Are Belgian Malinois Good With Kids? (7 Training Tips)

Belgian Malinois are a beautiful, high energy breed that make good pets. Belgian Malinois were originally bred as herding dogs, and now this intelligent breed is used for police services, therapy for disabled people and many more jobs, as well as family pets. They are highly active and love to play, run and go for long walks. Belgian Malinois can be very protective and are usually very loving and affectionate with their families. As a herding dog, there can sometimes be issues when it comes to small children. Your Belgian Malinois may see your child as a small animal that needs to be herded, which can cause problems. This post will help you to understand the behaviors of a Belgian Malinois, and how to best train them to behave properly around kids.

Are Belgian Malinois Good With Kids?

Belgian Malinois can be good with kids, provided that they are socialized and trained properly. As a herding dog, Belgian Malinois have a tendency to nip at children and chase them. Often, they see children as an object that has to be herded. This can cause a lot of issues and stress in a family setting. There is the potential that the children may become frightened of the dog. However, when Belgian Malinois are properly trained to be around children, they can be very loving and protective of children in the home.

Are Belgian Malinois Good With Babies?

Belgian Malinois can be good with babies but when babies scream and cry, the dog may see them as an animal and try to herd it – even if the baby is just tiny and laying on the floor or in a crib. A Belgian Malinois will, in general, not be as laid back when it comes to children as for example, a golden retriever. It is worth it to note that Belgian Malinois need a ton of exercise, and their exercise and care may take up several hours of your day. If you have a baby or young child, you likely don’t have enough spare time in your day to take a Belgian Malinois for long walks, runs or to the dog park.

Are Belgian Malinois Protective Over Kids?

When Belgian Malinois are well trained, they are extremely protective over their family members, including kids. Their training does come into play here. If they are not well trained, they will spend much more time chasing and nipping at children than trying to protect them. However, if you have spent a lot of time training your Belgian Malinois and your child knows how to properly interact with and handle the dog, the dog is likely to be very protective. Belgian Malinois often follow their family members around constantly to make sure that they are not at risk, and are constantly scanning their surroundings for danger.

How To Introduce Your Belgian Malinois To Kids?

When introducing your Belgian Malinois to kids, there are several tips and tricks you can follow.

Teach Children How To Approach And Pet Animals

One of the most important parts of this process is to make sure that your child knows how to behave around animals. Most children absolutely adore animals and can’t wait to get close enough to pet and cuddle them. However, you must educate your child on how to properly interact with dogs, especially ones that are unfamiliar. Remind your children to slowly approach a dog and let it sniff their hands first. Then, they can try giving the dog a pet on the side of its neck. Remember to teach them never to hug an unfamiliar dog or pull its fur or tail.

Let The Dog Sniff The Child First

It is preferrable to get a dog to come to you first before you try to pet it. If you get too close to a dog without them wanting you to, you may end up frightening the dog which can lead to a variety of poor outcomes.

Let the dog sniff the child first, before the child is allowed to pet the dog.

Don’t Pressure The Dog

When introducing your Belgian Malinois to kids, don’t pressure the dog or force it to come close to the child unless it wants to.

Forcing a dog to get close to you can make it anxious or frustrated, which can lead to a bad situation.

Take The Dog On A Walk Together

A great way to introduce the dog to a child is to go on a walk together. Belgian Malinois love to go on walks and adding a child into the mix is a low-pressure, neutral situation. The dog will likely mostly be focused on the walk and won’t be troubled by a child being near them.

It is a good idea that you hold the leash and keep the dog on your left, and the child walks on your right side. As mentioned previously, Belgian Malinois have the tendency to want to herd children, so it is best to maintain distance and keep yourself in the middle.

Keep The Leash On

It is a good idea to keep a leash on your Belgian Malinois when you are introducing them to children, even if you are staying in the home. This means that you can keep a handle on the dog and if you see anything start to go poorly, you have a quick means of reining in the dog. A leash may also help your dog to feel connected to you and safe, so that they will be less stressed when meeting a child.

How to Train Your Belgian Malinois to Be Around Kids

There are many ways that you can train your dog to be sociable around children. For the most part, it is easiest to train your Belgian Malinois to be around kids when they are puppies, but if you adopt an adult Belgian Malinois, it is still possible!

Socialize Your Puppy

The biggest way to get your Belgian Malinois comfortable around kids and people in general is to socialize them early and often. Puppies go through a critical period of development from the ages of 8 to 16 weeks. During that time, it is important to introduce them to just about everything. Puppies are less likely to be aggressive than adult dogs, so try to introduce your puppy to all the kids and adults that you can! Make sure that interactions with children are positive – remind children to interact properly with the puppy. It is crucial that the children are well behaved and gentle, as this will help to frame future interactions with children. You can still socialize an adult dog, but it may be a slower process. Try introducing your adult dog to quiet, well behaved children and remove your dog from the situation if they become stressed or agitated.

Enrol In An Obedience Program

It is a good idea to enrol your puppy into dog training classes. It is a great opportunity for them to be exposed to many dogs and people during the crucial stages of development. You also gain a great opportunity to learn from a professional dog trainer and can get their help on introducing your puppy to children.

Practice Childlike Behavior

This may sound silly, but one way to prepare your Belgian Malinois puppy to interact with children is to act like a child. Even if you remind a child constantly to behave properly around a dog, they will probably still be tempted to huge the dog, grab its paws or tail or kiss its ears or head. Some dogs will not be bothered by this at all. It is a good idea to practice all of these things with your puppy as it will likely not bother them when they are young and the more prepared they are for this the less upset they will be if a child treats them like this as an adult!

Introduce Your Puppy To Children’s Toys

This too may sound funny, but make sure to introduce your puppy to your children’s toys. Children’s’ toys can make lots of different noises, and you want to make sure that you are introducing these to your puppy. The more they are exposed to at a young age, the less bothered they will be by these noises as an adult.

Discourage Jumping

It can be really sweet when your puppy jumps up on you, but with a large breed like a Belgian Malinois, this behavior can become a hazard.

It is important that your dog knows that jumping up is not a desirable behavior. A full sized Belgian Malinois could knock an adult over, not to mention a child. Starting right from puppyhood, discourage jumping. If your puppy jumps up on you when you come in the door, ask them to sit instead. If they continue jumping, you can walk back out the door until they calm down. This will help them to understand that you don’t want them to jump up, and that jumping up will result in your not paying them any attention.

Don’t Force Your Dog To Be Around Children

Avoid holding your puppy still so that a child can pet it. Always let your puppy come to children first, instead of forcing it into a child’s space. Some puppies will take quickly to children, while others will require more time to get acclimated.

Crate Train Your Dog

Most dogs do well around children (as well as loud noises, lots of visitors etc) when they are crate trained. A crate should be a dog’s safe space or “den”, and they should feel comfortable and safe in the crate. The dog’s crate must be a child-free zone, so that if the dog is feeling overwhelmed it can escape to its crate to recuperate. Remember that all puppies have individual personalities, and some may take longer than others to get comfortable with children. The earlier you can socialize your Belgian Malinois puppy around children, the better! All the same rules apply when it comes to adult Belgian Malinois. It may take some extra time, and you may need to consult a professional dog trainer to get further help if things do not go well.

How To Train Your Belgian Malinois With Peace Of Mind:

If you haven’t trained your Belgian Malinois properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup. The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs. With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class. So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them! And in most cases it’s still going to be:
  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.
Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your Belgian Malinois completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.  And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try! So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results! (You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)

How To Teach Your Kids How To Act Around Your Dog?

A child’s behavior might be the most important part about introducing your dog to children.

Discuss Expectations

Before getting a puppy, or introducing your child to any dog, make sure to have a conversation with them about proper behavior.

Remind them to approach a dog slowly from it’s side, and to not pull its tail or fur.

No Wild Movements

It is especially important to avoid running and yelling with herding breeds such as the Belgian Malinois. Wild movements or noises may increase the likelihood that the dog will want to herd, chase and nip the child. It is important that the child is calm when interacting with the dog.

Give Them Responsibilities

Your child should be involved with the care and training of your dog. Of course, their level of involvement will vary based on age and maturity. Their involvement could include joining in on walks with the dog, teaching the dog tricks or measuring out its food every day.

Teach Them About Dog’s Body Language

It is important that children understand a dog’s body language so that there are no surprises. Some body language cues that will tell your child that a dog is anxious, or upset:
  • Tail between the legs
  • Hunched back
  • Ears pinned down
  • Showing their teeth
  • Shaking
Likewise, there are many cues that will show that a dog is open to interaction:
  • Sniffing you, or the ground
  • Offering their back to you for scratches
  • Leaning up against you
  • Rolling over and showing you their belly
  • Being “wiggly”
  • Tilting their head at you, being curious

Why Might Belgian Malinois Be A Bad Choice?

Belgian Malinois can potentially be a bad choice for a pet because they are extremely high energy, very demanding and require a lot of time and effort. They may be an especially bad choice for a first-time dog owner who may not be confident enough to train and handle the dog. Belgian Malinois are often working dogs, used by police forces, as therapy dogs, on search and rescue teams or bomb and drug squads. They do best when they are highly stimulated and given a lot of attention and exercise. For the average person, they may simply be too much work. Belgian Malinois require a lot of high-intensity training. If not trained properly, they can become very unruly and destructive. When not trained and socialized properly, Belgian Malinois can be an aggressive dog with other dogs and people. Belgian Malinois have a high prey-drive, which means that they may bite more than other breeds. While they are a fantastic dog and can do really well with the right owner, Belgian Malinois can be extremely high maintenance. If you are looking for a cuddly, quiet dog that will be happy to laze about on the couch with you, a Belgian Malinois is not the right choice. If you have a lot of time and energy to devote to a demanding dog, and you have lots of previous experience with training dogs, then the Belgian Malinois might be the right choice for you.

Recap

Belgian Malinois are a beautiful dog and in some cases, make great family pets. When socialized and trained properly, they can be very protective of children and can do well in a home with children. It is important to socialize your puppy as soon as you can. The window between 8-16 weeks of age is crucial for the puppy’s development, so you want to make sure that you expose them to as many things as you can. It is important to teach children how to properly interact with pets. This is an important step if they are living in a home with a pet, but also it is just good practice that they will know how to interact with other dogs that they meet outside of the home. Teach your children to read your dog’s body language, so they know when they are anxious or upset, and when they are happy. It is a good idea to enrol your puppy into a puppy training program and to seek help from a professional dog trainer when you need it. Even an experienced dog owner may run into problems and need help from a professional. Many people may want a Belgian Malinois because they are so gorgeous but remember that this dog is extremely high energy and requires a lot of time and dedication. It is important that if you are getting a family pet, every member of the family will be on board with the dog’s care. If you are thinking about getting a Belgian Malinois, make sure that you have the time and energy to dedicate to this dog. Consider getting a different breed of dog if you don’t feel that you have several hours a day to walk and exercise the dog. Of course, all dogs require exercise and care, but the Belgian Malinois requires more than most breeds!

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