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Neapolitan mastiff puppy training

So, you took the plunge into the Mastiff world. Its a wonderful world and you'll probably find out soon that one is never enough. These are some tips that I have discovered. They are not concrete rules, but hopefully they will make the transition easier.

We have already started these pups from age 3 weeks on paper training. They like to keep their den space clean, so housebreaking will be much easier!

We will always be available and eager to answer your English Mastiff puppy questions. Send over an email at info@mylittlemastiff.com. Please be sure to send pics of your pup.

1. Crate train! My Mastiffs were never destructive, but I never gave them an opportunity to be. At night and whenever I am not watching them, they were in their crates. It makes housebreaking easier and makes for a content dog. The first night they will cry like little babies. Actually, the first few nights. You will be asking yourself why you did this to yourself and will get little sleep. It will get better. Be patient, compassionate, but firm.

The crate is not punishment. They don't get put in there for punishment. They go in there because it is their little den. It makes them feel secure and comfortable. My puppies have had crates available to them for napping, so they feel very comfortable in there.

2. Do not hit your Mastiff. I tell my kids they are like Orcas in that they will never forget. There is no need to hit a Mastiff, as a firm no almost always does the trick. Again, I did not give mine the opportunity to be bad. If they were not being watched or played with, they were in the crate.

3. Don't let you puppy nibble or bite your fingers. These grow into very large puppies with very sharp teeth. I did not want them to think of my children as playtoys. So we gave them plenty of toys and ropes which they really love. We also gave them plenty of compressed rawhides since puppies need to chew. Even better - get them another puppy to play with. They love to chew on each other. My Mastiffs used to even play with a little Chihuahua regularly.

4. Feeding. Mastiffs, like other large breed dogs, are prone to bloat. Make sure you read up on it and take the necessary precautions. Use raised feeders and avoid exercise right before or after feedings. Be careful of feeding foods with too much protein. It can lead to developmental issues. Check with your vet on what htey recommend.

We have tried many foods for our Mastiffs. I find that many of the expensive, high quality brands just don't work for us. They seem to be very rich and go right through the dogs - which really is not pleasant. If you have specific food questions, please email us. I would rather not name names of the brands that did and did not work for us.

5. Puppies need exercise, but Mastiffs need to limit theirs. It is not good for them to get too much exercise when they are young. They definitely need to be leash trained early as 200 pounds of uncontrollable dog is not an option. Just don't plan on going for miles. Start them out on short walks. Be careful of them jumping on or off of things.

6. SOCIALIZE YOUR DOG! Mastiffs really need to be socialized young for many reasons. First of all you don't want an unbalanced dog due to their size. You want people to

be able to enjoy them as everyone will want to. They will discern between good and bad people on their own as they mature. But, many Mastiffs have been known to shy if they are not properly socialized. Once your pup has all of its shots, take it everywhere, allowing it to meet everyone. Make sure you teach him to sit while meeting people. Its good manners. Take him to Starbucks, to dog friendly restaurants and anywhere else there is people. Your dog will be so much happier in the long run and so will you. It can be a lot of work but its all in the responsibility of owning a dog.

7. Do not feed your begging Mastiff scraps. My kids have fed them from the table and its really irritating to have them staring at you with drool pouring out on the kitchen floor. Its a hard habit to break. If you are going to give them treats, do it at times when you are not eating and preferably not in your eating space. Just a suggestion.

8. Get them neutered or spayed at an early age. Talk to your vet about the right age to alter your Mastiff. They all have different opinions on what is healthiest. But, know that unneutered males will mark their territory. My male has never had accidents in the house, only on purpose, especially when my female is getting close to coming in heat. Thats how I know its time. It is very hard to prevent marking unless they are neutered. And females in heat are not fun. It is really messy and gross - even with diapers. These are big dogs and there is a lot of blood loss. The surgery is much harder on a large dog, so get them fixed early. You will all be much happier!

9. Decide whether or not you want a 200 pound dog on your furniture. They are so cute when they are little and you want to constantly hold them on your laps, right. Well my big boy still sits on our laps. They lounge on the couch and make themselves at home. If you do not want them on your furniture, do not let them on as puppies. This includes beds. Sweet Pea insists on sleeping on my daughter's bed since she did as a little thing. Its a hard habit to break!

10. Teach them to stand. It is really convenient to have your dog stand when you want them to. It makes bathing, brushing, and examinations easier. Of course, sit and lie down are also important for obvious reasons. Get them used to being touched on their bodies, ears, feet, mouths, etc. It makes vet exams easier and your vet will appreciate it.

11. Get them used to the leash early. Mastiff pups really do not like being on leashes. It must be pure stubbornness on their part. They cry and act as if they are being tortured. But, persistence is needed because they obviously need to be controlled. Keep it pleasant and upbeat and do not react if they cry. If you pet them you are reassuring them that there is a problem. Only praise them when they are responding properly. They will get used to it and learn to love what the leash represents. I know that for my most resistant pups, when they put on the brakes, I kneel down and call them. This prompts them to move forward and then we keep going till the brakes are put on again. Don't get frustrated and don't overreact. And don't walk them further than you are willing to carry them back!

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