In order for your training to be as successful as possible, you need patience, repetition, calm and confidence. You need to establish yourself as alpha early. Teaching these exercises will help. Always keep the training session positive and fun. If you get upset or impatient STOP. Keep in mind you can teach more than one word at a time. There are many ways to teach commands. This is just one example for each.
1. Come- Tell your English Mastiff you want them to come to you immediately.
2. Sit- Just like it sounds. Your English Mastiff should plant their butt on the ground.
3. Break- This is your release command.
4. Down- This one will get your English Mastiff to lay its belly on the ground. A submissive position to help you maintain control.
5. Stay- Your English Mastiff should remain at his location until you release him.
6. No- This command will stop an undesired behavior immediately or let them know they moved from a stay before being released.
Let’s get to teaching! Have plenty of treats on hand and a backup supply. It’s fine to use soft treats, such as hot dog pieces, but (their normal food) kibble is best
Come: Show them the treat and say your dog’s name, “Hank, come”, while moving away from him with a treat. They naturally will want to follow. Always smile and give praise. Show them you are happy they are coming. That coming is the best idea they’ve had all day. Be convincing. Start with a few steps. When they get to you, drop the treat and praise them, “Good”, while taking three more steps back. We drop the treat while teaching this to give us time to create space between us and the dog.
This is fun, remember, this is a game. The best way to teach sit if they have no idea what sit means is gently pull up on the collar and push down gently near the base of their tail. Almost like a pivot. Be patient and gentle – it might not happen the first 10 tries. As soon as that puppy booty hits the floor you give an immediate treat or kibble and praise: “Yes!” Practice this until it becomes easy.
Make it a Game
The game is “Hank, come.” Three steps back, “Sit”, they sit, reward immediately. Don’t forget to say “Break”. Break means the dog is OK to stand back up and listen for the next command. “OK” or any word you choose is fine, but BE CONSISTENT. Same goes for praise use “Good” or “Yes” but do not interchange them.. “Hank come,” … then “Sit”, reward and “Break”. Repetition is your greatest ally in teaching any command.
Down starts with sit. From the sitting position, hold the treat close to his nose and move it towards the floor. Once his face is close to the floor slowly start pulling it away. It’s ok if they try to lick it while it’s in your hand but don’t give it to them yet or let them take it. The amazing thing is he will be very inclined to naturally lay down following the treat in close proximity to his face. As soon as his belly touches the floor, he gets a treat or a piece of kibble and praise. Practice down in this fashion until it’s comfortable and natural. Don’t forget to release them with “Break”.
To teach stay you normally would start in the down position. As you advance it will work anywhere but for now we will do it from down. Place your hand in front of his face with a flat palm as if you were telling him to stop. At the same time, you say “stay”. Here too, you can start off by simply taking three steps back. If he moves while you are stepping back, react quickly and make him stay say “no”. You be the judge, but make sure he “wins” be it one step or three. The point is he stayed and then got a treat. Gradually increase the duration and the movement. Even walk around your dog and when he stays, always reward and praise. Always remember to release them with “Break”.
Down and Stay
Down and Stay
Personally, I like to work these words with my puppy starting right away. 8 weeks old, and here we go. Potty training is mostly a lot of in and out on the leash. Incorporate these commands in all you do with him. Remember to keep it fun. To burn some energy you can take walks first. That will help them focus.
The leash is a great tool and it really one of the main ways you can bond and communicate with your dog. I like to focus on teaching my dog all the good and fun things to do. There will come a time when he will do something you don’t want him to do. That’s where “No” comes in. When you say it, make it firm and believable. They need to know you mean business. If they are on a leash I give it a short tug accompanying “no”. In the beginning, it may be necessary to redirect them. Meaning give them something positive they CAN do instead of what they were doing.
With a little practice and patience, these commands will help you enjoy and have a meaningful relationship with your English Mastiff.
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 :)
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