Training your American bulldog
Training your American bulldog can be time consuming and frustrating at times, but it’s well worth it. Here are several tips that should help things go much smoother and faster… plus reduce the frustration both you and your dog Conduct “play training” where by the training tasks are made into fun games and your American bulldog’s play drive is used as motivation. There are a lot of really good books available on this type of training.
Intelligent American bulldogs can also be stubborn, so you may have to outwit them!
While training your dog, you have to make him want to do what you want him to.
Try to make your American bulldog’s training so fun that it becomes his or her favorite activity. This will make learning much easier and more enjoyable.
Most dogs love to play! You can make your American bulldog the happiest just by spending some time with him, giving your undivided attention each day. Without this, your dog will feel ignored, bored, or think he is in trouble. When this happens he is more likely to chew, tear things up, and not listen to you.
Here are some tried and true tactics you can use to make your dogs listen to you more:
When playing with your puppy, play at his level. If play is encouraged at ground level, this builds your role as the dominant, or “top dog”, when you are standing and training your bulldog puppy. If the American bulldog puppy is allowed to jump up and initiate play, then this can lead to unwanted jumping up as your American bulldog gets older.
From the very beginning, make sure your dogs know you are the master. This is usually accomplished with simple tasks such as teaching the dog to raise it’s paw for a handshake; kissing your hand; or rolling over on command to show submission.
There is no need for extreme measures to prove you are the boss. Obedience training should be both fun and rewarding for you and your American bulldog.
Make sure your American bulldog always eats after you do. This is one of the easiest ways to show your dog who is the boss. This is especially important if you share your food with your dog, because if you let him eat while you are, he could develop the habit of taking food right off your – or someone else’s – plate. You may need to train your family to follow this rule too… and that could be harder than training the dog 😉
Very active young American bulldogs have short attention span, and some breeds are worse than others. So it’s best to have several short 5-10 minute training lessons instead of one long one.
Start the training at quiet places familiar to your dog, and be sure there are very few things and people around to distract him. Gradually move the training to places with more and more distractions so he will learn to obey your commands despite those distractions.
Speak to your American bulldog strongly but not in an angry voice. Be kind but be firm while training and never give in to what he wants.
Celebrate after every training session for a good job done. Have a big play by running and throwing his favorite toys. If you give them a lot of playtime they’ll listen to you more.
Don’t confuse your American bulldog by trying to use different words for one command. One word commands work best, and they should always be consistent. For example, when your dog gets on the lounge with you, say “sit” and he should sit. Then if you want him to lay down, say “lay” and he should do so.
Also note how well your American bulldog seems to understand your command words. Some dogs may not be able to distinguish between two words that sound the same. For instance: “lay” and “stay” sound very similar. With one of my own American bulldogs, I’ve had to use the word “sleep” in place of lay, in order for him to understand me fully.
To keep your American bulldog from charging the front door each time it opens, try putting up a door or gate that he can’t see through or hop over. Have him wait until people enter and come up the stairs. Then give him a treat for waiting.
In closing: no matter how well trained you think your American bulldog is, he usually has an attention span of seconds. So be careful not to let him run away, because some dogs will simply keep going and going as they find new things to chase.
Always keep your American bulldog leashed securely when they’re outdoors, unless you have a secure fence. Beware though: Some dogs can actually jump fences, even when you think they’re high enough, and some even climb trees too. And most dogs run much faster than any human can so if your American bulldog gets loose, it could be quite dangerous.