Early Neurological Stimulation

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Early Neurological Stimulation, or ENS, is a program that is used in a way to help build better dogs. It was originally developed by the US military and was called Bio Sensor before it became known as the Super Dog program. This program added early neurological stimulation into the everyday lives of newborn and young puppies.

Studies have found that this early stimulation helped shape the puppies into being better dogs. The program starts on day 3 of the puppy’s life and goes until day 16, which is when new stimulation is added to the program. Through the use of these programs, researchers found that there were many benefits. These are:

  • Increased cardio vascular performance
  • Greater tolerance to stress
  • Higher activity level in puppies
  • Stronger heart beats
  • Greater resistance to disease
  • More inquisitive puppies
  • Strong problem solving skills
  • More even temperaments
  • Higher learning capacity
  • Stronger adrenal glands

At Hazelwood Kennels, we use the Early Neurological Stimulation program with our puppies as well as follow the social development stages of puppies to provide owners with a well socialized puppy.

Click Here to View the ENS Program PDF

Puppy Fetal Development

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Although puppy fetal development is not something that everyone needs to know, I find that it is a very interesting topic. Regardless of breed or size, puppy fetal development follows the same timeline and developmental milestones. In this article, we will look at this development, as well as what is going on with mom on a week to week basis.

When we look at puppy development, we count days from first breeding and usually look at the magic number of 63, although this is not 100% accurate. As ovulation can occur before or after that first breeding, pregnancy can range from 59 to 70 days. So while the average pregnancy is 63 days from ovulation, it may only be 59 days from time of the first breeding and so on.

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Blastocyste

0 to Day 21: Week 1 to 3

During the first two weeks, a lot is happening with the fetal puppy but not much is being seen with mom. She may have some temperament changes, may have a change in appetite (ie, eating more or less). Or she may simply be her usual self.

An interesting fact, and the reason that a pregnancy test can’t be done after breeding is that a female dog will produce the same hormones whether she is pregnant or not and is the reason why dogs exhibit false pregnancies.

Inside, things are happening! The eggs are fertilized and begin to develop into cell masses. They divide until they become a 16-cell mass, which is when the egg is officially an active embryo. Around 17 to 21 days, this embryo has made it’s way down and will implant on the uterine wall.

Once it has implanted, the placenta will develop and this will provide nutrients to the embryo and then the development into a puppy will begin.

Canine Fetus

Canine Fetus

Day 22 to Day 28: Week 4

Once it has implanted, the puppy begins to develop. Development begins on week 4, which is day 22 to day 28. During this time, puppy is still very small, and will only reach 1/4 to a 1/2 inch (5 to 10mm) by day 28. However, it is starting to take shape.

Over this week, the spinal cord begins to develop. In addition, the head portion of the embryo should be bending forward and the brain and the shape of the face will begin. Eyes will start to develop. Finally, the puppy’s limb buds should be developing.

For the mom, week 3, around implantation, and into week four, she may exhibit canine morning sickness, which is usually a loss of appetite, although some dogs will throw up. She may not show any outward signs at this point but a vet or experienced breeder may be able to palpitate for puppies, which feel like walnuts. (As a side, I do not palpitate as it can damage the puppies if you are not careful.)

The dam’s nipples may begin to darken and enlarge but again, this can be seen with false pregnancy. It can also be common for a dam to not show any outward signs, even at the end of the fourth week.

Canine Fetus Day 35

Canine Fetus Day 35

Day 29 to Day 35: Week 5

Over this week, the puppies will begin to look like puppies and by the end of the week, we will even have gender!

At this stage, the claws and individual digits are developed and can be seen. Originally, the puppy’s eyes were open but by day 32, the eyelid has developed and the eyes will be closed. They will remain closed until roughly 2 weeks after delivery (give or take a few days). As I mentioned, they are decidedly more dog like in appearance. The weight of the puppy at this stage is roughly 2 grams and he should measure about 30 to 35mm in length (slightly over an inch).

Whisker buds will develop and on day 35, they will move from being called an embryo to being a fetus.

For mom, changes can really differ depending on the condition of the bitch before breeding, and the breed. English Mastiffs have a lot of room for puppy so it may be harder to notice much of a change in the dam at this stage. However, there should be some swelling in the belly and some weight gain.

Also, her needs are changing and the shift to puppy food is done gradually during this week. Some dogs see a return in appetite while others may not have much of an appetite all the way through their pregnancy.

Canine Fetus Day 40

Canine Fetus Day 40

Day 36 to Day 42: Week 6

As I mentioned, by day 35, the sex of the puppy is clearly determined. In addition, the claws and individual digits are developed and can be seen. The fetus looks decidedly more dog like in appearance.

By the end of the week, the puppies should be about 44mm or nearly 2 inches! Weight should be at about 2 grams. Skin pigmentation is developing as well at this stage. Claws should be formed and the skeleton of the puppy should be solidifying. Most of what makes a puppy look like a puppy has developed at this stage and from this point on, most development will focus on growth.

For mom, she has reached the third and final phase of gestation. Her tummy should be getting larger and her pregnancy may be noticeable to others. It should be noted that this depends on the female and the breed. Some bitches, especially athletic, first time pregnant females, don’t show until close to delivery. During this week, the bitch may experience a loss of appetite and will need a higher nutritional level. Meals are increased to two or three a day.

Canine Fetus Day 47

Canine Fetus Day 47

Day 43 to Day 49: Week 7

Most of what makes a puppy a puppy has developed and now is the stage where puppies will gain the most growth.

Around day 45, the hair will begin to grow on the puppy. In addition, the coloration of the hair can be seen and the pigment of the skin is established. Proportion wise, the puppy is slightly off but that will correct itself within the next week or so.

Mom is usually uncomfortable by this stage, however, it does depend on the individual dog and also on the individual litter. She may vomit occasionally and may not be interested in eating her meals. Smaller, more frequent meals will help with the pressure that is against her stomach. Generally, the dam is tired by this week and is often looking for a place to whelp.

By week seven, especially near the end of the week, puppy movement may be felt, but again, it depends on the dog and litter. The dam’s nipples may be well-developed at this point and there may be some “first milk” being produced.

Again, these symptoms are all generalizations. Some dam’s do not produce first milk until the puppies are born, some are not tired, some eat fine, and some are tired earlier in the pregnancy.

Canine Fetus Day 57

Canine Fetus Day 57

Day 50 to Day 59: Week 8

We are getting close to the whelping date; however, any puppy born in this week are not likely to survive.This is week 8 and much like last week, the puppy is not developing in more ways than just growth. The puppies should have fur completely and they may be moving a lot as they prepare for birth in the upcoming week.

They are very crowded and the dam is usually very uncomfortable at this stage. One interesting fact is that by day 50, the puppies have fully ossified skeletons. Before this time, they were not visible in an x-ray, however, after day 50, they can be.

For the dam, she will be continuing to gain weight. She will also be looking for a place to whelp and will start whelping behaviors such as digging, finding a quiet place in the house (or on your lap) and preparing herself for the upcoming delivery.

Newborn Neapolitan Mastiff

Newborn Neapolitan Mastiff

Day 59 to Day 65: Week 9

This is the final week of pregnancy and is considered week 9. Puppies born before day 58 are less likely to survive. When we look at gestation, puppies are born 63 days from ovulation. Since breeding is not done at the exact moment of ovulation, we have a window of 59 to 65 days of gestation.

In regards to development, not much is happening for the puppies outside of some more growth before the big moment. Puppies are being positioned for delivery but you may not feel movement due to the cramped space and due to them resting before birth.

More than likely, the dam is uncomfortable and you will see this in her behavior. Often, as birth draws near, she will become anxious and restless. She might be introverted during the final week and spending time in quiet areas of the house. Some dogs become clingy during this stage to a specific human in the house while others will spend more time looking for a whelping area.

Appetite may drop, but again, this is dependent on the individual dog. Meals are often smaller as there is no much room with the puppies crowding her stomach and other organs. During this week, the dam may urinate frequently and should be monitored throughout the week.

Puppy Eyesight Development

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If you have ever seen a newborn puppy, chances are you have discovered a few hidden truths about them. First, they are completely reliant on their caregivers and moms. Second, they are extremely cute and third, they are born with their eyes closed. In fact, puppies are born both blind and deaf and use their tactile sense and their sense of smell to navigate the world of their den or whelping box.

While they are born blind, it won’t be long before they develop their sense of sight and will be ambling around, but do you know how eyesight develops in puppies. It is actually a process that takes a few weeks. They are not able to see perfectly the moment they are born.

But before we look at the development, it is important to understand the why. Puppies are born blind simply because it is advantageous to the species. Dogs are descended from wolves and like wolf cubs, puppies are born blind. The reason behind this is that the shorter gestation allows the parent to return to hunting at a much faster rate. However, the shorter gestation means that there is less time for the puppy to develop and this means that during those first weeks, the puppy’s nervous system and eyesight is still developing.

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Newborn Mastiff Puppy

Stage One of Eyesight Development

As I mentioned, puppies are born blind and remain so between 10 to 14 days after birth. At this time, the eyes will begin to open slowly until they’re blue eyes are seen by the world. If you aren’t aware, puppies have a bluish tinge to their eyes, which make them look blue. This is due to the fact that they do not have a fully developed iris, which is usually brown in most breeds, including the English Mastiff.

When their eyes begin to open, and during the first few days of opening, the puppy will still have very limited vision. He will be able to see movement and will also be able to differentiate between light and dark. Whelping boxes are kept in low light during this time to help puppy’s eyes become more accustomed to light. During this stage, the puppy’s cornea is still not fully developed and he will lack the ability to see details.

4 week old Mastiff Puppy

4 week old Mastiff Puppy

Second Stage of Eyesight Development

​This stage of eyesight development is usually around 4 to 5 weeks of age. It is a very rapid period and you will notice your puppy really exploring their environment at this time. They can start to see details around them but they will still not have full development. Their eyesight will be limited to the small world around them, especially when exploring their siblings, dam and den.

7 week old Mastiff Puppy

7 week old Mastiff Puppy

Third Stage of Eyesight Development

The third stage of eyesight development occurs when the puppy reaches 7 weeks of age. During this time, your puppy should see exactly as he would as an adult. That means that your puppy will have a dichromatic color perception. What this means is that your puppy will not be able to see red or green but can see grey, yellows and blues.

In addition, the fully developed eyesight will see brightness at 2 times worse than a human and spacial resolution at 3 to 5 times worse than humans. But when it comes to seeing movement, your puppy will have better vision, which is a throwback to their wolf ancestors.

And that is the stages of eyesight development in puppies.

Puppy Social Development

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Puppy socialization is a very important part of dog ownership, but did you know that puppies are developing socially from the moment they are born and on. In fact, there are important key periods of social development that is very important for puppy owners to be aware of.

​Understanding these key periods will help insure that your puppy will be a well rounded dog when he reaches adulthood.

 

pic1Stage One: Neonatal Period

This stage runs from birth until 12 days old.

When puppies are born, their eyes and ears will be closed so the puppy will be relying primarily on tactical stimulation to navigate the big world of his den, or whelping box, along with olfaction (sense of smell). While it may not seem like he is doing much in the ways of socialization, this is a very important period.

Puppies are very alert to changing temperatures and can become stressed very easily. While we try to minimize major stresses, during this stage, it is still important to subject the puppies to some minor stressors in the safety of their whelping box.

These minor stressors includes carefully picking up puppies, weighing them, holding them for short periods of time, and petting them. Doing this for a few seconds per day has been proven to be an excellent foundation in socialization for two reasons.

One, positive interactions with humans will introduce the puppy to his first messages to humans; namely, that humans will touch them throughout their life and they are a positive part of said life.

Second, extensive studies have shown that puppies that experience minor stressors are generally more outgoing and are often easier to train.

f17f4f_1d629b9e45254307bb41dc988da936a7~mv2Stage Two: Transitional Period
This stage of puppy social development runs from Day 13 until Day 20. It is an exciting period because the puppy’s world is beginning to come into focus. During this stage, eyes and ears are beginning to open slowly and the puppy will begin to use sight and sound to navigate the world of his whelping box.

One thing that should be mentioned is that this development is a gradual development. When eyes begin to open, he will start by seeing shadows and most of what puppy is seeing is blurry. Eventually, he will begin to see the shapes of his litter mates and so on. Hearing also develops gradually.

During this stage, socialization is done in a similar way that it was done during the first 12 days. Puppy should be subjected to mild stressors such as handling, rotating puppies with nursing and petting them. In addition, puppies should be moved to new smells and surfaces while they are in close proximity to their litter mates.
Placing them in a warm, safe basket when bedding is being changed is a great way to do this introduction to new areas for the puppy.

Keeping puppies in small areas for short periods of time, such as in a basket together during a bedding change, will help the puppies build bonds with their litter mates and will foster positive interactions when they get older.

In the whelping box, cleanliness is extremely important for both the health of the puppies and their socialization. Studies have shown that keeping a whelping box clean and free of soiled bedding will encourage faster housebreaking in the puppies as they get older. During this stage, different types of bedding and surfaces can be placed in the whelping box so puppies can experience different stimulation from surfaces.

Finally, while you are focused on tactile socialization, it is important to start introducing the puppies to new sounds. However, it is very important that sounds be low and soothing. Loud, jarring sounds can startle the puppies and create a negative reaction and experience that can affect the social development of the puppy.

By following simple rules and being aware of the transitional period, breeders can help shape the character of the puppies in a positive manner during this stage of social development.

f17f4f_022fdd8f1796458a8f8f47a3dc5e1217~mv2Stage Three: Awareness Period

This stage starts at day 21 and runs to day 28.

It is the stage where the world comes into focus for the puppies. Their eyes and ears have opened and they are able to see and hear distinctly. With this new way to explore their world, puppies at this age begin to have an increased interest in the world around them.

During this stage, they begin to move around more and may begin to try standing and playing. While they are exploring, their main focus on the day to day is still eating and sleeping. However, in the time between those main interests, puppies will begin stumbling around their whelping box and playing, chewing on and figuring out their littermates.

Since their awareness is growing at this stage, now is an excellent time to start introducing puppies to new stressors in a positive manner. New surfaces, and textures can be added to the whelping area or the puppies can be placed on a new surface. It is important for their social development that new interactions are done calmly and with reassurances to the puppy. If it becomes a negative experience for the puppy, it can cause a negative reaction that could affect the social development of the puppy.

During this stage, some introduction to new people is okay but it should be limited for several reasons. One is disease that can be spread to the puppies. The other is that some bitches can be very protective of her puppies and will not trust many people near them. Again, how the bitch reacts to a stimulant can affect how a puppy does so it is always important that, whether it is a person, item or texture, it is done in a positive way for not only the puppies but for the bitch as well.

Two-week-old puppies play on June 4, 200Stage Four: Canine Socialization Period

Unlike the other stages, the canine socialization period actually overlaps other socialization periods and it is broken up into two different periods. People will see this period when they start to notice that the puppies are having distinct periods of sleep and play that are separate from the other.

Period One: 21 to 49 days of age

This period of puppy social development overlaps into the awareness stage of development. While puppy is becoming aware of the world around him, he is also learning about other dogs and from those dogs.

Although the puppy will have human interaction through the breeders and any other humans in the home, the majority of his day to day life will be with his dam and his littermates. This means that he is learning key social manners that are important for his role as a family pet. Bite inhibition is one of these manners that he will learn from both his dam and his littermates.

During this period, the puppy will learn their litter hierarchy. If left unattended, the litter will develop naturally with more submissive puppies and more dominant. This is a critical stage of puppy social development and one that the breeder needs to be active in. Watching the puppies during play will help the breeder understand the different temperaments of the puppies.

In addition, any excessively aggressive behavior can be curbed and redirected if the breeder is watching. When a puppy is aggressive, it is important for the breeder to separate the puppy and redirect him until he is calm. When he is calm, praise and then return to the litter. By doing this, it creates a more even hierarchy and can help curb negative behaviors and aggression later in life.

By allowing puppies to play, assert oneself when there is aggressive of bullying behavior, and letting the dam teach the puppies, this social period will be very rich for the puppies. Studies have shown that positive stimuli and by following the tips above, there is a lower occurrence of aggression, including fear, and there is less biting as puppies have learned bite inhibition.

In addition to this socialization, it is important to continue with stimuli and to create a clear separation between the play area, the potty area and the sleeping area to lay the foundations for future training.

Puppies who are adopted before 8 weeks of age miss out on this key area of socialization, which is why the practice of early adoption is discouraged.

Period Two: 49 to 84 days of age

The second period of canine socialization occurs immediately after the first period and while it is just a continuation, the puppy is experiencing new stressors and his world is about to get bigger. This is the period when the puppy will be separated from his litter and dam and taken to his new home.

It can be a very traumatic experience for a puppy; however, if the breeder spends some time separating the puppy from the litter for short periods, the amount of stress he experiences will be lowered when he finally goes to his new home.

It is very important that the separation be as positive as possible as this period is when fear responses will begin to occur. Negative experiences will increase the fear reactions and positive reinforcement of fear reactions, such as coddling a puppy, can lead to an increase in those reactions instead of a decrease. This can lead to socialization problems and can lead to a shy and timid dog or even fear aggression later in life.

During this period of socialization, and once he has settled into his new home, training can begin and puppy will begin to bond with his new family as a replacement to his litter.

f17f4f_78f6aab5007542e7b4dfefa4b0ec55ff~mv2Stage Five: Human Socialization Period

Stage five is another period that overlaps other socialization periods for the puppy. This stage is from 49 to 84 days of age and is the stage where the puppy will be separated from his litter and dam. This is the stage where puppy goes to his new home around 8 weeks of age.

Like all social development stages, this is an important stage and should be handled in a positive manner. Interactions over the first few days at home should be limited to people in the home. Animals should be gradually introduced so puppy is not overwhelmed by stimulation.

During this period of socialization, the puppy will begin to bond with his new family. However, socialization should be extended to more than just the immediate family. As vaccinations allow, the puppy should begin to be socialized to a wide range of experiences, stimuli and people. In fact, by 12 weeks of age, studies suggest that the puppy should have been exposed to over a 100 people and new experiences. By following this human interaction socialization and providing positive socialization experiences, puppies are less likely to have poor social manners and behaviors.

f17f4f_d6dce764fcb242c399c80eb7498041e6~mv2Stage Six: Environmental Awareness Period

The environmental awareness period overlaps the human socialization period and covers the ages of 70 to 112 days of age. This is actually the time when your puppy will begin to have his own personality and his home environment will contribute greatly from this. During this stage of social development, the puppy will begin to have his independence.

Studies have shown that puppies raised in single dog homes will bond closely with their owners but may be lacking in dog social skills. In addition, those same studies have shown that multi-dog homes often run the reverse where puppy develops more dog social skills and less human/dog social skills. This is often due to the fact that multiple dogs rarely spend one on one alone time with their human.

Regardless of the home, it is important be aware of the socialization that your puppy is getting during this stage and to provide him with time on his own, time with other dogs and time with people. Puppy socialization class is a wonderful time to introduce your puppy to other dogs and people, whether he is an only dog or not.

As I mentioned already, this socialization period is the time when your puppy will really grow into himself. He will become more independent and will often test his limits in the home. It is often the period when owners will see challenging behaviors such as puppy temper tantrums and talking back. It can be a challenging time for dog owners but it is important not to provide positive reinforcement for the puppy’s bad behavior. Instead, puppy should be corrected instead of coddled when he is talking back or having a temper tantrum.

Training is important during this stage and should be done on a regular, daily basis along with age appropriate socialization depending on the vaccinations that your puppy has.

f17f4f_24104b3eabfb4eee8a5d06f0464c18b1~mv2Stage Seven: Fear Periods

Like stage four, this period of is seen several times through the first two years of the dog. However, unlike stage four, it can be seen at different times depending on the breed, the individual dog and the circumstances of the puppy’s life and upbringing.

Overall, the fear period is always seen in puppies that are 56 to 77 days of age. After that, puppies are usually pretty inquisitive and will not have another fear period until they are 6 to 14 months with some dogs having a final fear period around 18 months of age.

Fear periods are a very important stage of puppy socialization that owners should be aware of. The reason for this is because any mishandling of the puppy during the fear period can lead to a number of problems including shyness and fear aggression.

During this stage of social development, a seemingly fearless puppy can suddenly become fearful of things. During the 56 to 77 day period, which is between 8 to 11 weeks, the puppy will be going through a major event when they are going to their new home. That is why it is important to make the arrival of puppy as calm as possible. Avoid high stress events such as going to a pet store on the way home or visiting people before puppy has a chance to settle into his new life and routine.

During the 6 to 14 months, the puppy will go through additional fear. This is perfectly normal and it has been linked to periods of rapid growth for the puppy. It is important to get your puppy out and around new noises, people and experiences during fear periods. This will help him with socialization and with learning not to be fearful of these experiences.

When you are working through a fear period, it is very important not to reinforce that fear reaction. Instead, praise and reward the puppy when he goes near something that he is scared of. Do not comfort or baby your puppy when he is trying to flee or reacting in a fearful manner. This lets your puppy know that fear is okay and will reinforce fear behaviors.

One of the main points about the fear periods is that, with proper socialization and training, a puppy will have fewer fear periods. In addition, those fear periods will be less pronounced and will last for shorter periods than if the dog is not properly socialized during all of the key social developmental stages.

f17f4f_fcacd087977b49b1af1f6dcb18efe3b5~mv2Stage Eight: Adolescence Period

​This stage of development lasts between 4 to 8 months and is considered to be the teen years of the puppy. It is important to note that the adolescence period occurs at different times depending on the individual breed. Most breeds will reach this stage at 4 to 8 months, however, slow maturing breeds will go through this stage in the 10th or 11 month and it may last until the dog is about 2 and a half years of age.

The adolescence period is exactly as it sounds, it is a period when the puppy is challenging his owner and is trying to find his own way. This is the period when a seemingly trained puppy suddenly stops listening. He may try to wander away, might regress in house training, or he may become destructive. Many puppies going through this period will start to ignore commands that he fully understands.

While it can be a frustrating stage of social development, consistent training and socialization will minimize the effects of the adolescence period and will help in getting through it faster.

f17f4f_54e61e1e3fb449b990ea56d702396018~mv2Stage Nine: Maturity

Maturity is something that is different depending on the individual dog. According to most studies, a dog is mature once it is old enough to be bred, usually about a year to 18 months of age. However, socialization wise, you are looking at between one year to two years before puppy has reached social maturity.

In breeds that are known as “Peter Pan” breeds, social maturity can take much longer and it is not uncommon for it to go into year four. The maturity period is when puppy has become a dog. How your socialization and training has gone before this period will greatly determine how well adjusted your mature dog will be. However, if you have followed the advice throughout this article, and you have trained and socialized your puppy consistently, you will end up with a well rounded companion and family member.

Your Neo and Training

Congratulations on adopting a Lexington Kennels puppy! You are well on your way to owning a beautiful Neapolitan Mastiff. These majestic dogs are truly a companion that brings you the best of both worlds from the active, young dog to the quiet older dog.

It is an exciting time but before you bring your Neapolitan Mastiff home, it is important to really look at the temperament of the breed and what you should expect. If you haven’t already, I recommend that you take the time to read the breed standard of the Neapolitan Mastiff. You can learn more about the breed at the AKC or CKC website:

In a short summary, the Neapolitan Mastiff is a giant sized breed that is known for their ambling gait, calm and quiet nature and imposing size, attitude and intelligence. They are a breed with a unique appearance from their enormous head to their hanging jowls with a short, sleek coat and plenty of wrinkles. The Neo is a confident dog that fits well into any household and, yes, they can do very well with families who have children of all ages (I have four children of my own). In truth, the Neapolitan Mastiff is known for their mild-mannered temperament that is only aroused when they feel the need to protect their family.

Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it? I agree and I love the breed with all their quirks and traits… But are you ready for your Neapolitan Mastiff?

While the Neo is an exceptional dog breed, they, like all dog breeds, have negative traits that can occur when they are not properly trained or socialized. In fact, one of the most common reasons for rehoming a Neapolitan Mastiff is the lack of training and socialization.

At the heart of it, that is the reason that I wrote this article—to make you aware of the obstacles that you can face as a Neapolitan Mastiff owner if you do not properly train and socialize your puppy. As much as I can tout all the positives of the breed, there are simple facts about the Neapolitan Mastiff that every owner should be aware of. If you ignore these facts, you could end up with a very dangerous situation or you may have to rehome your Neapolitan Mastiff…something that I try very hard to avoid when I am choosing homes for my puppies.

 

Truth Number One: They are considered a hard breed.

This is often a confusing statement but when we say that a Neo is a hard breed, what it means is that they are independent and often think on their own. This is a breed that will train as they are intelligent and love to please their master but sometimes they will take longer to train. In addition, they are likely to act on their own, even after training, much to their owner’s frustration but this is easily solved by regular and on-going training that is made fun for them. A 6 week puppy course at PetSmart at 3 months of age is not going to cut it.

If they see the need to move, or not move, then they will do what they choose…which makes them a harder breed. They are strong willed and they do need an owner who is confident and willing to match their stubbornness.

 

Truth Number Two: They can be dominant.

Neapolitan Mastiffs are known as being a strong, dominant dog. This is a breed that will take charge if they have to and they are confident enough to protect their family and home. Remember, the breed was developed to protect estates in Italy.

Before we move forward, there is some confusion about the word dominant. Many people think of dominant as the alpha only but there are many middle of the road Neos and they should have an even temperament. However, they will take charge if their owners don’t…but so will a Chihuahua so it is important to be the head of your home. It is important that your dog (of any breed) respect all family members.

The flip side of dominance, however, is aggression. A dominant dog that is not properly trained or socialized can become aggressive; and for that matter, any dog not properly trained or socialized can become aggressive and it is not always linked to dominance. For more information on aggression, I recommend you read these articles found on this list http://k9aggression.com/dog-aggression-overview/types-of-dog-aggression.

I hate to use this term aggression since every dog breed can be aggressive. In fact, there are several small dog breeds that are more aggressive than a Neapolitan Mastiff. However, they are also not 150 pounds of aggressive dog.

Aggressiveness can become a facctor in Neapolitan Mastiffs that are not properly socialized and it can be directed towards people, situations and other animals. I begin socializing puppies right at birth and make sure that they have a range of stimulation during key developmental periods; however, that is not enough socialization for any dog, let alone a Neo.

It is imperative that socialization begin and continue from the time your puppy arrives home until your Neo is a senior. Daily socialization is imperative and will help prevent aggression if it is done properly.

 

Truth Number Three: They go through a difficult teen stage.

Dogs, like children, go through a stage in development when they become difficult to deal with. This usually occurs between 7 to 18 months and a dog that was perfectly behaved can quickly become a “demon” dog…seemingly overnight. This occurs with all breeds and it can often be overwhelming…however, when you have a Neo, you have to be prepared for this teen stage to occur when you have a 100 to 120 pound puppy.

Although it can’t make you avoid the teen stage, training and socialization before your Neo puppy becomes a 120-pound nuisance can help you avoid some of the pitfalls and can help prevent habits from occurring during that stage. It can also help you be prepared for the teen stage and all the highs and lows of that age.

Trust me, you will go through the teen stage and with a firm adherence to rules and a training and socializing schedule, you will get through it and find that your Neapolitan Mastiff has gone back to his amazing self.

Now that I have highlighted some of the challenges of the breed, I want to look at the importance of training your Neapolitan Mastiff right from 8 weeks, when you bring him home, and on. Training is important, so important that I have a training clause in my contract and it is for one simple reason…any dog, whether he is 5 pounds of 150 pounds, can be a problem for society if his is not trained or supervised. Any dog that is known for being dominant, aggressive or hard/stubborn can be dangerous if he is not taught how to function through training.

However, when it comes to training and socialization, many people have some misconceptions with training a Neapolitan Mastiff

 

Misconception #1: My Neo will want to please me.

While all dogs love praise and a Neo is no different, they aren’t really trying to please you. In fact, they are trying to gain the praise that you are giving, whether it is verbal praise or a treat. Neos can be quite stubborn but are also quite intelligent and loyal to you therefore very trainable.

The main thing to remember is that you need to find a motivator for your Neapolitan Mastiff. Some will work harder for food-based rewards and others will work hard for play-based rewards or praise-based rewards. Find out what your dog is motivated by and use that…also, don’t be afraid to change it up if he gets bored.

 

Misconception #2: Once my Neo knows the command, he will know it forever.

This is a big misconception that I often hear and it is false. A dog may learn a command, such as sit, very quickly but it doesn’t mean he will retain it. Sure, he will have the basis but like it is with people, if you don’t use it, you lose it. And your Neo will lose his training if it is not exercised on a regular basis.

Even after training your Neo, it is important to train him on a day-to-day basis. Also, socialization is important to do on a regular basis.

Neapolitan Mastiffs, especially during the teen years, can easily break a command. What this means is that when you give the command and the dog doesn’t listen, he learns that he doesn’t have to. It is best if you don’t allow the command to be broken by making sure you follow through and make your Neo listen.


Misconception Number Three: Growling is a warning I should give in to.

While growling is something that you should listen to, it is important not to simply give in and give the dog whatever he is growling for. All dogs, including Neos, will growl in puppyhood while they are trying to assert their role in the pack. Letting the dog growl, or praising the dog when he growls can lead the dog to believe that this behavior is okay. However, punishing the dog immediately for growling can lead to other problems including fear aggression.

When your Neapolitan Mastiff growls, you should do the following:

1)  Stop and look at what is happening when there is growling. Is he stressed? Hurt? Or is he guarding something from you?

2)  Decide if it is safe to correct. If it is, give a firm, yet gentle correction. You can also take what he is growling over as long as it won’t escalate the situation.

3)  If the dog seems ill, or stressed, step back and contact your vet to see if there is a reason.

4)  Desensitize your dog to the stimulation that caused the episode. What this means is that if he is growling because he is eating, start running exercises before meals and feed him by rewarding him with his food. Don’t put the food down but instead, hand feed him his meal as you hold his dish up. If he growls while you are hand feeding, remove yourself and the food from the area. Your Neo will learn that growling is bad and will result in something (his food) being taken away. Return to feeding when he is relaxed.

There is a new belief that when a dog growls, you give ground and give the dog whatever he wants; however, this can lead to a lot of problems and the dog will learn that growling works. My belief is that you look at each situation individually. If it can be corrected safely for both you and the dog, correct. If it can’t, stop and problem solve how to fix the growling. And you need to fix it before it leads to aggression.

 

Misconception Number Four: I have to be the alpha with my Neapolitan Mastiff and physically correct him.

Every owner of a Neapolitan Mastiff should be the head of the pack…the alpha as it were…but they don’t have to be the ALPHA. Alpha training is something that is greatly debated and being the alpha is a mental state of calm confidence not a physical strength/physical correction.

However, Neapolitan Mastiffs are a breed that needs an owner who will take charge…and by taking charge, that means caring for them and properly training them. While Neos are a strong breed that needs firm training, they are a sensitive breed. Physically correcting a Neapolitan Mastiff can lead to a fear and this can lead to fear aggression. A dog that lives his life in complete fear is miserable…a dog that has to take control of his pack because the owner isn’t is also miserable. Both of the dogs can become aggressive.

For that reason, be the head of the pack but make sure that you are firm, stick to the rules you put into place in the home, and confident when you have to correct. Don’t result to physically hurting your Neo and make sure that you learn your Neapolitan Mastiff’s temperament. While they should adhere to the breed standard, every dog is unique and where a firm tone may be enough for one, you may have to use lead correction with the other.

 

Misconception Number Five: Neapolitan Mastiffs are dumb, hard to train and stubborn.

Yes, Neapolitan Mastiffs can be stubborn but they are not dumb, they are actually quite smart and with the proper training, about 15 minutes every day, they will learn quickly. Remember that if you are confident, stick to the training and socializing and follow the rules you have set forth for your dog, your Neo will follow you anywhere…regardless of the danger.

So now that we have gone through the misconceptions, what can you do about it as an owner. While I would love to run through every aspect of training your Neapolitan Mastiff, that would take an entire book. Instead, I want to highlight a few articles and things that you should do to get started.

 

Be Aware of the Key Socialization Periods

Every period has challenges and when you are faced with the challenges, you need to ramp up training and socialization. You may need to change how you are socializing and training. For more information on key socialization periods, read this article: http://dogtime.com/puppy-behavior-basics-hsus.html.

 

Create Rules Right from Day One

If your dog is not allowed on the couch, your puppy should not be allowed on the couch. Decide before your puppy comes home what your rules are and then stick to them. Correct your puppy when he breaks a rule and correct yourself when you break one too. For more information on setting rules, read http://www.labradortraininghq.com/labrador-puppies/set-some-house-rules-before-you-get-your-puppy-home/

 

Give Your Neo Some Alone Time

While your Neapolitan Mastiff will love to be with you, make sure you give him some time by himself. This will give him time to relax and will also teach him that he can be away from you. It will help prevent separation anxiety if you start it at an early age.

http://www.openpaw.org/Pet_Basics/alone.html

 

Attend Training Sessions

I know that this is something that not everyone agrees on, especially if you have trained a dog before, but getting out and attending training sessions is beneficial for both you and your dog. For one, it makes you train since you have to keep up with the class. For two, it provides socialization for you and your dog. For three, you can brush up on everything that you forgot.

Every dog that I have sees a professional trainer despite having years and years of experience training. And the reason is for all of the ones that I already stated.

 

Socialize, Socialize, Socialize

Finally, socialize your Neapolitan Mastiff. I can’t say it enough but you should socialize your puppy. Start with puppy socialization classes, getting out to parks, going to meet kids and elderly. Dog parks can be a good place to go but they can also be your worst nightmare if you happen to go to one where there are bad owners. Make sure you do your research on the dog park before you go…or better yet, have your friends get together for a puppy play date.

When you are socializing, don’t forget about socializing in the home. We often go out to socialize our dogs but it is important for you to bring stimulation, or people, into the home as well. Remember, Neapolitan Mastiffs guard naturally so you want to socialize into the home and train them to understand the difference between guarding and territorial aggression.

This checklist is a great one for making sure your Neapolitan Mastiff is properly socialized, http://www.lifewithdogs.tv/2012/01/socialize-your-puppy-our-checklist-will-help/

By knowing your breed, the challenges of your breed and understanding what you need to know about training and socializing, you can avoid having to rehome your Neapolitan Mastiff and will ensure that you have a fiercely loyal companion who will make your life wonderful each and every day.

Recommended Supplements for Neos

Supplements are very important part of the care and well being of a healthy Neapolitan Mastiff. I LOVE the supplements that are made by Nature’s Farmacy. Just remember not all supplements are created equal and quality is essential so please do your research. Below is a list of supplements that I recommend. All of these vitamins can be found at http://naturesfarmacy.com/

 

lexington_kennels_july_24028007DOGZYMES Phyto Flex

This is a great supplement that works for bones and joints. Very important during development and I recommend it heavily. It is an exclusive Organic herb package for maximum nutritional support of bones, joints and connective tissue. Ideal for the geriatric dog, agility dog or the puppy. Micro-encapsulated for 2 – 3 year shelf life. No preservatives or fillers. Suggested feeding rate: 1 teaspoon per 40 pounds of body weight.

Ingredients: Organic Milled Flax Seed, Organic Kelp Powder, Methylsulfonyl Methane (MSM)*, Dicalcium Phosphate, Potassium Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Glucosamine, Organic Barley Grass, Organic Parsley, Organic Wheat Grass, Organic Lemon Peel Powder, Organic Anise Seed Powder, Organic Licorice Root Powder, Organic Pumpkin Seed Powder, Organic Milk Thistle Seed Powder, Organic Black Walnut Hulls Powder, Organic Fennel Seed Powder, Ascorbic Acid, Green Lip Mussel, Iron Proteinate, Hyaluronic Acid, Manna Oligosaccharides, Aspergillus niger, Aspergillus oryzae, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus, Dried Enterococcus faecium, Dried Bifidobacterium longum, Bacillus subtilis, Yucca schidigera, Fructo oligosaccharides.

 

lexington_kennels_july_24028006DOGZYMES Probiotic Max
Another one I would recommend would be the Dogzymes Probiotic Max, which are a canine-specific probiotics and enzymes to the MAXimum with this new product. It contains 8 strains of specialized beneficial bacteria and 10 different enzymes for a MINIMUM of 6.8 Billion Colony Forming Units PER GRAM!
Thanks to new technology and research Probiotic Max is even more effective in helping the canine body rid itself of invading pathogens and helps sooth an overactive immune system.
Built to support the dog’s body during hard work, stress, illness, growth, compromised immune systems, old age difficulties, pregnancy, and more. ORGANIC Whey base, it can be used in dry food, wet food, dissolved in liquid, or mixed in milk for puppies, very ill dogs, or emergencies. Suggested feeding rate: ¼ teaspoon per 25 pounds of body weight UNLESS we advise you otherwise for special cases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

supplement3DOGZYMES UltimateThis is an “Ultimate” Vitamin/Mineral/Amino Acid/Omega blend. This formula replaces the animal fat with Organic Coconut and Algal Oil making it the absolute best for Skin & Coat! Ultimate is formulated to be the most outstanding supplement available for vitamins, minerals, trace minerals and essential amino acids with no preservatives or additives.It is the “Ultimate” for content and cost effectiveness. To determine the ideal requirements for a balanced canine diet supplement, we have spent years of comprehensive evaluation of recommendations of the National Research Council, AAFCO, Breeders, Handlers and our own canine nutritionists and Veterinarians. Ultimate is formulated with Coconut and a specialty Parmesan Cheese base protein for great palatability and no beard staining. It is designed to replace individual supplements of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Using DOGZYMES Ultimate and DOGZYMES Digestive Enhancer is the ideal base for any and all programs from strict dry kibble diets to growing your own organic beef in your backyard for homemade raw diet. (Yes some people do!) Stir in food at a rate of 1 tsp. per 30# of body weight. 6 tsp. maximum.

lexington_kennels_july_24028005DOGZYMES Cran-Tri-CThis is one of my favorite supplements. A popular DOGZYMES product that combines all Three Vitamin C types: Ester, Sodium Ascorbate and Ascorbic Acid blended with Cranberry powder. No fillers or preservatives and extremely concentrated:1/8 teaspoon delivers 625 mg.
1/4 teaspoon delivers 1250 mg.
1/2 teaspoon delivers 2500 mg.

lexington_kennels_july_24028004DogZymes CompleteDogzymes Complete is the compilation of three great products: Dogzymes Ultimate, Dogzymes Digestive Enhancer and Dogzymes Phyto-Flex. Made at the request of our breeders for their puppy people (formerly known as Newf Warrior Mix), this product is an easy to use, all encompassing, daily supplement for your pet. Dogzymes Complete contains the following powerhouse ingredients for joint support: Glucosamine, Chondroitin, MSM, Yucca and Hyaluronic Acid.Dogzymes Complete also contains a special herbal blend formulated to support the soft tissue associated with the joints – tendons and ligaments. The mutli-vitamin pack contained in Dogzymes Complete includes but is not limited to Vitamins A, D, E and C along with amino acids and omegas. Finally, the Dogzymes Complete is rounded out with probiotics and enzymes for a total of 6 Billion CFU/gram. The probiotics and enzymes help the body in more ways than one.


Traditionally thought of as just an aid in digesting food, more and more research is coming to light on all of the benefits of having probiotics and enzymes in the diet, everything from balancing body pH to detoxing the kidneys, controlling yeast and even working with the body to help boost the immune system.As usual with all Nature’s Farmacy products, Dogzymes Complete is sourced with as many organic components as possible. There is no equal to this product!

Suggested Usage is 1 teaspoon of product for every 25 pounds of body weight daily, preferably divided between meals.

lexington_kennels_july_24028003Bloat BusterSuper concentrated Simethicone and liquid Yucca used to transform large gas pockets into small particles. Suggested oral feeding rate: 1-2 ml/100 pound dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

supplement7Deluxe Bloat Kit

Deluxe bloat kit contains seven pieces: “How To” Manual, 5 foot clear vinyl tube, wood mouth block and trochar, DOGZYMES 35 gm paste, 2 oz Bloat Buster, and 60 cc bulb syringe. Pieces can be purchased separately. Available in two sizes: Medium tube: 40 – 90# dog. Large tube: 90# and up dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lexington_kennels_july_24028002Farnam® Fluid Flex™

Help promote healthy joint function with Farnam® FluidFlex™, an exclusive liquid formula containing glucosamine HCl (necessary for building cartilage), chondroitin sulfate (combats enzymes that destroy joint cartilage) and potent antioxidants including citrus bioflavanoids, collagen-derived extracts and grape seed extract. Also excellent for older horses.

Item Specifications:

Active Ingredients per ounce:
Glucosamine HCl (shellfish) 5000 mg
Yucca Schidigera 250 mg
Chondroitin Sulfate (shark cartilage) 100 mg
Collagen derived peptides 85 mg
Zinc 40 mg
Manganese 30 mg
Copper 10 mg

 

 

 

lexington_kennels_july_24028001Glyco FLEX

Glyco FLEX® 3 Chewable Tablets are designed for serious joint support. It represents the third stage in our comprehensive life stages joint support program for dogs, and is recommended for dogs in need of maximum joint support. It is also recommended by veterinarians for geriatric and working dogs and as a follow-up to support normal recovery after orthopedic surgery. This formula contains higher levels of glucosamine, MSM, manganese, and DMG, and includes grape seed extract and L-glutathione for added support. This product is available in palatable, roast chicken-flavored chewable tablets.

Product Facts:
Active Ingredients Per Tablet:
Glucosamine HCl (Shrimp and Crab -1000 mg
Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM -1000 mg
Perna Canaliculus (GlycOmega™ brand
Green Lipped Mussel) -600 mg
N,N-Dimethylglycine HCl (DMG – 100 mg
dl-alpha Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) – 50 IU
Calcium Ascorbate (Vitamin C)- 30 mg
Manganese (Manganese Amino Acid Chelate)- 10 mg
Grape Seed Extract – 5 mg
L-Glutathione – 2 mg
Selenium (Sodium Selenite) -0.002 mg

Must READ Article you should read BEFORE you own a Neo!

Dogs go through adolescence too!

Dogs go through teen age years just as kids do. If your dog appears to suddenly have forgotten his commands, is reluctant to obey and becomes a bully he may be going through this difficult phase.
Just as teens dogs may be testing their limits. For this reason, it is crucial that owners remain consistent in their training or even go back to basics to remind the dog that there are still rules in the house. As frustrating as it can be, owners must try hard to remain patient and accept this challenging phase.

If owners think that puppy hood along with house training, obedience training and teething was challenging, the teen age phase may really test their limits. It is a true and sad fact that most dogs surrendered at shelters, occur when dogs touch their adolescent age. The average peak age appears to be between 6 and 18 months.
Typically occurring between 7 months to 12 months in small to medium dogs and later in large breeds, canine adolescence can be surely taking your love for dogs at a test.
Physically, a teen age dog may be reaching sexual maturity. This is evident in dogs that have not been spayed or neutered. Male dogs, with high levels of testosterone may be more prone to bullying other male dogs, urine marking, humping and roaming in search of a soul mate.
Females on the other hand, left intact will appear flirty with males and aggressive towards other females, will go into heat, and if not pregnant, may develop false pregnancies. Spaying and neutering at this phase may help solve the issues directly related to hormones but unfortunately the testing attitude may still be there.
Growing pains and teething can still cast a spell of this already difficult time. In large breed dogs this can be particularly evident and may require veterinarian intervention. As the last permanent molar teeth came in, investing in good chew toys may replace your favorite shoes and your furniture while ensuring your dog’s teeth will be well aligned along the jawbone.
Mentally, dogs at this stage may exhibit selective hearing, meaning they chose when to listen and mostly when it is convenient. They may have an attitude such as:”So, what happens if I decide not to” and may be slow in responding to your commands. Just as kids, dogs require their owner’s guidance. As an owner you must gently remind them that “sit” still means “sit” and that they must behave in the same manner as before.
Some dogs may reverse to puppyhood like behaviors and revert to chewing, mouthing and even having accidents in the house. Their brain seems to shift back to a puppy-like state yet, it is entrapped into an almost adult body.
A good exercise regimen is vital at this age. A tired dog is a good dog and less likely to cause trouble. Ensure your dog has lots of daily exercise either in the form of long walks, a good game of fetch or running on the sand.
While it is great to know that canine adolescence will ultimately end, it may feel like forever for an owner used to having a puppy that has always listened and did everything to please their owners. As challenging as this phase is, persistent owners will see the light at the end of the tunnel if they maintain calm, and remains consistent all the the efforts will pay off and the dog owner bond will be better once the dog matures into a well stabilized dog with a great temperament and a big will to please its owner.
Being Alpha to a Dominant Dog
Dominant behavior is a common trait in breeds that possess intelligent and independent qualities. Dominant dogs carry a great deal of self-confidence and will use this to get what they want no matter if it is a bone from another dog or something in their master’s domain.
Dominance is often misconstrued for aggression. Dominance is a desire to control and run things whereas aggression is the intent to cause harm. A dominant dog wants to do everything his/her way, an aggressive dog wants to hurt or destroy another living thing. It is very important to understand the difference between these two when working with a dog that shows signs of dominance. Many times a dog that just needs to have the alpha roll reestablished gets incorrectly diagnosed and does not receive the proper training, or worse, gets euthanized.
Dominant behavior is a clear sign that a dog has no true concept of equality. Knowing this will help you, the owner/alpha, know what is to be done, when it is to be done, how it is to be done and who is to do it. It is very black and white for dogs. You have to think in terms of “this-or-that” and “yes-and-no”.
It is crucial in the training of your dog that you are aware of pack mentality. This knowledge will help you to understand why it is so important for your dog to have a leader, which will, in return, help you to establish yourself as the alpha. A dog doesn’t become a full-fledged member of the pack until it undergoes a process of subordination. Most puppies will try to advance in the social order of the pack as much as possible. Adult dogs teach early on the rules by gently grabbing the cubs around the neck and pinning them to the ground. Cubs quickly learn to greet adult dogs with respect by crouching, putting ears back, tail down and wagging, and licking the muzzle. Subordinate dogs will constantly touch, lick and groom the alpha dog. This display of subordination is a sign of affection and respect.
Below is a list of ways to take hold of the dominant role with your dog. This is a good way to measure what you are doing right and what you might be doing wrong. Practice the steps below and your dog will never question whose boss in your pack.
Exercises & Tips:
Until signs of improvement, cut down on the amount of cuddling given to your dog. He must earn everything, from you and everyone else, with appropriate, calm behavior. Do not give your dog attention on demand. When attention is wanted, make him SIT, give him praises and a pat on the head, and then stop. Continue with what you were doing before he approached you. If he persists, tell him NO in a firm tone (without yelling) and ignore him. Wait until he stops making demands and is calm. Attention is given when you want to give it, not when he wants it. Do not kneel down on the floor at his/her level or lower. This is a sign of submission in the dog’s eyes. Instead give him/her praise and rewards from an upright position.
When incorporating exercises into his day you should use a matter-of-fact method and show NO signs of anger toward the dog. Resolve to stop yelling at your dog and instead speak in a low tone of voice. If you yell, the dog will learn to wait for you to yell. Change your tonality, not your volume.
Whenever you leave your home, leave the radio on with easy listening music. Talk shows feature people who call in with problems that express their problems in stressed tones.
Many trainers recommend 45-60 minutes of brisk exercise twice a day. Build up to 1-3 miles of non-stop exercise. These can be broken down into two 15 minutes sessions a day too.
Do not let your dog stand up and put his front paws on your shoulders. Do not let them jump on you without command ever. You can grab some skin below the ear (firm, not rough) and pull them down saying, “No”. Alpha dogs chomp under a subordinate dog’s ears and shake. Remember to praise your dog when it is back on all fours.
Get your dog on a feeding schedule. Dailey structure is key to creating a relaxed, well-mannered dog. At mealtime, prepare the dog’s food, but do not give it right away. When you are finished eating, make the dog sit and wait until you place the dish down. Make a challenge or game out of getting dinner. This will stimulate and teach them to pay attention to you. Ask your dog if it’s hungry, ask to help find their dish, then their food. Tell your dog to go to their feeding area and then give your dog an “ok” to eat the food. Do not add food or treat to the dinner bowl while the dog is eating unless you enforce a sit and your dog is calm. Do not take the food away until eating is complete, unless they do not finish within 10-15 minutes. Take the empty bowl away after feeding so they see you controlling the food. It is important to not come across as threatening during your dog’s feeding times.
No wrestling is allowed until signs of subordination are apparent. Also, do not play tug-a-war. These games encourage dogs to dominate people physically and to use their teeth. Games like these determine pack order (based on physical strength) within a pack. Play hide & seek, fetch or Frisbee instead. Playing fetch is a good game because you can show him that you will only participate in play if he does what you want. Throw a ball, or stick. If he won’t chase it, or won’t give it to you, turn your back and walk away. You should be the one to initiate playtime and decide when it will end. The handler must always win the last round.
Your dog may not sleep on the bed. This will prove they don’t control the “king’s throne”. Put their bed in the bedroom. It you let them sleep wherever they want they get the idea they control the den. Dogs enjoy sleeping with the pack anyway, so this will ease them during sleep. Place their bed in the bedroom so you still maintain control.
Firmly, but not rough, shuffle right through your dog to move him out of your way. Don’t walk around him. This can be done while paying no attention to him. Or, it may be done with eye contact if needing to make the dog move. You can do this while sitting down by the dog too.
Stand or sit in your dog’s favorite spot, or its bed, for 1-2 minutes several times a week.
Alpha dogs “stare down” subordinates, so eye contact is very important. If your dog does not back down in a stare contest, then start a verbal correction. As soon as he backs down, praise him. Have two formal eye contact sessions a day. Put a leash on and sit your dog. Step around in front and say, “Watch me,” in a low, growling tone. Do not yell. You want three or five seconds of locked eye contact. Once you get this, end with light verbal praise. Praise him/her when they lick you under the chin, it’s a sign of respect.
Daily on-leash exercises are a must. Use the umbilical cord method where the dog must be attached to you via a leash tied around your waist. This makes him focus his attention on you for long periods of time. Only use verbal praise and keep the sessions moving.
Pick up the dog’s toys and keep them out of reach. Toys must be given to them and they must earn it.
Make your dog obey on the first command. A dog’s hearing is significantly better than yours, and you can bet your dog heard you the first time (more reason not to yell). Give commands only if you can follow through. Give or deny permission for anything he wants. Teach him manners. For instance, when you take him to the lake, he should wait for permission to swim.
If you have more than one dog in your home, you decide the pecking order within the dog pack by routinely feeding the “top” dog first, giving that dog bones first, etc. Make the others wait for their turn. This is another means of exerting your authority.
Fifteen-minute timeouts are beneficial (no yelling is necessary, keep it all very quiet). The dog must remain in sit or down position until you release him form that command. No anger should be associated with this command. When you release your dog, be very unemotional about it and ignore him for 5-10 minutes after release. This exercise can be increased gradually.
Alpha dogs nip subordinates under the chin as corrections. You can tap under the chin with one or two fingers to give the same message. If your dog whines, give a slap under the chin and say, “No”. During this time no petting, no toys, no soothing, no nothing. Do not tap on top of the dog’s muzzle. This can injure your dog and cause a loss in the sense of smell. Also, it can make him hand shy.
The alpha roll should only be used in certain, hopefully rare, situations. This method is when you pin your dog to the ground on its side with feet away from you. Hold collar with one hand to pin head down and place the other hand on the hip area. This should only be used during unnecessary fights, and when it is safe for your dog to be submissive around the other dog.
Execute about-turns if the dog is forging ahead, and counter the body blocks he may use to control your pathway by leaning into him. Insist on a sit at every corner, and change pace whenever YOU desire. Always go through a door first.
Straddle your dog, with one of your legs on each side of him. You should be facing the same direction as your dog. Lock your fingers together under his chest, just behind the front legs. Lift his front legs off the ground for 15 to 45 seconds. If he struggles, growl at him until he is quiet.
Place your dog on the floor with all four legs pointing away from you. Talk to him softly after he is quiet. Do not allow him to struggle, get up, or nip. Always praise him lavishly in a quiet tone when he relaxes. Now is also a good time to handle all four paws and look briefly into his mouth so he can get used to tolerating your handling of him. Declare what is yours (ears, paws, tail, muzzle) in a firm but friendly tone.
When performing any of these exercises, remember to have fun with your dog. Yes it’s training time, but you are also creating a bond with your dog. Your dog will see you as its leader.

Why Not a Neo?

To anyone seriously considering acquiring a Neapolitan mastiff, no sales job is needed. Their devotion is unmatched, and if you like the look, nothing else will do! However, as a group dedicated to finding forever homes for this breed, we have an obligation to point out some characteristics that when not understood and properly managed, frequently lead to these dogs needing re-homing. Although of course, as in any breed, there is variation in temperament, the following issues come up frequently enough to warrant mentioning. We strongly encourage all prospective homes to read The Official Book of the Neapolitan Mastiff by Dr. Sherilyn Allen, and The Ultimate Book of Mastiff Breeds by Douglas Oliff for further information.

Neapolitans, as well as other giant breeds, are frequently referred to as “gentle giants”. While accurate to some extent, this description can be misleading, as a 150 lb dog can wreak havoc even without meaning to. Neapolitans are not to be confused with the breed known to the AKC as mastiff, often called English or Old English mastiffs by fanciers. Most people familiar with both breeds would agree that the English is, as a generality, a more mellow and easygoing (although larger) dog. Neapolitans frequently show traits of dominance, territoriality, and jealousy (the latter due to their intense bonding with “their” people).

Although they typically present a droopy, lazy appearance, they react with startling suddeness when they feel something is awry. It is not unusual for them to have difficulty getting along with a dog of the same gender, and it is our general policy not to place dogs into such a situation. While many do very well with other dogs, they would probably not be the first choice as a companion for another dog, their top priority again being “their” people. Oftimes the abovementioned traits are not fully evident until age 2 or 3, when the dog reaches emotional maturity.

Neapolitans are generally good with, and protective of, children. However, in a household with children, there are several issues to consider. The most obvious is that a dog of this size can knock a young child over without meaning to. Second, although these dogs again usually do well with “their” children, many households with children have a lot of visitors coming and going, which can take some getting used to for a Neapolitan. Third, Neapolitans are sometimes jealous of attention given a child by an adult. If you’ve read this far, you’re getting the idea that Neapolitans are generally very big on the concept of “mine” – “my” house, “my” toys, and especially “my” people. This intense bonding can lead to separation anxiety.

Some medical issues that occur more frequently in Neapolitans than in the general dog population are bloat, cardiac disorders, bone cancer, eye problems, and various orthopedic problems. Some of these are life- threatening. All can quickly start a nice college fund for your vet’s children. Neapolitans are also very sensitive to heat, and can and do die from heat stroke.

If you are not up to the possibility of the challenges listed above, we have done our job if we have caused you to rethink making a Neapolitan mastiff a member of your family. If you are willing to work with these issues, get ready for your efforts to be rewarded with the devotion and rewards that only a mastino can give!!

**Copied from the United States Neapolitan Mastiff club**

Feeding Your Neo

pulserfoodI only feed my dogs top quality grain free food and an excellent quality food will make all the difference to your Neapolitans health and longevity. I currently feed Pulsar and I have provide the information below, I also supplement my dogs/puppies food with raw meat, yogurt, fruit, canned tripe ect….This is one of the most important things you can do for your new puppy!

(Other great formulas are Acana, Orijen, Go, Core Wellness, Taste of the Wild and Canidae just to name a few)

The evolution of Pulsar® is our mission to improve the health benefits available from grain free food – without compromise.

Our philosophy at Horizon Pet Nutrition is to seek new combinations of exceptional ingredients to optimize pet nutrition and push the boundaries of dietary evolution. Our approach was to increase the use of pulses, the edible seeds of legume plants, as a primary source of our carbohydrates. Examples include peas, lentils, chickpeas and fava beans. The result? Our power pulse couple – red lentils and peas. This combination packs a very powerful nutritional punch by not only reducing the glycemic index but by also enhancing both digestibility, through superior dietary fiber, and elevating antioxidant qualities to help fend off dangerous toxins.
Quality animal proteins remain the number one ingredient in Pulsar® grain free and we have developed chicken and salmon alternatives for consumers to choose. In addition, we have rounded out Pulsar’s® dietary profile with an array of fruits, vegetables, botanicals and vitamins.

These include carrots, apples, broccoli, bok choy, cabbage, blueberries, pineapple, yucca, aspergillus, vitamins A, D3, E and B12 and we have formulated the ingredient mix to include essential nutrients, balanced for absorption, digestibility and palatability. Lastly, Pulsar is naturally preserved with vitamin E with no added preservatives, colors or artificial flavours. All of the ingredients we use in Pulsar are purposeful and intended to contribute to the health and welfare of your pet.
Low Glycemic Index (GI) Ratings Have Proven Health Benefits

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The Glycemic Index is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100, according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Lower GI foods improve glucose and lipid levels in those with diabetes, helps control weight by mitigating appetite/hunger and also aids in the reduction of insulin and insulin resistance. A lower GI is a positive attribute in overall health and pulses are some of the lowest GI foods.

Good Fiber is an Unquestioned Benefit

Fiber is essential for rapid digestion as well as the maximum absorption and assimilation of essential vitamins and minerals.

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It increases stool weight allowing for bulkier stool that more easily passes through the colon and reduces intestinal transit time. Good fiber is an unquestioned benefit and pulses are some of the very best sources. For Pulsar®, we have added red lentils as the primary pulse with peas. The combination packs a very powerful nutritional punch by not only reducing the glycemic index but also enhancing both digestibility through superior dietary fiber. Good fiber is an unquestioned benefit and pulses are some of the very best sources.

 

The higher the level of grams per cup, the better the source of dietary fiber.

Antioxidants – Fighting the Free Radicals

Antioxidants are nature’s way of fighting off potentially dangerous molecules, or “free radicals”, in the body that may come from synthetic chemicals such as pesticides, plastics, and chlorine by-products.

Free radicals are unstable molecules that essentially feed off of otherwise healthy molecules in order to survive. Everyday, tens of thousands of free radicals are generated within the body causing cell damage, that if left unchecked, can lead to chronic and degenerative disease. The combination of red lentils and peas elevates antioxidant qualities to help fend off dangerous toxins.

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Links

If you are interested in a link share with Lexington Kennels, please contact me. I am happy to share links if I feel the site has value. I will also share links with other breeders.

If you are interested in a puppy, please contact me. If I do not have puppies available, I do have the contact information of a number of reputable breeders I recommend and would be happy to share it. In addition, if you are interested in rescueing an older Neapolitan Mastiff, I would be happy to direct you to a rescue group in your area.

Links I recommend every puppy owner visit are:
www.akc.com
www.mastinohealth.org
www.dogbreedinfo.com
www.everythingneo.com
www.mastiff-forum.com
www.neapolitanworld.com
www.canadasguidetodogs.com
www.ckc.ca
www.naturesfarmacy.com