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Dr. Ellie
Dr. Ellie, Veterinarian
Category: Dog Training
Satisfied Customers: 370
Experience:  emergency and critical care resident
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My 2.5 year old bullmastiff champion show dog has become

Customer Question

my 2.5 year old bullmastiff champion show dog has become extremely over protective and very impulsive. He wants to go after people and other dogs. Otherwise, he is the sweetest dog I have ever had. A couple weeks ago when I was picking him up from play group he went after a lady who was picking up her dog. He was growling and snarling and I thought he might have bitten her if I HAD NOT PULLED HIM OFF IN TIME. hE DRAGGED ME DOWN THE DRIVEWAY ON THE GROUND AND IN TO THE STREET WHEN HE SAW a man walking by with is dog. He goes wild in the car when he sees dogs, other people, motorcycles etc. and often charges from the back seat right in to the windshield.
We saw Dr Deporter today for the second time. She is one a vet who is one of about 38 certified animal behaviorists in the country. She sAID SHE WOULD WORK WITH US WITH BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION AND MEDICATION BUT HER RECCOmendation was that we give him back to the breeder for placement in another home. My wife and I as well as Dr Deporter feel that this is a serious lawsuit waiting to happen.
Please advise. I ONLY WALK HIM LATE AT NIGHT WHEN THERE IS NO ONE ELSE AROUND. Otherwise, we just go in the back yard. I was thinking that if I could work with a trainer who would be with me when I was in those situations where Tyson gets out of control that maybe he could be straightened out. Do you know of such a trainer inthe Detroit area who might be willing to do this? Do you think this is the right way to do this? Please advise.
I dont want him to wind up biting someone and have to be put down!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Dog Training
Expert:  Dr. Ellie replied 1 year ago.

Hi there, I am very sorry to hear about the troubles you have been having with your mastiff. I myself recently lost my neapolitan mastiff at 8 years old and he was irreplaceable. I have a great fondness for the breed. And after seeing him defend my apartment by literally jumping through the window when someone tried to climb my fence, I know first hand the awesomeness and scariness that a protective mastiff can be. I will try my best to help you but given that you are already working with Dr. Deporter, I do not know if I will have anything to add.

First, if I may, I would like to get a little background.

Has he always been this over protective or did it recently escalate?

You mentioned picking him up from a playdate- does he do well with other dogs when you are not around?

Can you pinpoint the escalation to a certain event or trauma, however slight?

Is he neutered?

Is he just as aggressive when you are not around? Is he just as protective over other family members?

Does he accept people into your home?

I can look for trainers in your area that have a track record of dealing with aggressive giant breed dogs. I think that it is fine to want to try to rehabilitate him. You obviously care for him so very much and if he goes to another home, he is likely to have the same issues with time. And if he does, his new owners may not be so astute and dedicated as you are. Any dog with aggressive tendencies is a lawsuit waiting to happen but you are protecting yourself by trying to treat him appropriately and re-train him.

And of course, Im sure Dr. Deporter recommended using a basket muzzle when i npublic for everyone's safety. No one can offer any guarantees that anything will work but if you are not ready to give up on him then you have no other option but to try.

Unfortunately, I would have to respectfully ***** ***** Dr. Deporter in that if you decide you are not able to address his issues and rehabilitate him, I think the best thing to do would be to euthanize him rather than rehome him as he could potentially be a danger in his new home as well. The caveat to this would be if the breeder is willing to try to rehabilitate him and assumes the liability for him.

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