English Bulldogs Training
If you're looking for a highly intelligent dog who enjoys showing off and stretching his mental agility to the max, the Bulldog may not be ’the one’. The Bulldog is many things - easy going, friendly, cuddly and lovable - but easily trained and highly intelligent is not one of them. Be that as it may, training the Bulldog is possible and highly encouraged should you bring him home, or else you'll be dealing with a lifetime of stubborn, wilful behaviour. Let's take a closer look at Bulldog training to help you determine whether or not he's a good fit for your family.
Heads Up - He's Stubborn
Before you start training a Bulldog, you should be aware that he's quite the stubborn little guy. Training can be a big issue when it comes to Bulldogs. Simply stated: there are few breeds more stubborn! He is also not incredibly intelligent, so for him, learning many commands is quite the challenge In fact, in a study of the top 80 dog breeds for obedience and working intelligence, the Bulldog ranked at number 78. Keep in mind that just because training your bulldog will be difficult, it is not impossible. Though he may not learn as many commands as other breeds, he'll still need to learn basic obedience, and he still needs to know that you are the leader. Dogs are pack animals; they will either lead or follow, and there’s always only one leader per pack. Teaching him that you are his “pack leader” is vital to your training success.
Because of how stubborn these little guys can be, if you're going to have any luck at all, you should check any lack of patience at the door. Training a Bulldog will require incredible patience, as well as a firm but loving hand. Your best bet in training your Bulldog will be to give clear guidelines, be consistent, and utilize a lot of enthusiastic positive reinforcement.
Treats and food rewards (in moderation) are ideal, as Bulldogs are often very motivated by eating, and sometimes any other method will simply fall short. Keep in mind that you should vary whether or not you provide a treat after each command, as you don't want your Bulldog to feel entitled or grow to expect a treat if he listens. Training sessions should be short and sweet, as anything longer will bore your Bulldog and he'll lose interest completely.
First and Foremost, He Must Be Socialized
If you are going to bring home a Bulldog puppy, you must be willing to socialize him - this is a pivotal part of his training. Because the Bulldog is instinctively loyal to his owners, he tends to be a bit standoffish (sometimes borderline aggressive) in a protective way towards people he doesn't know, specifically in and around his home – this is unacceptable behavior and should not be allowed. Additionally, it's instinctive for him to exhibit an aggressive nature towards other dogs, specifically male dogs. For these reasons, socialization is considered a vital part of raising a Bulldog from a puppy. Introducing him safely to dogs of all kinds from an early age will ensure that he gets used to the presence of other animals, and will keep aggression at a minimum as he becomes an adult. To keep him calm and relaxed around strangers, it's best to introduce him to people of all ages early on, and to train him with positive reinforcement on appropriate behaviors. Training and socializing should go hand in hand early on as a puppy, and if done correctly, should be all that's required for the Bulldog to be on his best behavior at all times.
Training Your Bulldog
Like any other dog, your Bulldog will need to learn proper household etiquette once you bring him home. Bulldogs love to chew, so he'll need to learn that your shoes, coffee table, books and the like are not acceptable as chew toys.
He'll also need to be potty trained, which will go hand in hand with crate training - the best way to supervise and confine your puppy as you get him used to his surroundings. Because of how much he loves food, he will likely be prone to stealing food, so you should watch out for this and do your best to nip it in the bud when it starts.
The other activity you'll need to train your Bulldog to do is to walk nicely on a leash. Because of their stout stature, they can be quite powerful and difficult to control when they want to be. A Bulldog that isn't leash trained will be nearly impossible to walk, depending on his size. Keep in mind that, though he won't need to spend much time on a leash, leash training is a non-negotiable because they are prone to obesity without proper exercise.
Obedience training is a great first step in terms of actively training your Bulldog beyond typical household training, and this should begin once Bulldog has learned such basic commands as, "Sit", "Stay", "Down", "Heel" and "Come".
Your Bulldog should very quickly learn what "No" means, and he should respect you as the leader of the "pack" enough to obey. If you have trouble getting your Bulldog to obey, check your attitude first and foremost. Are you being consistent? Firm, yet positive? Rewarding enthusiastically?
If you are, simply spend a bit more time and change up the training routine – hopefully this will get his attention. If not, keep in mind that proceeding with training in a negative tone of voice, utilizing discipline, showing inconsistency, or lacking dominance are all reasons he might not be listening well.
Keep in mind that, although the Bulldog can be stubborn, if training is executed with great care, you both will enjoy your training sessions together!