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The Three Lessons Every Dog Needs to Know.  

    We have learned over years that Bullmastiff puppy owners need clear guidelines for raising their puppy.  The three lessons work for all dog breeds, not just big ones.  The three lessons just become more important as you consider Bullmastiffs and other large breed dogs.  The three lessons are the simplest form of what we teach people to do with their new puppy.  As good Bullmastiff breeders, we stay in touch with our puppy owners and talk them through any challenges that develop.  Please read on, even experienced dog people have seconded and enjoy what we teach.

    CUTE PUPPY - After all those weeks of waiting and hoping, you finally drive to the breeders and pick up your special Bullmastiff puppy.  That perfect size, that wrinkly face, that cute nose, that soft coat, and lovable puppy smell.  Perfect!  By the way, there is nothing cuter in life than an 8-10 week old Bullmastiff puppy.  When you are looking at any breed, take note if your breeder shows you adult animals first.  That is what the puppy will be when it grows up. 

    This new Bullmastiff puppy will grow very quickly.  And as his size changes, socialization of the your Bullmastiff is very important.  Please, start the lessons early.  It much easier.  I have had to teach them to untrained adult dogs and that takes special skill. 

    THE NEW PACK - You're thinking this new Bullmastiff puppy is the 'new member of the family'.  The puppy is thinking you are the 'new members of its pack'.  When it comes to adult large breed dogs the second perspective is the one that counts.  You are the puppy's new pack!  Keeping that perspective in mind will go a long way to starting the puppy out right.  

    Every specie I have worked with has some kind of 'pecking order' (chickens, waterbuffalo, cattle, hogs, cats, dogs, horses).  The reason for a social order is to keep the peace.  Once the order is sorted out, life goes on smoothly because 'social politeness' of sorts is instinctively observed.  i.e. One moves out of the way for the boss cow with no challenge.

    Dog are no exception.  Every pack has an alpha dog and an alpha bitch, when both genders are present.  (Please take no offence, bitch here refers to the female canine.  Female dog is an oxymoron.)  The 'alpha' is the socially, most dominant pack member.  The rest of the pack orders itself in a stair step manner. 

    If you simply teach the three lessons early, as a whole Bullmastiffs are quite satisfied to accept their master as alpha .  When canines  sort out the order on their own, the process can be gruesome and is lessened if the alphas are the humans and take their place in the correct manner.  Which is the point.

 

Gateway Up Parts of a Dog Training 1 ... Training 2 ... Gallery... Dog Links ...

    If you want to know more about Valtris Estates click here. 

Lesson 1

The Dominance Rollover

    WHY - The point of this lesson is to teach the puppy its social position in the new pack.  Life is good if the dog in the house is placed socially under the human family members.  Life can be un-fun if the dog in the house thinks it is socially equal too or above any of the humans in the household.  Most of us have heard of dogs that mind the man in the house but not the women.  Well, that related to Lesson 1Only close family members should teach Lesson 1 This includes toddlers even though you will need help them. 

     One of the points most people like about the Bullmastiff is that it is a guard breed.  The only guard breed considered good with children.  You should note that the animals that protect the pack from outside intruders are the socially lower animals (red shirts if you remember Star Trek).  One of the purposes of your Bullmastiff is to protect the family.  This protectiveness is instinctive and usually is not shown until about two years of age when the animal becomes adult.  Although not guaranteed, Lesson 1 can help insure that that will happen. 

    METHOD - Lesson 1 is simple to teach.  Take your puppy and place it on its back (roll over).  Try not to pick a hard spot.  A towel or carpet works well.  This is not done in play, but as a deliberate act.  Depending on the size of the dog and the person doing the lesson, you may actually kneel over the dog with one knee on either side.  Watch that the dog doesn't scratch or claw you in any sensitive areas.  If needed, reach around behind and move the dogs legs.  This is usually not a problem with a puppy.   

    The puppy will likely fight this position,  because it is the most vulnerable position for the animal to be in.  Remember it has learned some pack lessons from its littermates.  Hold the puppy in this position until it quiets down and submits.  If the puppy tries to bite, take both hands and grab a cheek and shake the head a couple of times.  At the same time say 'NO' in a load, firm tone.  I have seen puppies almost scream at me in defiance.  But after consistent work, they turn out to be some of the best dogs I have owned.

    You do not say much during the lesson.  Do not sympathize with the puppy.  Tell it to 'be quiet', or 'lie still'.  Be careful not to teach this lesson when you are angry.

     That's it for Lesson 1. This is a lesson you will teach for the rest of the dog's life.  Infrequently after it grows up.  It really depends on the temperament of your Bullmastiff,  but don't think you do it once and forget it.  Remember, it can be worked into other things like nail trimming, etc.

    FINAL NOTES  - This lesson teaches many things.  The three lessons together are very basic obedience training.  The kind that starts before formal obedience class,  which we do recommend.  In fact, all the training you do with your puppy fits into an interconnected system that constitutes 'obedience' training.  At Valtris Estates Kennel, we do encourage 'distraction' type obedience training, starting before the dog out weighs the person that will do the training.  Remember, 'you can't teach nothing', that is to say - watch what you teach, for you teach all the time.

    Lesson 1 also helps later with living with the dog.  It will make trimming nails much easier (social peace), going to the vet more fun, etc.  The other day, I was trimming nails on 3 week old puppies, and teaching Lesson 1 this afternoon.  I simply placed each puppy in my lap upside down,  my daughter held them down.  They were doing all the stuff covered above.  As I carefully trimmed each nail , it was fun to watch each puppy calm down and lay still to finish the last few nails.  We will do this several more times before they go to their new homes.  

    Every good breeder should set up their puppy raising system to help you teach the lessons even before your puppy goes home.  More on that in 'What a good breeder does for you'.  Keep watching as we add new material.  Thanks for stopping by.

 

Gateway Up Parts of a Dog Training 1 ... Training 2 ... Gallery... Dog Links ...

    If you want to know more about Valtris Estates click here. 

Lesson 2

Anyone can take Anything out of its mouth at Anytime

    WHY - Lesson 2 is important to teach your new puppy to protect the 'little people' in our homes.  Even if you don't have children at home,  young ones probably visit once in a while.  Young children don't always know not to bother the dog when he

    Protection of food and toys was a normal part of the litter pack.  There isn't much sacred with 6-8-or-10 brothers and sisters around.  But, it is not acceptable now.  Like Lesson 1,  this is easier to teach to a young animal.  It is important to be consistent.  You should not laugh at the cute puppy one time, and correct it the next.  

    METHOD -To teach this lesson, simply make a conscious effort to go to your Bullmastiff puppy and remove the favorite toy or food from his mouth.  If the puppy growls or snaps, just close its mouth and give the head a quick, little shake.  At the same time, say 'NO'.  Repeat the lesson until the puppy accepts it.  Bullmastiffs will accept things very well but you still need to teach the lesson.  Vary the routine with different favorites.

   FINAL NOTES  - You may think this is 'baiting' the dog or setting him up.  True.  It is better now to get the lessons over with now, then to need to deal with it later.  Remember, good obedience training is about setting your Bullmastiff up to succeed, not to fail.  That is an important mind set for you and your dog as you train. 

 

Gateway Up Parts of a Dog Training 1 ... Training 2 ... Gallery... Dog Links ...

    If you want to know more about Valtris Estates click here. 

Lesson 3

No Open Mouth Activity to a Human - Period!

    WHY - If all dogs were taught this last lesson, fewer people would be afraid of dogs.  This is a hard lesson for some people to teach, because it seems cute to have the dog 'mouth' you.  On top of that, it doesn't hurt when done on an adult human.  But that won't be the case for the little humans in our lives.  Like Lesson 1,  this is easier to teach to a young animal.  It is important to be consistent.  You should not laugh at the cute puppy one time, and correct it the next.  So what do we do?

    METHOD - To teach this lesson, work on the following.  Every time you are working with the puppy and she starts nipping, or mouthing you (any open mouth activity) stop it.  This can also include growling which leads to open mouth activity.  This can  happen in either play or resistance and should be taught at the moment of the event (remember Lesson 1). 

    Close the mouth and shake the head while saying 'NO'!  The method is very similar to that used in Lesson 2.  Your little bullmastiff puppy is smart and she will learn this lesson quickly.  It will need to be done several times because the puppy will 'forget' when playing  gets fun.  

    FINAL nOTES  - As a side note, Lesson 3 will be instinctively forgotten when the dog perceives you to be in danger.  So the lesson does not interfere with guarding.

    That's it.  Three simple lessons that will serve you well.  These will work on any breed.  Some breeds just need them more.  When you are selecting a breed, get to know the history and the temperament.  That will help you select the breed that suits you and your family.  That may change as you pass through the seasons of life.  The neat part is that Bullmastiffs for the right people are the dog for all seasons. 

    Remember, good obedience training is about setting your Bullmastiff up to succeed, not to fail.  That is an important mind set for you and your companion animal as you teach.

    Happy puppy raising.  A little work now pays big dividends later. 

 

Yours truly, 

Richard Barton

Valtris Estates Kennel

 

Gateway Up Parts of a Dog Training 1 ... Training 2 ... Gallery... Dog Links ...

    If you want to know more about Valtris Estates click here. 

 

 

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