Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Training Your Mastiff

Every dog should be taught at the minimum, basic obedience, however because they are destined to be VERY large dogs, it is necessary for Mastiffs. Most Mastiffs are very easy to train because of their willingness to please their owners.  They are a ‘soft’ breed, meaning they require little to no scolding.  A simple raised voice may have a reaction similar to that of a much worse punishment.  I can give my Mastiffs a look and point my finger and they act like I’ve punished them for days. Positive reinforcement training methods are really the only way to go with a Mastiff.  Praise and treats everytime they do something correct or you are happy with, they will learn quite quickly.

It is also very important that your Mastiff gets proper socialization as it is growing to ensure it’s attitude in public, around other dogs, people and children is positive.  A fearful or shy Mastiff can be quite hard to handle should a situation arise where they need to be taken out of their comfort zone and in some situations fear turns into aggression.  Something any dog owner wants to avoid at all costs.  A well socialized Mastiff is a stable Mastiff.

It is important to note that while you may want your Mastiff to grow into the guardian of the family, a Mastiff does not need protection training. A well socialized Mastiff has, in essence, been taught what a normal situation is and will be able to sense when something is wrong. It takes a loving bond with a family or person for a Mastiff to instinctually protect, not aggression training.

Please also remember that even if your dog is well socialized and friendly, NEVER under any circumstance leave any child unattended with ANY dog.  If a dog bites a child when a parent isn’t watching the parent is the one at fault, they were the negligent one.  In most situations the dog was just reacting when provoked or in pain from something the child probably did.  However, a 200lb dog can injure a child in a seconds time, so be responsible with your children and protect your dog.


  1. I love the first line of this. Dog training is so important and there are so many great trainers out there who love dogs that if cost is an issue, they'll work with you.

    We worked with one trainer with our littermates and another one for our puppy. It makes our life a lot easier knowing that when we call, they'll come, when we say "leave it" they'll actually leave it.

    Our dogs aren't as big as your dogs, but having 3 makes it even more important that they be trained.

    This past summer, a saw a couple selling Mastiff puppies on the side of the road and I wondered if the potential owners understood anything about the breed. Such gorgeous dogs.

  2. To say that mastiff's are soft is an understatement! For such a big animal they are the biggest babies!! This isn't a bad thing of course, think about a dog that big being gruff and standoffish, not a pretty sight.

    I have worked with molossors of all types, and their softness and handler sensitivity is one of the most common temperment traits I can identify. The slightest tug on the leash will send the spirit of most mastiffs plummeting to the ground quicker than stray meteor!

    If on a proper feeding regimen, these gentle giants can be adequately motivated with treats in the beginning stages of training, and respond well to marker training. Soon enough, their desire to please will take over and its nothing but fun and belly rubs from there.

    As far as protection or guard work, I wouldn't count on a mastiff for much more than a deterrent. The breed has not been bred for this type of work in mind for a VERY long time. Luckily they are big enough to make most would be wrong-doers pass you by without ever having to be put to the test.

    Love the blog, love the article, love the dogs!!


  3. Ha ha, I agree. They are mush. Mine will bend over backwards for a tiny pea sized treat. My husband jokes that one of these days Brinkley is just going to do a backflip in anticipation while we are training.

  4. I love Mastiffs. too. But, I have GSD now. :) It is better when you train your dog, nonetheless. I recommend this do-it-yourself dog training site guys--> dogtrainingasleader.com. They have 250+ videos on how to train your dog. It really helped me a lot with Bran (my GSD). I think it's better because it's cheaper than hiring a trainer plus I really love do-it-yourself stuffs.