Thursday, March 14, 2013

Exercising Your Mastiff Puppy

Proper exercise is especially important the first 18 to 20 months of your Mastiff puppy's life. Mastiffs grow extremely rapidly the first 18 months in height and continue to grow in overall size and weight until 3 to 3 1/2 years of age. During this time of rapid growth your puppy will literally grow up to 150-200 times the size it was at birth.   

Within this time period your Mastiff should not engage in heavy amounts of running, jumping or any other strenuous exercises.  It is safe to save these types of activities until after the age of 18 months. Joints and growing bones are extremely prone to prone to injury, and an injury during puppyhood could affect your dog for its entire life. You should not allow your puppy to jump off elevated areas including couches, beds, trucks or higher vehicles, etc.  Also your puppy should not be allowed to climb up and down stairs on a regular basis. Additionally, in order to prevent joint or ligament injuries, Mastiffs of all ages should not be allowed to play or spend significant amounts of time on slippery surfaces like tile, linoleum or hardwood.

While Mastiffs are supposed to be massive dogs, it is imperative to not allow your Mastiff puppy (or any adult for that matter) to become overweight as this places unnecessary stress on the growth plates, bones and joints.

So after all that you may be thinking you should just lock you puppy in a padded room until they are an adult, but it is important for your puppy to get adequate exercise. A lack of exercise can create just as many issues as receiving too much or improper exercise. Exercise is required for a puppy to develop proper muscle tone and bone structure to carry its adult weight and be a strong healthy, active dog.  I recommend starting your puppy out with short walks (less than a block).  If after a while he seems to handle the block walk well, increase the distance and see how he does. Some things to remember are; your puppy may seem like he wants to keep going and playing, but he does not understand that over exercise can be hard on his body.  After all, his is just a puppy and the only thing on his mind is go, go, go, play, play, play! Be careful to stop when the dog shows signs of fatigue; a rule of thumb is never walk your Mastiff farther than you can carry them home!

Particular care must also be taken to insure that a puppy is not injured or over-tired by play with another dog. Never leave a puppy under the age of 6 months alone with adult dogs. Always supervise interaction to prevent injury to the puppy.

When it comes to children, although your puppy may look big, they are just as fragile as any other baby animal.  Do not allow children to pull on the legs, jump on, or lie on your puppy (or any dog for that matter). Long term permanent injury could result. Always supervise your children (both the very young and the older) and teach them proper interactions with your puppy. Teasing, hitting at, and causing harm can cause your puppy to have a permanent antisocial temperament. A puppy should receive love and positive reinforcement from all members of its family.

The time, expense, and care you provide these first few months determines a great deal of the overall size, health, soundness, and longevity of your dog.


  1. We just rescued a female 16 month old English Mastiff. She's already undergone surgeries for both knee's at a very young age. We are her third owners. She growls at my husband whenever he's around - not in a confrontational way but in a protective way. She is afraid of him. We start training - her and I - in two weeks. Do you have any tips or advice on how to get her to warm up to my husband? There are no other dogs in our home and we have one teenager...overall compared to where she just came from our home is pretty calm and quiet...we've had her for 3 days. Help!

  2. I'm not an expert, but no one else has are things now?

    Our Mastiff was fearful of new people.

    We have a doorway between our kitchen and living room.
    We hung a sturdy baby gate in the doorway and situated the bed and water in the kitchen.
    The gate would be shut when unknown people were visiting, and this gave our dog a chance to scope things out without being vulnerable or protective.
    We wouldn't hurry the process, and would arrange this over a couple/three visits.
    An intermediate step was having the guest presenting treats through the gate.

    Our dog also failed to recognize my wife as a dominate member of the group.

    We involved her with feeding, walking (pup by her side-never in front), and gave her opportunities to give commands (then reinforcement) that our pup was very likely to respond to, we also identified other activities to establish her as a person of prestige and higher status.

    I had exuberant eager to please lab mixes in the past.
    Our mastiff was a different sort of animal.
    I had to be satisfied with incremental change, and look at the bigger picture rather than expecting quick fixes.

    Your trainer should help.
    Your hubby should be involved with the training.