The story of two Floridians and their foster Great Danes
We are doing something new today! We are featuring one of your gentle giants. Today, we have Carol, Pua’s mama, talking about her furbabies and what it’s like to raise and live with a Neapolitan Mastiff. If you would like to share your story, contact me.
My name is Carol and I have been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. I grew up with dogs all my life (most of which were rescues from the local shelter).
Ah… The Neapolitan Mastiff. Well, the main reason why I adopted my first Neo back in 2002 was because I had 2 young children (both in elementary school at the time) and discovered that these big fur babies were known to be excellent with young kids. The term “gentle giant” was a perfect fit. They are big, lumber some, affectionate, and protective all rolled up into a loveable and wrinkly mountain of a dog.
My current Neo baby is Pua – her full name is Pua-Nani which translates into “beautiful flower” in Hawaiian. We adopted her when she was just about 7 weeks old on November 8th, 2013. As a puppy, she was a handful chewing on everything she could sink her little teeth into… toys, clothes, carpet, our hands and feet, the list is endless.
With that being said, she was extremely easy train, which was shocking because Mastiffs are known to be extremely stubborn. She was motivated with food. She got all the basic commands down to a science by the time she reached 12 weeks old.
She even learned the difference between the “bark” and “whisper” (which is a very small grumble) command.
Now, her grumble: looking back at this “cute” trick that we taught backfired because she also uses it to talk back. When she gets scolded by any of her “hoomans” for getting into mischief, she used this grumble to get the last word in. Hard to stay mad when she does that (the little stinker).
As she grew, so did her knowledge of other commands. She is a great traveler in the car even when we made a 2 day trip from California to Texas over the last holiday. I can say she’s “almost” perfect. Pua is very big part of our lives and extremely attached to her “hoomans” and also very protective (which comes naturally to Mastiffs). With her instinct and protectiveness, if she senses anything or feels threatened, she makes it a point to place herself between me and whoever is approaching to protect me. Needless to say, I feel completely safe with her by my side.
We’ve experienced several traits with our Neos (Pua is our second one) that lead us to believe that they are definitely family oriented dogs. They are very loyal to their family and are great with children and other pets as long as they are exposed to them as a puppy. They are stubborn and will ignore you if they don’t feel like being bothered. They also slobber quite a bit, so if you’re worried about keeping your home and clothes clean around these big lugs, the Neo is not for you. P.S. their gassiness is something that will have you running for the hills…
A few of the things that I discovered from our 1st Neo, Kona and Pua are that they had very different personalities. Kona loved people, but not other animals. Pua loves other dogs but is very weary of strangers. Kona was laid back and a couch potato where Pua is much more active and a clown. Kona wasn’t a fan of the water or having teeth brushed. Pua loves swimming in the ocean, she loves getting her teeth brushed. She even doesn’t mind the blow dryer after her weekly baths. It was a shock to discover the differences. I guess although they are all Neos, they each have their own personalities.
If I can give anyone any tips for considering a Neo is that be prepared to love unconditionally and expect the unexpected. You must have lots of patience and know that whatever you allow them to do as a puppy that may seem cute at the time, isn’t so cute when they become 120lbs and bigger. I can honestly say that I have found my breed of choice and can’t imagine life without a Neo in my life.
Want more of Pua? Follow her on Instagram at @puathemastiff.
Want to brag about your gentle giant? Contact me!