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 Puppies Bite So Much and How To Stop This Behavior?
Puppies are chewing and mouthing, no matter which breed they are, this is simply their way to communicate with the world, explore the surroundings but also to relieve the pain caused by teething… Belgian Malinois puppies are no exception.
Don’t consider chewing/ mouthing and biting the same thing. They are not. Biting is not acceptable! No matter how young a puppy you have.
First of all, you need to have a lot of patience to get through this period. If a puppy was removed too early from his mother and other littermates ( before 6 weeks of age) he will display more biting issues.
Bear in mind that this breed is highly energetic and puppies are full of energy as well. You need to exercise your puppy a lot.
Many owners are concerned about the puppy’s growing joints and bones and use this as an excuse for not exercising their pets enough.
It’s true that you need to be careful, as over-exercising your puppy might have a bad impact on his musculoskeletal development but do consult your vet about this and exercise your puppy as much as your vet recommends.
Note that a puppy that doesn’t exercise, becomes bored. The energy that he didn’t spend, accumulates.
Boredom in combination with pent-up energy is a receipt for disaster. Your young Mal becomes overly excited and biting is one of the things that will happen for sure.
Malinois are loyal dogs but you need to build a strong bond and good relationship with your puppy. Once your puppy sees you as a leader who he respects, you can teach him anything including not to bite.
Your puppy has to see you as a leader he gets guidance and directions from.
You need to act calmly and consistently. You need to spend time with your puppy, to play with him. When you bring your puppy to your home, you can practice hand feeding at first so your Mal learns that you are the one who brings food.
Train him basic vocal commands like sit, stay, come, no bite, leave it, and down. Never use only NO because it doesn’t mean anything. If you want your puppy to stop biting something, say NO BITE, not just NO!
Don’t play rough with your puppy, at least not at the beginning. You cannot play harshly and then expect your dog not to bite. First, he needs to learn not to bite, and then you can play rough games.
No matter how good relationship you have established with your dog, puppies will always bite. A puppy that has a lot of daily exercises and sees you as a leader that he respects will bite a lot less but still can happen.
When your puppy bites you, you need to transform from fun and loving person who has just played with him a second ago to a stern and unsmiling person, a pack leader with a serious look.
First, you need to say one loud but firm ”OUCH” and to stop whatever you have been doing.
Stand up ( if you have been sitting on the floor or wherever )chest up. Your verbal correction and your body posture carry a message: ”Stop doing it right now!”
If you have that good relationship with your puppy, this would be just enough. Your puppy learns that biting is unwanted behavior that his pack leader(you) disproves and because of which he loses your attention.
He also learns a biting tolerance for certain things. There is 0 tolerance for biting you or any other member of your family and friends.
What your puppy also needs to learn is that human skin is fragile, he can hurt you easily.
After verbal correction, you need to redirect his bad behavior and show him what he can chew instead to bite you.
Give your dog some nice, sturdy chewing toys and once he accepts and starts chewing appropriate things don’t forget to praise him ( ”Good boy” )
Remember that you ( and not just you but all people in your household) need to be 100% consistent and react the same way every time a biting accident happens.
How Do I Get My Belgian Malinois To Stop 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.