Life with a Malinois

Last week Friday I took a flight down to Durban to see a breeder about a dog. I ended up adopting a Malinois female puppy 15 weeks old.  Of all the pups in the litter, she seemed to have less ‘drive’ than the other pups but still plenty of energy.We then travelled by car to my parents’ house in PMB. She was very well behaved in the car and during the number of stops I had to make to source a crate large enough for her to fly back to JHB with me.  The next day we drove back to DBN, visited a friend and her labrador then flew back to JHB.  By Saturday morning I decided to name her Chessy. The flight was not very pleasant and the airline took ages to take her off the plane. Carol was waiting for us at the airport.  Finally we made it home. Chessy’s spirits and energy level immediately picked up once out of the crate.

She took to Carol immediately, barked a couple of times at the cats. Cookie our little alpha female cat put Chessy in her place straight away. Charlie having no experience with a dog before was very scared and kept his distance with a lot of puffing of his tail.  Georgie the most skittish of the lot seemed to be intrigued and watched from the top of a fence.

Chessy is my first dog as an adult. This week has been tough, especially the first night. We started crate training with her as we would like to have her live indoors.

The first night we kept the crate in our bedroom. There was about 3 hrs sleep and 4 hours of yowling. It was difficult, very difficult and stressful and made me seriously wonder what have I done thinking I can adopt and raise a dog.  We live a fairly quiet life-style. We are active and exercise regularly, we work from home but also have to travel to clients. We have 3 cats. We’ve never raised a puppy before. We are not ‘dog people’. Do I really want this responsibility.  NO matter how much prep you do and how much you psych yourself for the long haul of house training and obedience training before you have a well trained adult dog, you just can’t know the adjustments you have to make in your life emotionally and practically.

By the 3rd night Chessy was getting a little more used to her crate and the yowling stopped after 15-20min. This week’s schedule looked a bit like this:
Bed at about 10pm,
Wake up at 2am to take her out for a pee, let her walk around the garden a bit, back to bed (more yowling)
Wake up at 5am with the cats and birds, take her for a walk around the neighbourhood.
6am Come home, feed her and let her be in the house but on a leash.
If we went out, put her in the crate.
When we got back, take her out to the garden to eliminate and run around, play
6pm, another walk around the neighbourhood.
Some time in the house
7pm supper.
Inbetween practice Sit, Down, Stay

She’s been to 2 puppy classes. I also took her to Verity dog park in Parkhurst. She was very scared.  Also been to the vet for her final shots – very scared of the vet.  However her confidence is slowly building. I’m able to leave her in the back yard for short periods of time.

Charlie is not as afraid and is actually the only one of the 3 cats that comes near enough to her to smell her and check her out. He even lies on his back.  I’m very proud of him.

She needs exercise at least twice a day for 30-40min in order for her to be calm by bed-time. Always have a chew toy nearby her.


Day 3
Besides for the accident of pooping at my mom’s house on the rug, she has been very good at pooping outdoors when I take her to the back yard lawn.

Day 4
Chessy was off the leash while we were outside, but managed to race into the house when the door opened slightly, the cats bolted and she immediately chased them through the house. There was a scuffle and a lot of scars on the floor to remember the chase.

Day 6
I was mowing the lawn early in the morning. Chessy took to charging and barking at the mower. Eventually had to put her in her crate so I could complete the task.

During the week, it seemed to be getting better. She was gaining more confidence, was able to leave her alone in the garden unattended, not as much whining when in the crate.  Felt like a complete regression. She had been to the dog park, had plenty of exercise and attention from me, similar routine to the previous days. But that night, she yowled like it was her first night with us.

The dog park was a bit stressful for her at first. Too much to take in. She was terrified whenever a dog approached her and would run off in the opposite direction to where I was. A few times, another dog owner would catch her leash. She also jumps a lot when she is stressed or nervous. She was friendly to the other dog people.  After half an hour, she felt better, tail up and we were able to have a run/walk around the park.

Day 7
We went for a walk during the day and also to puppy class at midday. Chessy was very hyper and super excited. Barks at Cookie (alpha cat).  She slept in the evening without much fuss.  I stuck some blown up party balloons on the split back door to discourage her from jumping up at it indefinitely trying to get over the half door.

Day 8
She has taken to chewing the rug. Tons of scratches on the wooden floors due to her trying to follow me when I leave the room.