Originally Posted by Craig Caughlin
NerdicEclipse (or anyone else)...
I work 8 hours per day, but my Wife is home. She wouldn't train the dog or play with it, that would be my responsibility.
I'll ask you to "paint with a broad brush" here. If I adopted a Mal of maybe 3-4 years of age, would it behave long enough for me to get home and play/train with it or would it drive my Wife up a wall?
How "loveable" is a Mal -vs a GSD (which is a trait my Wife loves)?
Will the Mal sleep in the house, peacefully, for 8 hours? I do have a dog run, but I'd prefer to never contain the dog within it unless I have to.
Could I reasonably expect to adopt a healthy Mal or would it be like buying some used cars, i.e., I'm inheriting someone else's problems?
Once you get into a routine I would say it should be fine. But here's the thing - with a Mal just like a GSD, you need to work it mentally and physically or you have the potential for a very destructive force. Assuming you get into a routine with him and he gets proper mental and physical exercise I would say he'd be fine. The 8 hours with your wife would be his down time. I work just like everyone else and my dogs are completely fine but they also get several hours with me between playtime and training. Naturally things happen and we miss a day here and there and nothing bad happens, but you'd want to be fairly consistent. These are after all working dogs, not pets. So they need to have a purpose beyond fetch and vegging out in the house. If they get bored they WILL find a way to entertain themselves and I promise it'll probably be something you or your wife won't like
My Mal is just as affectionate as my GSD. He loves to be with us. Me, my wife, and my kids. The folks in our local club all seem to have great relationships as well. Now that doesn't mean that they are all cuddly and want to be handled a lot, but they're not standoffish in my experience and are very loyal. But this also goes hand in hand with work and activity. These dogs need a job to be happy. If you give them that and work with them regularly they will be very happy and content. So I'd suggest looking into lots of trick training, IPO work, agility, obedience competitions or what have you. It's not just something people say, they really do need it. Again, neither breed is the type (large brush again, I'm sure it varies) to just be fine with an hour of fetch and then just lounging. They need mental stimulation just as much as physical so they need to be directly engaged and for a notable amount of time daily.
Yes they will, with a caveat. Make sure they get tired. If you work them properly and give them busy "up time" they'll be worn smooth out and will rest fine. Be proactive with training and teach them "place" if you don't like to crate/kennel/run them. Place is a life saver. I tell my dogs to go to place and they stay there until released regardless of what's going on, if I stay with them or how full of energy they are. If you can't directly observe the dog and have not worked it, I'd teach it place or contain it somehow though. But that's just me. Because again, if they're full of energy and bored there's always the risk they'll entertain themselves if they're not trained for place or contained.
You can absolutely adopt a healthy Mal. There are Mal specific rescues and I've come across several online needing rehomed because frankly, people get the dogs just like GSDs and don't realize they are workers, not pets. They find out the dog is more than they can manage with their lifestyle and it needs a home. You can always ask for vet records and talk to them about where they got the animal. But if they can't point out a specific breeder that you can check with I'd avoid it. A badly bred backyard dog can be a nightmare. Proper breeders tend to know what they're doing and they don't pass on bad genetics. Bad genetics can affect everything from health to a dog literally being crazy. So find a dog you can trace if you want to be as safe as possible or find a breeder that's had a good dog returned. Because again, most reputable breeders actually want the dog/puppy back if it ever needs rehomed for something like incompatibility. But in my opinion when you find one, start with massive amounts of structure in the home. Honestly it doesn't need to free roam AT ALL until you get into a routine, figure out it's activity needs and get it trained.