Tibetan Mastiffs are some of the most reliable guard dogs around. In Tibet, they would be tied to a pole at two months of age to enhance their aggressive tendencies and taught to guard a home. As the breed developed and became larger and more reliable, one dog would often act as a guard over an entire village. Modern Tibetan Mastiffs that are bred in the West are still very alert, protective watchdogs but they are no longer aggressive. When a stranger approaches a Tibetan Mastiff's home, he will be sized up, and a decision will be made as to whether or not the stranger is to be trusted. Even if the stranger means no harm, the Mastiff will not take his eyes off the visitor until he leaves the property. Tibetan Mastiffs attach themselves deeply to the people they love, and take their job as guardian and protector very seriously. They are rowdy when young, but mellow out into very serious adult dogs who are too busy patrolling the house to be bothered with playing fetch. They are affectionate and loving, but also very independent dogs with minds of their own. For experienced dog owners who like large, imposing dogs who aren't emotionally needy, the Tibetan Mastiff is an excellent choice.
Tibetan Mastiffs are full of energy when they are young, but as they get older they mellow out considerably. Despite the fact that your dog may want to lay outside under a shade tree all afternoon, he needs to be walked several times a day. As puppies, you can run them and teach them to play catch, but don't expect an adult Tibetan Mastiff to be motivated to run around the yard.
This breed is far too large to live in apartments, and they prefer to be outside during the day, where they can patrol the yard and do their duty as guardians. They get depressed and destructive when indoors all day.
Tibetan Mastiffs are a challenge to train and novice dog owners should consult with a professional dog trainer who understands how to handle large, dominant breeds. These dogs naturally assume they are the heads of the household and establishing leadership over them requires a lot of time, energy and patience. Training should begin very early and should be conducted with firmness, but never harshness. Tibetan Mastiffs will not respect a leader who resorts to physical correction. 100% consistency is also needed when training this breed, as on bend of the rules will be seen in his eyes as an invitation to take over.
Tibetan Mastiffs are not recommended for families with small children. This breed exhibits dominance over anything smaller than he is, and won't hesitate to boss children around. Toddlers who want to poke, prod or tug a Tibetan Mastiff are in danger of being bitten.
Tibetan Mastiffs need to be socialized around other dogs as early as possible. While they will be accepting to dogs who are raised alongside them, new dogs are another issue all together. Male dogs will be aggressive toward other male dogs, especially if unneutered. You must teach your dog proper canine manners to avoid potentially sticky situations later on. Your Tibetan Mastiff must also be socialized around people from a young age. Mastiffs will make their own decisions as to whether or not they like a person, and it is very important to teach them what a welcome guest looks like, sounds like, and how they behave so that he knows the difference between an invited friend and an uninvited intruder.