Crate training a mastiff puppy to perfection

Crate training a mastiff puppy

The mastiff is one of the largest dog breeds, his loyal nature, and wariness of strangers make it when trained properly one of the best guard dogs along with its intimidating muscular body that outweighs a lot of grown men.

Crate training a mastiff puppy is fairly easy, they love to please and don’t need too much exercise so they’re not a lot of work but they can get bored with repetitive training.

The mastiff is perfect for the casual owner, and does a great job living in an apartment if well trained and needs very little activity, a walk around the block is more than enough.

Mastiffs should not be allowed to do exhausting physical activities or long walks especially in the outdoors, they are known for plopping down during so unless you want to carry them back you should know their limit.

What you need to crate train a mastiff puppy

Crate training a mastiff puppy is a process like all others that needs some tools to be achieved properly and efficiently so what are these tools?

To crate train any dog you need three important tools, toys, training treats, and obviously a crate.

What’s important to know is that every dog breed has its own needs and temperament so you can’t use the same tools for every dog.

The best crate for a mastiff puppy

The mastiff is surely a giant by all means but they are very calm dogs that can be left alone for some time so they are not prone to separation anxiety and are not very aggressive, that’s why a wire crate is good enough for them.

We always recommend to our readers to use the metal crate for crate training because it’s the one that makes the process easier especially in the early stages of the training process making it easy for the dog to explore his crate.

The male mastiff according to the AKC stands at 30 inches at the shoulder and weighs up to 170 pounds, which is very imposing, that’s why he needs a crate that will fit as an adult.

The perfect crate size for a mastiff is the 54″ XXL crate, we recommend the Midwest Ginormous Giant Crate (check current price at Amazon) it’s built specifically for the mastiff, the great dane, and some other giants.

The crate should be the ideal size not too small and not too big for the dog, your dog needs to be able to stand in it, turn around and lie down and that’s it.

When the crate is too big then the dog will use one end as a living area and the other end as a potty corner and a crate that is too small the dog will simply reject it.

We strongly recommend the divider for the metal crate to adjust the size as the dog grows, you can get the divider that fits the crate ( here on Amazon).

The best training treats for a mastiff puppy

You can always opt to crate train a dog without treats but we do not recommend it as treats are a great tool to make the crate training process easier and more efficient.

The training treats are a good way to lure the dog into the crate at the early stages of the training process and a nice way to reward good behavior.

Training treats should only make about 10% of the dog’s daily calorie intake that’s why you need some low calorie treats especially that mastiffs are prone to obesity.

The training treats we recommend are Zuke’s Mini Naturals Training Treats (check current price at Amazon), they come in small bite-size which is great for keeping the quantity low, and are made of natural ingredients.

The best chew toys for a mastiff puppy

Toys are a great tool for training dogs but when it comes to crate training chew toys are the most useful ones.

Chew toys are great at keeping the dog distracted in the crate and are also good as a reward to enforce good behavior.

The chew toy we recommend is the Kong (check current price at Amazon), not only does it make a good chew toy but the hollow part can be filled with treats making it a great food puzzle that will keep your dog distracted for hours in his crate.

Crate training a mastiff puppy in 5 steps

how to crate train a mastiff puppy

The mastiff does not need much attention and exercise so the training is easier but you need to keep it in short sessions to avoid boredom.

There are five steps to crate training and they go from the basic introduction to leaving your mastiff puppy alone in his crate which is the end goal.

The level of expertise you have in training dogs doesn’t matter, this could be your first dog ever and if you follow the steps you can get perfect results in a relatively short period.

Step 1: Introducing your mastiff puppy to his crate.

Never introduce your dog to his crate when it’s time to go in it, meaning you have to start the introduction to the crate early in the morning before it’s time for your mastiff puppy to sleep in it.

You can start by taking your puppy around the crate with the leash on and let him sniff around.

Dogs are curious animals and will eventually show interest in the crate and try to get inside it.

That’s your sign that your puppy is ready for the next step which is exploring the inside of the crate.

Step 2: Exploring the crate using treats

In this step, you should start by securing the crate door to avoid any incidents that might leave a bad first impression and the dog feels trapped and freaks out.

Toss a treat inside the crate and wait for your puppy to get inside to get it and once he does reward with another one and praise him heavily.

Keep repeating the same process a few times but make sure you take short breaks because mastiffs tend to get bored easily.

After a while, your puppy will start to offer to get in the crate on his own to get the treat and that’s your sign that he’s ready for step 3.

Step 3: Making the crate great

Now, it’s time to make the crate the perfect den for your dog and that’s by associating happy feelings and experiences with it.

Feeding time is surely a happy time for dogs that’ why you need to start feeding your mastiff puppy his meals in the crate.

At first, you can leave the door open and as your puppy is getting used to his new home you can gradually close the door while keeping an eye on your dog’s reaction.

While your dog is feeding inside the crate it’s best for you to stay next to the crate to keep him calm.

If your puppy is showing no objections to feeding in the crate with the door closed it’s time to move on to the next step.

Step 4: Spending time in the crate closed

At this stage of the crate training process, you need your mastiff to spend as much time possible in his crate after the meals.

The best way to keep your dog distracted in his crate with the door closed is the Kong when you fill it with treats and there are plenty of recipes for the Kong online.

Just through it to your dog after he’s finished his meal and let him chew on it, mastiffs generally like to relax after a nice meal.

When your dog is enjoying his toy you can start to move away from the crate for a few minutes and gradually increase the time you spend out of the room.

When your dog is able to spend 30 minutes alone in the crate with the door close then he’s ready for the final step which is staying home alone in the crate.

Step 5: Alone in the crate

Now that your dog is pending a good half an hour alone in his closed crate you can leave the house for a short errand of 30 to 45 minutes.

What’s important is not to make a scene when leaving you don’t have to say bye or anything just leave the room and go out.

The same thing when you come back you don’t want to interact with your dog at least for 5 minutes so the dog does not associate being in the crate with you leaving.

When you hit that 30 minutes alone at home in the crate milestone, you know that you’ve officially crate trained your mastiff puppy.

Crate training a mastiff puppy at night

Crate training at night is easier than it is during the day, the dog is already tired and more likely to just relax in his bed.

the good thing about crate training a mastiff puppy at night is that they don’t need too much exercise to relax.

You want to make sure your puppy doesn’t have any water for at least two hours before bedtime and that he goes for a potty break just before he has to get in the crate.

This will limit the number of times your puppy will need to wake up at night to pee, and another great thing with the mastiff is that they are a large breed and have a large bladder so the puppy can generally make it through the night without waking up.

However, you need to place your dog’s crate very close to your bed preferably in your bedroom to be able to hear him if he wakes up at night.

Your puppy might start whining in his crate at night which is very common and normal, and you just have to ignore it at first and most puppies will just top after a short while.

In case your puppy wouldn’t stop whining you can’t just let him out but you need to break his whining cycle before letting him out, if you don’t he’ll know that the way out of the crate is whining and will not stop doing it.

You can just talk to your puppy, they are curious and will stop and look for the origin of the sound, you can also tap on the crate gently and praise him when he top whining.

It generally takes a day or two for the puppy to top whining if you hold your ground and don’t let him out every time he does.

How long can does it take to crate train a mastiff puppy?

crate training a mastiff

Crate training a mastiff puppy doesn’t take long compared to mot dog, they are a dog breed that loves to relax a lot and if you provide a good den for them they’ll just use it.

The mastiff likes to please his owner and if you do a good job making the crate a nice place for him it may take only a few weeks to perfectly crate train him.

However, every dog is different and the circumstances of every owner are different so don’t feel afraid if it takes longer than what you’ve expected.

Mastiffs do get bored and don’t like repetitive training which is what crate training is all about so you want to break it up a little and have other activities in between.

Mastiffs like verbal praise and rewards and hate aggressiveness so don’t use the crate for a time out and never associate it with bad experiences and it will be done in no time.

How hard is it to crate train a mastiff puppy?

Crate training a mastiff puppy is relatively easy, it’s not a lot of work and it loves to please, so even the novice dog owner can work it out in a short time.

The only challenge you can potentially have is the mastiff’s nature to get bored easily with repetitive training which you can deal with by simply taking small breaks and keeping it short.

You only have to avoid some general mistakes usually done by novice dog owners that may make the crate training harder like using the crate for punishment.

The crate is a safe and happy place and can’t be used for time out and punishment and if you do you’re breaking the whole good experience association you’ve built with the crate.

Other than that crate training a mastiff puppy is easy and fun.

How long can a mastiff stay in his crate?

Mastiffs are known for being kind of lazy dogs, they do require much work and exercise and they generally don’t mind spending time in the crate.

The mastiff is one of the best breeds for people who work a full-time job, they can as adults spend up to 4 hours in the crate but that’s it.

No dog should be in a crate for more than 4 continuous hours, he needs to have a long break then you can get him back into the crate for another couple of hours.

So you can crate train a mastiff if you work a full-time job as long as you can come back at lunchtime for a break or have someone take care of it.