Archive for belgian malinois

Off to the Malinois races

Posted in Dog diary, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2011 by rattlerjen

Hey, my dog might be smaller than your labrador or shepherd, but he is fast!

Do you remember Freyja?  She was the tiny yet adorable Belgian Malinois puppy brought over to our house several months back.
Belgian Malinois puppy
It turns out that puppies turn into dogs.  In typical Malinois fashion, she turned out to be a speed demon of a dog.
Or so her owners claim.
This little girl reportedly runs circles around the other dogs at the dog park.  Now, Grom has never met a dog that can keep up with him.  Could this puppy have grown to be his match?
A date was set and the course was layed out.  Mal vs Mal.  Could this Frejya, Viking Goddess dog outrun our dog of Thunder?
Here, are the results.


Posted in Dog diary, dog training, life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , , on December 9, 2010 by rattlerjen

It’s dog and it’s on the menu for today

Something delicious, I mean, disturbing happened at last training.  Grom became a snack.

Let’s start at the beginning.

Training brought out nearly everyone on our team along with a few relatives and new folks interested in checking K9 Search and Rescue out.  We were in a secluded area of the national park; a camp area closed for the winter season.  It was a gorgeous crisp morning with just enough nip in the air to encourage a hat and light jacket over a sweater.  Grom, my little black Malinois, was happily snuggled up in the corner of his crate surrounded by piles of search gear and boxes of our newly printed team calendar.

Our team training began with several dozen donuts brought by, you guessed it, the cop on our team.  Boxes of our team calendars were being offloaded from our truck and ripped open to disgorge freshly printed eye candy goodness.  As the calendars disappeared into the vehicles, I began trying on our team’s super reflective luxuriantly warm yellow search coats.  My SAR coat is an 8 year old Cahart canvas coat I bought for working outside at the zoo.  I look like a farmer that somehow got covered in zebra blood and green paint then dragged by an ostrich. (The zebra needed help giving birth and the ostrich was attempting to steal my dropped watch.)

I began to dream of what I was going to spend my holiday money on when I was urged by my husband to get my fanny back to the truck.  He rightly believed I was going to write a check for the coat right then and there.

Turns out my husband was shrugging on his pack to take his land navigation evaluation and would be gone for most of the morning.  I was left with the dog to train all by my lonesome.  Boy, was it a great training day for Grom.  He jumped directly into sniffing and peeing on nearly every rock, tree, bush, and blade of grass for the first 3 minutes.

The little furball followed this up with circling a giraffe legged couple out for a long run in the park and promptly forgot about them as he raced past me. My team mate suggested I do not worry that Grom ignored the joggers this early in the dog’s training.  Many dogs will likely ignore people who are not laying in the woods or sitting against a tree in the beginning since that is how we train them.  Later on, after the dogs really understand what they are supposed to do we will have the “lost person” walk around and do other things.

I filed the information in the back of my mind and watched Grom as he raced across the field in front of me and back into the woods.  The black and orange blur zig zagged the field a few more times before finding the hiding human on the edge of the field.  Success in just under ten minutes!

Later on, I had someone hide in the woods just off the trail on the way back to the field again.  I wanted to see if Grom would race past him to go back to where he found the last person in the field.  I wanted to make sure that he starts searching immediately.  The little Mal uses his nose, to pee on things in the beginning.  Does he use his nose to start searching right away?  Grom raced off into the woods and disappeared, crashing through the underbrush.  I ignored him and just started walking down the trail.  Just about the time I was beginning to worry, he blazed past me down the trail.  Grom quickly found our man and raced back to me to bark his head off, another success!

I spent several hours watching other dogs work and hiding for a few of them.  A couple dogs searched inside and under a cabin looking for someone hidden there.  Scent moves much differently in and around buildings proving quite a challenge to wilderness dogs.  While inside, one of the dogs greeted a mannequin with a nose to the crotch.  The statues had no people smell, deduct what you wish from the dog’s decision to try and find the scent there!

My husband wandered back into camp with a silly smile on his face and a head full of leaves.  He had passed his test and spent some time napping in the woods while hiding for a few dogs.  Now my husband can go on searches with me!

At the end of training, we decided a group picture was in order.  The last time we took a picture of the group was nearly eight months ago when G-man was still a little puppy.  Everyone took their pups out of the car and began to line up against a nice forested backdrop.  I trotted Grom in a space between two happy german shepherds.  One of them looked like he could be Grom’s older brother.   We were all getting ready, but Grom just would not sit down for more than ten seconds.  “What is the deal here?” I thought.  He can sit and stay for several minutes near other dogs in obedience class.  Maybe he is just excited because he was just running free through the woods looking for a person.  I began planning to practice obedience work more often in different places in the future when Grom shot in the air like a jack rabbit.  That is when I heard the growling bark and turned around in surprise to see Grom’s back leg in the mouth of another dog.  My dog looked just as a dog does when someone is trying to clip the nails on his back foot and the dog wants nothing of it.  In a blur, the other dog had somehow let go or Grom pulled free and shot forward.

I got up to run Grom away from all of the other dogs.  As I was jogging, I pulled Grom’s tug toy out of my pocket and began making happy play noises, attempting to divert his attention to the toy.  I did not want him to think I am upset and continued to make happy noises and gestures while quickly examining his leg.   The owner of the other dog was horrified.  None of us saw it coming.  Especially since the dog that snacked on Grom is known for tolerating nearly anything and has taken several pictures with other dogs.

Grom turned out to be just fine.  The other dog bit down only hard enough to hold Grom’s foot up so he could not get away.  He turned out to only have a few superficial cuts which I easily cleaned with plain water in a full bathtub. Grom was running and playing with his best doggie friend the next morning.

Just goes to show that people have no idea what dogs are saying to one another, especially when no one is focusing on it.  Looking back on it, I should taken the hint when Grom refused to sit.  Something was going on and I was so focused on posing for a picture that I failed to look at the body language of the dogs around me. All of the dogs were having conversations behind us, and it took some loud noises before any of us stupid humans took notice. None of the dogs are bad dogs, they are dogs just trying to communicate while on a leash and forced to sit down.  I wonder if our dogs feel like I had as a kid when you were trying to get the attention of our parents with important information and promptly ignored so the adults could continue on with their boring conversation.  One of these days, I am going to find Grom pulling on my pant leg while I am in a deep conversation about the newest phone app with a team member.

I take it as a learning experience. No one gets good at anything when everything goes right.  Things have to go wrong in order to really learn anything.

Grom offered to take the other dog out for a Brewowski later on.  It’s all good.

One year

Posted in Dog diary, life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , on December 2, 2010 by rattlerjen

Turkey day is a week gone and there are no turkey leftovers to share.  Thanksgiving made me realize that we have had our crazy black puppy for a year now.

He has made quite a bit of progress since then.  No more whining and barking in the crate, tearing apart everything he sees, or acting shy around strangers.  We spent countless hours enduring his crying and digging fits in the crate waiting for the instant for him to quiet so we could swoop in with a treat.  I remember watching with horror as he looked me right in the eye, grabbed a pair of my underwear, and proceeded to tear around the house with them in his mouth.  Then tearing the unmentionables into tiny shreds until they became unrecognizable.  I can’t forget the dozens of trips to new places and giving treats to strangers so he could get used to everything and everyone.

He now loves going into his crate and taking a nap, meeting new people, and traveling to new places.  After nearly a year of obedience work, he has tested and received his Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Certification.  He will let me clip one nail without getting upset these days.  Grom will even hangout at the veterinarian as long as no one tries to grab his paws.

On the search front his training is coming along.  He no longer needs to see someone run away to hide.  He even does searches that last as long as 10 minutes without giving up.  Each training he may have a few minutes added to his search time until he can search all night without getting bored.  The little guy is so quick to learn, he is leaving me in the dust.

He is still rude and will steal your chair the moment you vacate it.  Many times he wont wait that long and will climb right into your lap.  He sleeps on top of the bed directly on a human’s feet, arms, or even head and groans in complaint when the numb human tells him to get off.  He barks with jealousy when we are giving Heidi a tummy rub.  He likes to run full speed around the house and stop and slide on a rug until it is folded in a wad on the other side of the room.  All of these things I do not mind at all.  There is just one thing I have to remember

make sure that the panties are all in the hamper!

Playing in the South

Posted in Dog diary, dog training, life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , on November 1, 2010 by rattlerjen

A couple weekends ago, we packed up the dog and headed down south.  Part of our team lives and trains in the Southern part of the state.  We got our tents up and made a fantastic weekend of it.

It is a wonderful benefit to have another group of talented team members to learn from and train with.

From these pictures, you see the dogs are not complaining.

Wabi flies for the toy

Tomo speeds by like a bullet train

Juno starts with a giant leap

Danne loves getting her play reward

Aspen bounces when barking, Check out those ears!

And when he gets it right, He tugs with a tail high

It’s Sort of Like Swimming

Posted in Dog diary, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , on October 25, 2010 by rattlerjen

Grom has been a great dog thus far.  He seems to be afraid of nothing.  The little black dog climbs up half fallen trees, leaps upon unstable furniture, and even slips down slides at the playground.

Get him near water, and it’s a different story.

Oh sure, he plays in it biting at the water and running like a maniac through it.  Just don’t get him in the deep end; that’s where he becomes a big baby.

So, I put on my sexiest outfit and lured him into the deep end with the help of a team mate.  Only equipment needed was a favorite toy that floats.

Throw that toy!

In the water it goes

In the water I go

Hey, gimmie that thing!

That's right, time to applaud

The water was not quite deep enough for a full on swim

It was a perfect first step.

Turtles at the BBQ

Posted in Dog diary, life with a working dog, pets with tags , , , , , on September 9, 2010 by rattlerjen

I love parties!  There are tons of people and all of them want to give me a nice scratch.


What is this?

A rock that moves?  I wonder if I can play with it?

turtle plays with dogMaybe if I playbow he will play with me.

Yay!  This is so much fun!


Why are you chasing me?

I am the dog here.

You know; sheep dog!

As in *I* am the one that is supposed to be herding YOU!


This partying is sure making me sleepy.

I think I am going to chill for the rest of the night.

Tire Success

Posted in Dog diary, dog training, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , on August 23, 2010 by rattlerjen

Wilderness dogs are able to cross ravines on fallen trees with the grace of a ballerina.  Disaster dogs tiptoe along metal beams and concrete suspended above danger without concern.

They did not know they had back legs…

They had to be taught.

The tire ladder is daunting.

It is there to teach dogs that in fact, they have back legs.  Those feet in the back simply follow the front feet.  A search dog must learn otherwise.

The tire ladder is scary.

Most dogs decide to not even try.

It has huge holes that you can see right through to the ground.

You could fall into one.


With a brave heart

And a few helping hands

Any obstacle can be overcome.

Yeah, I earned it

Mals are Nuts

Posted in Dog diary, pets with tags , , , , , on August 8, 2010 by rattlerjen

Grom here is recovering from a vicious attack from another aggressive Belgian Malinois.

The offending dog thinks of murder all day

Here is the actual attack taking place.  Notice another Belgian Mal is attempting to save our German Shepherd (or possibly joining in the attack.)

One on one with Grom, it is very scary.

This crazy animal will eventually grow into a massive killer of enormous size.

In short, never put these very dangerous dogs together.  You will have to witness several hours of offensively adorable puppy play, lounging, cuddling, and sharing of toys.

Please, talk to your dog about the dangers of puppy play-dates before it is too late.

Ready, Set, Blurry

Posted in dog training, life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2010 by rattlerjen

They said Belgian Malinois were fast.  Grom is faster than my camera and me.

I am ready and waiting.

Just set me free

and off I am running

A blur, you see

You see I am smiling

My tail is high

There is no place I’d rather be.

Crate Break!

Posted in life with a working dog, pets, Search and Rescue with tags , , , , , , on May 26, 2010 by rattlerjen

The little monster got out today.  I am not sure how.  Either a latch missed or a small crack has allowed the dog to push the door open.

As you may know from earlier posts, working dogs have a much higher drive or desire to get into trouble.  Intelligence and enduring high energy are combined in a good working dog, allowing him to work many hours for few rewards.  This high energy can quickly get such an animal into trouble if he is unguided.  He is a bit like a teenager with the house to himself all weekend.  I am just glad all of Grom’s friends did not find a way over.  Thank goodness dogs can’t drive.

Now off to buy a new crate, new running shoes, and bitter apple spray for possible new shoes.

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