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jeffk

Bullmastif attacks dogs

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Hello, my 2 year old Bullmastif, Max, is a sweetheart with my wife, 2 daughters (12 & 10), and all the assorted nieces & nephews (toddlers) that are at our house weekly. He was raised with our 15 year old Cocker Spaniel (who we recently had to put down), and was very gentle with her. He is also best "buds" with our neighbors female Shepard/ Rott mix. From the time he was a pup we brought him to the local dog park almost weekly, and he played nicely with the other dogs. As he grew, it seemed every time we went to the park the smallest of dogs would go after him, and bite his face. The first few times this happened he would run away, or not react. As he grew, I noticed that if other dogs were play "fighting", or starting to growl, Max would run into the mix, and start being a little bit aggressive with one of the dogs. He'd respond to a yell from me, and stop. We finally had to stop our visits to the park after once again, a small dog bit his face. This time he grabbed the dog around the neck and pinned it to the ground. He didn't hurt the dog, but all the screaming (from the dog & it's owners), helped us to decide that maybe the park wasn't the best place for Max. Also, Max & his best buddy have escaped from their yards together a few times, and brought back their "trophies"- geese from the pond behing our house. Over the weekend I thought we'd give the dog park another try (against my 10 year old advise-out of the mouths of babes). He loves to fetch, and I figured we would tire him out, so he wouldn't be as excitable. Anyway, 3 minutes in, he saw 2 dogs play "fighting", ran at one of them, mowed it down, grabbed it by the neck, and began shaking it around like a rag doll. Thank God he only scared the dog (no cuts or blood), and the owners didn't kill me. We will never again take Max to the park (I will listen to my children). Has anyone ever experienced this with Bullmastifs? Can this type of "dog on dog" aggression ever translate to children? A friend of ours who was raised on a farm told us once a dog tastes blood, they will crave it, and the only solution is to put him down. We Love Max, but do not want to put anyone in danger. Please help!

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Hi there,

I have a spayed 3 year old Bullmastiff named Payton. She has had some similiar encounters with dogs that have bit her and she went a bit nuts.
I'd have to say though that it was isolated and not a simple act of aggression on it's own.

My thoughts and experience with Payton on dog socialization is this: More is better. However, if she is doing this sort of thing and not responding to commands and simply attacking or not coming or whatever in that situation - perhaps it's time to either a> take her out on a lead and control him or b> have a dog behaviorist attend and get professional help.

I have used a person from Barkbusters which helped quite a bit as she was aggressive with certain dogs and it helped immensely. (My blog actually tells a recent story of that - see Bullmastiff vs. German Shepherd).

I would also get into as much reading as you can about dog behavior seeing as that is a great alternative to getting rid of a problem dog. Many times dogs from the humane society that have been ruled aggressive need special care and attention and eventually become more socialized...

Take care and hope this helps...

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Hi,

I adopted a 5-yr-old bullmastiff / pitbull mix 6 months ago and similar story. He's totally sweet with people of all kinds from babies to adults - and had been living and getting along well with my roommate's sheperd / collie mix. But 3 months in he just started going nuts around other dogs to the point i can't bring him around other dogs anymore.

I've heard - and have no idea if this is true - that the pitbull (and possibly the bullmasstiff) brain can outgrow the dog's skull or something, and at a certain age the pressure can distort their perception and behavior - hence making them a bit nuts.

I do hope this is not the case and also am wondering if anyone can offer help as to how to properly socialize this dog - or whether it's just not possible and related more to genetics than training.

best,

Joe

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