with your Mastiff
- how to have great fun with your English Mastiff -
page will give you some ideas of how great your Mastiff
can be to play with. Despite of his size and strength, he
is fully capable of playing with only the power he needs.
He IS a gentle giant, even if he is fully aware of his own
might. Let's play!
Mastiff needs to be activated. Unless he's living outside,
free to go where ever he pleases, you need to make
his life worthwhile. Just imagine how boring and depressing
your life would be if you never got the chance to do anything
else then sleep, eat and sleep again. Of course you should
walk your Mastiff every day. You should do this for two
reasons: Because of the exercise, and because of the variation
from relaxing all day long. So, what if you walk your dog
every day? Isn't that good enough?Well,
let's put it this way: You're already doing a great job,
but you can make your friend's life even better. The good
news is that by doing this you will have lots and lots of
with a Mastiff is something you need to experience to understand.
No matter where you live, how old you are, or what physical
state you're in, you CAN play with your Mastiff in many
ways. He will know how to adjust his strength, just the
way you do, if you teach him what is acceptable and what
is not. It's easy, and it's the best you can ever do for
can you do to have fun with your Mastiff? If you use your
imagination, I'm sure you can figure out lots of "games"
are three things you should remember before you start planning
your Mastiff games. Firstly, you need to think of what your
friend usually finds entertaining. If he likes to run, make
up a game that involves running. If he likes to search for
hidden things, make up a game that involves searching. If
he likes to bath, play with him in the water (if you can).
second thing you should keep in mind, is that games can
be very educational. Is there something you'd like to teach
your Mastiff? Try to combine it with a game. Learning something
can be real fun if the teacher knows how to teach. The good
thing is that Mastiffs aren't very picky pupils. They are
easy to please!
third thing you need to consider, is what rules you want
to set for the game. How crazy will you allow your giant
to become until you tell him to be careful. What consequences
will there be if you don't have any rules? Is it necessary
to teach your Mastiff to play gently (important if you have
any children that you want to keep...)?
fun thing you can do, is to create some kind of an agility-track.
Unless you are living in the middle of the city, unable
to get out on the countryside, you should be able to find
a good place in the forest, etc. for such activities. Hide
things (a toy will be fine), create hinders to jump over
or crawl under. You can also include a short obedience
department during your track, play hide and seek, and a
go and fetch part. You can also have an area that you use
for "lay on the ground and play" activities. You
may want to be more competitive. If you do, you can make
a track with exercises that can be judged. Give your Mastiff
points from 1-10 depending on how well he's doing each exercise,
or solving each challenge. What your track will look like
is really only up to you. It all depends on your Mastiff,
and what you want to do yourself. Remember that both of
you should have fun doing this!
like people, Mastiffs need challenges to grow to their full
potential, and to find life meaningful. If you never have
to use your brain for more than the most trivial things,
sooner or later you will find life boring and static. Since
your Mastiff, and most dogs in general, is your (voluntary)
prisoner, you are the one to decide whether he gets the
chance to use his brain. Let your activities and games with
your Mastiff include challenging parts. Force your friend
to THINK for himself. Let him solve problems that are new
to him as often as possible. It's just great to watch that
wrinkled skin on a Mastiff's forehead when he concentrates
on something! The more often you see those wrinkles, the
happier your Mastiff will become! Keep that in mind, as
with the boss
people think that a Mastiff shouldn't get used to playing
rough games with the owner. One of the reasons for this
is that the alpha leader of the tribe doesn't have that
kind of contact with the other dogs. The leader keeps a
certain distinguished distance to the others, saying "I'm
on a different level than you are, so I won't play like
the rest of you". This may be true, but there is no
doubt about that a Mastiff loves to "fight" with
the owner. Just notice how careful he is with you when doing
so! A fully grown male could have beaten any man if he wanted
to, but the point is that he respects the owner so much
that he would never even consider doing so! To me this proves
that playing rather rough games with your Mastiff is not
a wrong thing to do, unless you forget to draw the line.
You do need to tell your Mastiff what is ok and what is
not ok. He should be allowed to grab your arm gently, just
as you grab his legs with your hands. On the other hand,
he should NOT be allowed to bite you, not even gently. Remember
that grabbing and biting are two different things! You should
teach your Mastiff the meaning of the word 'careful' as
soon as you can. If you have children, a normal Mastiff
is able to understand that he has to be more careful with
them than with you. If you are afraid that he won't, I suggest
you do not teach your friend to play rough games at all.
That kind of playing is great fun for the both of you, but
if he doesn't understand the difference between you and
your kids, you are all better off if he's taught that rough
playing in general is not allowed, no matter who his playmate
playing with your Mastiff can be lots of fun, but there
are some things you should take under consideration before
you teach your giant that this kind of activity is ok. If
you don't, you might end up with spending a lot of time correcting
the bad habits you've taught him!
are lots of toys for dogs on the market. It's really up
you and your economy what you end up with. Since Mastiffs
are very strong dogs, any chewing device must be extremely
solid. There is a very good toy called "Kong"
that is fairly easy to find in the US. Playing with a ball
can also be lots of fun. You will learn that the Mastiff
have no idea whether the toy is bought in the shop, or something
you made at home. He will love to play with a stick, and
he will love to play with a plastic bag. It all depends
on you, really.
looking for a cheap (or free) chewing device, you should
try the local butcher to get a large and solid bone. When
the meat is gone, you can boil the bone in meat broth (bouillon).
This will add a tempting taste and smell to the bone, and
your dog will find it attractive once again. When he starts
to loose interest, just put it in the kettle again! A bone
like this is also very good for the dog's teeth. He needs
this kind of toys in order to exercise his jaws and teeth,
since he is not living a "natural" life in the
whenever you have time for it. The best thing for both of
you, is to play at certain times. Since both Mastiffs and
people are creatures of habit, you will find it more easy
to find the time if you plan things a little. Let's say
you visit your private agility track every Wednesday and
Saturday afternoon, and play hide and seek every Monday.
The only one who knows how to plan this is you, so there's
actually no need for further advises on this matter.
most important person to play with is you, the owner. Playing
games and having fun together will strengthen your relationship
a lot. You will develop a contact that never would have
existed otherwise. Of course, the rest of your family should
be able to play with the Mastiff as well, but this may not
be as fun for the dog as playing with you. As stated earlier,
you should teach your Mastiff to understand the difference
between you and others. What he is allowed to do to you,
may not be very nice to do to others. Your friend should
know that there is a difference between you and your children.
He has to be more careful with them. Normally he will know
this by instinct, but if this seems to be a problem, you
better teach him to be equally gentle with everyone.
in the garden, in the forest, in your own personal agility
track, in the house, on the lawn, on a field, in the bathroom,
in the lake.... In other words, play wherever you find it
suitable. As long as you're not bothering anyone (read neighbors),
the whole world is a potential playground!
FUN WITH YOUR MASTIFF!