Conformation Dog Shows can be participated in by the whole family, or a Handler can be employed to take the dog into the ring. Puppies can be entered as young as 6 months of age, but for "practice" puppies as young as 3 months old may enter Sanctioned Matches. Show dogs have to remain intact to be eligible, except for Altered Classes at Specialties.
There are many different types of carting. From competitive carting to recreational carting, to actual draft dog work. Essentially, your dog learns to pull some type of cart. You can compete for a Draft Dog/Carting Title, you can teach your dog to pull a cart in which you can ride, or you can even teach your dog to pull a wagon and help around the property.
Visitation or Therapy
This is an activity that is very rewarding for dog and handler. Whether you are visiting children at school, patients in a hospital or the elderly in a nursing home, you will find you are left with an incredible sense of fulfillment. The joy these dogs can bring to someone's eyes is amazing and the ability for them to connect with the people that need them most is truly a wonderful thing.
Weight Pull is a competition based on the draft work that many breeds of dogs did in the past. The dogs compete in weight classes against other dogs their size, and they must pull a cart or sled a certain amount of distance in 60 seconds. The dogs that compete in weight pull have spent a lot of time conditioning for the event just like an athletes who work out and prepare themselves. There is also a bit of training involved because during the competition, the dog must pull simply because it wants to as the use of treats, toys, physical encouragement, etc is not allowed. This sport takes place mostly during the winter months and can offset the other activities which are mostly done during the summer. Aside from the basic carting instructions, training for this event should not begin until the dog is physically mature (about 2 years). This dog is hauling 6900 pounds.
Obedience Trials consist of a set of exercises, which are scored, to test a dog's ability to follow a single given command. The dog must achieve a score of 170 out of a possible 200 points in order to qualify for a 'Leg'. They must get 3 'Legs' to complete their obedience title.
The purpose of a tracking test is to demonstrate the dog's ability to recognize and follow human scent. This is a non-competitive outdoor sport. Tracking tests take a lot of preparation to pass but give dog and handler a lot of enjoyment in time spent together.
Agility is a very exciting sport for you and your dog to participate in. With proper conditioning and training you and your dog will demonstrate the ability to run a timed obstacle course of jumps, tunnels, weave poles and other obstacles. It is also a great spectator sport!
With an inexpensive back pack made for dogs you can take your mastiff out on the trails and have him pack your lunch. When a big snowfall hits, a trained pack dog is handy for getting the groceries. There are no recognized "titles" for packing, but it is a handy skill to have that is very easy to learn, and "loads" of fun. Note that this pack is equipped with reflective tape.
Mastiffs are usually patient and gentle with children of all ages. Due to their size common sense and supervision must be used as they are capable of knocking small children down inadvertently. As with any animal, proper training and socialization of BOTH dogs AND kids is recommended for best results. In general, Mastiffs will cohabitate harmoniously with other animals when raised with them. Naturally protective of their family, Mastiffs do not need, nor should they receive any guard dog training.
Rally is like a combination of obedience and agility. It takes the structured exercises of the obedience course and puts them in a course type setting. The course will have 10-20 stations with a sign stating the skill to be performed. The course is also timed in the case of a tie in scores to determine class placements. What makes this an ideal event for Mastiffs is the ability to talk to the dog throughout, and the upbeat pace. It keeps it fun for dog and handler.