Solving Behavior Problems in Your English Mastiff Dog

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


Aggression can be a problem with Mastiffs. Since they often outweigh their owners, they can be found pushing people, shoving 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 at the door until you give him the signal to enter. Instead of backing away when your dog pushes you, push him back, encroaching on 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 lure him in when he’s misbehaving, such as refusing to get off the couch. Always reward good behavior. Spaying or neutering can also reduce aggressive behavior.

excessive barking

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

To discourage your dog from barking, you can wrap your hand around his muzzle and say “Quiet” or “No barking.” Be sure to praise him when he calms down. You can use what is called a “shake can” to discourage barking. When your dog barks, grab a soda can with a few pennies or pebbles (closed) on it and toss it in your pet’s direction. Don’t hit him with it. The idea is that the noise will scare your dog and stop 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 chew toys 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 on something he 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 incorrect. 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 contact is not made. Then tell him to sit and praise him when he follows 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 a trip with him if he prefers to stay at home and just wants to interact with the family. Take your pup out as often as possible. Allow your dog to meet people in different places. It can help him get used to other dogs and pets by regularly walking him at a dog park.

Here are some solutions to some of the behavior problems you may encounter with your English Mastiff dog. Training should start at an early age and this will help eliminate future problems. If you have serious behavior problems with your dog, you may want to get your vet’s advice or see a specialist.

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