Student Snapshot – Jasper the Belgian Malinois
This is the story of Jasper and his owner.
From the start, his owner knew that their hands would be full. The hopes and asperations were high and Jasper’s owner wanted him to live up to his potential. They knew though that they needed help in shaping little puppy Jasper into a sound and dependable companion.
When they contacted me, they were aware of some of the challenges that come with this particular breed and wanted help navigating his puppyhood, especially where stranger danger was concerned.
Being a serious Malinois lover (they’re my heart breed), how could I refuse?
Jasper the puppy started off like many sensitive breeds, that is to say he was very sensitive to changes in his environment and that would turn him into a bit of a mess! The world was so big and there was so much that he found to be overwhelming and threatening. A lot of triggers for a 4 month old, and he had no qualms about wanting to bark his little head off about all of them. So our first challenge was cut out for us, to properly socialize Jasper and make sure that he could be ok in the big world!
For those of you that may not be familiar with the breed, this is a herding breed. That means that they are much more sensitive overall to things and more care has to be taken when raising up a puppy if you want to avoid behavior issues. Notably this breed is used for police work and have specifically been bred for biting sports as well. The WORST thing for a type of dog like this is a lack of training or the wrong type of training. It is very easy to end up with an insecure wreck of a dog who bites.
Additionally they are a high energy breed, which also means that they benefit from training because it gives them a safe outlet for all of their boundless energy. When this energy is bottled up or doesn’t have an appropriate outlet these dogs can easily become destructive, reactive, or develop anxieties or neurotic behaviors. It is not pretty.
Jasper’s owner was aware of some of the dangers and of course dedicated themselves to getting help with training. Things could have gone so differently without help!
Team Jasper Wins!
Team Jasper worked diligently on socialization, piece by piece showing Jasper all sorts of different things in a safe manner, building up his confidence and skills. Jasper began to see the world in a new light, one where he didn’t have to be concerned about everything, the world wasn’t out to get him.
We tamed the barking puppy and watched him grow in confidence, size, and strength. Because of their work in my program, the changes brought on by a growing adolescent pup were trivial. The foundation that his owner had worked so hard on was now rewarding them with an easy time of things.
No worrying about Jasper scampering off or having recall failures. His skills on leash were growing and developing nicely, which was a lifesaver for his owner, saving them from the the pain of being pulled and any struggles due to Jasper’s size. His house skills were also fantastic, and I am told that he is one of the better behaved dogs in his household. Go Team Jasper!
These skills, combined with a few others have given Jasper’s owner the confidence and ability to take Jasper on a number of adventures without having to worry much about how things will go with Jasper. As a youngster he is experiencing freedom that many dogs his age are having taken away because their lack of skills makes them unmanageable for their owners.
From a puppy who couldn’t tolerate me, or any strange human, to one who has readily played with me and has looked forward to our time spent together, to being a reliable adventure buddy with his owner, team Jasper has come so far and has much to be proud of!