Blue The Belgian Shepherd Malinois
Blue caught our attention over a year ago now as one of the first puppies to start Antinol from the get-go at 8 weeks of age.
We’ve loved following the journey of a working line Malinois growing up and being trained/raised with the intent of Protection work and recreational agility.
This is their story.
Tell us about you, who are you, how long have you been training dogs, is Blue your first dog?
My name is Kristen, I am 23 years old, I have been working with animals for as long as I can remember but initially, other than a family Labrador growing up I was much more involved with horses than I was dogs and worked as a horse riding coach for 4 years at a busy riding school in Centennial Park. It was during that time that I was studying Animal Science at Western Sydney University and we had a practical with a police dog and I remember thinking how cool it would be to train dogs for a living.
After that I started working as a Kennel Hand for a few companies before being offered a position as a trainer nearly 3 years ago, I jumped on it and have not looked back since! Doing research in that initial time after coming to the realisation that you could work with dogs as a career I was always fascinated by the Belgian Malinois but felt that I did not have the knowledge or the housing for such an intense breed, however through my work I started attending PSA Training nights, and that’s how I ended up with Blue (a Belgian Malinois) as my first non-family dog!
What breed is Blue?
Blue is a Belgian Shepherd Malinois
How does owning a Mal compare to any other breed?
Despite only having had a Labrador growing up I work with multiple breeds daily and I would have to say, they are a dog that you either have to be prepared to work into the household slowly or pick up the pieces of their destruction as they go! For us it was tricky because the sports we are competing in require a lot of confidence, energy and no bite inhibition which meant having to let slide a lot of things that as a pet dog owner I would not. Definitely not the breed for someone not interested in training!
How old is she?
Blue was born on March 6 2020, so is now 16 months old.
Where did the name “Blue” come from?
I knew prior to bringing Blue home that we would be doing bite sport, so I chose the name Blue from the Velociraptor out of Jurassic World.
Describe Blue’s personality:
Cheeky. If she can she will and if she can’t she will find a way!
What’s her most loveable trait?
Her most loveable trait for me is when she plays with her best friend Busta, a Boston Terrier, she doesn’t often play with dogs, will more so just run around them but when she does with Busta it lifts your heart!
What do you struggle with?
We struggle with commitment. This is something Blue has struggled with right from 8 weeks, when asked to do something unless she is 100% into the behaviour, her commitment to it wanes very quickly so we have to spend a lot of time in the early stages of behaviours to make sure she is absolutely confident in what I am asking and the level of reward, so that as I ask for more she does not start to drop off.
Tell us about her eye fluff:
This is something she was born with, it is a little mole just under her eye that grows hair, initially we thought we may need to remove it, if as she grew it moved up and started interfering with her eyesight however it has stayed exactly where it was at 8 weeks so I’m going by the old motto if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. (Plus it’s sort of her signature now!).
What sports do you participate or train in?
We are primarily training to compete in PSA (Protection Sport Association) but have also started in Agility just recreationally for now but, if we are doing well, competitively later on. We are also in the very early stages of Nosework.
What kind of conditioning do you do?
Blue runs multiple times a week on a slatmill either for short period holding something in her mouth (to get her to learn to breathe through her nose for bitework) or longer periods without. As a puppy we were very heavy into body conditioning through balance work particularly because Blue is cow hocked, we are not as heavy into this anymore but still do exercises at least a few times per week to keep it up. I would love to do drag work with her to help build more muscle, but sadly walking in straight lines is not our forte at the moment so we are holding off on this for a bit longer.
What do you feed Blue?
Blue is fed roughly 200-250g of Providore or ZiwiPeak air dried dry food and 400g of Prime100. She also gets a little supplement mix every morning of K9Power Total K9, K9Power Super Fuel, MSM Powder, Ester C Powder, My Doggy Weed, My Doggy King Island Kelp, My Doggy Bee Pollen, My Doggy Gut Dust, Anitone, HempNectar and of course Antinol!
How long have you been using Antinol?
Blue has been on Antinol from the day she came home at 8 weeks old and I plan to keep her on it until the end.
How do you think it assists her training?
I really do believe that it keeps her joints happy and healthy, as a person who was based heavily in horses I understand that need for a good joint support supplement to keep them feeling and moving well! However, I also believe it helps her mentally in maintaining focus in sessions.
What are your goals for the future with Blue?
To keep training and working our way through PSA, hopefully Agility and maybe Noseworks, but only if she is still enjoying it all!