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The Disney movie "Max" and the Belgian Malinois

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posted on Jun, 21 2015 @ 11:13 PM
To my fellow ATS'ers, sorry that it has been awhile... been busy repairing our new homestead...

Here is my issue. Movies that feature a specific breed of dog tend to mess that breed up.

Disney has a new movie coming out called "Max"; a Belgian Malinois "war dog" that gets adopted by a family, blah blah blah...

Now, my wife and I have 2 Belgians. My wife is a professional trainer with 30 years of experience. My first experience with this breed was when we met. Our oldest Belgian was a puppy at the time. Wow. I was immediately impressed. Smartest damned dog I ever met.

Today, our oldest Belgian is 7. She is a fully certified service dog, and she has protection training as well. She helps us grocery shop, and can tear out your spleen with one command. She is a VERY intense dog. Fiercely loyal, to a fault. Her maternal drive has started getting the best of her, and now she has started having issues with her training. Time to retire.

So, we got a Belgian puppy, beautiful dog; he is 8 months old. SMART!! Wow, insanely smart. He is now in training to replace our older Belgian as my wife's service dog.

Now Disney has this movie out...

Everyone now assumes that, since this movie is out, they are fair game in public. When you are training a service dog, public contact is needed, but, let the owner invite the contact. Now we have little kids breaking their training because of this movie. Sadly, it hasn't been released yet, so it will only get worse. Before this movie, no one knew what a Belgian Malinois was... now... every kid will want one.

That is the main problem. We have two, so I speak from experience... and I have owned difficult breeds before. The Belgian Malinois is in a category all it's own. They really aren't suited to be house pets. A Belgian must work! They must have a job, otherwise, they get stir crazy and the owner can have issues. They need great training, and constant reinforcement. They are the most wonderful, loyal dogs that I have ever been around, but they need a lot of attention and training.

Our fear is that, people will see this movie and rush out and buy one. I hope not. For now, they are quite expensive to acquire; from a reputable breeder. My wish is that it stays this way. If a craze gets started to own these dogs, because of this movie, we fear that far too many will end up in shelters, or put down. Too many people just won't understand what they are getting in to... These dogs don't deserve that.

With that being said; our Belgians are trained. If a bear decides to invade our property... two properly trained Belgians will take care of the bear, and probably grab his wallet as well...
My wife has decades of experience with this breed, and they are amazing dogs... but, please make sure of what you are doing if you ever get one...

posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 12:32 AM
a reply to: madmac5150

Thanks for this thread. I hate it when people get a dog because they saw that kind in a movie and didn't bother doing research. It's the worst reason to get a dog.

posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 01:48 AM
Your fears are justified and I am proof.

I adopted two brothers several years ago from a rescue. The rescue thought we would be a great fit, since I wanted grown dogs that would be mellow and I wouldn't have to train like I would a puppy. Please note the fact that I was looking for a mellow, laid back breed.
I was completely unprepared to meet their needs. Very intelligent and high work drive. They got bored easy, and when they did, they got destructive. My typical suburb size back yard wasn't big enough for them. Despite daily walks, frequent trips to the dog park and weekly dog training classes, they their need to work, was more than I could provide.

I did not not have the knowledge or the capability to fulfill their work drive or handle their high energy and destructive behavior when bored. Neither are the tons of busy family's who will adopt due to this movie. Every time Disney puts out a breed specific movie adoptions and abandonment sore. Look at what happened when people realized dalmatians weren't good with small kids!

The rescue eventually found a more suitable home on a ranch that could meet their needs.

edit on 6/22/2015 by calstorm because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 12:12 PM

Consider yourself on my friends list as from now...

Some people out here on ATS may know me from my old user name for which I will not say out loud here... But to give those of you who "Might" know me, I am an ex UK military veterinary surgeon specialised in animal behaviour with over 25 years experience and now living in France... A certain Pig poo thread might wake up some curious people...

We are now the proud parents of our 2nd Berger Belge Malinois (sorry being posh...) and I can clearly agree COMPLETELY with what you have posted here...

We take Jedi (yep that's his name), to training (tracking, scouting, protection, drug/money detection etc etc...) every Saturday without fail and every single day at home we consecrate at least 1 to 2 hours of play/training time with him...

Failure to do so will lead to him becoming bored extremely quickly and the damage that comes with boredom...

He is 9 months old now and never tires in wanting to learn new things...

Have a look at this video folks for those that do not know this breed, I think the person who posted this video sums everything up quite well :

And drug sniffing Malinois in action :

I fear that this film is going to lead to a huge increase in abandoned animals...

Kindest respects


a reply to: madmac5150

posted on Jun, 22 2015 @ 04:17 PM

originally posted by: Nibbles
I fear that this film is going to lead to a huge increase in abandoned animals...

I agree with everything said so far (I'm a GSD owner who's dogs compete against Malinois), but I'm not so sure that many Belgian breeders are in the "pet market", not even the AKC show breeders. I don't recall seeing too many BYB selling these on craigslist, etc. Also, when I look at "Malinois Rescue" websites, I see a lot of mixed breed dogs that I would not classify as Malinois, so I truly believe that there not that many on the rescue market to begin with. I have a really strong feeling that the existing breeder base may do an adequate job policing their sales and preventing dogs from being sold to inexperienced owners. The easiest way for them to do this is to artificially inflate the cost by a significant amount when approached by an inexperienced buyer.

However, what I do think will certainly happen, is a sharp increase in online "bellyaching", on forums, blogs, etc, when people wanting Malinois, as pets, can't acquire them very easily or at all. I can see the posts piling up already, "I'm willing to pay thousand of dollars, but no one will sell me a Belgian Malinois!!!"

In fact, shelters, rescues and the various humane societies, etc, in the USA, need to pool their resources and put out a special ad campaign on TV and social media, telling the average dog owner that they ARE NOT QUALIFIED to own a Belgian Malinois (the same way they do for exotic animals like wolf-hybrids).
edit on 22-6-2015 by boohoo because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 25 2015 @ 01:20 AM
First of all... this is our new addition
he is 8 months old out of Slavic lines... so he is much larger than French or Belgian lines. The number of champions in his lineage is insane (as is what I paid for him)... and thus far he has been the most amazing dog I have ever worked with...

He has trained twice as fast as any other dog I have ever seen with basic obedience. He has it nailed. He is smart, and he loves to work. He is amazing. Here is the problem that we have run into... because of this Disney movie...

Serviced dogs must be extensively socialized, in all public situation. Grocery stores, malls, big crowds... etc. What we have had happen over the last 10 days or so, is little kids trying to mug this dog in public, because they think he is "Max".

The parents let them do it! (We have had many courteous parents that have asked permission for their kids to pet him; we ALWAYS oblige. They need the contact, but it MUST be invited. )

So, please... if you ever in N. Idaho or Spokane, WA, and you see him sporting his bright blue training vest... be courteous, and ask

As to other posts regarding the price of these dogs... yeah, they are PRICEY, but for a reason. I hope the puppy mills don't crank up... it would be a shame...

posted on Jun, 25 2015 @ 02:15 AM
To give you an idea of what a properly trained Belgian Malinois can do... as I mentioned in my O.P, our oldest Mali is trained for service and protection. With her vest on, this dog knows that she is in "help mommy and be nice" mode... and she is a joy. Without her vest, she is our buddy... and a Daddy's girl. With the proper vocal or visual commands, she changes completely and will hurt you.

A friend of mine; a very big guy, volunteered to help us with some "bite work"... he is 6'3 and about 250 lbs. She is 80 lbs. My wife gave the "grab and hold" command (he was wearing a bite suit)... and she hit him chest high, and with all 4 and dropped him like a bad habit. He said it felt like getting hit with a sledgehammer. He was sore for a week. There is a reason that most federal agencies have been using the Belgians almost exclusively (back me up here fed guys... amazing dogs)... those dogs also have thousands of hours of training! (Our dogs each get several hours of training, solo and tandem every day, without fail)

This breed is FAR too smart to be a pet.

The point is; these dogs are no joke. With proper training and work, they are amazing... Mishandled... mishandled or neglected, they are dangerous.

The movie and television industry has ruined the following breed here in the states... due to profiteering, marketing and poor breeding standards:

The German Shepard
The Rottweiler
The Doberman
The Siberian Husky
The Dalmation
Even the stupid Chihuahua ...

As a footnote: For you idiots with more money than sense... when your kid wants a Belgian Malinois and you ignore my advice... before you drop the dog at a shelter, send me a U2U. Depending on the dog's disposition, we can rehome him with an appropriate handler/trainer. Or, I can train him to help me on the farm. You pay the shipping, of course...
edit on 25-6-2015 by madmac5150 because: My Belgian had me by the crotch!!

posted on Jun, 25 2015 @ 08:10 AM
Thank you! From someone who tirelessly volunteers at an open access shelter where animals are dumped on a daily basis - I fear an influx of this amazing breed. Thanks for writing this. I will share your concern.

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