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Discussion Starter #1
We've got a 10 month old english mastiff. We've had him for nearly 8 months now along with our 3 kids. He's been great, typical mastiff, loves to cuddle and sit on your feet. great with the kids, gives horse rides to them and tries to share their beds. But lately, we've had him snip at few few people trying to pet him, all have been complete strangers, but a couple were kids which concerns me.

My first thought was to get his boys removed sicne he's nto fixed, but doing some research it does nto appear that doing that will help aggression. Any suggestions?
 

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Do they reach over his head? Do they let him sniff them? Been to the vet recently? I would not let people reach over his head to pet him. I would also make sure they dont just automatically go to pet him. I know with my 3 you have to let my dogs sniff you and then you can pet them but not over the head. They can rub then on the side of the neck and once my dogs are okay with them then they can pet them anywhere.

Another thing, did it just start? If so can there be anything causing him pain to snap? When my dog had an ear infection(un-known to me)she got "aggressive" with strangers. once her ear was fine again she would let anyone pet her.
 

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I would be very careful -- if you have the ability to see a behaviorist, that would probably not be a bad way to go.

Do not allow him to be near strange children at this point, I would say. Not until you have a handle on the situation.

A dog that large snapping at children, is, to me, really kind of scary. And he might not always be as tolerant of being ridden like a horse and whatnot as he gets closer to maturity -- teaching your kids to play respectfully with him is a good plan.

Other than that I would work on training *a lot,* and consider training courses with a trainer who can deal with a large breed dog that doesn't seem to like strangers (ie not a class at Petco).

Neutering will likely not entirely eliminate this issue, but it won't aggravate it, either. I would neuter him unless you have a really, really, really compelling reason not to.

And, this is basic advice I see a lot on the forum, you might want to see your vet to eliminate that this sudden change isn't due to some sort of physical discomfort.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I appreciate all the feedback for sure.

It's defiantly a concern, he did it once two weeks ago when a friend of a friend came into the house wearing sun glasses and came right up and tried to pet him. The second time was at the school when two young girls came running up and tried to pet him.

I haven't noticed him n any pain and he's been very playful with us at home and has not shown any signs of temperment when around people he knows.
 

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At any rate, for the time being I would make sure to always step between your dog and strangers. A lot of kids (and adults) do not understand the proper way to greet a strange dog, but if he's going to snap, you have to be proactive.

I am no mastiff expert, but from what I know of them, it's not unusual for them to be aloof with strangers. But if it's normal, or may happen again, that someone should enter your home unannounced, and you don't want the dog to react aggressively, then you have to get the dog prepared for that possibility. Same thing with being out in public. But I really do suggest you work with a professional.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I guess the thing that really caught us off guard was that we've taken him down to the school area to pick up our son since he was 3 months old, there was even a time when he was afraid to leave the house. But he always let kids come up and pet him, was always happy about it, then today, two girls ran up and he snapped at them.

Anyway, I appreciate all teh suggestions from anyone, glad this site exists.
 
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