Many Belgian Malinois owners have experienced biting issues. No matter they have a puppy or an adult Mal, this breed tends to bite a lot if not trained properly.
Belgian Malinois dogs have a huge prey drive that leads to high bite drive. But Belgian Malinois don’t bite because they are aggressive. They bite due to a lack of stimulation both physical and mental. They may bite if they are scared, bored, restless, don’t have any job to do.
Why Do Belgian Malinois Bite So Much?
Belgian Malinois is a working dog breed. This dog was not designed as a house pet. Malinois was made to be a working dog and therefore bred to chase, hunt, and eventually bite.
Belgian Malinois will bite if he/she is scared, bored, or not mentally stimulated, due to a lack of physical activity, if not trained properly at an early age.
Do you know that these dogs are called Maligators? Because biting is in their nature, simply as that. So it won’t be possible to teach your Mal not to bite at all but it will be absolutely possible to train him to redirect his bites towards more appropriate things.
Do Belgian Malinois Bite Their Owners?
This question is a tricky one, any dog of any breed might bite its owner. The same thing can happen with Malinois. Is it common, or normal? Well, it’s not.
Will Belgian Malinois bite his owner greatly depends on the relationship these two have? Did the owner set himself as a leader of the pack or he is submissive and let his Mal dominate and run his life? Belgian Malinois are very protective dogs, they will do whatever it takes to protect their pack. So does your Mal sees you as a part of his pack, even better, does he sees you as a leader of the pack? It’s hardly possible for Mal to bite a pack leader.
Do you spend time with your Mal, do you give him tasks? Do you teach him new things or tricks? If you do, it’s highly unlikely that your Mal could bite you.
How To Stop Belgian Malinois From Biting?
If you have adult Malinois that tends to bite, then you need to look more deeply into your relationship. Most probably it’s not that strong as it should be and your dog doesn’t respect you neither sees you as a pack leader.
In order to understand any dog behavior including biting, you need to know the needs of that breed. Not all breeds are the same but of course, not all dogs are the same either.
Belgian Malinois dogs are a highly energetic working breed. These dogs need to be occupied with some kind of work almost constantly.
Malinois is not a classical family dog that you will take for two walks around the block every day and the rest of their time they will lay at your feet while you are watching TV.
These dogs need a lot of physical exercises and mental stimulation. They like challenges, they are brave, easy to train, and like to learn new things.
You can teach them everything. Ok, maybe not everything- you cannot teach them to be lazy and lay down the whole day.
Belgian Malinois dogs are used for military and police work. As you assume, working this kind of job many of them are trained to bite hard and hold on. They help in catching all types of bad guys.
So biting is a natural instinct, not only for Malinois dogs but for dogs in general. The good thing is that Malinois dogs are not aggressive, they don’t bite because of that. In the case of police /military work, they bite as they trained for it.
In case Mal is a family pet, he can bite because he is not socialized at his early age, not trained properly, left alone too often, doesn’t have a tight bond with his owner, he is bored, not mentally stimulated enough, doesn’t have enough physical activity…
Belgian Malinois dogs are not appropriate for first-time dog owners. Only people who have a lot of experience with dogs should take care of Mals. But media lately promote them a lot, so many people are buying these ”cool dogs” for a variety of reasons.
Some people like the idea to have a personal bodyguard while others think that they have an active lifestyle that will fulfill Mal’s exercise needs. The result is – a lot of abandoned Mals in local shelters.
Adult Mal that has a tendency to bite has a behavioral issue. A good idea is to contact some private dog trainer /behaviorist who can help you solve the issue. Not only he can help your dog but you as well. You will get tons of good advice on how to handle the situation.
If your dog is not socialized at his early age, he didn’t learn how to behave with humans. Because of that, he might develop different fears which are the cause of biting or he is overprotective.
In case your dog is not properly trained, didn’t have obedience training, enroll him in some obedience training courses.
Remember that Malinois dogs like to be physically active and mentally challenged. Provide enough exercise and games that can occupy your Mal’s mind.
Always bear in mind that Mals are working dogs so they need to work constantly. If you don’t give them tasks, they get bored. If they get bored, they may bite.
Some experts say that you shouldn’t prevent your dog from biting but you should teach him to control bite- bite inhibition.
What Is Bite Inhibition? How Does It Work?
Bite inhibition is the ability of the dog to control the force of his jaws when he bites. This is something that the owner should teach a puppy. If he doesn’t, the dog will grow up in an adult canine prone to biting.
The point of this training is that your dog learns that biting means ”game over”.
For example, you play with your dog and in one moment his teeth become very painful for you, stop the game immediately, say one loud ”OUCH” and ignore your dog for a short period of time.
Don’t hit the dog, don’t yell at your dog as those actions of yours show the dog that biting still brings some kind of attention, even negative one (known as negative reinforcement ).
The goal is to teach the dog that biting doesn’t bring anything. Ignore your dog for 30 sec and if you see that your Mal calmed down continue with the play.
If you feel the teeth on your skin again, repeat the action but now leave the play area. Go to another room, shut the door and ignore your dog for 30-60 sec. After this time, many dogs have calmed down and you two can continue playing.
If he hurts you with his teeth one more time, the game is defiantly over and you should ignore him for a longer period such as 15-30 min.
Bear in mind that biting puppies are sometimes very tired so offer your puppy quiet space to take a nap.
You can also use the crate to calm down the biting dog but make sure he never sees the crate as a punishment but as a time-out. Always offer some chewing toy or stuffed Kong while in the crate.
How Strong Is a Belgian Malinois Bite?
The Belgian Malinois bite has the strength of 195 PSI. PSI stands for ”pounds per square inch” and it’s not unique only for dogs’ bite strength. This measurement is used also to measure the pressure in bike tires or pressure of liquids ( hydraulic pressure) etc.
Belgian Malinois is not on the list of 15 dog breeds with the strongest bite. For example, the Dobermans are lowest on the list with a bite strength of 228 PSI while Kangal and Bandog breeds are on the top with a bite strength of more than 700 PSI.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Malinois cannot hurt you or anyone from your surroundings. That is why is absolutely necessary to socialize your dog at his early age, to make him go through several training sessions including obedience.
Start teaching your Mal puppy basic vocal commands as soon as he comes to your home. Establish a good relationship and tight bond with him, teach him to respect and listen to you.
Teach him to control his bite. Play with him, share as much of your time as you can with him, do exercise with your Mal, offer him mentally stimulating toys and games and you’ll see how great and loving a pet he can be.