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Solving Behavior Problems in Your English Mastiff

Mastiffs are not bad dogs; however, they are huge and imposing. If they are not properly trained at a young age, they will quickly find that their size gives them control. This can lead to some behavioral issues in your English Mastiff. The following are suggestions for solving some behavior problems in Mastiffs.


Aggression can be a problem with Mastiffs. Since they often weigh more than their owners, they can be found pushing people around, pushing them out of their way, refusing to get off furniture, or guarding food and toys.

To prevent aggressive behavior you must take control and not allow it. For example, if your mastiff pushes you through doors, teach him to sit on the door until you give him the signal to come in. Instead of backing away when your dog pushes you, push him back, invading his space. Your actions will teach your dog that you are in control. Never be cruel to your pet. You can use a distraction like a toy or treat to entice him when he is misbehaving, such as refusing to get up from the couch. Always reward good behavior. Spaying or neutering can also reduce aggressive behavior.

excessive barking

If your English Mastiff is having a problem with excessive barking, you need to determine why, as this is not a common problem in Mastiffs. Your dog may be bored or lonely. Make sure you spend enough time with your dog and that he has toys and time to play.

To discourage your dog from barking, you can wrap your hand around his nose and say “Quiet” or “No barking.” Make sure to praise him when he calms down. You can use what is called a “shake can” to discourage barking. When your dog barks, take a soda can with some pennies or pebbles (closed) and throw it towards your pet. Don’t hit him with it. The idea is that the noise scares your dog and stops barking. Then again, praise him for being quiet.


Like many other breeds, Mastiffs love to chew on anything and everything. This habit needs to be controlled from the beginning. Providing appropriate toys to chew on while he is young is very helpful. Keep valuable items out of your mastiff’s reach and be sure to rotate chew toys so your dog doesn’t get bored.

If you see your Mastiff chewing something it shouldn’t, remove the object and replace it with an acceptable chew toy. Praise him for biting the appropriate object. Be diligent and observant.


Most people see their pet jumping as a welcome. However, this thinking is wrong. Jumping up is a sign of dominant behavior and should be discouraged, especially in giant breeds like Mastiffs. Teach your pup that sitting will be rewarded with attention, but jumping will be ignored. If your Mastiff tries to jump on you, step back or turn around so no contact is made. Then tell him to sit and praise him when he obeys the command.


A common problem among mastiffs is shyness. Shyness can be a congenital condition or it can develop due to a lack of socialization. Socialization is one of the most critical aspects of owning a Mastiff. It can be quite difficult to take your dog to the vet or go on trips with him if he prefers to stay home and just wants to interact with the family. Take your puppy out as often as possible. Let your dog meet people in different places. You can help him get used to other dogs and pets if he walks him regularly at a dog park.

Here are some solutions to some of the behavioral problems you may encounter with your English Mastiff. Training should start at a young age and this will help eliminate future problems. If you are experiencing serious behavior problems with your dog, you may want to seek the advice of your vet or see a specialist.

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