New to the ADVENTURE: Simple Practical Advise Needed – 10 Wk F Mal

  • New to the ADVENTURE: Simple Practical Advise Needed – 10 Wk F Mal

    Posted by James on March 14, 2022 at 8:53 AM

    I selected a Malinois pup that we picked up yesterday, her name is Rosa. She’s very active, attentive, and submissive. We’ve had her for about 18 hours and I’ve already started luring with treats and using a retractable lead for potty. (We live in town on a 2-acre lot)

    My questions may be in the course materials and/or discussions already, so forgive me if I am opening a repeat. Feel free to point me to the resource. My background with dogs: I have trained common obedience and sport hunting dogs since I was 16 off and on (now 48). Mostly retrievers. I did successfully train a rescue Pit Bull 8 years ago who mingled with my bird dogs and was the best retriever of the bunch. 🙂 This is all done in the context of family pets and for non-competitive hunting. Most of all, our dogs have always been loving additions to the household, working, and doing as we do.

    With all my prior dogs now aged on to the afterlife, we’ve been looking to secure a dog that can be active as well as protective. So with the BM.

    My questions:

    1- My pup has been the last 10 weeks with 6 other adult dogs and 12 pups. She is going through separation anxiety I’m certain, so I want to spend time with her and let my adult kids and my 8-year-old play with her. Should I make them play with her according to the training or just enjoy the dog in these first few days/weeks? I don’t want to stifle her drive but I also don’t want her to have anxiety. The reason I feel this is that when I go to put her back in the crate, she is not interested in any food, she just lays back her ears and starts licking at me in a way of submission. So, there is a sense in which the crate (very large and open) is bad to her.

    2- Is it OK to allow the pup to play with toys without training/working? Chew on ropes in crate? etc.?

    3- How often and much should I feed this breed? Labs and Goldens eat until they die, so… not certain at her age.

    4- To the crate: We use a large metal 42″ crate that for now is in our garage and will be relocated inside. When the dog is trained, it will sleep on an elevated bed. Until then, she has to remain in the crate when not directly supervised. My question – is this an appropriate plan or ….. just looking for advice.
    5- How often does the dog need interaction? 3-5 times per day? I don’t want to stifle her and I know these questions seem silly, but I am honestly seeking to do what is right.

    Thanks in advance.

    Melissa replied 10 months, 2 weeks ago 4 Members · 6 Replies
  • 6 Replies
  • Ed

    March 14, 2022 at 11:55 AM

    I’ll take a shot

    1) The challenge with kids playing is that she may see them as mates. That creates problems in that human skin is not as tough as a dogs, and we are not as quick. So it really depends on your kids, and what kind of tolerance you and your partner have for them being bitten all over, with the occasional skin break, including in the face. There is also the possibility some kids do not know how to behave around a dog that is not a Labrador, and may put the dog in a position where he/she reacts negatively. It is probably not a good idea for most families.

    2) Yes and no. The restriction on toys is a tool to overcome relationship challenges and establishing boundaries that otherwise the handler would have trouble implementing. Whether that tool is needed depends on the dog/handler combination. On rope toys and anything that can be swallowed or get entangled the is the question of safety when the dog is left alone with it.

    3) Many people feed puppies 3 times a day. I always fed all my dogs twice a day. Food down, they eat or don’t eat, you remove the bowl. There is no grazing. Most dogs will engorge themselves. It is an evolutionary mechanism. As predators they never know when they will be able to eat again, so they will eat as much as they can as long food is available. Obesity, and most dogs are obese, is a huge stress on the pups joints, particularly for a n active jumpy dog.

    4) My preference, is that the dog is always with the family in the middle of the action — in a create or not. That I think makes for a better bonding, and I also think that it makes for a more mentally stable dog. 42″ is way too large for a puppy. For potty training the crate needs to be so that the dog can not poop on one corner and sleep in the other. I have always kept puppies crated in my bedroom at night on level with the bed next to it. I want them to bond with me. Like people, dogs are gregarious creatures, I think they do better when they are in a social setting, rather than isolated. In my opinion isolation is punishment for a dog.

    5) I think the question is why did you get a dog? If you got a dog to be a companion, then have it make you company. He/she will (eventually) be perfectly satisfied to be in a crate next to you as you work. The more fun you have with your pup the best will be his life and yours. I play/interact with mine throughout the day, like when I get up to get a glass of water or go to the bathroom… nothing planned. Then we have a solid slice of time in the beginning of the day, about 20-30 mins and an hour or two at the end of the day. I have 3 dogs and they play amongst themselves a few times a day, but nothing beat playing, or being around daddy… except for food 🙂

    Hope it helps, and good luck!!! Puppyhood goes by too fast.

    • James

      March 14, 2022 at 12:10 PM

      Thank you!!!!!!!!

      This helps tremendously and reinforces what I was hoping was the case.

      This is superb and very helpful! We’ve orders a smaller crate for the bedroom already. (Wife wants her in the bed already :))

      I heard so much from some “experts” in the last few weeks that I have become paranoid and fearful I would destroy the dogs abilities and training if we loved it too much.

      • Ed

        March 14, 2022 at 2:33 PM

        Well, there are issues with too much love. A dog needs to know that it is being taken care off and that whoever is in charge “got this”. If he/she thinks that no one is running the show the dog will volunteer to do it as someone needs to be driving this bus. So while love itself is not the problem a lack of leadership or respect would be.

        Separate from that, for people that compete with dogs, they want the dog to be in a permanent “affection deficit” so they will give 110% in training and when competing.

        There are probably more thoughts on this

  • Riggan

    March 14, 2022 at 1:27 PM

    James, You ask some excellent questions! (Edit: I just saw Ed’s responses, which are excellent. But here is what I had written before I saw his.)

    1) Take the first week or so and just let the pup get used to you and your family. It is fine to let your kids (adult and youth) meet her, but be careful not to overwhelm her. Her primary interactions should be with you (assuming you are going to be her primary caretaker and trainer) and to a lesser extent other household members. People not living in the home with you are a distant third.

    2) Yes, the pup can have toys without “earning” them. I would avoid the rope toys unless you are directly supervising her. Dogs can shred the threads and swallow them, causing major digestive issues which can at times be fatal. I would use stuffed Kongs or similar toys to help her settle in the crate. Robert has a video (very entertaining as well as informative!) on YouTube about some ways to stuff a Kong:

    3) Others with more experience with the breed may have a better answer to this one, but I would start feeding the suggested amount on the food. Then monitor her. You should be able to feel her ribs easily, but they should also have a slight layer of fat over them. If her ribs are like a washboard, increase her food. If you have to work to feel them, decrease it. Puppies should be fed at least 3 times a day. Later, you can cut that to 2 or even once a day.

    4) In general, I like the crate inside. Not sure when you plan on bringing it in, but otherwise your plan is reasonable.

    5) To begin with, she should get out of her crate in order to pee and poop around every 2 hours. You can also play with her and begin doing some simple training using luring. These sessions should be 100% fun for her. You want her to learn that interacting with you is great stuff! So, no corrections, and don’t overdo it. She will also be learning how to learn during these sessions.

    There is so much good information on this site that it can be hard to know where to start. I suggest going to the Welcome page and at least going through the lessons on Robert’s method ( Then, I would go to the Puppy Training page ( These are ordered by the date Robert created them, so they are NOT in order of the right sequence when you get a puppy. I would start with the Puppy Foundation Training, the Complete Puppy Lesson, and the one on Crate Training. “Why We Start Our Training Relationship with Food” would also be good. From there, you might want to watch The Puppy Essentials series with Siggy and Max. They have each had 5 lessons so far, and it is great to see Robert working with two such different dogs. It sounds like yours is more on the soft side, so the lessons with Siggy might be the most informative for you, but watch both puppies so you start to understand the different ways to respond. Then just watch whichever ones seem most appropriate for where you are at with your pup or that interest you.

    You can always ask the members questions here, and ask Robert using the Ask Me Anything form on the Members page. These get answered usually twice a week when Robert creates a video with all his answers. Enjoy your puppy and congratulations!

    • James

      March 14, 2022 at 3:27 PM

      Thank you as well! I’m glad for this counsel… it’s gonna be a fun adventure.

  • Melissa

    May 12, 2022 at 5:34 PM

    Good advice from the other guys, only bit I’m going to expand on is the kids playing, I’ve found my boys very different. Odin can play no problem with only occasional nip which is usually a miss at the toy or general mouthyness/cheek & kids can be at floor level, run etc

    Anubis on the other hand you can’t be at floor level or run about screaming & flapping your arms around him (10yr old learned this the hard way the other day, after being told not to several times), even with toys if he gets frustrated (cos you’ve not let him win) or overexcited he’ll transfer from the toy to your arm or leg with a deep bite & shake. He’s grumpier atm but I think he’ll start teething soon so maybe a part of it. He just sees play fighting (as he does with brother) as how you play & we’re working on it & for now she’s supervised with him at all times.

    Basically it all depends on your dog, but don’t leave them unsupervised with puppy.