How To Train Your Bulldog

Bulldogs In Training

Bulldog Training: All You Need Is a Little Dedication and Nerves Of Steel!

Considering training, you’ll find it’s much better to start out with a puppy than an adult as an adult Bulldog has already acquired a set of learned behaviours. The family life and training an older bully has received from his original owners has in a sense, become engraved in his mind and determine his temperament and reaction to obedience training. Sadly, some of these learned behaviours may have little hope of being reversed, but many of them can quickly be redeemed. Bulldog puppies on the other hand, are like a fresh new canvas on which with every brush stroke, can be painted a well tempered, obedient and loving Bulldog the whole family can enjoy.

Bulldog Won’t Stop Jumping On People?

Potty Training Demands Consistency!

Potty training a Bulldog puppy will seem like a full time job at first and if you haven’t already prepared yourself for a little work then you may end up falling short of the finish line. A Bulldog puppy is a whole lot like a baby and he’ll count on you every step of the way to be patient and consistent.

Nose To The Ground Bee Line Means He’s Ready!

Once you bring your new Bulldog puppy home he should have already been introduced to potty training outdoors and if so, he prefers to go in the yard as opposed to your clean carpet. Some breeders may have used pee pads or newspaper for the first few weeks of the puppies house training. If the case with your Bulldog don’t worry, you can still train him to go outside. It should be a breeze, but if the puppy has used pee pads or the sports section to do his business for a prolonged period of time take the paper or pad outside for him to go on if he prefers. This will help your puppy get used to his new “bathroom”.

For effective potty training you must know where your puppy is at all times. Try to stick to a consistent schedule that includes taking your puppy outside to pee about every 2-3 hours and anytime after eating and drinking. When you see the trademark circling and sniffing or nose to the ground bee-line, you had better get on your feet and take the puppy outside quickly. This circling usually means the puppy is looking for a place to deficate. In our experience the puppies don’t give as much of a show before peeing. They’ll just sort of plop down anywhere. They seem to like finding a quiet or hidden place when they go, so if you notice it’s too quiet, something’s up. Of course, if he’s still new to your home he’ll be sniffing everywhere for a couple of days just to explore his new surroundings.

Discipline + Reward = Obedience.

If your pup has an accident, and he will; quickly scold him with a deep toned voice. Tell him “No, No” and immediately drop everything to take him outside even though the damage is already done. When you take the pup outside you should have a treat on hand so that when he pees you can reward him. Just as you scolded him when he peed inside, you’ve got to praise him over and over when he has successfully used the potty outside. The key is to help the puppy associate positive feelings of reward and praise for going potty in the lawn and a negative feeling after peeing inside. Typically a puppies come home to their new families at about 7 weeks old and should be pretty well trained within 2 weeks.

You Need a Crate For Your Bulldog.

For potty training to work, you’ve got to get a crate big enough to house the puppy when he’s fully matured, but that also includes an adjustable divider you can re position as he grows. Let me recommend this Double-Door Folding Metal Dog Crate. It measures 42 Inches by 28 Inches by 30 Inches and it’s what we use for our Bulldogs, especially puppies in training. The divider is needed to size the inside of the crate so that the pup has only enough room inside to lay down, stand up and turn around. You don’t want enough room for the puppy to walk around inside the cage or else he’ll gladly use one side of the cage as a restroom and the other for sleeping.

The Crate Becomes His Solace.

By placing him in a large cage you’ll be further encouraging him to pee inside it. A bulldog won’t pee or defecate in his living area unless he absolutely can’t hold it anymore. This will force the pup to wait as long as possible for you to come and take him outside. If you have small children I would suggest you use the crate twice during the day for an hour or two as a sort of “nap time”. Children can quickly overwhelm and exhaust your new puppy so he could use a place of solace to escape for a while. The crate should definitely be used throughout the night hours. Nobody wants to wake up to piles of poo and urine all over the place, but that’s exactly what will happen if you leave that puppy out for the night. Food and water should always be available to your puppy, but be sure to take it away about 1.5 hours before bed. Each time the puppy comes out of the crate he must immediately be taken outside.

Voted #1 Best Seller on Training the Bulldog.

If you need more help with potty training your Bulldog and love your kindle as much as I do, this book may be perfect for you! Andi Anderson is a contributing editor for the Dogington Post. Shes used her experience with Bulldogs in writing this in depth, but simple little read to help the layman better understand potty training and it’s specific to Bulldogs. She clearly shows her knowledge of Bulldogs giving praise to the positive reinforcement method while discouraging the use of fear and punishment. I love the statement she makes in her book, “If you invite them into a power struggle, they will respond accordingly.” Andi knows it can’t be all treats and praise though. No, she makes it clear in her book, a Bulldog desperately craves a clear instruction and “you can’t be a push-over.” Click Here to Give Her Book a Shot!

Don’t Lose Your Cool.

Now, honestly, although it’s never fun to clean up poop or pee from your carpet; you must be prepared for quite a few “accidents” and it shouldn’t anger you. Get yourself a good BISSELL SpotClean Portable Carpet Cleaner so you don’t have to call a cleaning crew into your home twice a week. You need to be clear headed and under control when scolding your puppy just as you would with a child. If you find yourself continuously at the end of your rope it may be a good idea to call your breeder for advice. Never give your puppy away or sell him without first offering him back to the breeder.

Have You Got a Dangerously Aggressive Bulldog?

English Bulldogs are not typically mean or aggressive in any way, but for many reasons a Bulldog can become unsafe for your family, those visiting your home, and even your other pets. Most commonly a Bulldog’s nature becomes aggressive either because he was abused, neglected, improperly traied in the early stages of his life, or as a direct result of the his owner’s lack of leadership.

Your Bulldog Needs a Leader First

As your Bulldog’s owner you want to be consistently calm and assertive, especially in the younger years. Usually when you think of mistreatment of a pet you picture physical and verbal abuse from the owner, but a very serious form of neglect manifests itself in the lack of discipline and leadership you apply to your Bulldog. Just like a child, your Bulldog must know that you are the leader and this message comes through to him loud and clear when you’ve set rules and boundaries for him. The control you take over your Bulldog is never, ever to be abusive in manor. No, it’s something your Bulldog willfully turns over to you once you’ve proven yourself to be the confident, assertive and loving leader he needs. Remember; your pet’s personality will reflect your own. If you get nervous when someone comes to the door, so will he. Your mood and body language is something your bully is very perceptive to and will always set the tone for the way in which he reacts to his surroundings.

Below, Cesar Millan Works to Offset This Nervous Bulldog’s Aggression.

Where Did This Bulldog Go Wrong?

He was a very timid and anxious dog and displayed his feelings of discomfort through aggression. I wonder if you noticed the owner’s desire to “come to his Bulldog’s rescue” during this training exercise? The owner’s reaction to the exercise helps to explain instantly how this aggressive behavior one day took hold of and shaped their Bulldog’s nature. It’s evident that the Bulldog became uneasy at some point along the road because of the lack of leadership in the home.

Lead Your Bulldog.

To a dog, no leadership means no protection. You can bet anytime the bully came into contact with a new person or strange object, he would first become nervous and aggressive(for protection) then without fail the owner would swoop in to coddle him, eventually ushering him away from the object of discomfort. This behaviour put on by the owner promotes feelings of uneasiness in the Bulldog and once again reassures him that there is no safety to be found in the home, save that which he can achieve for himself. Set rules and boundaries for your Bulldog in a loving, assertive fashion, all the while displaying that you are confident and in control. Once you’ve shown yourself to be the steady leader your Bulldog needs, the aggression will stop.

Related: See Cesar Millan’s Best Tips To Stop Dog Barking

My Bulldog Won’t Sit and Stop Jumping on People!

Did you know each time you allow your Bulldog to jump on you for affection or to be pet, you may inadvertently be teaching him it’s ok to jump on people? Sure it may be cute now to watch your puppy jump up on someone and beg for attention, but this will get annoying quickly.

** Before I go further, I want to make clear the fact that Bulldogs, especially puppies, absolutely must receive a hearty dose of physical touch and words of affirmation every day! Often times we forget to show enough affection to our pets and just like a person who’s been locked away for hours at a time, they can temporarily forget their manners. Think of it this way. If you were shut in your office all day on an important assignment, with no other human contact, you’d probably be very talkative when you finally make it home to your wife. Actually she may even think all the talking is downright annoying. But this is natural. In the same way, a dog that’s been cooped up in his cage all day will uncontrollably desire his owner’s touch.

If you find that no amount of training helps teach your Bulldog to stop being so jumpy, you should consider whether he is getting enough physical touch from you, his family. In a lot of instances people tell me, “our bulldog is so jumpy, we have no choice but to put him back in the cage” He won’t stop jumping and he scratches the children.” I can tell you most assuredly putting him back in the cage another hour will only do him more harm. This is tragic! Try a different approach. Shower him with quality time. He may just need some extra lap time, petting and play. Don’t throw out the rules though. Make sure he sits when being petted. Read On……..

A good rule of thumb is to almost never pet your Bulldog or give him a treat until he is in the sitting position. Once he understands he’s not getting anything from you until he sits, he’ll begin to see you as the true authority figure. More importantly he’ll begin to perceive jumping as unacceptable. When your bulldog jumps it is important to back up removing yourself from contact. Disrupting affection when he jumps will dismiss any gratification he would have otherwise received by placing his paws on you. Don’t just walk away though. I want you to look at your bully and sternly tell him, ‘No’. Try not to yell at him as this can be rather counterproductive.

As with any unwanted behavior, the key will always be the same. It’s simple. Look your Bulldog in the eye, verbally and physically rebuke him, then diligently watch for good behavior for which you can positively reinforce. No matter the problem, each time you go through this process you’ll find yourself one step closer to the goal. After implementing these techniques you’ll soon need reminding your English Bulldog was ever in need of any behavioral training.

Great! I’m Covered In Hair Now!

How pleased your guests will be to enter your home and not be jumped on by a 50 lb Bulldog. If your English Bulldog just isn’t “getting it”, you may physically, but lovingly, push his rear end into the sitting position. He won’t stay sitting for long without your hand holding his rear down, but when he is sitting you must quickly give him a treat and verbally praise him. This sounds a little funny, I know, but any training exercise can be successful if done in repetition. Finally, as I always do once I’ve shared all of my knowledge on the particular topic with you, the reader, I recommend to you Bulldogs For Dummies. You’ll find a ton of info on every issue concerning Bulldog Training from Jumping to Potty Training and More. 

Like This Article On Training Your Bulldog?

The topic of training your Bulldog is a big one and we barely scratched the surface, but I chose to discuss what I think are the three most important training issues to Bulldog owners first. I would love to add new topics of training to this article so please let me know if you have any ideas in the comments section below, or on our Google Plus Page!

11 Responses to How To Train Your Bulldog

  • Michelle

    I like your write up on potty training. I was wondering do you think its ok to kind of smack the puppy on the butt when they’ve peed or pooped in the house or when they’ve continuously done something wrong? I would never take it out of control or hurt them, but was taught that is a good method of correction. thanks

    • Dan Weese

      Michelle thanks for your comment. I too was taught that it’s best just to give a good smack on the rear end. Enough to just sting the Bulldog’s butt a little. I’ve heard the argument that if you don’t give the dog a reason to change his behaviour then why would he do it? This argument of course meaning that a bully won’t stop peeing on the carpet just because you yell at him; he needs to feel the sting on his rear. While I’m not going to say this is wrong, I will say that I think it should be a last resort. Sort of like a corparal punishment. I honestly don’t believe it’s necessary to spank the puppy in most cases and that verbally scolding is usually enough. I’d be curious to see how other Bulldog owners are handling their bullies. Is spanking in or out???

  • Bobbi

    I have 2 English bulldogs, and have NEVER had to smack their butts for bad behavior. Bulldogs in general are smart, but very head strong. You just need to be consistent and firm. But love them and enjoy them for the beautiful creatures that they are. They are amazing pets!

  • I love Bulldogs

    I’m getting a Bulldog puppy pretty soon and I was told that for house training I should just put puppy pads or newspaper down for the puppy in one of the rooms like the kitchen and also put one on either side of the crate. I see you didn’t mention anything about puppy pads or newspaper for house training and I thought maybe it’s because you don’t think it works? Should I just take the puppy outside onto the lawn to pee or let him go on the pad? If you or someone could tell me their thoughts on puppy pads I would appreciate it.

    • dan weese

      I personally never understood the puppy pad thing. It seems too much like you’re teaching the puppy to pee in the house and on the pad rather than to get him used to peeing outside on the yard. All of these things are taught by repitition so I would be careful to have the puppy repeatedly pee inside on paper. I think when it comes time to make the change to outside your puppy might be confused. One thing’s for sure, it’s just not for me :) I don’t know…. am I missing something?? Is there ever a good time to put newspaper or puppy pads down in the house to aid in house training?

  • Janie

    My English bulldog is almost 11 months old, I got him when he was 12 weeks old. He’s potty trained and great with the kids. But over the past month or 2 he has become a problem. He still pees outside, and if I see him sniffing in the house I quietly tell him no and he walks away and usually goes to lay down or walks out the door, as I usually leave it open for his convenience. Lately, probably about 7 or 8 times over the past 2 months he’s peed in the house and when I walk over to the urine and look at him whether he’s close or across the room, he growls at me. He’s bitten me to the point that me and him fought til he submitted (I know that sounds funny, but I just held him to the ground by his neck til he calmed down as he kept trying to go at me). This morning my 3 yr old was laying on the floor and he walked over on top of his head like he was going to pee on my son, so I yelled “no!” the dog moved and started growling at me. I immediately grabbed him by the collar, choked him up a bit, and put him outside. It’s getting more frequent, so I know I’m handling it the wrong way…Please help!!!

    • Brandon

      Get a can or jar of coins and shake it right at him when he bites and say “NO”. If you consistantly associate that sound with biting he will stop. It works like a charm. The sound is aweful to hear but it is better than any alternative I have found. It worked on our lab too.

  • Ashley

    I have had my bull dog 3 weeks now and he is still peeing and pooping in the house a lot,hasn’t yet asked to go outside and is going in his bed without barking to ask out, how can I stop this and should I be concerned? He just doesn’t seem to be getting it at all.

    • Dan Weese

      I’m guessing he’s around 10-12 wks old. Some accidents should be expected at this stage in potty training, but not consistently like you describe. It may be a bit early for him to be “asking to go outside.” Usually, in my experience, the pups don’t start standing at, barking, or scratching the door until they’ve matured a little more. My advice? Just follow the directions on this page. Watch him like a hawk for any sign he’s ready to go out. They all have their “tells”. He shouldn’t be left unaccompanied until he’s been trained. If you miss one, tell him, “no”, and quickly escort him outside. Don’t give up! Eventually, you should begin to make ground on this!

  • Sherry

    Hello, Our bull dog puppy, who is about 15 weeks, was potty trained and peeing and pooping outside. About the last few weeks, she is pooping in her crate, even right after we have taken her out. I will go and check on her in the middle of the night and she has pooped in her crate even though we took her out a few hours earlier. Is anyone else having this problem and if so, what did you do? Thanks!

    • Dan Weese

      Hey there, Sherry. My first question to you would have to be, how large is her crate? She should have only enough room in there to stand up and lay down. If there’s enough room to walk around, she’ll pee in one end of the crate and sleep in the other. Naturally, a dog prefers to keep it’s sleeping area clean. I would expect her to bark a couple of times when she has to go too. Has she started eating later at night recently? I would cut her off from food probably 2.5 hrs before crate time and water about 1 hr before this way her bladder and colon have time to work their contents out before bed (outside).

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