How important is a fenced yard with this breed?
While it is generally good common sense that all responsible pet owners should have proper containment for their dogs, a securely fenced yard is a must with the Tibetan Mastiff breed!
Most responsible breeders will not even consider any home for one of their puppies if a securely fenced yard is not provided. This is not just a suggestion. The TMBRN advocates that there can be no exceptions to this rule. While you will find a breeder who is willing to sell you a puppy without the fencing requirement, his/her motive is most likely profit-driven and that decision is not usually based on what is best for the individual puppy or the breed.
This is a guardian breed and it is neither wise nor responsible to allow a guardian breed to be loose on your property, be it a surrounding open yard or acreage. Not only do these dogs have a strong tendency to roam but they are also very protective of their home, yard and family. No breeder wants to get the call that a puppy that s/he has bred has been hit by a car, is lost, has been attacked by a wild animal / stray dog or has bitten a stranger or UPS driver.
The expense and work involved in erecting a fence is simply part and parcel of Tibetan Mastiff care. If this is not something you are willing to do, please consider another breed.
How big of a yard does the Tibetan Mastiff need?
Although the Tibetan Mastiff is not a hyper or constantly active breed they do need room to run. The average suburban yard at 60 x 60 is satisfactory but larger is optimal.
Apartment or Town home living is not suggested for this breed. A decent-sized, securely fenced yard is a must!
What type and height of fencing is best for the Tibetan Mastiff?
Chain link or wood and at least 5 feet high but 6 foot is preferable. Privacy fence is ideal and will help curb but not eliminate barking.
Is invisible or electronic fencing adequate containment for a Tibetan Mastiff?
It is the opinion of the Tibetan Mastiff Breeders Response Network that invisible/underground/electric/radio fencing ON ITS OWN is NOT a proper containment solution for the Tibetan Mastiff breed. There are many reasons why this type of fencing poses specific problems for this Breed.A short list of concerns are:
Many Tibetan Mastiffs can blow through the shock if the incentive is strong enough. Yet will not risk another shock to come back in, leaving the dog trapped out of it's own yard.
It does not hinder other animals, children and people from walking into your yard. This is not wise with a guardian breed such as this.
There is no way to know whether or not the shocks delivered will escalate aggression.
For a more detailed explanation, please read our article here.
Everyone says the Tibetan Mastiff must be crate trained. I don't want to put my dog in a cage!
Dogs have a strong den instinct. They actually prefer a snug, cozy place where they feel safe and secure. Something just large enough for them to stand up, turn around and lie down comfortably.
The crate provides a safe haven and place of privacy for your Tibetan Mastiff. It can also be useful in teaching self-control and build confidence. It is not a parking space or something to be used for punishment. It is not advisable to keep your Tibetan Mastiff in a crate for longer than 4-6 hours at a time over and above the time they spend sleeping in the crate at night. For puppies, a good rule of thumb is no more than one hour for every month of the life of the puppy.
Crating makes house training faster, helps to control destructive chewing and prevents them from consuming something that can be harmful to them. Tibetan Mastiffs can be very destructive as puppies and sometimes well into adulthood. In general, it is an invaluable tool to have when you cannot supervise your Tibetan Mastiff puppy or dog. A crate will protect both your home and your TM.
Your Tibetan Mastiff may need to travel, be boarded or spend time at the veterinarian and all of these scenarios will require that your dog be comfortable in a crate or kennel.
Can I keep my Tibetan Mastiff on a tie out or on a chain?
Chaining is never the best solution for any dog but most certainly NOT for the Tibetan Mastiff. Chaining can escalate and aggravate aggressive behavior. Dogs become frustrated when they cannot reach or get to something and are constantly jerked back or restrained by a tether.
This constant frustration can increase aggression especially in a guardian breed such as the Tibetan Mastiff. Once again, a securely fenced yard is a must!
I know the question about off-leash was asked and I understand about off-lead situations in high traffic areas. What if we are away from traffic and are in a remote region? How about if we're hiking in the mountains or the woods and away from a traveled road? Is a leash still required?
Yes. Most definitely. While the potential for your Tibetan Mastiff to be hit by a car in traffic may be averted in an isolated area, it is still recommended that you keep your dog on a long leash. No matter where you are hiking you can never be sure that you and your dog will not meet up with another hiker or group of hikers - with or without their own dogs off-lead.
If your Tibetan is off lead you simply have no control over any situation you may encounter. If your TM feels that you are threatened in any way he will move to protect you. Some TMs have very little prey drive but most have a healthy one. If you are walking in an remote area, your dog could easily spot and chase wildlife such as deer or rabbit. Without a leash your only hope is that he will come back to you at some point.
It's not just cars and the road you have to worry about with a guardian breed. You have to think of any situation In which having your dog off lead could cause a liability to him and to others. A leash is the only way you can be 100% sure that your TM will be safely beside you in the face of any distraction or situation.