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English Mastiff Training Guide

The Mastiff is a large and impressive breed that makes a great family dog in the right situation. Keep in mind that this is a gigantic dog, compared to other breeds. For this reason, many families find the size and strength of the Mastiff simply too much to hand.

We recommend you give serious consideration about adding a Mastiff to your family, and be prepared to provide this wonderful dog plenty of room to move around, both inside and outside.


How to Train English Mastiff Dogs

Mastiffs can be great with children, especially if the dog comes from good breeding stock and from a breeder who has taken the time to socialize his young dogs properly. Because the Mastiff is so large, putting him in the home with a very small child may not be the best idea, not because of aggression but sheer size.

With this in mind, the Mastiff makes an excellent companion, one that is very loyal and protective to family members. Additionally, the breed tends to be gentle and calm, even to the point of seeming a bit lazy.

As with many purebred dogs, the members of the Mastiff breed show individual personalities. For instance, some will have a more laid-back attitude while others will be a bit more outgoing. Do not mistake the protective nature of the Mastiff for aggressiveness

A well-bred and well-socialized Mastiff should not be overly aggressive or a source of fear for those around it. Aggressive behavior is a learned response to how a dog is treated so if your Mastiff comes from a reputable breeder, this should not be a problem.


English Mastiff Training Guide


With these things in mind, the Mastiff may be a bit difficult to train, especially if you expect tricks and a lot of high-energy activity. This is a very smart breed but one that is best trained in short sessions, several times each day. Mastiffs can be a bit stubborn as well, so it is best not to push this normally gentle dog. In fact, we urge you never to hit a Mastiff, because the consequences can be unpleasant. Generally, this dog wants to be “trained” so it can please its master. However, expect to use a firm and consistent tone of voice without being mean.

Formal mastiff obedience training may be necessary but try to stay involved so there is some consistency to what the dog and you expect when you get home. Basics such as sit, stay, and walking on a lead would help with any new dog.

Healthy treats are also a good way to reward your pet for proper behavior, with the Mastiff responding well to positive reinforcement. As for which individual dog would be easiest to train, we repeat our earlier suggestion to work only with a reputable breeder to buy a well-socialized puppy.

Some early training in a puppy “kindergarten” may also be a good idea. A Mastiff from a good breeder and good stock should not need any protection training, as this will be a natural reaction in a normal family situation. Crate training offers a practical solution as part of the housebreaking and other training, providing your pet with a safe haven and a place to go when it needs to be alone.

In addition, your new pet will naturally want to keep its “den” clean, so this can be another benefit of using crate training. Keep in mind that the Mastiff is happiest when it is a close part of the family, something very important to this particular breed.


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