or act out.
Socializing avoids all these pitfalls. Not to mention that if you don’t socialize your puppy, they will not be able to train well or focus. Their stress levels will keep them from concentrating or even caring about the training. So you need to give your Belgian Malinois its time with other dogs. This interaction helps it become more open to training.
Common Mistakes Made While Training
One of the biggest mistakes you make while training the Belgian Malinois is if you lose your patience or expect fast results in a short time. It doesn’t work that way. Your puppy has limited mental faculties that are in line with its age. You can’t expect it to start performing tricks and dazzle you with its skills overnight.
Also, avoid scolding or the showing annoyance when the Belgian Malinois doesn’t get it right. These smart dogs can read your facial expressions and detect your mood. If they feel they’re disappointing you in any way, they will feel down and become depressed. This can put them off training as they see it as an experience they can’t do well in. So encourage with treats and good words.
Commands That All Belgian Malinois Should Be Taught
Overall, you should work on simple commands like sit, lie down, and fetch. These are simple enough for the puppy to grasp and practice. They don’t require special skills or agility.
Once the puppy masters these basic skills, you can move on to more complex ones. You can make them even sleep with a command. Although that’s a very advanced type of training that only experts can achieve.
Establish a Training/Exercise Schedule
Your approach to training should be methodical. Don’t do it whenever you feel like or when you have the time. Training needs to be consistent and steady to achieve results. The more you train your Belgian Malinois the faster they learn. If the pattern of training becomes sporadic, chances are you’ll find yourself starting from scratch every time. The past training becomes lost and the dog relapses to its old ways. You need to avoid that and set the training to once or twice a week. If you can train it every day, that’s even better.
How Long Does It Take to Train a Belgian Malinois?
The answer to that question depends on the age of the dog, the frequency of the training, and the type of skill you have with training. In general you can expect your Belgian Malinois to learn all your commands within a matter of weeks.
After a couple of months of steady training, the puppy becomes obedient, learns to follow your commands, and behaves itself in every way. You might still give it more training in areas where it lags or falls short. But a couple of months are usually enough.
How Long Do You Need Every Day?
Most experts agree that daily training is important for the Belgian Malinois. Sporadic training isn’t very successful. So as much as possible try to set aside at least one hour to train the puppy. More is better of course.
However, make sure you don’t overdo it. The dog can get mentally tired quickly and lose interest. So be ready to break the training and engage the puppy in a game if you notice that it’s becoming less interested in the training.