Tell us about your training facility and expertise.
My company is Alpha Dog
Training in West Los Angeles. Mostly I do in-home training in the
home. I do a small amount of evaluations and training at my home.
I run training classes for the city of Beverly Hills and for West
Los Angeles Obedience Club. The most fun thing I do is my puppy
program that consists of private training sessions, a weekly puppy
play group, and a weekly city walk.
A large part
of my practice deals with behavior problems, and I specialize in
BullmastiffInfo.org: Would you tell us about the training books
you have written about the Bullmastiff?
Raising a Bullmastiff
Puppy. This is an introduction to the breed and the importance of
socializing your guard breed puppy. This booklet tells you the
unvarnished truth about our breed, frontside and backside.
BullmastiffInfo.org: Why have you chosen to focus your training
expertise specifically towards the Bullmastiff breed?
I love living with this
breed. The bullmastiff is a great companion to hang out with and
do things with. Training a bullmastiff is never straight forward.
They hardly ever work like the books say, so it is a nice
challenge for me as a professional trainer.
BullmastiffInfo.org: Please explain what the
following titles mean: UD, BH, and WH.
UD = Utility Dog. This is the highest level of
AKC obedience titles. The dog starts with a Companion Dog (CD),
then advances to Companion Dog Excellent
(CDX), and then to a UD.
BH = Begleitungshunde; a pre Schutzhund companion dog title
that combines obedience with a
WH - Wach-hunde - pre schutzhund Watch Dog title. Involves
guarding objects and chasing agitators away.
BullmastiffInfo.org: When a family adopts a new Bullmastiff puppy,
what steps should they take to ensure that they raise a
well-adjusted Bullmastiff companion?
It helps to do some homework
before getting a puppy. Find a good breeder, try to get the know
line. Find out about the temperament and personality of the
bullmastiff and make sure this is what you want. Buy my book and
find out more about the bullmastiff personality.
Once puppy arrives, start training. Use treats, and gentle
guidance in the beginning. It is also important to socialize the
puppy by exposing him to lots of people and environments. Use
common sense to find safe places. This early socialization
determines a large part of the adult personality and behaviors,
and it has to take place during the critical period when the puppy
is between 7-14 weeks in order to be effective.
BullmastiffInfo.org: The word
"socialization" is commonly used in conjunction with proper ownership of a
Bullmastiff. What does this mean? How would a typical owner
accomplish this task?
Socialization means exposure
to life at a critical period. The critical period is 7-14 weeks.
My standard advise is to expose the puppy to 50-100 people each
week, and 4-5 different places. Round up your friends. Go to the
mall. Sit outside the Disney Store. Go to lines outside movie
theaters. Start frequenting coffee places. Have puppy parties at
BullmastiffInfo.org: Would socializing a Bullmastiff make them
less apt to perform their duties as a
Totally on the contrary. The
more socialized a guard breed dog is, the better will he/she do
the guard duty later when the guard instinct kicks in. Early
exposure to all kinds of people, animals, and situations teaches
the pup all about the Good Stuff. Then when the guard instinct
kicks in, the dog will automatically recognize Bad Guys, and Bad
Stuff as different from Good Stuff. This makes the dog confident
unsocialized mature bullmastiff is just plain dangerous. This dog
will protect out of fear, and not discriminate. These are often
the dogs that end up on Death Row.
BullmastiffInfo.org: The Bullmastiff is classified as a working
breed primarily used for guarding. Would an owner need to teach
their Bullmastiff how to perform as a guard dog? Why or why not?
Nope. The bullmastiff
will guard no matter what. That is what the dog was bred to do.
Their genetic behavior patterns for chasing, catching, biting, and
damaging are not as inhibited as the ones for non-guard breed. It
is up to the owner to put controls on the guard instinct by early
socialization and obedience training. Breeders have to stop
telling their puppy buyers not to teach the dog to sit. All
bullmastiffs should learn to sit and to lie down on command early
on, and a command for
These are the controls, and the dog is plain dangerous without it.
BullmastiffInfo.org: What is schutzhund training?
Schutzhund is a competition
sport. To get a Schutzhund title the dog competes in tracking,
advanced obedience (off leash, includes retrieving and a one meter
high jump), and a very stylized and strictly controlled type of
BullmastiffInfo.org: Under what
circumstances would a Bullmastiff need to be schutzhund trained?
Never. But it is great fun to compete with your bully in the
sport, because it is an unusual breed. It is also extremely hard
work to train a bullmastiff to competition level Schutzhund. It
will truly show off the versatility and working ability of the
bullmastiffs could even do it. This is not a very sound breed. It
takes a physically and mentally sound dog to even train for the