English Mastiffs are wonderful with children, but because of their size certain precautions should be taken. These are general suggestions, based on our experiences and the experiences of others. (It’s always wonderful when other people find these mistakes out for you, so you don’t have to!)
Rogue's Paternal Grandfather "Ashley-Greco Cedarcrk Yo Sam" with his boy Mason at Cedar Creek
All dogs behave with a “pack” mentality. In your home, you (and your partner) should be perceived as the leaders of the pack. Your dog will perceive one of you as the main leader and the other (if there is a partner) as second in command. They know nothing about equal rights so it may be the man-it may be the woman. It will definitely be the one who is most consistent with the training!
Rogue & Voltaire's Paternal Grandmother "Indian Run Little Princess". Little? Yeah, Right!
If there are children, they NEED to be next in the pack order. For this reason, we strongly suggest that until your puppy has grown, do not allow him to sleep with the children on a regular basis. The reason is really simple (although it may not seem like it is when your kids are begging and crying because you won’t let the puppy sleep with them); If the dog sleeps with the children he will instinctively want to protect them-as a parent would. This moves him in front of children in the pack order, right behind you (and your partner). This can create quite a problem when you decide your child needs to be disciplined for one reason or another. Just TRY insisting on a time-out for naughty behavior when you have 200 pounds of dog refusing to budge while he blocks your child!
Voltaire Loving the Attention He Gets at Thunder Run
Take the time to socialize and train your puppy/dog. Take him out in public as often as possible. Expose him to other people and animals on a regular basis. He will follow your lead. If you expect him to behave, he will. If you expect him to be tolerant, he will! It only takes a few minutes a day to train a dog. Always keep it positive. If your dog makes a mistake, feel free to roll up a newspaper and smack YOURSELF once or twice for not taking the time to teach him what you want, but never hit your mastiff. Even a harsh word bruises a mastiff's feelings.
Lastly, when training your dog-DEFINITELY skip the command “shake” or “paw”. We say “no paw” on a pretty regular basis to our pups, even when they are playing. Their feet are huge and we were horrified when our pup, trying to be friendly and reach out, scratched the face of a beautiful 3 year old girl who was visiting. They are very gentle dogs, but they ARE powerful.
Rogue & Voltaire's Sire "Indian Run Night Hawk II" - He's WAY larger and WAY stronger than the boy behind him-a "shake or paw" would probably knock him over!