• Cassidy

Big Dog Energy with Julia (@Malinois_Kilo)

Transcribed from the Spicy Dog Mama Podcast

Hello, hello and welcome to the Spicy Dog Mama podcast. I'm your host, Cass, and I'm so happy to have you here to hear mine and other stories about raising puppies, rescuing dogs, dealing with reactivity, or just going through the journey of owning a dog. We all can learn from each other, whether that's from what we've done right or where we've messed up. I'm always going to be open and honest about what I've been through and where I've made mistakes.


Owning a dog is both challenging and rewarding. So let's talk about all of it, no sugarcoating. I'm not a trainer, and I'm certainly no expert. I'm just one spicy dog mama, who had my fear aggressive rescue Reese, raised a puppy, Rey, who was dog reactive and selective and work with my golden boy Riley, who was hyperactive and a resource guarder.


So today on episode 10, the final episode of season one, we have Julia joining us to talk about her one year old Belgian Malinois/Border Collie mix, Kilo. Now if you're not familiar with either of those breeds, Google them now. These are two high-energy, high-drive, super athletic, working breeds. Absolutely incredible dogs. I got to know Julia and Kilo through Instagram but we've never met. She has become a wonderful friend of mine and I've loved watching her work with Kilo and see them both grow over the last few months. She will admit that her life with Kilo isn't for everyone because he is such a high energy dog. They spend so much time training every single day and doing activities to fulfill his needs. It's not always as glamorous as it looks. So let's hear her story. Easiest thing to do, jump right into it. So tell me about yourself. Tell everybody else who you are.

Julia My name is Julia. I think that like I don't have much to say about myself. I have Kilo. He's my one year old Belgian Malinois Border Collie cross. I am a full time nurse. I actually just got a permanent position there. But I'm a cat mom of three.


Cassidy Yeah, yeah, word on the street is you're more of a cat person than a dog person.


Julia That might be true


Cassidy

We will except you anyways. Yes, we love kilo. He's amazing. I was trying to find out when we started following each other on Instagram, because it was only this year.


Julia

I think you were one of the first accounts that I was like, Oh, I'm gonna follow this person, and then actually make a connection with which is really awesome.


Cassidy

Is kilo, your first dog?


Julia

He is, I guess, technically like my first dog. But when I was growing up, we adopted a German Shepherd cross. I think it was in the eighth grade. And that was our family dog. And then a little... probably about five years ago, Josh adopted a Blue Tick Hound. So I guess he was our dog. But Kilo's my first ever, like, just mine.


Cassidy

So a German Shepherd and the Blue Tick Hound. And now Malinois. So it sounds like you like you're working breeds.


Julia

I do like the working breeds, for sure. They're fun to work with. I find they're so smart. And they catch on to things so quickly. But they're also incredibly active.


Cassidy

So a Malinois and a border collie. Two pretty high-energy, high-drive dogs.


Julia

I don't know who decided that it was a great combination. But Kilo's turned out really well.


Cassidy

And look at him. He's so cute. He's so handsome.

Julia He doesn't look much like a border collie either. He looks like he got a lot of the Malinois gene for sure. But I think the two high energy breeds together they could be a nightmare or you could work with their strengths and it's like an awesome wonder dog which I think we are well on the way to.


Cassidy And two very smart dogs. So it could go very poorly in the wrong hands, but also having a dog who's so smart and so eager to learn, it's so fun when you actually do put the work in and train them so just watching you guys, he's so good. I just love it. Rey just doesn't train the same way or doesn't have the same drive like the Frisbee for example, working with him and doing all of that, Rey would like to play fetch, but it's a completely different... they're two completely different breeds.


Julia

Yeah. I feel like with him because he zones in so much and his drive is so high like for his frisbee for instance, I find treats he's not super driven for, balls kind of, but whenever his frisbees out, it's like this intense like, fixation. Oh, he's ready. So I use that as a training tool a lot, actually.


Cassidy

Yeah, it's good to know what works with them.


Julia

Yeah. Oh, for sure. But regular dogs when you bring out a Frisbee, they're like, Oh, this is fun. This is great. Kilos like, this is my job.


Cassidy

When you were looking for a puppy were you looking for a Malinois, or a border collie? Like did you come across him? Or, how did that happen?

Julia So I've always been fascinated by the Malinois breed. I know that they're a very intense dog. A lot of people say do not get one as your first dog. They can be unpredictable and crazy. But I like a challenge. And I was looking specifically for the Malinois, I have wanted to get a shepherd but I know that sometimes they do have a lot of health problems. So we found that the Malinois was, kind of similar to the shepherd breed, but smaller. And it was about, I want to say seven months after our blue tick hound passed away. So we were in the right space to get a dog and I found his litter. And I reached out to this breeder, and she was talking about how awesome like his mom is, which was the Belgian Malinois and then his dad, which was the Border Collie. The first thing that I looked for was for them to have a really good off switch, because I knew that I wanted to have, eventually, a family dog and one that would be really good around other people. Like the high drive malinois. I wanted to find like a good balance. So that was really important in picking him. That's kind of how we found him. And then speaking with the breeder, she was talking about how wonderful her dog was, said that his mom, whose name is Cinder. She would work for anybody. She was great around kids. The puppies were raised around kids and a cat. So it kind of all pieced together.


Cassidy

Did you get to meet the parents?


Julia

I got to meet his mom. She was there when we went to pick him up. And then we went to first see him and her drive and everything was like exactly what I wanted. This is great for Malinois, super connected to her owner. But in saying that, I thought that Kilo would have a little bit more of that fixation on us and desire to work for us. But when we're out and about, he's kind of in lala land; he would rather be sniffing the grass than listening to every single command that we have.


Cassidy

Do you take like a Frisbee with you to try to get that attention back?


Julia

Sometimes I do. Usually I bring treats with me just because it's easier. But that being said, he doesn't have that desire to have treats when he's fixated on something else when we're out and about, he just thinks that the whole world is here to see him. So it's like, this is my social time. Like I'm going out to meet people and see people.


Cassidy

Yeah, making sure that he's good with people and dogs.

Julia No, it's awesome. Because he's pretty good around other dogs, and he loves people. But I think a big part of us raising him was trying to get him to love everybody and love everything. Because my family's dog is incredibly reactive. When she was younger, you could go on a walk with her and she'd be so fixated on other dogs. And she'd be whining, and she's really antsy and you couldn't do anything to get her attention away. And she had gotten into a few altercations with dogs, too. But at the same time, she wasn't comfortable with it. She gave her warning signs. And I don't think we saw that clearly. Our Blue Tick was also a rescue. And he had I don't think he ever met more than just one other dog that he had kind of grown up with. So he didn't know how to act around other dogs, he was very reactive. He hadn't gone for many walks in this lifetime until we got him. And that was a huge challenge too. So I think like our past experiences drove us to try to create this like super social friendly dog and I think that's really similar to like with Rey. It kind of turns around and bites you in the butt, I think it either turns into like them being reactive in a way that they want to like, see other dogs and they don't want to focus on you, or it could turn around and it could be a whole other, like with Rey. Like she saw other altercations. And now she gets super anxious.


Cassidy

Yeah. So she still loves dogs. And she's still so excited to see them. And then she gets right nervous at the same time, like she gets anxious, and especially if she sees them... Like this morning, we were walking with our neighbor and his dog, and she loves this other dog. But then when another dog on the street went to say hi to Coco, our neighbor, Rey got really anxious. And I just had to give space because she, I think she just always assumes the worst. Like, what if a fight happens? I want to take care of the dog. So that's been hard. But yeah, like I over socialized her. And then she just saw the wrong scenarios. But in the beginning, it was like I had the reactive dog. I want to do everything to make sure that she loves people and loves dogs. And for the longest time, it was going great. Yeah. Until it wasn't.


Julia

We kind of line up in that sense too. There's a limit on it, definitely.


Cassidy

Yeah, and it's learning and trial and error and figure things out as you go making those mistakes and learning from them. And then learning from other people's mistakes is super helpful. Yeah. So hopefully less people have to make the mistakes. But sometimes you just do, or it's so different for every dog, that me doing something that I've considered a mistake, you could do the exact same thing and it could go perfectly fine.

Julia So I think that was our experience, like our friends all had dogs that were like a year older than Kilo, and a lot of them go to dog parks. So we brought him once, which I was very weary of. He did really well. But I think too like in the same sense, it was kind of harmful for him because he has dogs like run up and rush him. And now he kind of was like, Oh my gosh, like when other dogs are coming like into my space, and then he puts up a little guard and he puts his hackles up and 'I'm a big dog, I can do this'. And I'm worried that it will turn into something else. But I think we have a pretty good handle on that.


Cassidy

Yeah, yeah, no, keep going on it like you are. So when you got him and you said that he wasn't as fixated on you and like going for walks, he's more interested in other things. Has the training process been going the way you thought it would?


Julia

I think I set a lot of really high expectations for him and myself. And I kind of just thought that, oh yeah, this is a puppy, but he knows thing. Like he should be acting this way, he should be doing this. I had to take into account that 'No, he's still a baby'. And there's times where he's not going to understand the situation, I'm going to have to help him through it. I first would bring him into the backyard tire him out with a round of fetch. And then we would go on a walk. But he would still be so flustered. You could tell if people were walking by he'd be jumping up at them and like stand on his back legs and actually got somebody commenting once we were going for a walk and they're like, "oh, good luck with that one". And like, I just feel defeated right now.


Cassidy

That's just not nice.

Julia It was really unkind for sure. But I thought it was really frustrating the fact that I couldn't get him to focus on me when we were out and about because he was so focused on other things. And I would actually just go on trail walks with him. I would drive somewhere to trails and avoid the busier areas, because it would frustrate me so much. And then when I would try going around to our neighborhood streets. You know, I just felt like giving up. So I would come home early, and we would go for a shorter walk. But he was doing typical dog things he was playing right. He didn't understand leash pressure. When other dogs are coming here, he'd get really anxious and I think just like those typical dog things that they do, especially when he was a baby. And we were like welcoming people to come and say hi to him and bring your dog. And so I think he kind of expected that.


Cassidy

For so long, he's allowed to say hi to everybody. And then all of a sudden, oh, wait, I can't.


Julia

Yeah, so it's like finding times that we do focused walks and then we'll have a break in it.


Cassidy

Yeah, training a Malinois, like figuring out what like drives him. And you know, I just want to hear your experience with it too.


Julia

Yeah, I joined a few Malinois Facebook groups before getting him and bringing him home and a lot of them are using training tools. That's something that my trainer, who's my cousin, and then she is forced free, positive reinforcement. So we went along with that, which I hadn't seen many people do with the Malinois breed before so they can do it 100%, he's great for that. But there were times where I was like, 'oh, should I use a training tool? Like, is this something that I should use? Because everybody else is using them for his breed?' But no, he's a very high drive dog, but he has a lot of really amazing qualities too. Like if you met him in person, you would be like, what this is a Malinois? He's so chill and goofy. And he's not like that super intense kind of, he's a pretty like, easy chill, dude.


Cassidy

Well, that's the thing is like when you're trying to figure out how to train your dog, you want to look at their breed and their makeup and train accordingly. But he's also just, they're their own dogs at the same time, too. So you have to look at the dog that you're working with. And you know, if what you're doing is working for him.


Julia

He will respond really well to the positive reinforcement. He's super smart, super quick learner, like willing to work. Because he's not like a super reactive, dude. I don't really know if I can speak to that as much.


Cassidy

But like, that's the thing too. Like, I want to hear other experiences. It's not like a reactive only podcast. It's just like, is it the spicy dog? Mama? Are we the spicy dog-Mama, is like you can be spicy and don't have a reactive dog. So I just like hearing about different experiences, right? So the dog community, the dog world is a spicy place.


Julia I was gonna say I feel like a lot of people can connect to having a reactive dog and to having a more like, mellow dude, or being interested in them in case something comes up. I think that's why I'm so like, intrigued with, I don't know, is that the wrong word? Intrigued with like the reactive dogs? I am. Because I'm like, oh, if something like that ever happened with us? I would know how to respond. And yeah, I think prior too, because there's a lot of people that talk about dogs being off leash and running up to other dogs. Before like seeing the reactive side of Instagram. And people were like running into those scenarios. Both Josh and I were kind of like, Oh, whatever. Like if that happens, it's not a huge deal. And even like with letting Kilo off leash, he does not have a reliable recall at all- I guess that's one of our big things with him. Ya know, like listening to dogs being charged by off-leash dogs. Like oh, Kilo runs up to another dog. He's great. Yeah, he's friendly. He's a friendly guy. And then I heard about that. I'm like, Oh my gosh, like, what if he was the one that was to get seriously injured by running to another dog? Right. And then I think going to the dog park to having like, six dogs run at him. I'm like, Oh my gosh, like, I wouldn't like have six people ran up at me. So.


Cassidy

Yeah, exactly. I think that there's so much that reactive dog owners can learn from non reactive dog owners and vice versa. Just like your dog being super friendly running off leash, you might not have ever considered it before. But that's why we're trying to tell people like okay, this is what could go wrong. And your dog is also at risk. And I also do think too, there's so much pressure to have a dog that can be off leash and have like, perfect recall. But I think too, like so what if your dog has to be on a long line on adventures? It's okay to have a dog on a long line like doesn't mean that you're any less of a handler that your dog is any less of a dog.

Julia Yeah, and I think that was a big thing for us too. Our friends, their dogs are all off leash and they're amazing. So I feel like we have a little bit more pressure to be able to do that with Kilo, but he's just not the right dog for that at least not right now. I've had a lot of pressure on myself too and like oh, he should be able to do this. I was gonna say I think it's kind of cool like, having a Malinois that is super friendly and he defies all of the stereotypes of the Mals- he's so friendly, he's pretty good with other dogs. There's a few times where he's kind of gotten scared off with them. He is such a good family dog. He will do anything for anyone; he loves people. I even had the vet when we first got him they were like oh you need to get him neutered right away because he's gonna be vicious and we won't be able to take care of him if he comes into the to the clinic. You do not know my dog like sure you know, the stereotype of the Mals but he is not that it. He'd sleep all day on the couch if he could.


Cassidy

Did you watch the movie with? Was it with Channing Tatum and there was a Malinois on it?


Julia

I did. And there was a few parts of it that I'm like, okay, yeah, like Mals could be like that. And I know there's a lot of people who after that were buying Malinois without any experience, which is really scary. There's a lot of people that breed them with all of like, terrible traits.


Cassidy

They want them to be the really intense working breed, but are they going to make sure that they go to the homes that are going to train them.


Julia

That's like a really scary thing, because these people are gonna have these dogs who, you know, they think are like, yes, they can be really loyal, but cool. They are unpredictable sometimes. But no, I think it'd be really neat to like, our account is growing like, quite drastically. And it's kind of neat for people to see them all in a different light, like going for these adventures and getting dressed up in cute little bow ties. Yeah. No, I think it'll be kind of neat for people to see like, you can have a Mal that doesn't do bite work, that does like cool sports, like agility.


Cassidy

You're gonna fulfill his needs, because he is a working breed. And he does need to, you know, have a job, but you're gonna fulfill him in different ways.


Julia

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, like, put that energy onto something else.


Cassidy

Do you wish that you had have done anything differently with him?


Julia

Ah, there's a few things I could think of. Number one being not greeting everybody every time we went on a walk. Yeah. Number two, every time we would get home when he was a puppy, we would get up in his face and give him love and let him kiss us. And now that he's older, he wants to see everybody he can, he jumps up when people come into our house because he just wants to be so close to their faces. Aside from that, probably practicing recall more.


Cassidy

Just general, puppy things that you learn on the way because what's cute when they're a puppy? Get to think about okay, is this going to be cute when they're maybe 80 pounds? I know he's not 80 pounds, is he 50?


Julia

He's 50, just a small little guy.


Cassidy

Yeah, he is.

Julia I think because we had the idea of this being a super high drive Malinois, that's super intense. We nipped a lot of things in the bud right away. So touching us with his teeth or biting us. We would right away be like 'no way, that's not happening'. We would stop playing with him if he made contact with our hands, which I mean, worked out really well for us. Yeah. And another thing that I wish we did, I wanted to get a dog for my own mental health too, and to get me out of the house and being more active. And I love being in quiet spots. So a lot of like trail walks and that kind of stuff. As a puppy, I wish that we brought him to busier areas, because we can go downtown in our little town. It's like, I don't even I think we have like, oh, no, I can't even speak to how many people live here. Three traffic lights, I don't know if that puts it into perspective. But if you go along to like the main drag, he shuts down a little bit because he hears all those fast cars going by. And that's really kind of like, I don't know what to do. So he walks perfectly, which is nice. But you can tell that he's just super shut down. So I've exposed him to that a little bit more.


Cassidy

Yeah, it's hard when I moved to the city last year with Rey. And she isn't fearful of people or cars. Like none of that bothers her. But then we were walking by a construction site. And I didn't even think anything of it. But yeah, she had never seen a construction site with all that noise. And she was very, like, I don't want to be anywhere near this. So we didn't go into the city ever with her when she was a puppy. And then we're just living here. It's like, okay, we have to figure this out very quickly. So a lot of exposure now.


Julia

It's tough too especially like for him being out on a walk and not really engaging with us a lot like he does more. So now we've been working on it a lot. But like going to those big spaces where he didn't feel comfortable around all those cars and everything but at the same time he was like, What should I look at? What should I do and getting him to realize we are here for you, it's on us we'll guide us through this. So that was a learning curve. We're still working on it, but I would rather go on a trail walk. Yeah.


Cassidy

Yeah, me too.


Julia

We went to like a big pet expo thing in London, Ontario. And there were so many dogs around so many vendors, so many people and he did so well, which was a big training win. But no Yeah. I think those are like the main things that I would have worked on a little bit more as a puppy- more exposure in busy areas. Recall. That's pretty much it.

Cassidy So starting a podcast and having almost no clue what to do, using brand new software, sometimes you lose the remainder of your hour and a half conversation. Thank you Julia for talking with me, we at least still had some good talk in this little piece. And that just means you'll have to be back later to talk about the rest and see where your journey has taken both you and Kilo. Julia is doing amazing work. Kilo is turning into such an incredible and handsome boy. I am so glad that I know them and can watch them both and hopefully actually be able to meet someday. Rey would love it, that's for sure. You can follow their adventures on Instagram @malinois_kilo, you just have to see his sweet face and their amazing adventures and training.


He's not a reactive boy. But with experience with reactive dogs and from hearing about others in the dog community. It has affected the way that they train and live their everyday life (in a good way). That's why I love sharing all sides and stories and journeys. So we can all continue to learn.

As I mentioned earlier, this is the end of season one. I'm going to take some time off for myself so that I don't get burnt out. I absolutely love what this has turned into. I'm making so many connections, having incredible conversations and learning so much. The last thing that I want is for this to feel like a chore. I will be active on social media @spicydogmama, Rey will be posting all of her selfies @mylittlepibble so you can find us there. If you enjoyed this episode and this entire season of 10 episodes. Please please please let me know. Like rate review follow subscribe, share with your friends reach out, I want to hear your thoughts and get connected with you. You can email me at spicydogmama@gmail.com And if you have a story that you want to tell, I would love to hear it. If you want to be a guest on the show in the next season. Let's do it. We can talk for five minutes or for an hour. Let's share your story.


Enjoy the next few weeks without hearing my voice. I love you. You're doing amazing.


Join my Facebook community Balancing Reactivity, Canadian Dogs - we share stories on our journeys, our wins, our rants, in a safe and encouraging environment. This group is not exclusive of any breeds, methods, it's not even just for reactivity or Canadians! Join the discuss as long as you promise to be nice :)


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