Life With a Mastiff: Bigger

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So it’s been, what? Two months? Yeah, nearly two months since we got Humphrey and since I wrote about him.

He was 17lbs. He clocked in at 48lbs today.

He was about 16" at the shoulder. He’s about 22" today.

He’s growing rapidly, certainly. And I’m guessing you’re not surprised. After all, his sire is 270lbs and his dam is 180lbs, so if he’s going to be, say, 200lbs by 18 months, he’s going to have to put on an average of 12lbs or so per month and his height’s going to have to go up pretty darned quick, too.

If you’re wondering what that has to do with “life with a mastiff,” the simple answer is everything. You see, he doesn’t eat much more than other dogs. He eats about five cups of dry dog food (with some cheese sprinkled in for excitement) in three meals per day. Other breeds of dog eat about that much, too. The net result of eating “the usual” amount of food per day and growing a lot per day is that mastiffs end up being nature’s couch potatoes.

Other dogs take that energy consumed and turn it into barking episodes and fits of running around the yard at light speed. Humphrey takes that energy and turns it into bone and muscle. Plenty of snoozing is involved.

Really.

His schedule when we got him was breakfast as the family wakes up and then hang out with T. at her office for the morning, sleeping mostly. Lunch. Then an afternoon nap ensued followed by dinner and a fitful sleep. Generally, we had to take him out about twice between each meal, once before bed and once in the middle of the night, about 2am. Since we didn’t have a baby monitor at the time, I was nominated… hmmm… to sleep downstairs with him and make the midnight bathroom run.

A whimper was enough to get me in motion at 2am. Glasses on. Jacket on. Open crate. Grab leash (he stays leashed 24/7 until he’s completely potty trained, though we’re letting him off-leash more often now). Pick up dog. Head to back door, slippers on, open door, garage door opening, cross the driveway to the designated Humphrey Dumpling Orchard and… pee.

Flooding the world, one puddle at a time.

Back into the house quietly, without making a fuss. He heads to his crate, I close the crate. Glasses off, etc., back to sleep. Repeat at 6am.

In the dark. It’s challenging sometimes and led to one crate-related scrape-on-the-forehead injury. I used to drink a glass of red wine each night, but I was just a wee bit sluggish (see what I did there?) when I’d had that wine, normal 6oz. serving or not. I do miss my wine, but I don’t miss the calories. Humphrey has helped me lose 5lbs.

Then, just about the time that I got used to that routine about three weeks into it, I accidentally slept through a whimpering, and he held it until 4am, which became 5am and then 6am in successive nights.

So I retreated to my bed, packed up the Therm-a-Rest pads, and he’s been a good, through-the-night sleeper ever since. Now he doesn’t even want to get up at 7am.

He’s still a puppy, so we’re careful about potty runs. He knows to go to the back door to go out, but he doesn’t let us know he’s there, so we have to pay very close attention to him when he’s not in his crate or asleep. If we don’t, he still has “puppy bladder” and is likely to wee on the floor in large quantity if we don’t get him out quickly, though that time is increasing as he gets older. (Six months seems to be a magic number—for what, I don’t know exactly, but I’m looking forward to it.)

He acts like a puppy in a big dog’s body. He does have the ability to bowl you over if you let him. He likes to “galumph” after a ball, he gnaws on his toys and pressed rawhide sticks (his favorite), and he gets “bitey” when he is feeling is oats… or is merely hungry. And that tail of his? His sworn enemy, right along with his paws. How he doesn’t hurt himself when he’s playing with his own parts, I don’t know.

He is a most pleasant animal. There are times when I get frustrated with him, sure, but mostly because I don’t work with him as much as I should. T., on the other hand, who has him at her office most days of the week, is his soulmate. The two of them are practically inseparable. She taught him to “gimme’ five,” sit, and be generally more cooperative. She is his human, and he is her dog.

Ah, yes, I am a slight bit jealous. It’s OK, though.

It’s true, we love this dog. He’s our ideal breed, and we seem to be his ideal family.

Thinking about getting a mastiff and have questions? Leave a comment with a question and I’ll reply to the best of my ability.

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