If you’re considering purchasing a Belgian Malinois personal protection dog for your family, it’s essential that you know how to train your dog. These are amazing animals that need consistent training to become the best possible member of your family. Here’s everything you need to know to help your Belgian Malinois fit in.
Start With the Basics
As with any puppy, training needs to start at the very beginning. The earlier you begin training your pup, the better he will respond, and the faster your training becomes cemented. As commands transition from foreign to familiar, your pup will learn to obey you. They’ll start to look to you as the lead dog, and they will be far better prepared to continue training with you as they progress in age.
Socializing your dog is vital and should start as early as possible. From four to fourteen weeks especially, expose your dog to as many places and people as you can. This will teach your dog that new, varied, and exciting places and people are part of regular life.
When first introducing your puppy to high-traffic areas, you can carry them so they don’t feel overwhelmed and threatened. Help them get used to being around people in the comfort and safety of your presence. As they gain confidence, have them walk with you on a leash through the same places. This exposure helps them learn that not all strangers and unfamiliar people are dangerous.
Socialization should also happen at home. Have a variety of friends and family members come over to visit. This will help your dog understand that it is normal for people he may not know to come to your home. When you have friends over, they’ll be used to the occurrence rather than feeling threatened.
Create a Solid Bond
Nothing takes the place of creating a bond with your dog. Engage in daily playtime with your puppy to build your relationship. Belgian Malinois, similar to Belgian Laekenois, are very loving and will thrive in an active environment where they get to spend time with you. Daily playtime should begin when you bring them home and continue throughout their lives. Mals need a minimum of 30 minutes of play every day as a puppy. When they’re older, they’ll require much more time to burn off energy.
Obedience and following commands are the lifeblood for well-trained dogs. Begin when they’re young and start with basic commands you’ll use every day such as, “sit,” “lie,” “stay,” and “come.” As they get older, you can progress to more complex commands and tasks. Belgian Malinois are known for their keen intelligence and ability to learn nearly any command or job given to them. Commands, however, are where you should begin, along with potty training, to help your dog develop an even and responsive temperament.
Use Rewards-Based Training
Belgian Malinois family dogs respond to rewards-based training far better than anything else. The idea is to reward them every time they perform a command perfectly and act appropriately. Did they sit all the way down when you said, “sit”? Reward them with a treat or a pat on the back, and say, “Good girl!” For training to be effective, they need to follow through on commands perfectly. If someone comes to the door and you say “stay,” and they stay for a few seconds, then get up to follow you to the door, go back to where the dog was supposed to be, and repeat the command. When they stay the entire time and watch you greet your friend and return to the room where they’re at, then give them a special treat. Rewards help solidify the command and help your dog learn what you expect them to do.
Discourage Bad Behavior
If rewards-based training is misused, your dog will get the wrong message, and confusion will ensue. If your dog isn’t trained to obey completely, they will take half-hearted obedience and run with it. Just as much as you should encourage correct behavior, any bad behavior should be firmly and consistently discouraged.
If you find that your pooch has begun to bark every time the doorbell rings, you’ll want to train your dog with a “leave it” command. If they tend to jump up on you, you’ll want to teach and reinforce “down.” Any action that you do not like or is inappropriate should be addressed and corrected every time it happens. Consistency and a loving but firm voice are the most significant factors when training a Malinois to behave and discourage bad behavior.
Highly Trainable Dogs
Thanks to the Belgian Malinois’s incredible intelligence, they can be trained to do nearly anything. It’s vital, however, to be consistent and dedicated to the training process if you want a dog that responds well to your commands. Are you ready to begin training your dog?