Tibetan Mastiffs are a wonderful breed, but they are not the dog for everyone. In addition, they are a dog that, in order to be a good companion and member of the family, need more work than many breeds. Given their size and strength and natural guarding instincts, it is of utmost importance that you socialize and train your Tibetan Mastiff.
- TMs are dogs of high intelligence and are extremely independent. They generally do not do well in obedience or in agility or other organized activities.
- You may never walk your TM off leash.
- Your TM will not come when called. It needs to check out what is over the next hill. As one TM owner once said, "Oh, TMs want to be with you, it is just that TMs think that if they are in the same country as you, they are with you."
- TMs do not adapt well to being outside dogs, but rather must be integrated into the family.
- TMs are highly protective of their family and their property. Your friends may not be able to walk into the house. Your children's friends may not be able to come to play. Many TMs will not permit anyone other than a very few, very well-known and accepted people, to walk into their house.
- Your TM may not listen to you when you tell him or her that it is "OK". They know better than you do.
- Although TMs are extremely independent, they are also extremely sensitive to your moods and to the moods and emotions of any of the family members. TMs may not wish to be present when you are disciplining your children. Do not fight in front of your TM - they will become very upset.
- Tibetan Mastiffs have been raised for thousands of year as property guardians. You must socialize your TM. If you do not socialize your TM, take it to town, take it to playgrounds, take it to dog runs, you may have a dog that at the age of two or three has become so protective and so "guardy" that the dog will be unmanageable.
- Many TMs like children, however, strange children will often raise their guardian instincts because they will not realize that normal running, playing and screaming is not aggressive behavior.
- Tibetan Mastiffs, particularly as puppies and young adults, can be amazingly destructive. Tibetan Mastiffs have exceptionally strong jaws. TMs have been known to eat their way through doors, chainlink fences, concrete foundations and almost anything else you can think of. You must be prepared to have a certain amount of destruction caused by your TM, particularly under the age of three.
- TMs are highly intelligent and therefore are easily bored. If left to their own devices, you may not have a home left to come home to.
- TMs like to dig. TMs may decide that your landscaping is not good and will happily provide you with new landscaping, including tunnels to Tibet.
- TMs bark, particularly at night. If you plan to leave your TM outside, you should be aware of the fact that your neighbors may complain strenuously. TMs who live and sleep in the house will generally not be a problem.
- While TMs do not shed, at least once a year (and in some cases twice), they do blow their coats. Remember that TMs are large dogs. When they shed their entire undercoat in the space of four to six weeks, this can present a problem unless you have a very good vacuum cleaner.
- One of the TM's glories is its coat. Be prepared to groom them. While they are blowing their coat, be prepared to work on their coat almost every day.
- Many TMs, particularly the males, are difficult eaters. TMs may go for four or even five days without eating.
In short, if you want an obedient dog, a dog that you can walk off leash, a dog that will come when called, the TM is not the dog for you. If you lead an active social life, with many people coming in and out of your house, the TM is not the dog for you. If you have several small children, and many children come to visit, the TM may not be the dog for you. If you prize your wood furniture (or your plaster walls), and you will be upset if they were chewed on (or eaten in their entirety), the TM is not for you.
Please think carefully before you fall in love with a beautiful, adorable Tibetan Mastiff puppy. It is a highly intelligent animal that will bond very closely with you, but it will not be your obedient servant, and it will be convinced (perhaps correctly) that in most circumstances it knows better than you.