If you’re a proud owner of a Belgian Malinois, you’re likely no stranger to their reserved and calm nature. While Belgian Malinois are known for this nature, you might find yourself wondering why your Belgian Malinois is so hyper.
We outline what makes a Belgian Malinois so hyper and how to manage and channel their enthusiasm effectively.
Why is my Belgian Malinois so hyper?
A Belgian Malinois can be hyper due to attention seeking behavior, anxiety, lack of exercise and mental stimulation, lack of training, and encouragement of the behavior by their owners. By addressing these underlying causes, you can help reduce their hyperactivity and foster a well-behaved dog.
Factors that Cause Hyperactivity in Belgian Malinois
When it comes to understanding the hyperactivity levels of your Belgian Malinois, it is important to consider a variety of factors that can contribute to their energetic behavior.
By identifying these underlying causes, you can effectively address and manage your Belgian Malinois’s hyperactivity.
A Belgian Malinois can be hyper because of:
Attention seeking behavior
One of the causes of hyperactivity in a Belgian Malinois is attention seeking. Hyperactivity is one of the ways dogs try to communicate their needs and wants. For example, a dog may hyper and bark or cry to let you know that they want to go outside, or that they want to play.
They may also do this if they feel neglected or sense that you are not paying much attention to them, therefore they may start to be hyperactive to get your attention, to bring your focus to them.
To understand what your dog is trying to communicate, it’s important to pay attention to their body language and behavior.
Another common cause of hyperactivity in Belgian Malinois is stress and anxiety. The Belgian Malinois can experience anxiety or fear in response to many different triggers.
The different triggers include moving to a new home, being confined in a crate, a change of routine, introduction of a new pet, or loud noise.
The anxiety can lead to compulsive obsessive behaviors in a dog, which include hyperactivity, digging, chewing, and eating everything, which act as stress-relieving outlets.
Separation anxiety is also a common cause of hyperactivity in dogs. It happens when a Belgian Malinois becomes anxious or distressed when separated from their human family or left alone. It can also be caused by a lack of training.
Lack of exercise
One of the main reasons why the Belgian Malinois may exhibit hyperactivity is due to a lack of proper exercise.
These majestic dogs are known for their impressive size and strength, and they require regular physical activity to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
Without adequate exercise, Belgian Malinois can become restless and may engage in excessive jumping, running, or other forms of hyperactive behavior.
Learn more: When do Belgian Malinois puppies calm down?
Boredom can be a significant factor contributing to a Belgian Malinois’s hyperactivity.
The Belgian Malinois is an intelligent dog that thrives on mental stimulation. When they don’t receive enough mental enrichment, they can quickly become bored and agitated, leading to hyperactivity.
Without engaging in activities, they may resort to destructive behaviors or excessive barking to alleviate their boredom.
They need regular exercise to burn off excess energy and if they don’t get enough physical activity, they can become restless and hyperactive. This might manifest as excessive barking, digging, or zooming around the house.
Lack of training and socialization
Another factor that can contribute to hyperactivity in a Belgian Malinois is the lack of proper training and socialization.
The Belgian Malinois requires early and consistent training to develop good behavior and social skills.
Without adequate training, they may struggle with impulse control and exhibit hyperactive tendencies.
Without proper training, a Belgian Malinois may also feel uncertain about their role in the family and their boundaries.
This uncertainty can lead to anxiety and restlessness, which may manifest as hyperactive behaviors like excessive barking, jumping, or destructive chewing.
Belgian Malinois also have a lot of energy to burn, and without training, they may not know how to channel it appropriately.
This can result in them expending their energy in less desirable ways, such as running around the house or engaging in frenetic play.
Untrained Belgian Malinois may lack basic obedience skills like “sit,” “stay,” or “come.” This lack of control can make them appear hyperactive, as they may not respond to commands or may show impulsive behaviors.
Learn more: Are Cane Corsos hard to train?
Encouraging the behavior
You may be encouraging hyperactive behavior in your Belgian Malinois which inadvertently contributes to their hyperactivity.
Dogs are quick learners, and they often repeat behaviors that result in attention or rewards. So when you give attention, treats, or playtime in response to hyperactive behaviors, you inadvertently reinforce those behaviors.
For example, if your Belgian Malinois jumps up to greet you and you respond by petting and praising them, they’ll see jumping as an effective way to get your attention.
Inconsistency in training and expectations can also confuse your dog. If sometimes you allow hyperactive behavior and other times you don’t, your Belgian Malinois may not understand when it is appropriate to be calm and when it is acceptable to be hyperactive.
Also, dogs are social animals and often seek attention from their owners. If your Belgian Malinois has learned that being hyperactive gets them attention, they may resort to such behavior to fulfill their need for interaction.
How to manage a hyper Belgian Malinois
Provide sufficient exercise
Regular exercise is important for keeping your Belgian Malinois physically and mentally stimulated. The breed requires exercise to prevent boredom and restlessness.
Aim for at least 60-90 minutes of exercise each day, which can include activities such as long walks, jogging, or playing fetch.
Engaging in physical activities not only helps to burn off excess energy but also promotes muscle tone and overall good health.
Mental stimulation and enrichment
In addition to physical exercise, it is important to provide your Belgian Malinois with mental stimulation and enrichment.
These intelligent dogs thrive on mental challenges and require mental stimulation to prevent boredom and hyperactivity.
Consider incorporating activities such as puzzle toys, interactive feeding games, and obedience training into your Belgian Malinois’s routine.
These activities will not only keep their minds occupied but also provide a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
Consistent training and socialization
Training and socialization play a vital role in managing hyperactivity in Belgian Malinois. Establishing clear boundaries and teaching them basic obedience commands from an early age can help channel their energy in a positive direction.
Regular training sessions not only provide mental stimulation but also strengthen the bond between you and your Belgian Malinois.
Also, proper socialization with other dogs and people can help reduce anxiety and prevent hyperactivity caused by fear or insecurity.
To address hyperactivity caused by attention-seeking behavior in your Belgian Malinois, teach your dog basic commands like “sit” and “stay,” and reward calm behaviors with attention and treats.
Ignore hyperactive or attention-seeking behaviors, and only provide attention when your dog is calm and well-behaved.
Reward good behavior with treats, praise, and attention. Encourage calm and controlled behavior while discouraging hyperactive or undesirable actions.
Establish a routine for interacting with your Belgian Malinois. Set aside specific times for play, exercise, and affection, ensuring they receive the attention they need in a structured manner.
Regular veterinary check-ups
While hyperactivity in a Belgian Malinois is often behavioral, it is important to rule out any underlying health issues that may contribute to their excessive energy levels.
Regular veterinary check-ups are important to ensure your Belgian Malinois’s overall health and well-being.
Your veterinarian can assess their physical condition, address any concerns, and provide guidance on managing hyperactivity.
Remember, every Belgian Malinois is unique, and it may take some trial and error to find the right combination of exercise, mental stimulation, training, and socialization techniques that work best for your dog.
When to Seek Professional Help
While many behavioral issues can be addressed through proper training and management, there may be times when it is necessary to seek professional help for your hyperactive Belgian Malinois.
This is because the behavior can be due to an underlying health condition.
The veterinarian will conduct a full examination, determine the underlying cause, and develop a more comprehensive plan to address your dog’s behavior.
If it is a behavioral problem, they will also guide you on ways to stop the behavior and may also recommend an animal behaviorist for training needs.
A veterinarian should also be consulted regarding your Belgian Malinois’s hyperactivity when:
The behavior is new or sudden: If your Belgian Malinois’s hyperactivity is sudden or out of character, it could be a sign that there’s an underlying medical issue.
The behavior is accompanied by other signs of illness: If your Belgian Malinois is exhibiting other signs of illness, such as lethargy, loss of appetite, or changes in bowel or bladder habits, consult your veterinarian.
The behavior is disturbing: Consult with your veterinarian if the hyperactivity is excessive and disruptive in your household.
The behavior is persistent: Also talk to your veterinarian if your dog’s behavior continues despite your efforts to address the behavior.
Understanding and addressing hyperactivity in your Belgian Malinois is important for ensuring their well-being and maintaining a harmonious relationship with them.
By considering the various factors that contribute to hyperactivity, such as lack of exercise, boredom, improper training, and encouraging behavior, you can take proactive steps to manage and reduce your Belgian Malinois’s hyperactive behavior.
If you find that your efforts to manage your Belgian Malinois’s hyperactivity are not yielding the desired results, it may be time to seek professional help. Consulting your veterinarian can provide valuable insights into any underlying medical conditions that may be causing hyperactivity.
Every Belgian Malinois is unique, and what works for one dog may not work for another. It is therefore important to be patient, consistent, and understanding while addressing hyperactivity in your Belgian Malinois.