They may look fierce but English Bulldogs one of the most lovable, friendly breeds in the canine world. In fact, according to the American Kennel Club the English Bulldog is one of the most popular breeds in America. Their comic antics, irresistible wrinkles and gentle disposition combine to make them a perfect family dog. But even the perfect dog needs training.
Training Your English Bulldog
- Establish leadership. Once a Bulldog has made up his mind about something it’s very difficult to change it. If his human companion doesn’t take leadership when the dog is a puppy a Bulldog isn’t likely to follow commands as an adult. While it is important for the human to establish him or herself in the alpha role, Bully’s don’t respond well to aggression or harsh discipline. Positive reinforcement and gentle corrections are the most effective methods to use with this sometimes stubborn breed.
- No biting! It’s natural for puppies to bite and nip as part of their play. But Bulldog pups have a reputation for being especially enthusiastic about it. While playful biting may seem adorable when your puppy is young, it’s not so adorable with a full-grown Bulldog and its full-grown teeth. Teach your puppy not to bite people by giving a loud yelp the way its mother might do and stopping the play session when he bites you. Your Bully will soon learn that biting the hand that feeds him is a no-no.
- An English Bulldog requires little in the way of grooming, but you do need to clean between the folds of skin on their face and neck. Excess moisture and trapped food and dirt can cause skin irritations and rashes inside the folds if they’re not properly cared for. Start training your Bully to accept this grooming as a puppy. When you pet your young dog, touch all parts of her face and neck. Gently rub around and in- between the wrinkles that will later grow into larger folds. Teaching her to accept and even enjoy the attention to her facial area will make it easier to clean her later on.
- He may be classified as a small dog, but your Bully can easily weigh 50 lbs. or more. With his short stature that much weight can be difficult to control on the end of a leash. Training your Bulldog to “heel,” to walk at your side without pulling, is extremely important. Being in control of your Bulldog when out on a walk keeps the dog safe and makes walk time more enjoyable.
- Housetraining a Bully can be a challenge. Remember how we said they were stubborn? Purchase an enzyme-base deodorizer and clean up accidents as thoroughly as possible. Once a Bulldog establishes a “go spot” it can be very difficult to break the habit. Decide on a trigger word like “potty” or “outside” and use that word each time you take the dog outdoors to eliminate. Praise her, “good girl, potty,” when she goes to the bathroom in an appropriate place—even during walks—and anytime she heads to the door independently. As a general rule, put away a puppy’s food and water dishes about three hours before bedtime to avoid nighttime accidents.
Sources: http://www.akc.org/breeds/bulldog/index.cfm, http://englishbulldogtraining.com/, http://bigbulldogs.com/house-training-your-new-bulldog-puppy/
+Neil Kilgore is the Jack (Russell) of all trades at Greenfield Puppies in Lancaster Pa. He regularly blogs about dogs, breeders and puppies on the Greenfield Puppies website.