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How do I teach a Bullmastiff x that the children are above her in the family tree?

Melhusking
April 19th, 2008, 09:14 AM
Bonnie is beautiful, she is 16 weeks and a big girl but she has started nipping at the boys. It's never out of anger but I think she is forgetting her place in the scheme of things. I have never owned a dog who will be this large at full growth so I want to get it right now! I know that she is still just a baby but she could do some playful damage without meaning it and so I want to find out the correct way of letting this type of breed know that this is not acceptable and won't be tolerated. I believe that at this age she is teething so I have given her an abundance of chew toys... I believe it is more about her ranking in the family. We have a 6 year old boy and 3 year old twin boys.

Any ideas? She has had puppy training and will sit, down, sometimes stay and touch (hand on command) but it didn't cover this type of problem.

duttypaws
April 19th, 2008, 10:00 AM
usually they nip becuase they think that the kids are equals... i remember always being told to not let the dog up on the sofa etc... as they think they are boss if they do!

good luck in finding a solution someone else here will advise you well im sure.

tenderfoot
April 19th, 2008, 11:07 PM
You have taken on alot with such young children, and such a young and potentially large dog. Your kids are probably too young to establish true leadership with this pup, so it is up to you as the parent to teach the children how to behave with the pup so they don't encourage too much intense play behavior. It is also vital to teach the pup that he is to respect and honor the children as higher members of the family because YOU said so.

He is not truely teething (thats a whole other topic) but all pups are going to test everyone in the family and those who pass the test will be respected and those who hesitate will live to be challenged again. Pups relate to the world with thier mouths so you need to teach him bite inhibition. Which means he needs to learn to not press down on human skin, better yet because you have little kids, teach him not to put his mouth on humans at all. You need to start establishing his respect for you and then you can translate that to the kids. A good term to use is 'no mouth' if he goes to put his mouth on you at all - even if he just looks like he is thinking about it. Use the leash to help you stop the action by taking him to the side and off of your body as you firmly say 'no mouth'. Then he might jump right back at you thinking you didn't mean it. Be consistent and he should only challenge you 3-5 times before he understands you mean it and stops. Consistency is a great tool and the leash helps empower you by stopping the behavior. If he sits and looks at you - CALMLY pet the side of his head - so he learns that calm behavior gets good attention.

Yes, it is great to have tons of toys to occupy him, but also important to help him learn how to play with people. Is he used to the leash? A leash is a great tool to use to help empower your words and be an emergency brake incase he doesn't listen to your word very well. The more time spent on a leash attached to an adult in the house the better for everyone.

One game we play is to engage him in play but try to keep your energy to a level 4 (on a scale of 1-10). Have him on the leash and use the word 'play' as your energized cue. Play with him for about 15 seconds. Then drop your energy to a level 1, and use the word 'gentle' or 'easy' in a very low and slow tone. He should match your energy as you shift back and forth. If he doesn't get gentle when you slow down then use a sharper, firmer tone, and slower motion and he should follow suit within seconds. This game teaches him how to play at a lower level of energy and how to quickly shift his energy down because you said so. Then you can use the same words when he is with the kids. As he gets good at this game you can get to higher levels of energy and then drop quickly down to low energy. I do not recommend you allow the kids to play too rough or energized with him at all at this point. He & they have a lot of maturing to do before you could ever get to that point.

A puppy like this needs some great obedience skills right now. He could easily learn 30-40 words in the next few weeks. The more knowledge he has the greater teacher and leader you become, and the greater opportunites you have to communicate and be successful. But if you wait until he is on top of the children to teach him manners you will be fighting a lost cause.

Hope this helps.

Melhusking
April 20th, 2008, 12:15 AM
Hi tenderfoot, it is a lot to take on but a house is not a home without a dog and we have waited until the boys were three and I'm still at home for a couple of years so that any new pet addition would have plenty of socialising and training during the day and not just at night and weekends (when you have so many other things that need to be done). I have from the day we brought her home had her using harness and lead, I don't like choke chains and now that she's four months I have just started using a halti! She hates it but I'm going to stick with it because she will be a giant dog and I want to be able to enjoy walking with her and not being dragged along behind her. Her nipping at the boys is very much like the way pups and dogs do when they play with their own kind. So how do you show her that she needs to treat the boys not like dogs? There must be some kind of training method for this because people have large dogs with young children all the time.

Melhusking
April 20th, 2008, 12:19 AM
usually they nip becuase they think that the kids are equals... i remember always being told to not let the dog up on the sofa etc... as they think they are boss if they do!

good luck in finding a solution someone else here will advise you well im sure.

Hi duttypaws, I had heard that you shouldn't let a dog on the lounge too, we don't let her but it is really hard not to especially when she looks at you with those eyes.... the funny thing is that she stands at the same height of the lounge now and can simply put the front of her body on the lounge and still leave her legs on the floor without any problems. We are in for some funny times ahead!

want4rain
April 20th, 2008, 12:34 AM
So how do you show her that she needs to treat the boys not like dogs? There must be some kind of training method for this because people have large dogs with young children all the time.

Tenderfoot has some great advice to help with that!! i have a 2yo and a 95lb lab mix and we used a similar concept. it worked beautifully! read her post very carefully!

-ashley

Melhusking
April 20th, 2008, 03:28 AM
Tenderfoot has some great advice to help with that!! i have a 2yo and a 95lb lab mix and we used a similar concept. it worked beautifully! read her post very carefully!

-ashley

Hey Ashley, where did you find this info? I would be very interested if you could send me the link or post. Cheers Mel

want4rain
April 20th, 2008, 10:14 AM
:laughing: post #3 in this thread!!

-ash