Friday, September 4, 2009

Featured Rescue - Zeta the Belgian Malinois

There are 208 Belgian Malinois available today on Petfinder. This is a really neat, multipurpose breed. A friend of mine had a Malinois as one of their many junkyard dogs when we were growing up (they owned a scrapyard and always had five or six dogs). Of all their dogs, the Malinois was always the most interesting one to watch. She thought things through ... you could see her watching and thinking about whatever was going on, then you could see the exact instant where she figured it out. So neat to watch but she really would have done well doing something more than simply guarding ...

AKC standards page says "One of the four types of Belgian sheepherding dogs, the Belgian Malinois is an alert, high-energy breed, popular as both a police and military working dog. Although sometimes mistaken for the German Shepherd Dog, the Malinois is more elegant in build and lighter-boned, but does not lack for strength, agility or herding ability. Active participants in conformation, obedience, schutzhund, herding, sledding, and tracking, the breed ranges in color from rich fawn to mahogany, with black tips on the hairs and a black mask and ears."

This is Zeta. She is 8 months old and already trying to herd the cats in her foster home. She is house- and crate-trained. Zeta is currently in Ohio looking for her forever home.


2halves said...

Bit of a side note here. I know you didn’t write this…but… What that dog is doing is NOT herding. Herding involves a dog and a handler and LIVESTOCK. What that dog is doing is simply a highly inappropriate and potentially dangerous behavior (especially for the cat!), generally related more to pray drive than work. I don’t know why people excuse this behavior from dogs with a herding background. I mean, if a Lab chases a cat no one ever says, “oh look, Fido wants to retrieve the cat!”

Sorry for the side-rant… Border Collie person pet-peeve. :-)

*Amber* aka Suzy SINsation said...

Congrats on your 300th post! And I 100% agree about your last post - people don't understand that getting a dog is COMMITMENT, unlike purchasing lawn furniture. I think encouraging aggressiveness is the worst with small dogs. I have seen several dachshunds end up in rescue because they bit someone, sometimes a stranger in the house, sometimes another family member, sometimes over food, or when a kid stuck his hand through a fence to "pet the puppy." Whatever the cause of aggressiveness towards another creature, it is NOT OKAY, and it's definitely not cute.

I'm contributing to the side-rants here. lol.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

2halves ...

A good rant. I understand your frustration. I rant when people try to use instinct to excuse behaviour.

It is true that it is a dangerous behavour.

I disagree with your statement that it is not herding.

Technically it would depend on what the dog was actually doing with the cat (which, since we can't see what the actions were, we can't prove/disprove).

I've seen a dog herd all the cats of a house into one room and hold them there using nothing more than pressure.

I have seen dogs attempt to "herd" other animals, not only livestock.

Please note that my definition of "other animals" can include poultry and waterfoul (which aren't livestock - you will find many articles about this if you google "poultry are not livestock" even though they use ducks for herding trials!), other dogs, cats and people.

Wiki defines "Herding" as such:

Herding is the act of bringing individual animals together into a group (herd), maintaining the group and moving the group from place to place—or any combination of those.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

Amber ...

Good side rant! Feel free.

You are right, inappropriate aggressiveness is pretty common in small dogs. I find many small dog owners don't feel the need to teach their small dogs appropriate behaviours because they are small. Very frustrating.

Cyndi and Stumpy said...

I've worked with many malinois when training and competing in schutzhund. In my opinion they are a high drive dog and need special homes with experienced handlers.

Once again, it falls to the breeders to make sure their puppies are going to appropriate homes and to provide a plan for a mismatched family and puppy.

bichonpawz said...

I've never actually heard of that breed....but they are cute! But then....I think most dogs are cute!! I hope a suitable home is found for Zeta! The one thing I am grateful for is Rescue....that is where my LadyBug came from...Bichon Rescue.

2halves said...

Sorry, I’m late replying to this as we were at a trial this weekend. I think the language usage is what gets folks (and dogs) in trouble here. If you take the generic definition out of the equation and apply the actual job the dogs were bred to do then this is not herding. Many Border Collie folks actually dislike the term “herding” and refer to what the dogs do as simply “working.” I mean, I can “herd” a group of toddlers into another room or “retrieve” my clothes from the dry cleaner, that doesn’t mean I can compare my actions to the actual job that working dogs are bred to do.

The other thing that is absent in this equation is a handler. If a well-bred, well-trained Border Collie got out into a pasture on its own, the handler would not say, “oh, look, the dog is out there herding.” The dog is not herding. It’s harassing. Work involves direction from a handler.

Of course, there are behaviors in most breeds that have some sort of link to their original (and in fewer and fewer cases…current) occupation, but that doesn’t mean inappropriate behavior should be allowed or encouraged because of it. I know you’re not avocating that. Just sayin’ :-)

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

GiantSpeckledChihuahua ...

I agree. It is unfortunate that more breeders don't take the initiative to ensure their dogs go to the perfect home.

bermudabluez ...

That's great that you adopted from rescue! There are a lot of great dogs out there in rescue looking for the right home.

2halves ...

I agree; language and terminology is the issue here.

I think it depends on the people you are talking to. I know a Border Collie rescue that uses the term "herding" with any dog that exhibits behaviours similar to a working dog - regardless of the context.

They use it not because it is the correct term, but because people understand what that suggests. For example, when they say the dog is "herding the lawnmower" the person on the other end of the phone who is not necessarily knowledgable in such things can generate a mental picture immediately.

The audience or the person receiving the information is as important as the person giving out the info. Layman's terms is sometimes the best way to explain something.

Hope your trial went well.

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