Mastiff dogs are not mean dogs; however, they are huge and imposing. If they are not properly trained at an early age they will quickly figure out that their size gives them control. This can lead to some behavior problems in your English Mastiff dog. The following are suggestions to solving some behavioral problems in Mastiffs.
Aggression can be a problem with Mastiffs. Since they often outweigh their owners they can be found pushing ahead of people, shoving people out of their way, refusing to get off furniture, or guarding food and toys.
To prevent aggressive behavior you must take control and not allow it. For instance, if your Mastiff pushes ahead of you through doorways, teach him to sit at the doorway until you give the signal to come. Instead of retreating when your dog shoves you, push him back, invading his space. Your actions will teach your dog that you are in control. Never be cruel to your pet. You can use a distraction such as a toy or treat to lure him when he is misbehaving- such as refusing to get off the sofa. Always reward good behavior. Spaying or neutering can also reduce aggressive behavior.
If your English Mastiff dog has a problem with excessive barking you need to determine why because this is not a common problem in Mastiff dogs. It could be that your dog is bored or lonely. Be sure that you spend plenty of time with your with your dog and that he has toys and play time.
To deter your dog from barking you can wrap you hand around his muzzle and say “Quiet” or “No Barking.” Be sure to praise him when he quiets down. You can use what is called a “shake can” to discourage barking. When your dog barks, take a soda can with a few pennies or pebbles in it (taped shut), and throw it in the direction of your pet. Don’t hit him with it. The idea is that the noise with startle your dog and so he stops barking. Then, again, praise him for being quiet.
Like many other breeds, Mastiffs love to chew on anything and everything. This habit needs to be controlled from the beginning. Providing appropriate chew toys while he young is very helpful. Keep valuable items out of reach of your Mastiff and be sure to rotate the chew toys so your dog won’t get bored.
If you see your English Mastiff chewing on something he shouldn’t, take the object away and replace it with an acceptable toy to chew on. Praise him for chewing on the appropriate item. Be diligent and observant.
Most people view their pet jumping up as a welcome. However, this thinking is incorrect. Jumping up is a sign of dominant behavior and should be discouraged, especially in giant breeds such as Mastiffs. Teach your puppy that sitting will be rewarded with attention, but jumping up will be ignored. If your Mastiff tries to jump up on you, step back or turn aside so that no contact is made. Then tell him to sit and praise him when he obeys the command.
A common problem among Mastiffs is shyness. Shyness can be an inborn condition or it can develop due to lack of socialization. Socialization is one of the most critical aspects of owning a Mastiff. It can be quite difficult to take your dog to the vet, or go on a trip with him if prefers to stay at home and only wants to interact with the family. Take your puppy out as often as possible. Allow your dog to meet people in different places. You can help him get used to other dogs and pets by regularly walking him at a dog park.
These are a few solutions to some of the behavioral problems you can encounter with your English Mastiff dog. Training should start at an early age and this will help to eliminate future problems. If you have severe behavior problems with your dog you might want to get the advice of his veterinarian or see a specialist.