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What will / would you do differently with another Mastiff pup?

Hello everyone! Hope you are all enjoying this lovely, lovely, autumn season as much as we are. I keep temperature icons (is "icons" the right word?) on my computer desk top which cover several cities in several states - from southern Texas to northern Michigan - to keep an eye on the weather my extended family members are dealing with, daily. Imagine my surprise one evening last week when there was only a three degree differential between all of the cities from southern Texas to norther Michigan and several locations between the two! Only in autumn, I presume! I so love this friendly, fanciful, fall season! Don't you?

The air is crisp, the trees are gloriously turning brilliant shades of yellow, red, gold & a glamorous shade of pale green. I'm packing up the short sleeved / sleeveless tops and shorts while refilling the dresser drawers with turtle necks, bulky sweaters, hefty blue jeans . . . all while trying to relocate our snow boots, gloves, scarves & heavy coats within backdoor, grabbing distance before we actually need them! Wish me good luck with these tasks as I wish you the same in your seasonal changing endeavors!

(Hint: Can't find a favorite pair of cold season gloves? Check last winter's, packed away, coat pockets, or winter purses/backpacks/totes/car trunks-glove boxes, pick-up tool boxes, garage shelves, etc., - before buying a new pair! Betcha find the old pair in one of those spots! Been there, done that, many a year after year after year: Hee, hee, hee!)

As many of you know, collegiate football rather rules our "Sunflower Band" homestead this time of year, and it's certainly been a challenging season thus far for our favored Kansas State Wildcats: Our win / loss record is a depressing 2W - 3L only five weeks in and that's a hard pill to swallow for us 2012, Big XII Champs! (Gulp! Gag! Gasp! But so it is!)

None-the-less, as our multi-year titled, "Nationally acclaimed, Coach of the Year" Head football coach, Bill Snyder, reminds us . . . each new season is all about remembering, reviewing, practicing, & executing a set & proven agenda for success of which he teaches his young student athletes year after year, and his stated values have remained unchanged & unchallenged over his many successful years as K-State's head coach.

Of course I'm paraphrasing his comments, but they got me to thinking about how we all need to regroup every once in a while, in every aspect of life, and re-examine how we deal with success and or failure.

All that said, and assuming we all learn & grow from mistakes & / or errors of omission - - - what will you, would you do, differently with your next Mastiff (or any breed for that matter) pup when you bring him or her home?

Here's my very short list . . . AND BELIEVE YOU, ME, I HAVE AN EXPANDED, VERY LONG LIST, TOO, but I'm not quite ready to admit that many gaffs in a public forum!

1. I will stick my fingers in my next puppy's ears until he or she doesn't fret about it anymore than when I scratch his/her back. (Only the most tolerant and carefree pets will let you clean / medicate their ears without a history of such versus a current day scuffle. If you make it seem normal from the get go, I'm guessing they might worry and squirm less when it's a necessity.)

2. I will start clipping (or at least pretend to be clipping) my next puppy's toenails from day one. (None of my 3 pups really needed their nails clipped much earlier than a year or so of age - probably because they had rocks and concrete to bound about within the yard which inadvertently dulled down their nails - but they all got spooked when we tried to introduce nail clippers at a later age. UGH!)

3. I will give my next pup a bath a month whether he / she needs it or not, and at least every few months thereafter. (Only one of our three Mastiff's really enjoyed baths, and since most Mastiff's don't really need full baths very often, we got very, very lazy about this . . . But darned if the lack of doing so didn't come back to slap us silly!) Honestly, I'm guessing an every other month or so trip to the shower / tub might - - - even without soaping up or scrubbing - - - just might make it easier for them to willingly take a dip once they pass the 150 - 200 pound mark! (And gads, they do get to that heavy weight fast don't they?!)

Better yet . . . install a hot water outdoor shower head like PJ & hubby did and soak the big & giant, grown rascals outdoors as needed without having to also mess up and then clean the indoor tub / showers! Brilliant idea, PJ! I'm still trying to talk my DH into this (and our plumbing is next to an outdoor wall so it should not be that difficult or expensive to accomplish) but he just wants to hook up a hose from the bathroom to the outdoors and I'm NOT AT ALL excited about having the opportunity to uncurl / curl up a hose for each & every event!

Okay. That's my short list. Please add your own short list and if all goes well and we remain kind to each other, perhaps we can develop a longer list of which all of us skins and all of our fur kids can benefit . . . and if we're lucky . . . maybe we can all also help a lurker or two or three or more doing his or her best to raise another Mastiff (or any other breed for that matter) puppy as she / he happens upon this web site.

I read something several days ago that really made me want to be a better contributor to this very special, pro-Mastiff, pro pet, people friendly web site. Again, I'm paraphrasing: It's easy for all of us to tell (via social site web-posts) each other what we are "doing" versus what we are "thinking" but it can be equally valuable for us to tell each other our thoughts of how things could be made better. Thoughts often have the potential to be more conversationally influential than mere stories - - - Not always, but sometimes.

Let's keep a happy medium - - - good stories, good ideas, good intentions all coming together here at Mastiff Guardian!

Again, I've learned so much from so many of you and hope we can all keep the conversation lively, both sharing advice and sharing stories and once in awhile just being silly!

Take care everyone, and chime in with all things pet & skin related via stories or thoughts or ideas! Like our much loved Mastiffs simply wish for - - - Let's just be happy folks and get back to all the really comfy & fun stuff, A.S.A.P! -Cindy & the Sunflower Band-

Re: What will / would you do differently with another Mastiff pup?

Leaves are a changin’ and football is in the air. Personally I don’t mind the hot summers because I can play more golf. But I know Wrigley is certainly happier with the cooler weather. One thing I miss when fall comes is daylight. The sun sets way too early.

As for what I’d do different when raising a puppy, not sure I can come up with anything. Wrigley was my 4th and by the time he came around I’d pretty much worked out any issues from the previous four-legged nibblers. If I had to pick something, I suppose teaching them to go lay in a corner when guests arrive. But even without having been taught that, Wrigley pretty much leaves everybody alone after the initial greeting. Occasionally he’ll rise up to break the boredom but that only lasts momentarily and then right back to laying down somewhere.

My top suggestion for any new Mastiff puppy owner would be socialize, socialize, socialize; puppy classes, pet stores, walks in the park, etc. Basically get them acquainted to anything and everything.

Re: What will / would you do differently with another Mastiff pup?

Hmmmm, let me think. Sorry but that made my head hurt.

Seriously, I think my biggest problem is nail cutting. TJ and I both hate doing it because we're not good at it and I think every dog we've ever had has been able to sense that. I've been told that dremeling is the way to go and dogs will accept it better as long as you introduce it to them very slowly. I planned on getting one when I got Hemi but couldn't get anyone to tell me exactly what model/speed I needed and since I don't know anything about dremels I just gave up on the idea and now I wish I hadn't.

Hemi doesn't get a bath too often, as a matter of fact I think she's only had 2 in the 2 years that we've had her (she's not one to get stinky or dirty). Thankfully she is very food motivated too so just me climbing in the bathtub with her and some yummy treats was all that was needed while daddy stayed outside the tub doing the actual bathing ritual.

Hemi is the first one we socialized from day one and never stopped, our others were socialized until 6-9 months and then for whatever reason we just didn't continue it (my bad). Hemi is still put in new situations every day and I can honestly say that has truly made a huge difference. I have found that once she turned 2 though, she has had a small personality change. Before that she loved everybody and thought everybody should love her, now she is a little more unsure of some people and will not hesitate to use her big girl bark. This has made me a little uncomfortable at times although I am assured by some much more knowledgeable mastiff people that have seen her that she is not acting inappropriately. I am trying to learn to look for body signals she is showing at those times but it is definitely still a work in progress on my end. If anyone has any suggestions to help me with this or if you can tell me why her personality has changed (billh?), I'm all ears. What should I be doing in those situations? I'm horrible at looking at her entire body for signals because at that point I just want to remove her from that situation before anything escalates (not even knowing if it would go any further). I'm sure that probably isn't the best reaction on my part so I'd love to get some feedback on that too.

Sorry, didn't mean to hijack Cindy's thread. It's a great topic and I hope others will join in too.

Re: What will / would you do differently with another Mastiff pup?

Hey, Jackie - - - you did not hijack this thread at all! In fact you and Billh's comments were exactly what I was hoping for: The beginnings of A Lively Conversation! (And still hoping others chime in, too!)

I honestly can't remember if it was Reilly or Kosmo but our long term (decades) favorite vet assistant once tried to use the Dremel (sp?) tool for nail trimming, on one of the boys at about two years of age . . . Which ever one it was, the dog decided that the power tool was more frightening than the manual nail clippers and quietly cowered in the corner as he let our vet tech gal simply clip all toenails on all four paws without resistance! BTW - we still depend on vet check ups to get Samp's nails clipped, these days!

To both Bill & Jackie - - - thanks so much for bringing up the need of pet dog "socializing" front, forward and center concerning new pups as I completely agree with the importance of such and honestly think this should be priority ONE! Great call my Mastiff parent friends! Great call!

We were really good with socializing our first Mastiff, slacked off a bit with our second (thought we could teach him as well without all of the "classes") but really fell off the rails with failing to give 3rd pup, Sampy more "formal education." My sister, a mother of four kids, admits to the same type (albeit entirely different treatment, because her kids only have two legs & weren't anywhere near 200 pounds at 2 years of age) that the "slacking off" mentality sometimes just happens! - - - Just saying I don't feel all that bad for not being so strict with my younger furs as I thought I might be able to add such educational techniques with a lesser intensity merely because of experience. Perhaps I was a bit misguided - - - but I honestly should have never made the comparison between applications concerning such different fur kid personalities but thank goodness it all worked out well! (Live & Learn!)

We got lucky, however, as Sampson the youngest OEM seems to be one of the most naturally social big fur creatures of our big fur boy bunch: This big boy still won't even chase rabbits in the yard - - - 'cuz they are his "Yard buddies" - - - and he just wants to bark hello with a happy tail, i.e., say hello to his best-est friends! (Oh my!) Even the "walk by the yard people" are mostly just folks for Sampy to high happy tail wave at! (Ah yes . . . Oh this Mastiff Life!)

Again, thanks for both of your comments, Wrigley & Hemi's folks, and again, hoping for many other contributions (hint hint fellow Mastiff Guardian long time posters - start typing, now) from all Mastiff Guardian Friends and "jump in lurkers." We ALL (skins & furs) have different experiences, but I'm guessing we all have very, very common concerns!

All that said - - - anyone want to volunteer to sweep my kitchen after I let Mastiff Sampson, and foster care brother, Baxter the Boston, chew up three brown paper sack grocery bags on the kitchen floor just because I was too lazy to go outside and play a game or two of fetch on a chilly afternoon? (Good gravy what a mess they made!)

No takers? Oh well! Chime in and keep the conversation lively, friends! Love ya'll & your skin & fur families! -Cindy-

Re: What will / would you do differently with another Mastiff pup?

Sure Cindy, I'll be right over to sweep your kitchen floor as long as you come over and (God only knows how) pick up all the branches and leaves that I allowed Hemi to drag in. Yes, I allowed it for the same reason you did.

Re: What will / would you do differently with another Mastiff pup?

Hee! Hee! Hee! Now that was funny, Jackie, and "thanks anyway" but I'd rather sweep up the shredded paper bags than clean up Hemi's twig & leaf mess! HA! HA!

Me thinks I might have a few mid-sized, fallen, tree branches that my guys have managed to get into the house & shimmy under a couch or two or other heavy pieces of furniture that I don't move very often to clean under . . . but I draw the line at needing to rake leaves & twigs in the house: That's just unheard of and so very socially unacceptable!

(I'm joking! I'm joking! Hemi would fit right in with the Sunflower Band!)

Confession time - I've found a tree branch (or two or ten or twenty-something) apparently stuffed for safe storage beneath the couch cushions, too, so gotta give all the giant fur babes a break!

Once again - Oh this Mastiff Life! -Cindy-

Re: What will / would you do differently with another Mastiff pup?

Great thread,and I enjoyed reading it. Even though we don't currently have any Mastiffs I have met so many great people over the years that I will continue to join in on this site =) I am sure one day we will have another Mastiff but right now it's just too raw for us =(. I honestly could not think of a thing I would do differently with another Mastiff until I read Bills response and I guess if I "had" to come up with something it would be how excited they got when we had company,although if we let them know it was not exceptable to lay their head in someone lap when they had dress clothes on,they would go lay down.I am not sure if it's because we had them from 18 hours old that they knew our "tones" so well,but we could not have asked for a Mastiff to be any better!!! They were all great in every way escept poor Darcy(not the same lines as my other 4) who I had to have put down due to aggression.We thought we could keep her from everyone and let her live her nervous life out here on the farm,but when Dusty had to have heart surgery my neighbor could not control her when she escaped her kennel so I had to leave when Dusty was out of surgery to go home and take her to be put down.I had no choice at the time( she had already bitten one neighbor when she came over and Dusty let her out not knowing).Anyway I ramble,but just want to say I would not have traded the past 12 years for anything and I miss them all sooo much!! Hoss was the only one that ended up in his later years not caring for the nail trim and I figured out that if I let him stand and trimmed his nails like shoeing a horse he did so much better =)He still was not awful about it anyway but just was uncomfortable,God I miss them so much!!!

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