Apartment living with dogs can be a nightmare or a treasure. It all depends upon how you do it. Location, size, and temperament affect the outcome. Your time commitment plays a big role too. But perhaps the most important factor lies in what breed of dog you have or want. Some breeds do better in apartments than others. In comes running the Belgian Malinois, a sheepherding dog somewhat similar to german shepherds. Can Belgian Malinois live in an apartment? Read on to find out.
The high energy Belgian Malinois will do fine in an apartment as long as one condition is met: Exercise. Excercise becomes essential with a dog with this energy and power. With at least three strong walks a day, plus a nearby dog park, then living in an apartment with them should be a cinch.
A Belgian’s apartment living success will depend upon several things. First of all, is you the owner. Malinois do not fit all types of people. While they’re smart and easy to train, they can suffer from nervous disorders, without an outlet for both their body and mind. Lazy owners should not apply.
Running after sheep all day takes a mighty endurance. Belgians have this in spades. Regular walks become a must and cannot be neglected. Without them then that energy will be turned to destructive activities. Both upon your property as well as themselves. If this dog lacks stimulation, then tail chasing and chewing of their paws could be the result.
Their intelligence and loyalty to their master will flourish if you can maintain a daily walking schedule. Socialization become paramount as well. These dogs can have strong protective instincts. This is why they are sometimes used as police dogs. But without good discernment developed through countless social interactions with both dogs and people. Then they can become a bit scary, and may display aggression with people they don’t know. Like the mailman.
If you have to tenacity to make sure they get the exercise and socialization that they require. Then this might just be the breed for you. Still, there are many facets to living with them in apartments that you may not have considered. Here follows a full guide to help make sure your apartment life with a Belgian is all that it can be.
Having the Right Apartment
Apartment location and the temperament of management should be one of your highest priorities. There are three things to consider:
- The apartment’s pet policy
- Good walking and running trails
- Nearby dog parks
Not all apartment complexes welcome pets. It’s very sad but true. Also, even those that do can have onerous restrictions. I’ve seen a lot of places that will only allow dogs under 35 pounds. While they might fudge a bit for a dog a little bigger than that. A Belgian out classes that weight by a considerable margin.
Weight may not be the only factor. Some will discriminate against certain breeds. Usually, it’s the working dogs, that due to poor quality owners, can sometimes have a reputation for aggression. They may not like a high drive breed like a malinois living on the property.
So before you get your dog or move into a new apartment. Make sure you do some research. Look at their pet policy and don’t be afraid to ask questions. They want your business so find out all you can from the people at the front desk before making any decisions.
Nice Walking Trails, Because You’re Going to do a Lot of Walking
Belgian Malinois are a high drive breed. They’re working dogs, not always cut out for the leisures of family living. This isn’t a dog that will just happily lounge at your feet all day. Don’t get me wrong, they will lounge just only after considerable expenditure of energy.
Walking them will be almost a second occupation. If you can’t do that at your apartment then you should hold off on getting a Belgian.
Car chasing can easily be one of their favorite past times. Especially when their young and their engines run hottest. So ideally you want an apartment with nice walking trails that are easily accessible. Some big empty grassy lots wouldn’t be too bad either. Whatever that allows you to walk them without having to worry about cars or too many other people
Nearby Dog Parks
Walking will probably not be enough. They also will want big spaces. You’ll probably want them too. Anything to give your feet a break.
At a dog park, they can run and run to their heart’s content. They’ll get some good socialization in as well. It’s important for all dogs to gain a variety of social experiences. This can only come about through countless seemingly minor interactions that add up over time. Dog parks will help with this.
The only thing to watch out for, make sure that the other dogs at the park are trustworthy. Belgian Malinois with their proud bearing can easily be made targets by an aggressive dog. With their sensitive nature, both to their owner and environment, one negative experience could traumatize them. So watch out for any bullies, and make sure your Belgian doesn’t become a bully as well.
Puppies Vs Adult Dogs
A lot depends upon whether you are the owner of an adult dog who is downgrading from a house to an apartment. Or if your an apartment dweller looking into getting a Belgian Malinois puppy.
With an adult dog, you’ll know their individual temperament. What their energy levels are, and how feisty they can get. Plus you’ve built up some experience and rapport with your dog. These dogs are quite adaptable. This is one of the benefits of their working dog temperament. So if you set things up correctly and you have experience with them then hopefully they should flow smoothly into apartment living.
Puppies on the other hand have some special considerations.
Puppies Need to Potty a Lot
Adult dogs can often do fine going to the bathroom 3-4 times a day. Especially if they’re used to it and on a schedule of sorts. Puppies though just do not have the bladder control for that sort of thing.
If your apartment has a patio or a small back yard then this becomes a lot easier. But without that then your little pup may need to go potty as much as every hour. It won’t be that fast all day. But they haven’t had the time to know their bodies like an adult has. So there could be large time swings between bathroom needs. One moment they might be fine going several hours without. All of sudden though they might need to go again after only thirty minutes. So be prepared for this.
Puppies Have Special Exercise Needs
While with most breeds puppies will be more rambunctious than an older version of themselves. With Belgian Malinois, this isn’t always true. Sure a much older dog will have slowed down a bit. But often as they start to enter their prime of 3-5 years, their drive will push them to greater athletic needs and feats.
When you have a growing puppy sometimes their bodies can be more sensitive to energy. Just like one wouldn’t recommend weightlifting to a young child due to growing bones. The same is true of Mali puppies. Do take your puppy out for a lot of walks. But, at least in the first year, try to keep the walks to half a mile or less at a time. Make them short and sweet. Your puppies developing joints and bones will thank you for it.
Consider Getting a Professional Dog Trainer
Belgians have that magical combination of both intelligence and eagerness to please. That can make for an excellently trained dog. Their needs for mental stimulation can be overwhelming. Even an experienced dog owner may have difficulty dealing with all the challenges that their drive and intellect can throw up.
Having a professional by your side can help a lot. Especially during those crucial early training months. You want to make sure you cover all the bases. Some extra guidance will only help you. Plus if you do run into any particularly thorny snags with your dog, then you have a ready ear just a phone call or training session away.
Living in an apartment only makes this all the more necessary. With a house, there’s a bit more leeway. While training must always be a priority with a Malinois. You don’t have to be quite so perfect when you have a yard of your own with lots of space. In close quarters potentially living next to all kinds of sounds, people and other animals the training has to be much more spot on.
Don’t Get a Belgian Malinois Just Because You Think it’s Cool
There is a litany of breeds, that have power, grace, intelligence, and that sheer unbreakable drive such as Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Dobermans. Malinois are on that list as well. Many people may think owning a dog like that is uber cool. Unfortunately, this leads many of these lovely animals to miserable lives in shelters or with owners who are afraid of them.
No dog should have to live like that. While Belgians are cool, their also a giant responsibility. Make sure you can rise to the challenge of being the kind of owner they need. Otherwise, your pet-owning experience could be a sad one. Theirs no shame in admitting that a Belgian might be too much dog for you. Or too much dog for the apartment you live in now.
You can always wait and get more experience and perhaps more space. If your certain that you can provide the mental, physical stimulation you need, then with the training they can make for an amazing dog.