Bullmastiffs: Agile and Protective Dogs
A dog’s appearance is often the deciding factor for most people when they are choosing a dog. However, a dog’s temperament and behavioral tendencies are more important criteria than looks. After all, a dog is something that becomes part of one’s day to day living. It is important that a dog’s temperament and behavior suit its master and its living environment.
Characteristics of Bullmastiff Dogs
Take for instance the Bullmastiff dog. This dog breed originally served as both companion to and co-worker of British gamekeepers. In the past, poaching game was a capital offense. In order to ward off poachers and protect both game and themselves while on the job, gamekeepers needed a companion that was agile, strong, intelligent and obedient. Thus, they used the Bullmastiff’s forerunner, the Gamekeeper’s Night Dog, to accomplish such a task.
In addition to possessing a combination of strength and agility, as well as being intelligent and obedient, the Bullmastiff dog is also very possessive and strong willed large breed dog. To own a Bullmastiff dog means that you will need to combine and balance affection with discipline and consistency. Keep in mind that Bullmastiffs were originally bred to serve as guard dogs. Thus, while a properly trained Bullmastiff dog is friendly and affectionate, it still has a very strong tendency to take control of the situation.
Dogs are pack animals; to the Bullmastiff, the family he belongs to, as well as the other animals in the household, belong in his pack. Every pack has a hierarchy, a pecking order; there is a leader (the alpha dog) and there are followers. All dogs, including Bullmastiffs, must know their place in the pack so that they can be comfortable in their environment as well as be mentally secure in their position in the pecking order.
A Bullmastiff with the right temperament is never aggressive nor ‘guardy’ all of the time. What many dog owners love about Bullmastiffs is their ‘live and let live’ attitude. Bullmastiffs tend to be easygoing and laidback unless there is something wrong going on. For instance, Bullmastiffs are perfectly happy to watch television with the kids or lie down and sleep in his favorite spot. Most of the time, however, Bullmastiffs will lie down in a spot where it can see all the goings-on inside the house or outside the yard.
Because they are very agile, Bullmastiffs can be lying very still, relaxed and at ease, one minute and running full speed the next instant. You can count on a Bullmastiff to be wherever he is needed. As a guard dog, Bullmastiffs are excellent. They can discriminate people who are in your property legitimately (e.g., friends you invite over to your house) from people who are trying to get into your home without your permission.
Bullmastiffs as Companions
If you want a dog that has character, look no further than the Bullmastiff dog. Powerful, intelligent and strong willed, you’ll never have a dull moment with a Bullmastiff. However, if you do get a Bullmastiff dog for a pet, make sure that you establish right from the beginning that you are the alpha dog or the leader of the pack. Bullmastiffs tend to think that they own their owners, not the other way around. This is what makes them wonderful companions and excellent guard dogs. Bullmastiffs will do anything in order to get their own way; the male Bullmastiffs will either pout or force the issue while the female Bullmastiffs often try to be coy in order to get their own way.
Bullmastiffs and Commands
A very important thing you need to keep in mind when you issue a command or correction to a Bullmastiff is to stick to it. Never give in once because Bullmastiffs have good memory – give in just one time and they will make sure to do the same thing several times later on. When correcting a Bullmastiff, make sure that you issue your correction in the same strength as its behavior dictates. For instance, saying ‘no’ in a strong, firm voice is often enough to get a Bullmastiff to obey. However, firmer methods need to be employed on occasion.
A good rule of thumb is to start with the correction that is the least severe. A Bullmastiff will realize it when you mean what you say. Thus, be consistent when you are issuing your commands and corrections. Be aware too that Bullmastiffs have a very expressive face and they will use this to their advantage. When you correct a Bullmastiff, don’t be driven to guilt by its expressive face.