The Spanish Mastiff is a gentle giant that makes a great family dog. They are friendly dogs that love spending time outdoors but enjoy being lazy on the couch with their favorite person just the same. They’re a giant breed dog closely related to the English Mastiff, which can weigh up to 220lbs! Their immense size is the reason Spanish Mastiffs were used to herd and protect livestock dating back to the middle ages in Europe. Today, their guard dog nature shows in their protectiveness over their humans.
Although they are a large breed, they don’t require as much exercise as other large dog breeds such as the German shepherd or Australian cattle dog. Spanish Mastiffs are prone to health issues because of their size. Too much activity can be harmful for them, but that’s not to say that the Spanish Mastiff isn’t active or playful. While they don’t require much exercise or attention, any kind of physical activity benefits a Spanish Mastiff’s physical and mental health. If you’ve got a Spanish Mastiff, keep reading for 17 activities your Spanish Mastiff will love that are both safe and fun.
17 Activities Your Spanish Mastiff Will Love
Go for a Walk
All dogs need exercise. One of the simplest ways to accomplish this in the form of a good walk. While Spanish Mastiffs aren’t keen on being a running buddy, they’ll love a long walk. Most large dogs require at least 30 minutes to 2 hours of walking daily to stay healthy. Walking allows your Spanish Mastiff to explore outdoors and stretch their long legs.
You should especially consider longer walks if you live in a smaller home. Spanish Mastiffs need more room to exercise because of their size. A smaller home limits how much exercise they get indoors, meaning frequent long walks are a must. As a silver lining, you’ll also benefit from the exercise as much as your loveable pooch.
Go for a Bike Ride
If you want to challenge yourself beyond a walk around the block with your Spanish Mastiff, go on a bike ride. They can trot beside you as you pedal your bike. It won’t feel much different than a walk for your pup, but it will change up the walking routine for you. Riding a bike and walking your dog at the same time might be a bit of a challenge at first. But a little practice goes a long way. Just remember not to pedal too fast. Spanish Mastiffs do fine with light exercise, but vigorous activity (like running for long periods) is too much for them. Keep the bike ride short and sweet to prevent your pup from becoming overheated.
Take Them on a Hike
Hiking is a fun form of exercise for both humans and the Spanish Mastiff. Hiking a woodsy mountain trail gives your pup a chance to feel like its distant ancestor, the wolf. Your Mastiff will burn off energy from sprinting up steep mountain trails, splashing in small streams, and chasing dozens of unsuspecting rabbits. Dogs love being in nature; it’s their natural habitat, after all. Your Spanish Mastiff will find utmost pleasure in exploring the different smells and sights of the new terrain. You can be sure your Mastiff (or any dog breed) will do their best to hit every mud puddle and pond they can find along your hike.
Let Them Dig
Spanish Mastiffs are a working dog, and they like to be kept busy. If they get bored, they’ll find your feather-down pillows to tear apart or a refrigerator to ransack. Keeping your Mastiff busy keeps them happy and engaged. Most dog breeds love to dig, and the Spanish Mastiff is no exception. According to the American Kennel Club, searching is a natural instinct for dogs that dates back to their ancestors pre-domestication. Digging was often a way to seek small prey such as moles, rats, or rabbits. For hunting purposes, digging was encouraged in some breeds, such as the Jack Russell Terrier and the American Pitbull Terrier.
Though your Mastiff wasn’t bred to be a hunting dog, they never lost their hunting instincts. If you want to make your Mastiff’s day, let them dig. Find a sandbox and fill it with dirt. Hide a few treats or toys in the ground and let your Spanish Mastiff explore to their heart’s content. Searching for a treat or toy will invoke their primal instincts of digging for prey. They’ll get a chance to feel like a faithful dog while burning off some energy.
Enroll Them in Obedience Training
The Spanish Mastiff is a great family dog because they are typically non-aggressive towards humans unless threatened. But while they make great pets for being loving and loyal, being obedient is a different story. The Spanish Mastiff is strong-willed, which makes them more challenging to train. They have a mind of their own and need firm training from someone they can respect as a leader.
Obedience training is essential for any dog but especially for a large dog breed like the Spanish Mastiff. Larger dogs can pose more of a threat to dogs and people if not appropriately trained. If you think your Mastiff needs to learn a few manors, then they would greatly benefit from obedience training. It will make caring for them more manageable and will give them something to do. A working dog like the Spanish Mastiff needs to stay occupied to avoid trouble.
Take Them Swimming
Most dogs love swimming; they know how to do it instinctively. While they are not bred for the water like Labradors, the Spanish Mastiff is a strong swimmer. If it’s a hot summer day, a dip in the pool or lake would be an excellent activity with your Mastiff. Larger breeds have a more difficult time in the heat. Swimming is perfect for Mastiffs because it allows them to be active without overheating. It’s a great summer activity for this reason. Your pup can cool off while having fun at the same time.
Go for a Boat Ride
If your Spanish Mastiff likes the water, he’ll love an afternoon boat ride. Dogs are happy being anywhere you are, even if that’s on a boat. They’ll love to sit back, relax, and feel the wind in their fur as your rowboat or motorboat glides smoothly through the water. While any dog can enjoy a boat ride, it may be ideal for older dogs who are less active. Older dogs have limited mobility and can’t enjoy swimming and other activities like they used to. Taking your older Mastiff on a boat ride is a great way for them to participate in an activity without them having to be active.
While Spanish Mastiffs don’t make the best partners for playing fetch, they’ll love a good old game of tug. Playing tug with your dog can involve a giant chew toy or rope toy that allows you to tug one end while they tug on the other. The game is thrilling for the Spanish Mastiff as it gives them a chance to show off their incredible strength. Playing tug speaks to their primal instincts of fighting their prey into submission. They love a good old standoff between who’s going to tug harder (it’s going to be them). But beware, this game can be never-ending as your dog will want you to play again and again.
Give Them a Puzzle Toy
Puzzle toys trump your average chew toy in that they keep your dog engaged without you having to tug on the other end. Solving a puzzle sparks your dog’s natural curiosity. It provides them with more mental stimulation and helps to stave off boredom. This is helpful for days when you have less time for your Mastiff. Puzzle toys keep your Mastiff busy so they are less likely to get into other things. But make sure you get a puzzle toy strong enough to withstand your Mastiff’s mighty jaws. Some dog toys can be a choking hazzard if they are not made for large dog breeds. They may contain materials that could become lodged in your pup’s throat if he shreds the toy to pieces. Look for quality-made toys suitable for your Spanish Mastiff that won’t break apart too easily.
Teach Them a New Trick
The Spanish Mastiff is an intelligent dog breed that’s up for a mental challenge. Teaching them a new trick will be a fun and exciting game for them especially if there’s treats involved. It’s amazing what dogs can do when they are motivated by food. If your Spanish Mastiff doesn’t already know how to kiss, bark, or shake hands, spend some time teaching them. You’ll keep their mind stimulated and be able to show off their newly learned tricks to your friends.
Set Up a Doggy Play Date
Dogs are social animals that benefit from regular interaction with their peers. Social development skills is crucial for all dogs to learn to become more confident in their surroundings. Socialized dogs tend to be less aggressive or fearful towards other dogs and people. They are also less likely to be frightened of loud noises, crowds of people, cars, and bicycles. If you have friends with dogs, set up a doggy play date for your Spanish Mastiff and their pups. They will get the benfits of socializing while also burning off energy during play. Make sure your Mastiff and your friends’ dogs get along before you let them off leash to play. If a fight does break out, you will be able to more easily pull your dogs back if they are leashed.
Turn On the Sprinklers
If your Spanish Mastiff needs to burn off some energy, take them outside for playtime. Turn on the sprinklers during a hot summer day and let them run through the water. If you don’t have sprinklers, a water hose will work just as well. Spray them down with the hose or let them have fun running through the water stream themselves. If you have neither a hose or sprinklers, take your Mastiff to a local fountain or water park where you dog will be allowed to play. Or wait for a summer rainstorm to pass so you and your Mastiff can have fun together jumping in water puddles. Keeping your Spanish Mastiff cool during the summer is imperative. Sticking to water based activities will keep them entertained and cool at the same time.
Play in the Snow
In the colder months, take advantage of nature’s seasonal changes. Rake up a pile of snow and take turns jumping in it with your Spanish Mastiff. Or have a snowball fight and throw a snowball their way. Your Mastiff will have fun trying to catch it as if it were a real ball. In cooler months, you don’t have to worry about your Spanish Mastiff overheating too quickly. Winter weather is ideal for getting outside with your pup and being more active. Plus, snow is a unique sensation that your Mastiff only gets to experience a few months out of the year (if you live in a seasonal climate that is). Don’t let the cooler months pass you up without going for a romp in the snow with your best bud.
Give Them a Dog Mani/Pedi
What lovely Mastiff doesn’t like their nails to be tended to now and then? Have a spa day with your Spanish Mastiff and give them a doggie mani/Pedi. Boy or girl, your Mastiff will love getting your extra attention. Look for dog-friendly nail polish that’s non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about them getting sick if they ingest it by accident. Then, take your pup for a walk around the block to show off their freshly painted paws. Painting your pup’s nails will be more for your benefit than theirs. But if you throw in a good belly rub or massage, a mani/pedi can be a great way for your pup to relax and ease anxiety.
Get a Puppuccino at Starbucks
Does your Spanish Mastiff have a sweet tooth? Treat your pup to a Puppuccino at your local Starbucks. A Puppuccino is whipped cream served in an espresso cup. It’s perfectly safe for your Mastiff every once in a while, unless they’re lactose intolerant. A trip to the coffee shop can be a fun outing for both of you when you need something to do. Or take them for a Puppuccino as a reward for when they’ve been a really good dog. A trip to the coffee shop can be a treat for the both of you.
Go for a Car Ride
What dog doesn’t like going for a car ride with the windows down, letting their ears flap in the wind? If your Spanish Mastiff is bored, a simple car ride can make their day 100 times more exciting. Pack your pup in the car and go for a ride around town. Roll the windows down and let your puppy bask in the joys of going for a car ride. Your Spanish Mastiff will likely be too large to be able to successfully jump out your car windows. But there’s always a small chance they could. If you’re worried about your dog’s safety, consider a doggie seatbelt. A doggie seatbelt will keep your Spanish Mastiff safe and secure during their joy ride.
Set Up an Obstacle Course
Creating a backyard obstacle course for your Spanish Mastiff is a great way to train your pup and keep it busy. If you don’t have a backyard, move furniture out of the way and create a course in your living room. Dogs like participating in new activities and exploring new stuff in their surroundings. Setting up an obstacle course that includes tunnels, hoops to jump through, or treats to dig for will be the ultimate play time session for your Mastiff. You can train your Mastiff to go through the obstacle course a certain way, or you can let them explore it independently and see what they do. Either way, you’ll be helping them stay busy and active.
Have a Cuddle Session
There’s nothing your Spanish Mastiff likes better than spending time with you. Take time out of your day for a one-on-one cuddles session with your fur baby. Dogs enjoy cuddling with us just as much as we enjoy cuddling with them. The love hormone oxytocin is released in humans and dogs when we pet or cuddle our pups. Oxytocin is known for encouraging bonding and feelings of love or warmth. Your Mastiff likes getting attention almost as much as you fancy giving it. If you’ve both had a rough day, a cuddle session will do both of you some good.
A Spanish Mastiff is an intelligent, loving, and loyal breed. They love any activity that challenges them mentally or lets them tap into their more primal instincts. While they can not safely handle vigorous activity, they like being active and are up for adventure. Any of these 17 activities would be fun for you and your Spanish Mastiff to try. The most important thing is that you are bonding with your pup and creating memories to last a lifetime.