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Old 01-20-2008, 08:24 PM   #1
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Anyone familiar with the Belgian Malinois dog breed?

Our property got burgled (lightly) last weekend and our dog didn't say a word. He's a sweet black Lab mix but has not been real responsive when someone comes down the driveway, etc. He is in a large chain-link back yard with a good view of the driveway and parking areas (where the stuff was taken from).

I want to get a better guard-type dog (and Shadow probably needs a friend anyway), so started looking around. I thought, hey, what about a retired police dog, and called the local K-9 training academy. They actually have a Belgian Malinois (probably Dutch Shepherd mix, since he is black and the pure Malinois is fawn to mahogany with black points) that failed out of training since he didn't have the fight drive they need for patrol dogs, and we went up to see him. Pic attached...

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He is about 1 1/2 years old. He has a very effective bark with an occasional very satisfying snap of the jaws. He is trained to search (but he is not keyed to drugs or anything specific yet, and won't be) and to try to take a person down (they demonstrated him with a padded arm). He seemed friendly but was very focused on working - he was always in motion (very similar to our current dog - you can't get him to hold still to be petted).

In the research I have done, I have found that these dogs appear to be high-energy dogs and very intent and focused on work. They are overall very loving and friendly, but also very protective. The police have started using them a lot over German Shepherds due to their smaller size and personality traits.

Anyone out there familiar with this breed, and what do you think? He would be in a 70' x 70' chain-link enclosure with another dog of his size, and they would have the ball thrown for them a lot and walks and possible trail rides. Would he self-destruct if left all day in the yard while we are at work? Or destroy everything back there (which is what the other dog has mostly done)? The academy will let us test-drive him, but we would have to hot-wire the yard first since it is only a 4' chainlink fence and he could get right over that.

Is there a better dog for protection that may not be so high-energy?

Thanks for any input!

Susan
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Old 01-20-2008, 09:39 PM   #2
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Susan,

I knew a police K-9 officer who would always take his B.M over a German Sheppard any day of the week. He said that the BM registered higher on the strength scale for bite and aggressiveness when dealing with a perp.

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Old 01-20-2008, 11:53 PM   #3
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While I don't consider myself an expert, I have done some work with our K-9 (as "bait" or the "bad guy") and have seen our dogs in action.
There are several breeds that work well for protection, certainly the B.Malinois is one.
The only real ding I've heard on them is that they are very active, and they are escape artists. Contact a Malinois rescue organization, they will be able to give you info on some of those traits.
Other breeds that I like and have worked with are the Shepherd and Rottweiler.
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:05 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by soldiermedic
Susan,

I knew a police K-9 officer who would always take his B.M over a German Sheppard any day of the week. He said that the BM registered higher on the strength scale for bite and aggressiveness when dealing with a perp.

Steve
Sorry to hear some scum took advantage of you. Nice looking dog. My brother was a K-9 cop and had a great dog which he kept after the dog was retired. The problem he had was liability issues, dog got out of an enclosed run and bit someone, be sure to find out what the ramifications are of having a trained dog on your property, if he gets out and takes someone down ( off of your property) as he is trained to do I am sure you would have a legal issue. The need for an electric wire would raise a lot of flags on the legal front. A lot of guard dog services provide dogs which are trained to bark and not much more for this reason. Every one knows you cut a hole in the fence and lure the dog out with a steak or a female in heat, it works in the movies. It is ashame that in this country that citizens are forced to take such extreme measures to protect their property. All that being said he is a handsome pup and I would be proud to own him.
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Old 01-21-2008, 12:16 AM   #5
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The problem he had was liability issues, dog got out of an enclosed run and bit someone, be sure to find out what the ramifications are of having a trained dog on your property, if he gets out and takes someone down ( off of your property) as he is trained to do I am sure you would have a legal issue.
How your dog behaves and responds while "working" vs not, depends to a large degree on it's training.
When our dogs are not working, when around the station, etc they generally are very mellow and playful. The way we trained our dogs, this "aggression" was actually play. They were rewarded when they performed the desired response. Once the training was over, we always made sure the dog "made friends" with the "bad guy".
How each dog is trained will depend greatly on the type of disposition it displays.

A dog that will alert by barking without the protection training, may be just as effective for you without the liability concerns.
Dave
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Old 01-21-2008, 06:45 AM   #6
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Check with your attorney and state and local authorities regarding "maintaining a vicious animal". In our jurisdiction a "vicious animal" is any animal that bites "or menaces" a person or another animal. Merely possessing such an animal is a misdemeanor. They are rarely effective against crooks, and generally get you sued by some person who was on your property lawfully.

Also check with your homeowner's insurance carrier. You might be surprised at what they have to day about owning a "guard dog".

Roger
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Old 01-21-2008, 07:40 AM   #7
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I'm confused. Were you home when the theft happened? If you were not home, how do you know your present dog didn't alert. Also if this new dog cannot get to the people stealing your stuff, and you are not home, will a dog inside a fence with a hotwire really scare off someone experienced in stealing? I have shown Standard Poodles (50-70 lbs.) and have found them to be extremely protective of me and my things; however, I would not recommend them to anyone because of their extensive need for grooming. I myself no long have any Standards because I just don't have time for the upkeep. I now have two Poms and a Jack Russell that would happily tear off the leg of anyone trying to get near my property. Talk about barking and snapping. They are not large dogs; however, no one gets in my house or my yard unless I let them in. They are not destructive either, but are high energy. But who cares, they aren't big enough to cause a lot of trouble, they eat less, clean up is less and they go in the trailer easily. I never thought I would have little dogs, but these wee beasties are protective lions in their hearts.
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Old 01-21-2008, 08:49 AM   #8
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Thanks, everyone! That is the one thing I kept coming back to - do we need a protective dog, or just an alerting dog? Brad was home during the theft, and was not awakened by our current dog. I am very uncomfortable with the thought of a dog that might hurt people who have a right to be on our property and I really don't think this one is the right one for me in this circumstance. I really don't want a dog to go after someone, just to let us know that something is going on and to be menacing enough that a perp would avoid the area.

Dave, they do the same thing with their dogs at this academy - it was great watching the dog go after the "bad guy" and then be friendly to him afterward. And thanks for the info in post #3 - I knew they were active but not the escape artist part.

And to clarify - this was a friendly, well-adjusted dog until he was specifically put to work, not a dog that acted vicious or mean in any way.

Thanks again for the thoughts and experiences. I have decided this dog is not the one for us, and will look for a dog that is an alert dog and not a guard dog.

Susan
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:20 AM   #9
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Australian Shepherd.

Only one problem with an Aussie....they are smarter than humans....and they know it.

Great companions, possessive (of both their human and their territory) playful, etc, etc. I can't say enough good about them.
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Old 01-21-2008, 09:32 AM   #10
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Actually a Malinois may be for you, if you devote the time to it. They need a job, and to be active. They are smart and not have had the brains bred out of them for type. There are diferent personality types as in all dogs, some are more suitable for bite work, SAR or pets. They bond very closely and can be excellent family pets. A USAF K-9 guy said they really like the breed, very good at bite work, and excellent in their houses and around the family.

It is very, very important to purchase from a good breeder, and maybe one that has been acclimated/socialized, to avoid eating cats and things...The breeder that I am going to work (I start 1 Feb) for takes them into town to acclimate them to people, teach social skills and discipline. Some also use them in Agility competition, which is a testament to their speed and intelligence.


They are not a breed to leave in a fenced yard, but then any home protection dog needs to be trained in an ongoing time. If you are not willing to spend the time with a Malinois, you probably won't have success with any breed. To have a dog that alerts but not bite will still take training dedication on your part. A Malinois will outjump, out bite, out run, out smart anything out there, which is why every police organiziation from Israel to the US Military uses them. Remember that these are organizations that can't have vicious dogs as they work with the public.

For a good animal, you may experience sticker schock at the price. I start at the kennel 1 Feb, we'll also rent horses during the tourist season. I'll be there with my AS parked and will also be able to offer free parking. See you all on the road!

BR-michael
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:01 AM   #11
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The mastiff breeds have a history as estate protection animals (we have a Dogue de Bordeaux). A good one is calm and easy going around family and friends but its presence and demeanor will denture many intruders.

Rottweilers are great family dogs and very selective protectors if they are properly socialized. Due to excessive popularity, poor breeding, and improper handling, they have a bad reputation and might be a problem with your insurance.

Unless you have a lot of time to work with them I don't think you want a dog which was selected for police work (even if it failed) they tend to be very active and can be a problem if you can't keep them occupied.

Another possibility would be one of the herd protection breeds such as the Great Pyrenees. They are generally calm and easy going but are very protective of family and property especially outdoors. They bark a lot if let out at night. They also tend to be suspicious of other dogs (look like predators to them) unless they are well socialized.

If all you want is an alarm, the smaller breeds will do fine. Be careful about getting a breed/individual dog who 'alarms' more than you find acceptable.
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Old 01-21-2008, 10:19 AM   #12
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Both my labs will bark at anyone who comes up the walk to my home. It's enough to deter anyone who isn't supposed to be there. Friends know that the boys are just barking a greeting. I'm fine with strangers not knowing this.

I know a woman with two BM's. Very busy dogs. Always active and always need a job. The older one is pretty mellow now, but the youngster goes through agility several nights a week.
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:06 AM   #13
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Unless your neighborhood is really gone downhill, I don't know that I would get too worked up over a one time thing. We had our cars gone through in out driveway once when I was a kid, and it never happened again in 20+ years.

Have you considered working with the current dog to train him to bark more?

If you really want a barker, get an Eskimo - they'll let you know when someone's in your yard, on your street, down the block, in the next block over...
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Old 01-21-2008, 11:55 AM   #14
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Hey Steph,

How do you train a dog to bark more (and at the right things)? I have been trying to research that on the Internet and most people say you can't really do it.

The other thing I am afraid of is getting a nuisance barker. Neither Brad nor I could handle that at all.

That is exactly what happened to us - our cars were gone through and little things taken (like my change, my phone hands-free cord and the cables for my satellite radio - radio was in the house). They also tried to steal the battery out of our renter's tractor (he lives on the front of our property) and broke into his trailer and went through it (but didn't find anything to steal there, thank goodness!). The policeman who responded said that thieves often came back to the same properties again, since they may have noticed other things they wanted but didn't get the first time.

Susan
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