Understanding the Can Do! Laekenois mind is critical before one makes a serious commitment to a dog partner with this much capability. You must be honest with yourself and understand clearly your skill set to assure that your good friend the Laekenois has the proper guidance for a positive and happy life. When you look at Laekens, more often often than not ,the dogs will have an alphabet soup of titles, this is even for in what most breeds would consider strictly companion dogs. It is a breed for people who want to do things with their dogs. A great relationship with a Laekenois is an amazing thing, lots of fun and you can accomplish a loot. Laekenois do need engagement. Their Can Do! Mind must have direction.
The goal of most breeders worth their salt in any breed is to produce dogs people can live with whilst still keeping the features of the breed that make it what it is. Given this fact, the Laekenois is at this time a dog for the masses. You as the person considering a Laekenois have a responsibility to understand not only what you want in a dog but what the breed presents to you. The Laekenois is much like a gifted student who requires good motivation and solid understanding of limits in order to be a productive member of society. Confidence and experience need to be intertwined with a dream and a plan so that your Laekenois is happy.
The Laekenois is a breed capable of a great deal. If you think that sitting in a crate or all alone in a house for days on end will work for your Laekenois, you are sadly mistaken. The prefer to have company and be engaged, both human and canine. You will end up with a very unhappy dog that may turn it’s frustration to chewing the crate or plucking it’s own coat. So if your other life commitments are such that the dog will not be engaged, it might be a good idea to select a breed that meets your demanding schedule needs. If you think that you will just let you a Laekenois run loose outside your home without supervision, especially with a boundary such as underground wire is a great idea, think again. There is a good chance that your Laekenois will have ideas about how to manage this on his own and turn to his flax field guarding roots.
Making proper choices for rules and management of the smart Laekenois is key. One must remember the initial breed purpose was a guarding role, as well as a multitude of farm based tasks. Researching purpose of a breed and knowing what behaviors will come to the fore is essential when choosing any breed. The breed is exceptionally bright and capable of learning tasks and behaviors quickly. It is essential that from the get go, that the behavior the dog is exhibiting is something you desire. Planning ahead for desired behavior is essential, as you are far better off to direct the desired behavior in the first place rather than putting a heavy duty effort to make corrections. The very fact that the Laekenois possesses a brilliant mind that remembers much, doing it right the first time is far preferred to having to redirect and retrain. This is why a careful consideration as to your skills as a handler by you the prospective Laekenois owner is essential. You need to have a plan to keep the direction of the dog down the right track.
Breeders of Laekenois have a plan, many use a program like Puppy Culture or similar to develop a dog to it’s maximum potential, it is a shame to waste such a foundation and wing it so to speak. Far better to continue the plan and develop your dog appropriately. Keeping your Laekenois engaged both mentally and physically is essential to having a happy dog. A balanced life is important for a a Laeken. Having your Laeken properly worked with, as well as having proper playtime and just being a dog without a job time will result in a lovely lifetime experience with your dog. The bonding and guarding aspects of the Laekenois needs to be managed properly and not left to creative application by the individual dog. Having your Laekenois work with other dogs, as well many other people in interesting environments in a positive fashion starting at a young age is key.
Many people inquire about a Laekenois Service Dog for medical conditions, which many of the tasks they are capable of most certainly. Before making this as a breed selection, step back a moment and think about Service Dogs in a more broad manner. Service Dogs are generally comprised of breeds that are capable of being handled by a broad spectrum of the human population, with a fairly low skill set in the dog management area. One needs to consider, what if you need help, or are incapacitated, will just anyone be able to take my service dog without difficulty so that others can render assistance. The other aspect to consider carefully is the Laekens are tuned into their people and may have a negative reaction for those wanting to rely on them for a mental health condition. Laekenois may become anxious or guard if they are bonded too tightly. This breed feature can affect the performance and outcome of the needed task.
A balanced life is really important for a Laekenois. Down time as a dog is a must. They take their work seriously and are very devoted to it. A Laekenois can go from the gifted student having fun to the mentality of the to of the class medical student who has nothing but work in their lives. This is not healthy for a med student or a Laekenois if work is the only thing in their lives.
When a Laekenois breeder screens potential Laekenois people there will be a discussion of experience, life style and goals. Listen to the breeder is after a discussion, they tell you to look at another breed or another line of Laekenois that might meet your goals and lifestyle more readily. There is a great deal,of interest in the “new” breed and not all people are a good match for a Laekenois. On the flip side if you are in discussions with a breeder and something causes you to pause about a feature of their dogs or breeding program, listen to your inner voice to think carefully again and not to your excitement about the breed lead you to a poor decision.
There is inevitably the question about whether your home will include any dog sports. The reason for this is to assure the Laekenois’ needs are met. There is a laundry list of sports that the breed will excel in, actually there is really nothing they cannot do. There are couch potato Laekenois but they are on the extreme end of the bell curve, thus not common. There are super high drive dogs at the low drive end of the bell curve as well. Know what you need before you set out on your search.
Laekenois need to have balance in life, an active mental and physical aspect as well as having the time to be just a dog. Laekenois can be like your brilliant cousin in med school who is working 36 hour shifts while raising 6 children all with perfect school scores and attending every game for their kids as well. They need a break, they need time to be a dog away from their people.
As the breed expands in popularity, in as much as the dedicated breeders can manage a controlled fashion as numbers increase from less than 300 in the USA, there will be mismatches with people and dogs within the breed community. This is something that breeders try to avoid but is inevitable. It is incumbent upon the breeders as well as the Laekenois buyer to exchange information honestly about levels of drive and temperament realities for any individual dog as well as the expectation of the home the dog is going to. It is important to be honest with the breeder about what you want to do and not do a bait and switch, the breed to too rare to lose any sound (both mentally and physically) Laekenois out of breeding programs because of a sales tactic by the buyer. If a breeder says no to you and you are really wanting a Laekenois, they are probably saving you and a dog a lot of heartache. The may come in the form of nothing being available to a direct you need to choose another breed. Be respectful of this choice. The litter they have may be a higher drive than the breeder thinks you can handle or there may be an aspect to your resume if you will that does not meet the Laekenois’ needs.
If you are approved for a Laekenois, it is essential that you engage your dog right off the bat and continue with the foundation that your breeder has set with engagement and training. Take the time to learn about fear periods, take the time to understand that the Laekenois mind can develop slowly at times and do not press your dog into circumstances or competitions before it is ready. Observation is an acceptance manner of socialization and is necessary for the breed. Should you be show or obedience training do not expect perfection, let the dog have the expectation of fun. Enjoyment of an activity is a huge motivator, for better than a forced perfection in an activity. The key is to have a goal and a plan for your dog, this means committing to understanding what you expect from you Laekenois. Be it when people, come to the door, interacting with family members, animal and human, performing to a level in a ring of any kind. Making the expected behavior fun and interesting for your Laekenois will get you the best relationship ever.
The Laekenois is not a dog for the masses at this point in it’s evolution. The breed requires skill that it attainable, but considering a first dog being a Laekenois puppy Laekenois is ill advised. There is a push among a team breeders in the USA to focus on stable minds in Laekenois who are able to work and interact in the manner expected with confidence and without hesitation. This is happening one step at a time.