Belgiasic Imprint Training
Guidelines to the conscientious Malinois owner to bring out the best in your puppy
Malinois need early socialization, which is very critical to this breed. Without it they become inhibited to what they do not know. We start handling our babies as soon as they are born. This way, they get use to the interaction with people, even without their eyes open. This is a very sensitive breed. Genetics plays a very strong role in whether the animal will have solid nerves or not. Even if both parents are titled to the max, it does not mean their offspring will be. You can only hope you come out with the best you can produce and train. There are no guarantees in breeding. No one can guarantee a puppy without flaws.
I have been breeding Malinois for thirty years now and have seen just about everything. It is very important to begin imprint training on puppies as early as possible, always building confidence but never asking the puppy to give more than it can. Early puppy hood development starts at a young age as their minds are like little sponges...soaking up everything, both good and bad. If they have a negative experience, they may or may not ever forget it. This all depends on the dog.
It is better to start out right with the puppy.
The older they get the more they can give against you. The Malinois
temperament is a fragile thing and must never be damaged in order to have
a dog in which you have fingertip control. As long as the breeding is
there, all you need to do is channel it and it will work in whatever you
ask it to do. Sometime prior to eight weeks, a puppy will continue to
approach a person even though that individual has frightened or hurt that
puppy in some way. If a person has swatted it with a newspaper, a Malinois
will probably remember that.
We do not allow codependency to develop. Whether it is with littermates, their dam, and/or another dog/puppy. Our puppies are rotated if we see that developing. If a Malinois is to used for in K-9 work, we suggest that it is kept totally by itself so it does not develop a pack instinct. When it is taken out, it is for exercise and work, not to interact with other dogs. We suggest removing them from other puppies so it can develop it's own personality and not become dependent on an older dog. You want them focused on you, not other dogs and they have to be able to act on their own.
Separating is also a way to start developing a
higher intelligence in the Malinois. This is critical if they are to be
used for work. If puppies are left in a litter together, they will develop
that pack instinct. I am guilty of this through years of breeding and
raising Malinois. I have learned that leaving them with their mother is
emotionally confusing and very damaging to the
them. It can cause the puppy to become dependent on their dam and
it will be insecure without her and it will not make a good
Housebreaking can be done successfully during a very early age when you first get the pup. Get the puppy in the routine of going outside after eating/playing/sleeping as generally they always eliminate after these regular activities. Puppies get more control the older they get; they might have an accident or two, which is not unusual. Routinely taking the puppy outside becomes integrated into the puppy's mind. I do not believe in paper training a Malinois puppy as it tells the dog it is okay to mess in the house unless you have a maid to run behind you and clean it up, even though, I still would not allow this to go on in my house.
I had in-laws a while back who had this Scottie (of course the maid was there to clean up after her); well she was 7 years old and would not go outside if her life depended on it. To do her job it was routine for her to go on the papers-- not the grass. In my opinion, a Mal is too big to be taught to do this and plus, its not a very hygienic method. We create boundaries for the Malinois puppy until it is completely housebroke, our breeding stock does not come from what is classified as dirty dogs, which are inherited characteristics. The tendency for them to be clean or dirty is definitely inherited and can be observed in a young puppy.
You should expose the pup to as much outside contact as possible as he will view things different, such as an old person to a child. Also if he is touch sensitive at home the puppy should be picked up and rubbed all over till he accepts the handling and, any insecurities need to be ignored--do not praise them for insecure behavior.
The puppy should be taken for walks, taken for short automobile rides, and introduced to strange new objects. The puppy should be able to see and smell everything within his reach. Do be positive and constructive with the Malinois puppy what he is learning, during this time he will shape his entire attitude towards training and life in general.
Everything related to training should be done in a positive manner. Do not use the word "NO" when training. Only when trying to discourage bad behavior, i.e., harassing and/or enticing a cat. While training, reward him for correct actions and nothing for inappropriate/wrong actions. You must place the pup firmly in a position; he must be reward instantaneous when he responds correctly. You can employ the word "NO" if the pup is attempting to bite, unless this pup is going to be trained out for bite work. If you are not training for bite work it is good to give a Malinois pup some thing it can bite/chew on--such as a soft toy, chew bone, etc. As they generally like to use their mouth this will vent the desire to bite.
Do work the Malinois pup individually out of sight and hearing of other dogs or animals---in a distraction free environment. By working the Malinois individually you are stressing that the pup is an individual and this helps build self-confidence even more. In addition you are teaching him the principles of co-working with you. You must have the puppy's attention focused on you solely. The Mal pup can be trained with distractions but it will not be as well integrated into the puppy's mind, it is best if none are present.
We start our Malinois puppies at about 8- 12 weeks
or so to begin simple obedience (response to sit, stand, down, and come).
His developing pack instinct is to keep total attention on you as the
leader, at this time make training simple.
What he learns in early life generally remains with him for life and becomes a basic part of his complete personality and his acceptance of training throughout the life of the pup. His leash breaking should become complete with in the first 16 weeks of life. Progressing from the short line on the collar to an actual training lead. Always use positive reinforcement when lead train rewarding when the pup does it correctly.
Do not isolate the Malinois pup from human contact, always maintain good contact with the puppy--this is very critical to Malinois and for the reason that they become exposed to lots of different situations & people. If this is not done with a Mal pup, the puppy will have what is considered a single person socialization contact. He accepts one person but is terrified or aggressive to other people, this is why I stress introducing him to different people outside the home. Such as at PetsMart, which is an excellent place for them to learn this.
If a Malinois puppy has been raised in a positive environment, it will have a positive attitude about interacting with his human pack leader. I feel it is important to let people know this when purchasing a puppy so they can go on to a higher level of training to become useful to their human companions.
If they desire to train to a higher level that is the owners decision but a lot of our dogs go on to Police K-9, Work Competition, Therapy, obedience and SAR dogs aside from being very beautiful dogs that can work. Without a good foundation it will crumble within time causing the Malinois to end up in rescue or shelters because of human error; as we are the benefactors of our ignorance or our intelligence, which ever comes first in life. Copyright (C) by Windrush Ranch & Kennel Year 2000
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