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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So my "mastiff mix" puppy from the shelter might not be much of a mix. I think I adopted a pure bred Boerboel...

What have I gotten myself into?!

He is a pup - between 8 and 10 months old - and he doesn't have a mean streak in his body. My chihuahuas are still a bit leery of him but I think it's due to his sheer size and puppy antics. He is nervous about the cats, but I think he just doesn't know what to make of them yet.

From what I know about him, his owners said he was a pure bred dog but they didn't say what breed. Also, he was left roaming several times until he finally got to the shelter and his owners couldn't be bothered with reclaiming him. He seems comfortable in the house, has a basic concept of potty training, and is so not smart. ? He is food motivated but has the attention span of a goldfish. And he has very little manners. He bum rushes you, punches you in the gut, and walks right across your path as you walk. But, with all that said, he is so freaking cute!

So... What now? Should I expect something different because he is no longer a "mastiff mix" but instead appears to be a true Boerboel?

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Just keep training him. He's in his teenage stage and will be more interested in doing what he wants rather then what you want so you need to just be patient and consistent.

I'd clicker train him if you are not already, use food and what he wants to do as your rewards.

From what I'm reading about them it's said that they are a dominant breed. To me that translate to the dog is not interested in obeying, he gives careful consideration to what you are asking him to do and if it's worthwhile he'll do it, if no he'll do what he wants to do. Personally I love dogs like that, but not everyone does.
 

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Hard to tell in the pictures. Can you post some more?

I must say though that he looks very similar to a past foster, he is a Mastiff/Rottie mix.

If he is indeed a Boerboel, you need to do your research on the breed now. They are a harder breed of dog to own. What do you mean by not being smart? All dogs are smart in their own ways. :)





 

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I don't think it is a boerboel.

First, these are not common dogs, a mastiff mix is more likely.

Second, ears are too long, eyes are not in the right position on the skull, muzzle not the right shape, etc.
 

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He is lovely. :thumbsup:

He looks anxious in the photo. Regardless of breed or age , he is going to be stressed coming into a strange environment. He's going to feel all over the place so he wont be able to concentrate or take things in or find it easy to calm down. I doubt if he has had any basic training.
Give him a chance to calm down and settle in , and concentrate on introducing him to your chi's and getting him into a routine with toilet training.

Good luck! Alison
 

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I think you adopted an english mastiff or mix therein! They look a lot like boerboels and are also molossers but are much more common. Either way, he's big and cute!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the replies! I'll try to get some better pictures of him. In the mean time, he is 80 pounds of "I do what I want"! I must count my blessings though as he slept in his crate all night and only barked once. ?
He definitely has no manners. He jumps up on everyone and everything. And when we walk, he either is right on top of me or as far away as the leash allows. I know he wasn't leash trained when he got to the shelter, so I'm sure all of this is very new to him. My biggest struggle though is getting him to keep focus. He loves treats, but if he doesn't get the treat right away, he looses focus and forgets that I'm asking him for something in order to reward him. He is very much an "Oh look... a butterfly..." type of dog.
 

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He is gorgeous!

All that you describe is typical doggy teenager stuff. Just have patience, keep training and wait for it to pass.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This boy is proving to be quite... Difficult. It now appears that he has the attention span of a gnat!

How can I get him to focus?! He pays attention to treats but looses interest within seconds of not getting it. I can't even lure him into a sit. He looses focus too fast!

Also, I feel like I'm ALWAYS correcting him. I try to follow a negative marker with a "good boy!" when he responds. Is this the best way to get him to stop doing something? He puts absolutely everything in his mouth! He even picked up a screw! Plus he jumps up on the counters!

As for his jumping on me, I have started just turning my back to him and standing very still. This seems to be working. Also, I make sure to pet him and love on him only when all four paws are on the floor. However, he still bounds up to me and throws himself full force at my waist. I'm hoping this will eventually stop as it really hurts!

Any further advice is very much appreciated. I have never owned such a bull headed dog!
 

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Welcome to the wonderful world of mastiffs! They are bull headed breeds but not all that hard to work with! The problems you are having are due to a combination of two things. One: he is a young male entering the "teenage" stage, meaning he has lost any brains he might have had. Second: Mastiffs do not mature as early as smaller breeds of dog. They are still puppies until they are 2-3yrs old. So he isn't going to have a ton of focus for awhile yet.

Better to keep training sessions very short (3-5) minutes and to do them 5-6 (or more) times a day.

If he is having trouble focusing enough to sit I'd recommend trying to teach
watch first. There are many ways to teach it but what I do with my dogs is get their attention with the treat then slowly move it towards my nose. Then the second they make eye contact with me they get the treat. They do not need to hold eye contact - just briefly make it. If that does not work for you (some dogs are uncomfortable making eye contact) try just working with his name. Call his name and when he looks at you - he gets a treat. It sounds like nobody has taught him how to learn yet so you are going to have to start with the basic ABC's before you can move up to more complicated endeavors.

I also would very much recommend working on the NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) policy. Meaning he doesn't get anything from you unless he gives you something back. So he does not get attention, get to come in from outside, get his leash put on, get a meal unless he is doing something for you. Usually I make my dogs do a sit or a down before they get pretty much anything.

Since your boy does not know sit or down yet - I would start with just making him focus on you for a moment. Just pull up your patience pants and try and keep in mind you are trying to get cooperation from a stubborn pre-schooler with an attention deficit disorder.

When it all gets to be too much - hide in the bathroom and eat a mini snickers bar!

I am currently raising two sight hound puppies and if you want to talk about crazy no focus dogs I'm right there with you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just pull up your patience pants and try and keep in mind you are trying to get cooperation from a stubborn pre-schooler with an attention deficit disorder.

I had to laugh at this! It's so spot on... As I'm typing this, Cooper is tossing around an antler then putting the whole thing in his mouth, stretching out his cheeks, before finally laying down to chew it.


... And there goes the rest of my smoothie on the floor. ?

My other dogs are looking at this dog like he's an idiot and then looking at me like I'm an idiot!

I'm definitely trying to only reward him when he is behaving appropriately. I just feel like he never is! I've said the word "no" more times in the past few days then I have in the past month! I will work on teaching him watch me. Hopefully I can get enough focus for him to at least look at me! Lol.
 

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It's totally pointless to use "no". He has no idea what it means. So to him, you're just making that sound, over and over again, for no reason at all.

Prevent the behavior you don't want to see, reward what you do want to see. Keep training sessions short, end before he loses focus and reward successes heavily.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
So I tried watch me... Epic fail. He looked at the treat and then leapt full force at my face. I would turn my back and he would just walk away. ? I tried a few times and eventually he just stopped paying attention to me.
I've gone though puppy obedience before with my rotti. I feel like I still have a good grasp on how to teach watch me but this dog baffles me. Completely.

Help!
 

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In my completely inexperienced opinion, it sounds like you might want to find a trainer who will work one-on-one with you. I suggest one-on-one because then it's easier for them to figure out how your dog will learn best, and they can also help you learn how to teach him.
 

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So I tried watch me... Epic fail. He looked at the treat and then leapt full force at my face. I would turn my back and he would just walk away. ? I tried a few times and eventually he just stopped paying attention to me.
I've gone though puppy obedience before with my rotti. I feel like I still have a good grasp on how to teach watch me but this dog baffles me. Completely.

Help!
Have you tried clicker training? Carry around a clicker and a pocket of treats and when he offers eye contact on his own (or any behavior you want to encourage) click and give him a treat. When it's during every day life and not in a training session it will be unexpected and he'll actually be offering the behavior on his own instead of getting distracted by the treat. You could even do it without a clicker.

It's called "capturing" as opposed to "luring."
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Have you tried clicker training? Carry around a clicker and a pocket of treats and when he offers eye contact on his own (or any behavior you want to encourage) click and give him a treat. When it's during every day life and not in a training session it will be unexpected and he'll actually be offering the behavior on his own instead of getting distracted by the treat. You could even do it without a clicker.



It's called "capturing" as opposed to "luring."

Why didn't I think of that?! I bet I can capture his good behaviors much easier than luring! Thanks!!!
 
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