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Fear Aggressive Mastweiler

aggression large mastiff rottweiler fear

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#1 keldez

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 07:20 AM

Last year we purchased a 10 week old English Mastweiler to add to our big-dog family. After a 14 hour drive to pick him up, we finally got to meet him. We noticed he was slightly aloof, and didn't always stick with his littermates - lots of walking off and possibly even hiding. It was a slight concern to me, but not enough that I felt like changing from the puppy we had picked out (hindsight is 20/20).
Fast forward several weeks - he was very fearful around anyone but our family. Growling on walks or in public at strangers was becoming common. We kept socializing him, but tried to be gentle due to his fear response. We put him in his puppy obedience classes where he did great, and continued socializing.
At about 6 months old he was already pushing 70lb and his growling at strangers and other dogs was becoming somewhat scary - this only happens on leash or when confined (house/yard). We have a 70 acre off leash area across the street where he does not show these tendencies, since when he's afraid, he has control to hide, etc.  At around this time we lost our Doberman-Dane to cancer, and the aggression got worse. Lots of standing up and banging on the glass at home, jumping the fence to chase dog walkers, wanting to patrol every window in the house. In the two cases where he jumped the fence to chase someone, he acted tough until he got up to them and stopped, as though his aggression was a threat only.
At this point we reached out to a trainer to work with him. She took a very positive reinforcement approach - backing him away from his triggers with praise.  This didn't work out, as his fear aggression drive was too strong for the positive distractions.
Next we tried a trainer specializing in aggression. She took a more strict approach, using e-collar for standing against fence, pounding on windows, etc. This combined with efforts to establish myself as the alpha have cut these outburst occurrences probably in half.  But, one outburst is too many, as it scares neighbors when I have him on walks or when they visit the home. I walk him with a prong collar and use it to change directions with a light "pop" when he starts focusing on something/someone other than me (leader). His walking habits are perfect until a person is within 20ft of us, or dog within 100ft., then he starts lunging and snorting.
He is now 18 months old, and spends 99% of his time being a total sweetheart, and about 1% frightening everyone outside of our house. At 120lb he's ruined window screens, wooden blinds, and scratched out the window tinting just from his freak-outs.
I know there are many positions/opinions on training (especially with e-collars), and I welcome all ideas. If anyone has gone through similar experience, or has worked with this breed (Mastiff or Rotti), I'd like to hear what you think.  Thanks!

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#2 willowlynn

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 08:31 AM

Hi, prong and E-collars increase aggression.  Think about it, every time you see something you're interested in, you get popped, soon the things you are interested in equals pain/discomfort, brings out aggression.  Find another positive trainer/behaviorist, a good one will not give up!  Training increases confidence in dogs.  Best of luck to you.



#3 Viv

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 08:47 AM

Having Mastiffs and Knowing Rotts you NEVER pop on a choke or prong! That is not what they are used for. Now you say you BIG dog family--do you have other dogs  and a English Mastweiler is just a crossbreed--- any guarantees??  Your dog needs some serious in home training---bothe parents could have been aggressive


Viv---- Dargon- English Mastiff. Always in our hearts--Aughra- English Mastiff- Jorth- English Mastiff- Rontu--Bull Mastiff-- Annie and Blu--Dear Basset Hounds .Drac and Timber--Chow Chows- Baron-- Rottweiller


#4 Viv

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 08:53 AM

Mastiffs at least English or Rotts  legs are not as long as your dogs are-


Viv---- Dargon- English Mastiff. Always in our hearts--Aughra- English Mastiff- Jorth- English Mastiff- Rontu--Bull Mastiff-- Annie and Blu--Dear Basset Hounds .Drac and Timber--Chow Chows- Baron-- Rottweiller


#5 keldez

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Posted 11 November 2017 - 09:06 AM

Thank you for the reply

We had the big Doberman Dane that was even taller than him (32"), but he passed away a year ago. Now it's just our English Mastweiler and our 8lb pup.

We met both of his parents when we got him. They were both very loving and gentle. I tried to get back in touch with the breeder after 6 months to see how the others in her litter were doing, but never heard back. She did give me a 6 month guarantee, but at that time I was nowhere near giving up on him. This was planned to be her last litter, so it could be many reasons that I didn't hear back.

I don't wish to get into an e-collar or prong collar debate - only to say that I can see both sides of the argument. My first trainer said it will ramp up his aggression. Second trainer said it needed to be used to associate the jumping against window and jumping against fence as an ouch (like touching a hot stove) as an emergency measure to keep him from seriously hurting himself or others. I never like to use it, but there are moments where nothing else will get him to disengage.

When in the house and he freaks out, I usually walk thru him to steer him away and say "NO" and then "come" to follow me away from the window with reward. Most often I can snap my finger or vibrate his collar to get his attention and then call him away.  None of these are guarantees that he wont end up diving thru a window at some point, hence my urgency with helping him out of this fear.







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