Busy families and families of 4 or more members may have to work more at building a pack structure within their family. Malinois are generally sociable creatures though they assume a role in your family. If there is not an established and clear “leader of the pack” the Malinois will automatically assume this role.
Dominance and Setting Boundaries
Each person in your home is viewed by the Malinois as he would view another dog. Its ways of showing dominance may be urinating or marking if it’s a male. If the behaviors aren’t met with authority by the pack leader the behaviors will continue as who’s going to confront him about it. Setting these boundaries early on will help build a pack structure within the family without the Malinois ever challenging your authority.
The pack leader should be the only one that initially trains, feeds and corrects unwanted behavior. There is a bond that is created and the Malinois will learn to look for guidance on what is or isn’t okay behavior. A quick correction, a redirect of attention and a reward for obedience will help the Malinois see that you’re the superior creature.
Like children, Malinois will cross boundaries and push limits. Authority never comes from being angry or negative talking to the dog. Some Malinois owners make the mistake of shaming or over reprimanding the K9 when it’s done wrong. While it’s good to point out the wrong it’s not good to give too much focus to the negative. Get yourself over the issue quickly to get the Malinois back on the positive track. The Malinois learns that you are his friend and disciplinarian but not his enemy to be timid or fearful of. Intimidation does not have a place in building a pack structure within the family.
Giving Your Malinois A Purpose
Giving the Malinois a role in the household helps it feel useful and purposeful. Yes, even being a cuddle friend is a role. The Malinois learns its place as a companion and feet warmer. It will thrive in that role as it’s learned its place in the pack structure within the family. Same as if your Malinois is expected to be a guard or protection dog. If you have a baby in the house the Malinois will likely assume watch just for that reason. It may even come and alert you that the baby is crying. Malinois like to have a role in the family that resembles their innate canine packing structures if they were in the wild.
Researching Malinois characteristics can help you determine that they have stronger packing instincts than others. To fill those needs a strong packing structure must be applied or the Malinois loses interest in all things human. Think like a Malinois dog and you’ll understand packing instincts better. Breed research will also help determine what type of role a Malinois could play within your family structure.