Do you have a Belgian Malinois that barks on rare occasions? I assume that If you are a Belgian Malinois owner, you are an experienced dog handler since this breed has very high requirements and demands. Another characteristic of this breed is that these dogs are pretty vocal. So what if your Malinois is not barking a lot, or not barking at all? This is not a common situation and can be challenging even for an experienced dog owner like you.
Belgian Malinois may not bark a lot for multiple reasons – shy personality, medical condition such as Laryngeal paralysis or some infection, age-related issues with hearing, new surroundings, not-to-bark training, or bad past experience.
Belgian Malinois Personality as a Reason for Not Barking
Belgian Malinois dogs are super active, loyal, hard-working, and vocal dogs. They need a constant preoccupation, Mals enjoy fulfilling tasks, and the more the merrier!
If your Mal does not bark in every situation, what’s more, he barks very rarely but does not show any other strange or weird behavior, he is healthy and active, then perhaps the reason for the lack of barking lies in his nature/personality. This is not a bad thing – at least you know when your Mal barks it is something truly important.
Illness as a Reason For Not Barking
If your Mal is a standard barker but suddenly stopped barking, then maybe he suffered from some medical issue. Dogs like humans can hoarse. So maybe he barked a lot in the last few days and now he is hoarse or his throat hurts and that’s why he doesn’t bark. Over-barking may lead to inflammation of Mal’s vocal cords causing him to have laryngitis.
The situation might be even more serious than a sore throat. The condition called Laryngeal Paralysis causes Laryngeal muscles to become weak ( paralyzed ) so the cartilage ( usually supported by those muscles) collapses in. So the larynx ( voice box) function is impaired.
Another reason for not barking might be the tumor that can grow on the larynx or trachea of your Mal. These tumors are serious problems, some of them might be malignant. Not only they will affect Mal’s ability to bark but may have an impact on his ability to eat or even breathe.
Recent surgery may also affect your Malinois’s barking or he just doesn’t feel well so he is ”quieter” than usual.
Belgian Malinois Age as a Reson for Not Barking
If your Mal is a golden ager then it’s pretty normal that he is barking less than he used to. Older dogs are having hearing problems, their hearing declines so they don’t react to sounds as they used to when they were younger.
Sometimes Belgian Malinois may bark less than usual if he doesn’t feel comfortable in his surroundings. Maybe he/she has just come to your house, and you are still new to him/her, so maybe he/she needs some time to adjust and start feeling comfortable.
If you assume that this could be the reason, give your dog some time, maybe a few more weeks to adjust to a new home and relax. Since this breed is pretty talkative, he will start ”talking” in no time.
Did you save your Mal from a rescue? Some dogs that went through a trauma bark less than others. Maybe his previous owner insisted on not-barking training so your Mal was trained not to bark too much.
If barking led to something bad in the past, your Mal will bark less now to avoid that bad experience again.
What to Do If Belgian Malinois is Not Barking?
If your Mal was barking normally until recently and suddenly stopped, do visit a vet to rule out any illness. Do think about if your Mal was barking too much in the last few days, if so, maybe he has Laryngitis. Note that the vet should perform a full physical examination and ask you some questions like when did you notice a change in barking behavior, did you notice any other symptoms besides the lack of barking, and have your dog had some injury or trauma lately? A complete blood count and urinalysis will show if your Mal has some underlying issue that caused problems with his throat or vocal cards.
If your Mal is a new pet, give him some time to adjust, maybe he is still not comfortable in his new surroundings.
If it seems that nothing is wrong with your Mal and that shows no other strange behavior apart from not barking as much as you think he should you can try to motivate him to bark more. Take his favorite treats, give him one treat but keep the rest when he barks. As soon as he barks reward him with another treat. He might try to do other tricks he knows in order to get treats but be sure to reward only barking behavior. He won’t learn to bark more right away but with regular training and consistency, you two can succeed.
If you decide to train your Malinois to bark more keep a few things in your mind :
- Don’t use physical force to make your Mal bark more. Don’t hit him, and don’t use the electric collar. These measures won’t lead to the desired result. On contrary, your Mal may become scared and lose confidence in you. Don’t do that.
- Teach your Mal to bark only when you want. What does it mean? It means that you need to teach your Mal to bark only on your command otherwise you will be stuck with the dog that barks constantly in order to get those yummy treats.
Eventually, if your Mal is healthy but simply is not a standard barker don’t consider this a bad thing. Look on the bright side – you won’t have problems with neighbors for having a loud dog and when he finally starts barking you will know that something serious is going on.