The young Mastiff’s Future is In Their Hands
Six month old Mastiff/Cane Corso mix has grabbed a child by the arm, and now he’s in trouble. The police have called.
Dexter is enormous already. It’s possible that if he were a spaniel there would have been little fuss.
He has lived with the young couple and their Mastiff Labrador mix Marnie for a few weeks now, having had a very dubious start in life. Apart from a lot of mouthing, all went well for a while.
Then they had a young lady visitor to the house. She was scared just at the sight of Dexter. She sat on the sofa and Dexter jumped up onto it as he usually does. The lady threw her arms about and Dexter, puppy that he is, grabbed her arm.
The reaction was panic and anger towards Dexter. The guest left.
The child episode happened a couple of weeks later in the vet waiting room. She walked too close. If a child is taken to the vet, surely it’s common sense to keep it away from dogs that may well be stressed and scared, so some of the blame is with the mother. Poor Dexter had patiently endured being pulled about and the removal of stitches and they were simply standing at the desk waiting to pay.
The man dragged the dog away and in doing so the his tooth caught on the child’s jumper leaving also a small mark on her arm. Again there will have been noise and panic.
Things are now stacking up against Dexter and he is on the route to actually biting someone. By now he will be thinking that people are not good to be around and they cause his own humans to be unpredictable.
When I arrived I had been primed and played very safe, and Dexter was brought in on lead. I sat alone on a chair to avoid being jumped over. I had to work hard to get the man to stop being on Dexter’s case and to relax. I explained that he would only be picking up on the man’s anxiety which could make me less safe.
The dog turned out to be the most mellow and friendly dog imaginable. See my picture of him watching me intently as I spoke gently to him. I later tried some Ttouch massage. He rested beside me, totally relaxed. I loved him.
Because he’s so big it is easy to forget Dexter’s only a puppy and bound to chew things. Both dogs need to be taken out for daily walks and Dexter given more healthy stimulation – plenty of chew toys and constructive interaction with his humans.
There must be no rough play as this only encourages arm grabbing and lack of self-control.
If they want people to come to their house, they will need to start teaching both big dogs not to jump all over the sofas – unless perhaps upon invitation and then only when they are calm.
The couple must now go out of their way to associate all the people Dexter encounters with nice stuff – food, fun and happiness. No more panic and anxiety; no more scolding. They will teach him to give them his full attention when asked. It’s a measure of how much they care for their dog that they are investing time and money to give their dog the life he deserves.
This can be nipped in the bud, but only with a different approach.
NB. The precise protocols to best use for your own dog may be different to the approach I have worked out for Dexter, which is why I don’t go into all exact details here of our plan. Finding instructions on the internet or TV that are not tailored to your own dog can do more harm than good – most particularly where any form of aggression is concerned. One size does not fit all. If you live in my own area I would be very pleased to help with strategies specific to your own dogs (see my Get Help page).