By Doreen Gray
As a departure this time, we=re going to discuss --
HOW NOT TO BUY A MASTIFF.
So, you've decided that the Mastiff is for you, what now? How do you go about
DO NOT ...
- Buy from the first person you find.
- Buy from a pet store.
- Buy from someone who says Awe always have pups here@.
- Buy from someone who can=t readily tell you what Alines@ their dogs are from.
- Buy from someone who will not guarantee health and hips (hips cannot be certified until two years).
- Buy from someone who says AWe/I don=t check for that (any type of health or hip problem) because we=ve never had any trouble with that in my line. If they don=t check how do they know.
- Buy because it=s the only puppy you could find. Mastiff puppies are NOT that easy to find.
- Buy without asking (and CHECKING) for references, including their vet.
ANY RESPONSIBLE BREEDER WILL REFER YOU TO ANOTHER GOOD BREEDER IF THEY HAVE NO
Now that you have (hopefully) found your puppy and it is on the way, I would like to
tell you a few things NOT to do when your puppy arrives.
- Let the puppy EVER play "mouth" you. This can lead to SERIOUS problems in the future.
- Play rough EVER with a Mastiff. Although it may be cute when it's a puppy, it can be
dangerous as an adult. Games such as "tug of war", play batting the face, wrapping a
towel around the arm, (so dog can grab it without hurting) are a definite "no-no".
- Let the puppy jump ... for any reason.
- Try to make this a "guard dog". The dog's size is enough of a deterrent, AN
AGGRESSIVE MASTIFF IS DANGEROUS!!! He will naturally protect you.
- Try to Aforce@ fast growth. You will do permanent damage to the dog. "Hot" dog
foods can cause too rapid growth of bones and connecting tissue can=t keep up. NO
CHEAP FOOD EITHER!
- Tolerate dog growling over food/toys, etc.
- Growling at you EVER!
- Go it alone. Talk to people, ask questions, seek help in any area you find a need.
Find a mentor.
If you seek a "pet quality" puppy ...
- Think you will get lucky and get a "show" quality dog (it is a REMOTE possibility).
The breeder called the puppy pet quality FOR A REASON. Logic would tell you that the
breeder would NOT take a reduced price for no reason!
- Breed a pet quality dog. You are NOT doing the breed any favors by doing this.
If you don't know the "standard" well, you shouldn't even THINK of breeding.
- Expect a perfect dog. The breeder saw "something" that he/she felt was not acceptable
(in their opinion) according to the standard.
If this sounds like an article that is too negative, forgive me. I see a lot of things
on what TO DO, but almost nothing on what NOT TO DO. I have attempted to scratch the
surface with this article.
Good luck with your decision!
(Doreen has had Mastiffs for nine years, Rottweilers for eleven years and has spent the
last seven years training. She is licensed by the National Dog Trainers Association and
has been teaching for four years. Several articles on training have been written for
the National Dog Trainers Newsletter. Her focus is on CGC, TDI and behavioral work,
primarily with Mastiffs. Two of her Rotts are obedience titled.)