Confessions of a Virgin Malinois Owner - Part Two: Rookies feel the Heat

After surviving our first poop debacle we exchanged hi-fives over coffee the next morning and were in agreement that we had both made it as new malinois parents. Yes, you heard me right. We had both arrived. Or so we had thought….

Checking in with our strict morning dog schedule we started checking items off the list.
Take care of yourself before the dog, check.

Take the dog out to the bathroom and immediately back to her crate, without cuddles, affection or attention, (aww man……), ok check!

We were instructed by our trainer to do this each and every morning in order to a) establish a routine (mals love structure) and b) as part of her toilet training. Our end goal was to attach a command to the action so we could communicate whenever we needed her to go to the bathroom.

So, back to the story….

There we were; the dog was back in her crate and my boyfriend was walking out the door to work. Success felt good and the sun was shining. The designated amount of time passed and I proceeded to open the door of the crate and get on with my day. As I unlatched the door of the crate a little face began to poke out and within seconds there was an explosion. An explosion of fur just came right out and hit me in the face like a jack-in-the box powered on ten cans of red bull! There was jumping and nose punching, some bitey nipping and then me; freaking out as I was herded towards the kitchen with my back against the wall by our ten month old Malinois puppy who in physical size was actually fully grown. “Be a pack leader,” I told myself. Followed up by that line we’re all instinctively taught as kids, “Don’t show your fear!”

How I got that jack-in-the box back into her crate I cannot remember. What I do remember is the numerous times we repeated that escapade throughout the morning, and the several phone calls I made to our trainer about the german Shepherd + C4 tyrannosaurus rex furball monster that I had just hours ago claimed that I’d had total control of.

Our trainer arrived that afternoon and we set to work. Obedience 101 was going to be our answer and this pup was going to have a job by the end of the day. Well, at least that’s what we thought was going to happen. What actually happened was that our dog went into heat. I’m not kidding. Our young malinois who was now our first real dependent together had just started her first full blown heat cycle. Not even 24 hours into moving in with us! We were pretty freaked out and had no idea what we were in for, how long it was going to last and what it all really meant. What a mess!

I can now tell you what it all really meant. Work had us travelling in 10 days time and as luck would have it, we found ourselves staying in a beautiful hotel with luscious white fluffy carpet. For those of you who don’t know what happens to a dog when she’s in heat, there is some bleeding involved. And although we consider ourselves to be pretty young, hip and technologically savvy people; we somehow missed the memo on why you buy diapers for your female dog. Fortunately for us I was a Yacht Stewardess in my previous life and possess an innate ability for removing stains from pretty much anything! So, we took to the road with a extra bag - dubbed ‘the heat bag’ containing ten towels, four stain treating rags and a tide-to-go pen. We were a Ninja team with elite capabilities and nothing was going to stop us. Ninja one walked into the hotel lobby with the dog and schmoozed the receptionist while ninja two discreetly twirled about on trail clean-up patrol. When we reached our hotel room ninja two moved ahead to lay a red carpet entrance of towels expanding out to form a covering over the floor wall-to-wall throughout the room. Just imagine how you would cover the floors if you were going to paint the walls in your room and that’s exactly what it looked like. Once that was done, we could enter. Ninjas! At ease.

Knowing how Malinois pups love to play, accidents of course happened. And just because we’d had a few glasses of wine it didn’t mean we’d lost those Ninja capabilities. By the way; after you’ve owned a Malinois you have those ninja capabilities for life. I swear this is the ultimate preparation for children! The foresight alone that I now have for potential disaster to occur is quite simply remarkable. Any accidents that happened were swiftly dealt with using the remaining items within ‘the heat bag’ and I think it’s fair to say that we were finally starting to own it.

Being in heat meant that we weren’t exposed to our pup’s true personality straight away. Throughout our three weeks experiencing her heat cycle as a family, we wondered what she would be like once it was over and we were excited to meet her real personality. If you’re wondering what happened to the C4 tyrannosaurus rex furball explosions upon opening the crate, well, it became apparent they were especially for me when my boyfriend confessed that he’d never even seen them! Our trainer and I worked through channeling her explosions by putting her into obedience as soon as she came out of her crate. Her desire to work and please us quickly took over the excitement and puppy-like antics. One could also go as far as saying that I finally learnt how to be a real pack leader. And her personality? I’m happy to report that we have an adorable, loving, affectionate and intelligent malinois with the most amazing personality!

So until the next rigamarole of malinois ownership, we leave you better equipped in stain removal, higher up in our ninja status and we hope as better malinois parents.

Lots of Love,

Virgin Malinois Owner