Author Topic: Mastiff behavior issue  (Read 6473 times)

Offline momtomax

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Mastiff behavior issue
« on: March 12, 2008, 01:12:54 pm »
Hi I'm new to the board and I have a question about my 2 year old Mastiff Max.  A little history on Max.  We got Max when he was 6 weeks old a few weeks latter we found out we were pregnant with out 3rd child.  He was socialized a lot during his first nine months and we went through basic obedience training.  Unfortunatly after we had the baby we didn't get him out as much.  He's a wonderfully behaved dog with all three of my children.  He puts up with a lot from my five year old (lots of rough housing) and from my curious 15 month old poking and pulling at him.  Not once has ever shown any type of aggresion towards my kids, not even a growl.  He is a wonderful family pet.  He has a large fenced in back yard which he does spend a lot time in and he is also in the house with us as well.  The problem I'm having with him is stranger anxiety.  While out on walks he'll lunge at others walking by (I always have him on a short leash)but I know it frightens people.  Since he is a big beautiful dog a lot of people show intrest in wanting to pet him but I have a hard time keeping him from jumping at them.  He doesn't growl but he has barked a few times while on walks at other people and I feel him tense up when he sees someone else even children.  Does anyone have any advice on how I can get him to relax around strangers.  At this point I'm not worried about him bitting anyone but he could really hurt someone esspecially a child if he jumps on them and knocks them down, he weighs 175 lbs.  Any advise would be very much appreciated.  I'm just worried that as he continues to mature he's going to get more protective and anxious around strangers. 
Thank you,
Mom to Max
« Last Edit: March 12, 2008, 01:15:59 pm by momtomax »

Offline Mojo1269

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Re: Mastiff behavior issue
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2008, 01:33:31 pm »
Welcome to the group. I will be the first to prompt you to post some pictures of your boy when you get a chance. It sounds like Max is protecting his family (in his mind). This is not unusual for a mastiff.  If you come to my house my Mastiff puts his big butt between me and you until we have esatblsihed you are welcome.  He is not agressive, just presnt  :).  If the occrences are just starting to happen you should be able to correct them fairly quickly with some work.  Here is a link to a video which show a similar situation with a mastiff and other dogs.  THe same techniques can be used with people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlslv4ZZy_g

Like most situation you will need to be consitent with feedback and make sure he knows what is an isn't acceptable. 
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Butler 1 Year Old Burgeoning Monster

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Offline arkydo

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Re: Mastiff behavior issue
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2008, 10:29:51 pm »
thats what i was thinking Mojo, the fact he's real good with your kids backs that theory up real good, They're his brothers and sisters he knows they are small so he'll see a lot of people/things as a threat to them. Plus most people I've known with Mastiffs, also get protected by the but aswell. Not a bad trait if correctly monitored and trained

Offline Guardian Angel's White lightning

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Re: Mastiff behavior issue
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2008, 07:00:45 am »
there seems to be a lot of mastiff issues lately.... i wonder if there is something in the air???? This is crazy

lorim2

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Re: Mastiff behavior issue
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2008, 07:13:53 am »
I agree with Mojo also but also know that my Marley is a big chicken. We went to the vet yesterday and I seriously thought he would pee himself a couple of times.  When we are in the car or own our own turf, hes Mr Studman guarddog but off our turf, he kind of turns into super chicken!  Which in turn starts him barking and acting like toughman when in reality, hes not. I use corrective behavior in these situations. His thing is mostly with other dogs. I was paying at the vet yesterday and my daughter was holding marley when another client came out of a room.  Old dog minding his own business. Of course Marley starts dragging Sarah across the room.  Shes a little to lax for my liking so I take the lease and give a couple of corrective yanks and make him watch me.  Then I remove him from the situation by making him come with me to the counter and sit.  I make him "watch me" while I finish paying and then we leave with him on a short lease watching me.  Its all about making them comfortable with the situation.  At least it is for me.  Oh yes, like Mojo said...post more pics please!!  Welcome to BPO

Offline navarre1316

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Re: Mastiff behavior issue
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2008, 10:57:16 am »
Welcome to BPO!!!!  It's not just mastiffs, my boxer does the same thing, but with other dogs not people.  She is not typically aggressive at all, so when she started this I was shocked!!  However Navarre used to do the same thing with people too.  Thanks for the video Mojo!!! 

This worked some for Navarre; After working with Max a bit and once he calms down some, or if you can get him to sit pretty try to get people to give him some treats.  If you have some friends that will help that would be good.  If at first he's still not good with people approaching, have them lob the treat at him and soon enough he'll realize that strangers might just equal some treats and some good love!!!  Good luck!
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Offline Mojo1269

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Re: Mastiff behavior issue
« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2008, 10:58:13 am »
Having lived with variouse Mastiff's for the last 22 years I think they are overly sensative and protective.  Butler does not like to engage other dogs on a leash or in a confined area.  Big field off leash he is fine but he is defensive when on leash and approached.  He is fine with walking by other dogs he just does not want to play the "can I sniff your butt" game when on leash.
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Offline momtomax

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Re: Mastiff behavior issue
« Reply #7 on: March 13, 2008, 05:15:39 pm »
Thank you all very much for the advise.  I'm going to try the treat thing and see how that works.  I just want Max to relax around other people.  I try to get him to sit calmly when people approach us on walks but he inevidabley will jump at them and I have a hard time holding him back which makes it look like I can't control my dog.  I just want to be able to take him out more to Pet friendly places (Home Depot, Lowes, Pet Smart) but right now I'm not comfortable with his behavior.  I've come accross a few Neo's at Pet friendly places and they were calm and indiffrent.  With the owners permission he allowed my kids to pet him, he wasn't overly excited but very well behaved.  That's how I'd like Max to be.  We'll keep working on the walks and see how it goes.  Thank you all again.  I'm really enjoying BPO and reading a lot of the posts.

Offline mastiffmomoftwo

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Re: Mastiff behavior issue
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2008, 01:54:16 pm »
My Luke walks wonderfully beside me, but Beau still becomes enthusiastic when he thinks someone out there wants to fawn over him or he sees a doggie that he wants to meet.
I have a sensible or no pull harness for him that works very well for me.  Make sure that it is tight enough though.
The ring that you hook his leash onto is on the front part of his chest.  When he gets to the end of his leash, or when you pull him, he looses a lot of his body strength because his body goes sideways.  If you have a regular collar on him, try stepping to his side instead of being behind him, and pull towards you.  They aren't able to stay as strong in that position.
Can you go to a neutral area with your dog and a couple of friends that know him, and start off walking past these people with him, and get his attention somehow.  Either call his name and get him to look at you, or if he's food motivated, as you walk by bait him with the treat and tell him what a good boy he's being.
Start doing this with strangers as well.
My Luke would growl and get his back up when I first got him.  He does not like strange men!  I always tell people to ignore Luke totally and to pay attention to Beau.  Luke then goes up to them himself.  Also tell people to hold their hand out to him and not look him in the eye.  Luke does NOT like people going for his head.  It takes a bit of work, but it's been 7 months now and on our last big dog walk, he went up to a group of strangers all by himself!
Huge progress!

Chris

(Beau & Luke's Mom)