Activities For French Mastiffs

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Introduction

The French Mastiff, also popularly known as the Dogue de Bordeaux, is a large and imposing breed that has slowly crept its way into the hearts and homes of dog lovers. While the French Mastiff has always been popular in its native country of France, the breed became known worldwide, particularly in the United States, after the film Turner and Hooch aired in 1989. The Tom Hanks-starred film features a Dogue de Bordeaux playing the role of Hooch. Originally bred for fighting purposes, the French Mastiff is now primarily used for as a show dog and an overall companion. Loyal, affectionate and courageous, this dog can become the perfect pet when trained and cared for properly. 

Soccer

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Sunny Day
Free
Easy
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Soccer ball
Treats
Activity description

Even with such a gigantic body, the French Mastiff can actually get by with just an average amount of exercise, as opposed to other big dog breeds. Hence, there is no need for you to take hour-long walks around the block or take on extreme canine sports. As a matter of fact, your Mastiff will do well in a home that has a small, fenced yard for running and moving around. A fun game that will get your French Mastiff up and running is soccer. No, this is not the traditional game of soccer wherein you have to score a goal. For the doggy version, all you need is a soccer ball and you kick it over and around your dog. It’s amusing to watch your pooch try and chase the ball.

Step
1
Choose a field
In an actual game of soccer, the participants play on a “field”. For you and your dog, this field means a spacious enough area that is fenced and free from any elements that might potentially be harmed (children, other animals). Your best bet would be a secure yard. If you don’t have a backyard for the game, you can also go to a fenced dog park.
Step
2
Start playing some soccer
Start the game by getting your dog accustomed to the ball. Since your objective is to get your Mastiff to chase the ball, then they should first take a liking to it. Slowly, start kicking the ball around and watch if your dog chases it. When your dog gets near the ball, kick it towards another direction and try to beat your dog to it. Do this repeatedly for a couple of minutes until your dog gets tired and satisfied. Reward your dog at the end of the game with some treats.
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Short Hike

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Normal
30 - 60 min
Items needed
Food
Water
Leash
Collapsible bowl
Waste bags
Activity description

Physical exercise is important to all dogs, especially larger ones such as the French Mastiff. Not only does a workout help keep them in shape, it also does a lot in preventing stress and thwarting off any unwanted behavior. Most of the time, dog owners like to integrate their furry friends into their exercise routines, such as running, swimming and even hiking. While this may seem like a good idea for French Mastiff owners, it should be noted that the breed does not do well in temperature extremes. A short hike is a perfect activity for your French Mastiff. Not only is it physically satisfying, the change of scenery also helps with mental stimulation, which in turn prevents destructive behavior. 

Step
1
Find a hiking spot
Since you are only looking to do a short hike, you need not go too far or plan too much. Just look for a dog-friendly park or forest with some short trails. Also, pack some necessities such as water, food and a collapsible bowl. Bring some doggy waste bags as well.
Step
2
Explore the area
When you find a short, dog-friendly trail to visit, head to the area and find out about their rules regarding dogs. It is recommended that you put your French Mastiff on a leash, as they have a high prey drive and might run after other wild creatures. Every now and then, stop for some bathroom breaks and don’t forget to clean up after your pooch. Also, check your dog for signs of fatigue or dehydration.
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Dog Scootering

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Any Day
Cheap
Normal
15 - 30 min
Items needed
Scooter
Harness
Running line
Activity description

In general, dogs love being put to work and given something to do; this helps keep them occupied and active. It also benefits the owners, as most unsolicited behavior (chewing, aggression) can be traced back to dogs not having enough stuff to do. A cool activity that both you and your dog will find entertaining is dog scootering. As suggested by its name, this canine sport involves your dog pulling you as you ride a scooter. With the French Mastiff’s history and ability to pull weights, this activity is ideal for them. Look at it this way – dogs and scooters run at about the same speed, so why not let your pooch tag along on your scooter ride? It’s an awesome way to bond with each other while also having fun and burning off some steam.

Step
1
Get the right type of gear
To even be interested in dog scootering, it is safe to assume that you already have a scooter. But what about the stuff for your dog? The typical leash and collar that you use on walks will not suffice for this activity. Instead, you need to buy a proper harness for your pooch. You will also need a sturdy running line, which will be used by your dog to pull. You can buy this at any outdoor or pet shop. In fact, some stores even sell these items as a pack.
Step
2
Start with short distances
For dogs who are first-timers, they might find it strange to be pulling some weight. Hence, you need to introduce the activity to them slowly through training. At first, lead the way and go some short distances. Most likely, your dog will be right beside you as you ride. Allow this for the first few sessions, and don’t forget to use positive reinforcement after every training session.
Step
3
Mix things up
If you want to take things up a notch, you need to be creative. Sometimes, your dog will find it exciting when you change the routes or go longer distances during your training sessions. In the long run, your dog will become comfortable with pulling weight and will start to last longer. However, don’t forget to go only with what your pooch can handle. Especially during warm days, you need to check for fatigue and keep your dog hydrated.
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More Fun Ideas...

Play date

Apart from training, early socialization is also crucial in helping fight off any unwanted aggressive behavior from a French Mastiff. One of the best ways to do this is through a play date. Set a “date” in a neutral area, such as a dog park, and allow your dog to mingle with other dogs. Don’t rush anything and if your French Mastiff shows any sign of aggression, make sure to cut the date short. Otherwise, just let the dogs get to know each other at their own pace. 

Obedience Training

When talking about the French Mastiff, one of the qualities that immediately come to mind is protective. After all, this breed was developed for guarding purposes. Therefore, they need to undergo obedience training so that they can be controlled. You may choose to train them with basic obedience commands and eventually hire a professional to teach more advanced commands. 

Conclusion

Despite the breed’s intimidating look, the French Mastiff has a caring personality that will melt the hearts of any dog lover. However, this breed is not for a first-time dog owner and will require someone with a firm hand and strong leadership. Early training and socialization, partnered with the right kinds of activities, will help develop this breed into a great household pet.