Going through customs can be an easy or very difficult process. Recently a trainer that I work with was going into the US with two thirteen week old Belgian Malinois puppies to show them to a trainer there that trains dogs for a local police department. The trainer I work with not only trains police dogs but also breeds them. This could have been a great opportunity to grow the reach of the business, and help with some future development plans. Unfortunately things at the border got difficult and the trip never happened.
These two little babes were very well behaved the entire trip, they didn’t make a fuss and they were patient between rest stops. At thirteen weeks old their training has already been in progress for a solid 5 weeks. To be good police dogs the training starts young. At a young age a positive training routine will imprint the behaviours the dog needs to carry throughout its development and into its career as a police dog.
Part of the training is to get use to being in crates and in cars for extended periods of time, to facilitate this the trainer takes the pups with her everywhere. Because of this at the age these pups are they are very content hanging out in their crates and don’t make much fuss if any at all. They are working dogs and as such they like to have a job, a job gives them purpose and makes them happy.
What is a Belgian Malinois?
Belgian Malinois are of the top choice for police dogs. They are intelligent, fearless, loyal and a high level, high performance working dog. As pups they are a complete pain in the butt. They get into everything, they want to know what everything is, and they chew… everything. They are busy, bossy, and assertive. If you don’t have experience with dogs or other working breeds, a Belgian Malinois may be too much for you to handle.
These two are litter mates, one of the other females from the litter is being kept as a breeding female. I met her a few weeks before the the US trip. She is something else, we were out in the kennel, she came out with her other litter mates and totally took control, she is a strong alfa type female. She ran over to the trainer and got a hold of her sleeve, as soon as she got a grip she held on and didn’t let it go. The pup was hanging from her sleeve for several minutes, the trainer was walking around and doing things with the other dogs and the pup was still holding on. This natural bite will be leveraged later when she starts to do her bite work.
Police dogs are chosen early on, not all the dogs in a litter will be chosen for the police program. The ones that don’t make the cut will be sold and trained as competition dogs.
As mentioned if you have never had a Belgian Malinois before, they may be a handful for you to have in your home. They are a working breed and not well suited as a regular family dog, this dog thrives off of having a job, not doing this can cause the dog to develop very destructive behaviour.
The American Kennel Club recognizes this breed for its hardworking nature. They are part of the German Shepard family. In the show and competition rings judges sometimes are harder on the Belgian Malinois because the expectation for performance from this breed is so high. Again making it the perfect animal for a police dog.
To properly care for an Belgian Malinois you will want to make sure it is on a diet that is suited for a high performance machine. Many breeders and trainers prefer to use a raw diet for this dog. Raw is a choice not all people are willing to do, it is a commitment, and no it is not more expensive then kibble. There are many suppliers out there that offer very competitive rates for their products, you don’t have to get it from a pet store. Freezer dried raw is another option for many people considering an alternative to kibble.
A Belgian Malinois is a companion dog. It likes to do work with its handler to complete tasks and solve problems. If you are interested in an animal that will thrive in Schutzhund (protection) competitions this is your dog. If you are someone who plans on leaving your dog out in the yard and walking it once in a while, you would be cautioned to consider looking at another breed. The companionship and loyalty this dog has makes for a strong bond between them and their handler, yet another trait that makes this breed the perfect police dog.
Training is key, so every part of these pups life is part of a training program that will develop them into well rounded adult dogs.
Process of bringing a dog over
Things are forever changing in the world, and as such so are the rules and regulations for what can and can not be brought over the border.
In the case of our trip into the US we faced many issues with the fact that we were carrying thirteen week old puppies in the truck. We had all the vet paperwork showing they had their updated shots. But according to new regulations that wasn’t enough.
Lately due to the increase of rescue animals coming over the border from over seas the CDC has decided that this has caused a heightened risk for the US. Many of these dogs were coming over without proper vet checks and screening, some of them carried deadly viruses that killed them shortly after arriving. When you think about it, its sad, further it is careless, I can understand why the CDC will want to crack down.
The new regulations require that all dogs coming into the US have their up to date shots including their rabies shots. Further there must be 30 days in between the day of the rabies shots and the day the dog is to go over the border. There is CDC exceptions to this but you must apply for it ahead of time, and the dog is to be in your possession and within a confined area like a house or an appartment until they are able to have their rabies shots and the 30 day incubation period has passed.
So for us, a day trip with puppies would not be possible in any way.
What about bringing a dog in from another country to Canada? Similar rules will also apply. The puppy is required to have all updated shots including their rabies, the difference however is that the puppy can come into Canada the same day it gets the rabies vaccinations. There is no 30 day waiting period.
We learned all about this the hard way…
After the decline..
We didn’t want to make it a loss of a day so we took the opportunity to take the pups to an outdoor mall in Niagara falls that is dog friendly. We used the opportunity to socialize the pups, they met dozens of people, some of them happy to come say hi and others afraid of dogs. This was a very good variety for them.
The pups now will stay in Canada and continue their training program. There is still lots to accomplish, and it still is not guaranteed that they will be successful in the police training program. Only time will tell.
If you are planning on buying or transporting any animal over a border always follow up with current policies and procedure to avoid the unfortunate incident that we encountered.