I have been having problems with Coco, my three-year-old english mastiff. She is sweet, gentle, and loving towards myself and my fiance but if we have people over to the house she is, at first, very timid towards them and then it's a 50-50 shot at whether she will be okay with them or not. She has nipped at two people who have visited us. She didn't hurt them or break the skin but I'm worried that her behavior may escalate. Both people had turned their backs and were walking away from her when this happened. My other concern with her is that she has become agressive towards my other dog, Fatty, a 20-month-old, male, lab-golden retriever mix. Up until the last couple months they got along beautifully however lately she has been attacking him for no reason, (no reason meaning it appears unprovoked to me. I don't know what she's experiencing that sets her off). She could have easily severely hurt or killed him but she's only grabbed him by the neck and held on, putting him on the ground. There has been a spot on the back of his neck where he had a small puncture from her tooth but that's it. She knows basic obedience, went nearly everywhere with me as a puppy for socialization, walks well on a leash, and ignores both dogs and people on walks. Does anyone have any insight as to why this has started happening and what I can do to help her?
From my experience in the past if my dog is timid or anxious around guests I leash her using just a standard nylon leash while the guests are in my home. This is her territory and is most likely wanting to protect her territory and her family. If she shows signs of wanting to lunge or nip at your guest take her leash and take her out of the situation (like into the hallway where she cannot see anyone but you) until she calms down. You want to take her out of that tense situation for her before she has a chance to attack. When she is calm bring her back into the room. Another good tip is to give your guests a few treats for them to give your mastiff when they enter your home to make the greeting a little easier for the dog. If your Mastiff sees that these guests means treats and good things, it will take some of the stress of the dog. Remember positive reinforcement is the best way to train. Never hit or be aggressive towards your dog.
I'm not a dog trainer just have a bit of experience with dogs in the past. If she has never shown aggression before and is just now, you might want to take her to your vet. There could be something medically wrong that would cause this temperament change.
I have just recently begun to experience almost the exact same situation with my three year old English Mastiff and have been searching for answers! Did you ever find out what was going on with yours? My husband has begun to look at "Chuck" (our mastiff) as a liability rather than a companion! He is GREAT with the family but NOT with guests! ANYTHING you can tell me would be awesome! Thank You!
I just wanted to say I have experienced almost the exact same situation with my three year old English Mastiff he also was a liability. He was great with the family but NOT with guests! Sad to say we put him down at 7 years old. The Vet told us we just need to do something before he hurt someone. Never bit anyone. Was great at the dog park. But when he lost it he lost it. I hope everyone out there can find help and not have to put down there mastiff he truly was an amazing dog for our family just not for others.
These dogs sound insecure about what is going on around them. I would recommend teaching a place/bed command and have the dog go to the place/bed when people come over. This place is a safe place, the people who come over are not allowed to touch the dog while on the place and are to completly ignore the dog, no talk, no touch, and no eye contact. When the dog is calm, it is allowed to come off the place, and if it wants to investigate the new people they can have a treat in hand, but they need to ignore the dog as it comes up and takes the treat. Until the dog is completely comfortable with the people and is open to being touched, no one should try and force the dog to be petted. Also talking to a local trainer never hurts.
We should strive to be the kind of people our dogs think we are.
This thread is interesting because it seems these dogs change about the same age. I'm just looking for answers on why this is. in my case. My boyfriend was kind enough to sit with my 4 year old Mastiff, Zena, while I went out of state to visit family 5 months ago. He intended to stay at my home for the week I was away but only stayed one night. Zena paced around him when he was getting ready to go to bed and he thought it was a seperation anxiety issue, but because he sometimes snores, he thought he'd be attacked if the dog was startled by his snoring. So he stayed awake all night and noticed the dog did too. Coming up to the bed(a guest bed, not mine) just stare at him and groan from time to time, he was uneasy with her demeanor, especially since he was prone in a bed. He was just happy to be able to leave alive in the morning. The rest of the week he would come by just to let her out and feed her,and even doing that, was uncomfortable being around her. She seemed to only tolerate him because he left food and water. No normal playfulness apparent and so he would leave quickly. I guess I should have given more thought to this since we had been dating only 6 months at the time. She seemed to like him alot and was always playful with him. She even let him wash her with a hose a couple of times, so I thought they'd be fine but, I had never left her alone with him before that. Since she has not been the same, even growling if we embrace or kiss around her. My BF doesn't trust to tickle me or play tug o' war with her as before. It's 5 + months since then and she still is being intimidating. I don't understand. Before anyone accuses my man about mistreating the dog, let me put that to rest. I have known him for years before we dated,and he wouldn't hurt a fly. Besides, if he had done something, I would have returned home to find Zena crunching on what was left of his bones. So don't even go there. Zena's a big 225lb. girl and my bf barely 130lbs. She can easily make him her dinner anytime she wants. I love Zena, and my bf has been cool about the situation.. so far, not making any, her or me demands at all. He is as confused and sad about it as I am. Should I find her a new owner? I don't want to give her up but,I feel such tension I am not imagining this. If she attacks, she would have to be put down. Any Thoughts? Anyone?