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Bullmastiffs are a very tolerant gentle and docile breed, that adores and protects his family. As a parent of four children, it was imperative that we acquired a breed that was good with children. They have proven themselves beyond our expectations.
With all of our children they are taught to respect dogs, dogs are not a toy, nor can they be compared to a human, they are animals. I would, however, recommend not to leave a dog or child unsupervised as a child can be cruel and without intention, your dog may snap back as self-defense. We have noticed with Bullmastiffs that if they have had enough they will simply move away, this is your cue to let your child understand that he is trying to tell them as they would like a bit of peace and quiet. Bullmastiffs do enjoy human companionship and affection and you will quite often find a Bullmastiff will become quite excitable when he sees children and vice versa. Caution is required due to the size of the Bullmastiff that they may unintentionally knock over toddlers or because of their large wagging tails that may accidentally whip a child’s leg or face which can be quite painful.
Our Bullmastiff puppies are raised in our home so they are accustomed to loud and unpredictable movements from our children. You must teach a Bullmastiff the difference in noises associated with children playing, e.g. laughing, shouting and screaming. We do not allow a Bullmastiff to play bite with children, this is considered unwanted behavior and should not be encouraged by children. Rough play nor chasing games should be encouraged as this will not be acceptable for an adult Bullmastiff who on average would weigh 60 kilograms plus. Instead, enforce good play, hiding treats under cups, throwing a ball for them to chase, hide and seek, going for walks or simply relaxing and giving the Bullmastiff a good rub and a scratch. It is also very rewarding for a child to learn and teach the basics of obedience. This also provides a great opportunity for your child to bond with the Bullmastiff. There are many low fee basic obedience schools in all states. This also provides a great opportunity for your Bullmastiff to socialize with other dogs and people.
If you are introducing an adult Bullmastiff into the family I would strongly suggest purchasing a crate first before you bring the Bullmastiff home. Place the Bullmastiff into the crate where there is a lot of activity, for example, the kitchen or lounge room. This will allow the Bullmastiff to become accustomed to the everyday hassle and bustle of his new family. Allow your child to approach him while the Bullmastiff is crated to feed him treats, but do not allow your child to tease him. Watch how the Bullmastiff reacts to every family member, if he shies away or is uninterested by looking away then he will need to remain in the crate with the exception of an adult taking him for walks. For an adult, he will be going through a complete lifestyle change so it is quite normal for him to go off his food for around the first few days. On average a new adult Bullmastiff introduced into the family will need to be crated for around two weeks. Once you feel confident that your Bullmastiff appears to be accepting of your children, place the Bullmastiff onto a lead and allow your child to approach him accompanied by an adult. Again watch how the Bullmastiff reacts if he seems happy to see your child then welcome to your new family Bullmastiff if not then continue crating the Bullmastiff and try again at a later date. If you feel that it is not working then consult the previous owner or breeder. No risk should be taken when it comes to your child’s safety.
Introducing your Bullmastiff to a newborn baby is always a little daunting. Most of my Bullmastiffs knew before I did when I was pregnant and were always very cautious and gentle around me as they knew I was in a delicate situation so to speak. And on two occasions when I had arrived home with my babies I can distinctly remember all of the Bullmastiffs howling in anticipation to meet the new family member. Again a crate would be very useful and wise to allow your Bullmastiff to become accustomed to the crate well in advance of the new babies arrival. Once you do arrive home, place the Bullmastiff into the crate an hour at a time, again place the crate where the Bullmastiff has a good view of you with the baby, allow the Bullmastiff to smell the baby while remaining in the crate. Surprisingly all of our Bullmastiffs adapted extremely quickly when a newborn was in the family. Remember a Bullmastiff is a large heavy dog so always make sure that the baby is not in harm’s way of any dog. A Bullmastiff will try and make themselves at home in babies bed so be sure that doors are closed when babies are asleep. Also, refer above to introducing the adult Bullmastiff.
All my life I've been in love with one big friendly dopey Mastiff family member after another. No other breed has given me so much pleasure. I care about them as much if not more than most of the people I've ever known and now it's a dream to be able to research and write up everything my team and I have learned and are continuing to learn. Hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy writing :)