Thank you for waiting. As you know, the Giant Maso Mastiff is actually a cross between the English mastiff and the Cane Corso. This has only been done for about 12 years, and the dogs' personalities are not as predictable as the breeders would like us to think.One puppy may have the extreme protectiveness of the Cane Corso, while another is laid back like the mastiff. They can be any combination of traits. However, regardless of what traits they end up, both of these breeds require extensive socialization as puppies. Being kept in a puppy pen until age 10 weeks is a very poor way to raise puppies.
Gunner is at an age where it's critical to do this. Four months is usually the cut-off point for good socialization. If you don't, he is likely to become more and more fearful and will never be well-adjusted. In time, this may even develop into separation anxiety, which is a difficult problem to deal with. One of the best things you can do is enroll in a puppy training class right away
. They are offered in most areas. If you need help finding one, give me your location. In such a class, Gunner will learn to get along with humans and other puppies.
You should also take him more places.. Take him with you any place that will allow dogs. Visit friends. The more variety in both places and people that he becomes accustomed to, the better.
You also want him to learn that new people are something to enjoy, not fear. You can work on this with a few cooperative friends, relatives, or neighbors. I recommend clicker training for this process. A clicker is a small device sold in most pet stores that makes a clicking sound when squeezed. Then you should do what is called 'loading the clicker.' You'll need a supply of a treat Gunner really loves - tiny bits of cheese or meat are good. Use very small pieces. To teach the dog that the clicker means good things, click it once and immediately give the dog a treat. In one session, repeat this process 20 to 50 times - that's why you need tiny pieces of food. You want Gunner to immediately look for a treat when he hears the click. If he doesn't do that after the first session, have another session the next day. Most dogs do catch on quickly.
Next, arrange to have your helper be in the park while you're walking, but not approach Gunner. The instant the person comes in sight, click and reward. Repeat this until the sight of this person coming in sight causes Gunner to anticipate the click/treat. When he is comfortable with that, the person should move just a tiny bit closer. Click and reward. The goal is to cause the dog to associate other people with good things. This will take a great deal of patience. You will have to stay at each step along the way until Gunner is comfortable. The process will have to be repeated with other people, until Gunner knows he gets treats when other people are present. Eventually, he can be weaned away from the clicker and treats. There are other methods of working with fearful dogs, but I've found this to be among the most effective.
Here are three sites that have a wealth of information on working with dogs who are afraid:
To obtain the best results, it would be good to use all of the methods above, not just one. Enroll in a class, go to many different places, and use the clicker. I must be honest with you - this is going to require time and patience. There is no easy fix.
If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I hope these methods will help.
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