A month away from our new addition looking for advice...

Discussion in 'The Bullmastiff' started by Capnd77, Nov 4, 2017.

  1. Capnd77

    Capnd77 New Member

    So like the title says, my family will be adding this little guy and was curious if anyone wants to give some advice for a first time BM owner. Maybe some insights that you might have thought would have been
    useful to you the first time you brought your BM home. Any ideas are appreciated, types of food, potty training, treats, training tips, puppy proofing, etc...
     

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  2. marke

    marke Well-Known Member

    he's a good looking pup , bullmastiffs were some of the best dogs I've ever had .......... there are plenty of experiences on this board for you .....
     
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  3. Capnd77

    Capnd77 New Member

    Thanks, I've been exploring previous posts trying to suck up as much info as possible.
     
  4. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    Sweet!!!

    My tips:

    1. take a baby blanket with you when you go to pick the little guy up. Rub the blanket all over his mom and siblings to get the 'scent of mom' on it, and take that home with you for use in the crate (or where ever he'll be sleeping). The smells of home will go a long way to helping him sleep quietly (at least for a few hours) those first few nights in a new place.

    2. keep the travel home and arrival in the new home as low key and relaxing as possible. Have a comfy spot in the living room ready for him to relax in (with you) once you arrive, so he can nap and recover from the car ride.

    3. be sure to get some of the food he was eating with the breeder to take home with you. Just a few days worth would help - so his tummy isn't getting something new at the same time he's stressing about losing everything he's ever known in his life. You can switch over to whatever food you want later, blending in slowly, to transition over - but if you can wait until the stress of the new surroundings diminishes, that will help avoid a GI upset.

    4. take a pillow off your bed - something you've been sleeping on, so full of "you" smells - and put that in his crate (or on his bed), so along with the baby blanket of 'old home' smells, he'll be snuggling up with the smells of you and his 'new home'.

    Denna still has both her baby blanket and the pillow she first slept on. She doesn't need them anymore, but I can tell she still loves them both (i.e. they have never been shredded!)

    If you haven't considered crate training - I'd recommend you look into it. We've found it a life saver with our pups. Saves the pup from getting into trouble and eating something they shouldn't, and saves the house from puppy-destruction.

    Be ready to not sleep more than a few hours at a time for at least a few weeks! How fast they adjust and build bladder holding capacity varies A LOT puppy to puppy... Denna was sleeping through the night pretty quick (within a few weeks) versus our last dog, who took waaaay longer.

    Come back with more puppy pictures!! Please!! :)
     
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  5. Capnd77

    Capnd77 New Member

    Wow! Thanks for all of the wonderful advice! I think the idea of grabbing the scent of the mom is great. We are definitely gonna crate train the pup, and I'll definitely post a photo of our boy whenever he arrives. Thanks again!
     
  6. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    My advice is to start marking any behaviors that you want him to repeat from the second you get him home. I use a clicker and wear a treat pouch with a portion of kibble (or have small bowls of kibble spread throughout the house) and every time puppy does something I like I click and treat. Sitting is huge and usually I have a default sit after the first day. You want to capture behaviors and reward them rather than commanding at this point. Laying down quietly? Capture that calm and reward it. Also reward all eye contact and walking next to you at approximate heel position. You're not looking for formal stuff early on, you're just rewarding things you like so puppy is more likely to continue those behaviors. It really eliminates a lot of problem stuff. If puppy knows to sit before you pet then he won't be jumping as it's an incompatible behavior. It's amazing how many problem behaviors can be avoided before they start by doing this.
     
  7. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

    This is great advice. If you are clicker challenged like I am then choose a word to use in place of the actual clicker. I tried many times to do the clicker but I literally am not coordinated enough to make it work so we use a verbal cue instead. :)
     
  8. Nik

    Nik Well-Known Member

     
  9. DennasMom

    DennasMom Well-Known Member

    Great advice from Boxergirl on marking behaviors. The puppy will be watching your every move and learning what you like and don't like, as well as what gets your attention... whether you are "teaching" something actively, or not.

    Some of our first vocabulary words we taught were "wait", "sit" and "come"... just as she offered a behavior we'd label it always being very happy and positive with lots of praise - I don't think we added treats as a reward until we started asking for behaviors, but I can see where they'd be helpful at anytime. We also would say "DENNA!" anytime she looked at us... not as a "come" command, just as a 'focus' marker, and to teach her name recognition, which she learned quick!

    It really worked great to just capture behaviors as they happened versus manually pushing her into different positions to teach words or commands.

    We also took Denna to a clicker-based obedience group class when she was older (6-10 months)... she LOVED working with the clicker, and I really learned a lot about doggie communication signals, since I wasn't allowed to talk (much) or use my hands during class - it was all luring and marking. Very educational for me (and Denna did great).
     
  10. Capnd77

    Capnd77 New Member

    Awesome advice, definitely seems to be an extremely sound approach. I'm completely in favor of putting in the work early on to avoid having to fix problems later on when he's 100+ pound adult. Treats and plenty of praise are gonna be my primary tools, although I have thought about buying a clicker as well. Thanks so much for your insight, I'm trying hard to get this right for the general happiness of the dog and my family.
     
  11. Capnd77

    Capnd77 New Member

    Thanks, I'm thinking ideally of using only voice commands to get the desired result but using any tool that makes it easier to train is welcome. I'm also gonna work hard on socialization. Any issues with dog aggression? This is one of my principle concerns.
     
  12. Boxergirl

    Boxergirl Well-Known Member

    Please keep in mind that socialization does not mean that your dog must meet all the people and let them pet him or meet all the dogs and interact with them. Socialization means exposing your dog to as many different sights, sounds, types of people wearing all types of clothing, etc in a safe and positive manner. I want my dogs to not be afraid of different things, but they don't need to interact with them. Ideally I want them to ignore them as just another part of the scenery and pay attention to me.

    https://clickertraining.com/dont-socialize-the-dog
     
  13. Capnd77

    Capnd77 New Member

    Perfect! Again thanks for the link and advice. I'll continue doing my research and preparation for the pup. You folks have been a big help!
     
  14. Capnd77

    Capnd77 New Member

    2 weeks to go! Here's our boy at 6 weeks old, super excited!
     

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