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What are the Best Ways to Train a Belgian Malinois?

Also known as a Belgian Shepherd, a Belgian Malinois is a medium-sized herding dog originating from Belgium. Although it is considered a single breed, it can be categorized into four different varieties based on its coat type and color. The breed has long been used by the military and can be trained as a companion dog, an assistance dog, a detection dog, or a police dog.

The Belgian Malinois has a lot of potential when properly trained. This article will recommend some of the best ways to train a Belgian Malinois so you can enjoy a terrific relationship with your pet.

Are Belgian Malinois Easy to Train?

Certain breeds of dogs are easier to train than others. A dog’s genetics have a lot to do with how quickly they pick up commands.

Belgian Malinois are gifted in the ‘easy to train’ department. They are naturally smart, obedient, and social. Belgian Malinois are known for their ability to learn commands in a shorter time when other breeds would take months to master.

How Do I Start Training My Belgian Malinois?

There are several types of training that may be involved in getting your Belgian Malinois up to speed. These include the following:

Socialization: You will want your Belgian Malinois to be social with people and animals. This will keep them from displaying aggressive behavior such as jumping on people and attacking other animals in public settings.

The best way to get your Belgian Malinois socialized is to bring them to public places. These include busy shopping streets, festivals, parks, and more. Watch the dog for signs of anxiety and calm them down if you think they may be getting stressed out.

Belgian Malinois training

If you don’t have many chances to take your dog out, you can also get them socialized by playing with them at home. A young Mal may need at least 30 minutes of playtime a day. This can increase to 1.5 hours a day in adult dogs.

Potty Training: Potty training is something you will definitely want to work out with your dog. Here are some tips to ensure they don’t mess in the house.

  1. Establish a routine so your dog understands there are certain times to eat, sleep, poop, play, etc.
  2. Take your puppy out frequently. Every two hours is best. Outings should be scheduled for after they wake up, eat or drink and during and after play time.
  3. Designate a spot outdoors where your puppy can do their business and take them out to that spot regularly while they are leashed.
  4. Come up with a word or phrase that you can say when you want your puppy to go. Get them familiar with the phrase by saying it every time they relieve themselves.
  5. Verbally praise and/or reward your dog every time they go potty outside.

Obedience Training: Obedience training is important for young Mals. The trick is to introduce an expression the dog can get familiar with when they are acting in a way that is undesirable.

So, let’s say the command word is ‘stop’. Take your dog out for playtime and wait until they engage in undesirable behavior such as barking at a stranger. Tell them firmly to stop.

Keep using the word every time your Belgian Malinois misbehaves. They will get used to it soon enough. You should also reward them every time they act appropriately.

Clicker training can also be used in obedience training. It involves a similar strategy only a clicker is used to let your dog know they are misbehaving instead of a word.

Leash Training: Leash training gets your dog used to wearing a leash and teaches him to wear it properly. It also discourages him from pulling on the leash or running around while going on walks. You can get your dog used to wearing a leash by putting the leash on him inside and during playtime.

Once your dog gets used to the leash, teach him a command that makes him come to you. Then walk a few paces together while holding the leash. Continue practicing inside giving him treats every time he acts properly.

Once you feel your dog is ready, you can take him outside. If you feel he’s getting distracted, use your command word to keep him in line.

Crate Training: There are times when dogs need to be in crates. This may be during travel time, vet visits, when you leave the house or if you need them to be out of the way when work is being done.

Dogs tend to cry at first when they are in their crate and may be reluctant to get in, but with the right training, they will behave and may come to enjoy their comfy little room. Here are the steps you will want to take.

  1. Select a crate that is the right size for your dog. Put it in an area of the house where the dog spends a lot of time.
  2. Put a soft blanket, dog bed and toy in the crate then bring your dog over to it.
  3. Use a verbal command to encourage the dog to go into the crate.
  4. Repeat the process until your dog can enter, lie still and even eat in the crate.
  5. Reward them each time they get in the crate during training.

How Much Training do Belgian Malinois Need?

The amount of time it takes your Belgian Malinois to train will vary depending on how often the training sessions are and the nature of the training. However, you will find your dog can learn most commands within a few weeks.

Professional Training vs. DIY Training

You may consider whether you want to train your dog at home or take them to a professional trainer. There are pros and cons involved in both situations. Here are some things to think about.  

DIY Training Pros:

DIY training is great for promoting a bond between the dog and the owner. It will help strengthen the relationship.

DIY Training Cons:

Training a dog is a time-consuming process. The owner can get impatient with the dog. You also run the risk of teaching them the wrong behaviors and training them improperly.

Also, while the Belgian Malinois breeds are easy to train, they are high energy, and they have a high prey drive due to their herding background. It’s not advisable for individuals that have never trained a dog before to start on a Belgian Malinois.

Professional Training Pros:

A professional trainer is knowledgeable in training dogs. They know the techniques to use, and they will teach them the behaviors they need to learn. They can provide ongoing support and they will be accountable if anything goes wrong.

Professional Training Cons:

The biggest con to professional training is the cost. Training sessions can be quite expensive. The owner will also need to learn from the trainer or personally attend sessions. Training the owner is just as important as training the dog!

The best option will be a mix of DIY and professional training. It’s best to bring your dog to a professional to find out the basics, then follow up with the recommended techniques at home.

Conclusion

Belgian Malinois is a smart, friendly, loyal, and protective breed. The training techniques in this article will help you get your Malinois well trained to make for a terrific owner/companion friendship.