English mastiff puppies are unlike any other puppy you may have encountered – starting from their looks. They are generally very calm and easy to manage when they are babies, but mastiff temperament varies depending on breed and pedigree.
Mastiffs are quick learners and get used to the house rules fairly quickly. The owner needs to be patient and willing to spend time with them and teach them the basics – in a loving and understanding manner. They are super sensitive and do not react well to yelling or hitting.
As with any other pup, the mastiff dog requires a lot of affection and time during their life span, and loves to sleep through the day as well.
Mastiff Puppies Care
Mastiffs are generally lazy and like to relax all day, but you can keep them engaged and happy by taking them out for regular exercise or playing with them throughout the day, whenever time permits.
Like any dog, mastiff is no different and requires daily walks to utilize all the stored energy – physical as well as mental. When walking, always make sure that he is behind or beside you, to let him know that you are the leader and in command over him. Mastiffs can also live in smaller houses or apartments provided they get sufficient amounts of exercise on a daily basis. They do not show much activity when taken outdoors and hence, do not require heaps of space to move around or stay active.
This breed is quite prone to hip dysplasia. They are also susceptible to bloating and hence you have to manage their meals (at least twice every day), rather than giving them one big meal every day. They can also develop gastric torsion, vaginal hyperplasia, life threatening coronary heart conditions, and progressive retinal atrophy. They do not do great health-wise and hence you have to keep a close eye on them and various symptoms that may lead to any of these conditions. For the same reason, do not make them walk for longer durations as they can easily develop joint and hip issues.
Always use a firm brush for their grooming purposes, given they are short haired, but have a dense coat. They must be bathed and their eyes and ears cleaned on a regular basis. The coat needs to be free of tangles, dead hear and debris for a healthy and supple skin.
The old English mastiff is one of the largest dogs you can find in the world and hence has a lot of physical demands that you must be prepared to meet. They need to be fed well given their big appetite and need reasonable exercise on a daily basis, at the same time.
All of the above will ensure that they are loved and feel secure with their owner at all times.
Mastiff Puppy Training
If you are contemplating to get an English Mastiff, there are training aspects you need to be aware of. Let us consider them in detail so you are well informed before his arrival.
1. Crate Training
Crate training works well with all breeds of dogs including mastiff pups. When introduced to a crate at an early age, they get accustomed to staying in one place, rather than the whole house, and that is the easiest and simplest way to house train them for potty purposes, primarily relying on outdoors for them to get relieved. Crate should be of reasonable size so they can use it for potty and lying around on the other side. You should never keep their food and water inside or near the crate, which will increase their frequency of urinating and potty, which may not be convenient for you, as you cannot run with them outside every now and then. Having said that, they should have some sort of potty breaks routine, so they understand the importance of ‘holding it’ until they are meant to go outside.
Mastiff dogs eat in a rushed manner when they are fed and this can lead to tummy bloating. It is vital that you develop good and portion sized eating habits at a very early age to avoid this condition. Always spread the portion of their meals throughout the day (3 times is good), rather than bulk feeding.
3. Leash Training
Put them on a leash from the very start, particularly on walks, so they are used to it and are happy wearing it. This can get very difficult as the mastiff grows in size and can then be hard to control, as they didn’t develop a good behavior early on. Moreover, this can also be dangerous if they start chasing people or other dogs around them when outside and you certainly do not want that for a variety of obvious reasons.
4. Avoid Jumping
Puppies need to be trained at an early age as to how they should behave and interact with those around them. This is even more important for mastiffs that can grow into very large dogs and hence, pose danger to their owners and those around them. Always try to bend down to them, rather than permitting them to jump to you or towards your face. This is a bad habit and needs to be avoided at all times.
Socializing a mastiff is important (as it is for any dog breed) so that they get used to seeing and interacting safely with people around them, and in all conditions. This will ensure that you are calm and composed and there are no nerves or anxiety on part of your mastiff either when you are out and about. You should take them to dog parks on a frequent basis so they get to see people and other animals around them. This will require a good amount of time on your part as you expose them to variety of environments and people around him, which he should learn as a normal part of his life growing up.
6. Never Over Exercise Your Mastiff Pup
It is always exciting and tempting to play with your pup for long hours during the early days of getting him, but this is not recommended for a mastiff pup. You should keep the exercise and gentle playing to simple routines that are spread out to reasonable time periods every day, particularly during the first 9 months.
7. No Yelling or Hitting
Never hit or yell at your mastiff. They do not react well to it and get scared or dissuaded easily. Always adopt a firm and corrective tone with them during the training period to get the best behavior out of them. They will never learn to obey or follow instructions if you are loud with them or threaten to or actually hit them. This is counterproductive and will only make them more nervous and edgy, which will completely stop the learning process. Make sure you give them heaps of praise and offer them treats as an incentive, when they do obey your command. Once again, patience and consistency are key factors whilst training and for you to train a well-behaved mastiff dog that is confident and lovable.
Do’s and Don’ts to Raising a Mastiff Puppy
It is your responsibility as a pet owner to help your mastiff learn all the tricks and behavioral traits as he grows older to become an adult mastiff.
The first year is crucial for a mastiff pup in terms of developing good and healthy habits and staying fit for life. Do not make them work around physically too much as they develop all sorts of health conditions and health problems and you do not want them to continue with the same level of activity when they get older. Try talking them on calm and relaxed walks whilst they have soft webbing collars on, which is good healthy behavior and also lets them mingle with people and pets around him.
Do not make them run or walk on slippery surfaces. This can cause them injuries, which they are already prone to genetically anyway.
You should expose them to public places so they get accustomed to loud noises and people’s voices, so they could get properly socialized. This socialization should start as soon as they finish all their vaccinations. Always praise them for their bravery as they experience these new places and tackle new environments.
Do not let them run up and down the stairs or within the car. Similarly, always discourage them jumping around or on you.
When playing with a ball, always use a ball that is larger than your mastiff’s head.
Do not over feed them with unhealthy food or too much treats. When using treats, opt for healthier options like cheese or dried liver. The food quality should always be monitored and should be tailor-made for mastiffs or larger dog breeds. Loose stools will suggest that you are over feeding them and you should modify their portion size immediately. If they are constipated then you need to increase their portion size. Whenever in doubt, always consult a vet.
One thing that should always be at their disposal is fresh drinking water. You will need to change it frequently as it gets dirty with their saliva quite frequently.
Toilet training starts from day 1. You will need to be persistent and vigilant as to when he needs to go and relieve himself – usually when they wake up, after play time or immediately after meal times as well.
Some of the basic commands including ‘heel’, ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘lie down’ and ‘recall’ are important to practice and will establish a great bond between you and him. You can use a simple ‘no’ (or in a harsher tone if required) when disciplining him on something he should not have done. They have short memories so it is best to remind them of the wrong there and then.
Closing Thoughts About Raising A Mastiff Puppy
Mastiff puppies are impressive pets – muscular, powerful, and huge sized. Their size can be deceptive as they are generally not aggressive and super friendly with children when introduced to them at the right age. They are keen observers and show a lot of intelligence in their day to day behavior. They can be calm and composed and practice a lot of patience when dealing with their owners – on the condition that they have been trained well from a very early age.
The puppyhood is an interesting period and the pet owner needs to show authority at all times during training process, to ensure that they retain control over them at all times. These cute little babies grow up very quickly – so enjoy them to the fullest.