How To Train a Bulldog Puppy: Tips for New Bulldog Parents
Introducing a new puppy to your family, especially a bulldog, can be a fun and exciting experience. If you are not prepared and knowledgeable on how to train a bulldog puppy, however, that rewarding experience can quickly turn frustrating. A lack of proper training can cement bad habits and encourage stubborn behavior in your bulldog that will later need to be unlearned. After all, puppies are like children—They’re easier to teach and train when they’re young. Thus, if you want to save yourself time (and a few chewed shoes), it’s best to reenforce good behavior early on.
How to Train a Bulldog Puppy: The Basics
Your ultimate goal in puppy training should be to do what you can to make your puppy’s day-to-day life predictable and regimented. This will make her life (and yours) a lot less stressful. The best way to do this is to develop a daily routine.
Daily routines should include the following:
- Designate a food and water location – Keep your puppy’s food and water bowls in the same designated area. This will teach your puppy where he can (and can’t) eat, which will help establish healthy boundaries.
- Feed only during specific meal times – Decide on the specific times of day when your puppy will eat and only feed him at those designated times. Avoid “free feeding” because this may lead to your puppy overeating, which can cause weight problems later on. During theirfirst six months, puppies should be fed no more than 3-4 times per day. At six months of age, that number should decrease to twice a day. If you want to learn more, The American Kennel Club (AKC) provides details on how often you should feed your puppy as well as which types of foods are best for their growing bodies.
- Stick to a regular sleeping schedule – Specify an area where your puppy will sleep and place his bed there. Also, be sure to establish a somewhat regular sleep schedule so your pup understands when it is time to go to sleep and wake up.
- Begin house training at 12-16 weeks of age– Teaching your dog where it is acceptable to potty is vital so you can avoid accidents in the house and messes in your yard. Be patient. It typically takes puppies four to six months to become fully house trained, and sometimes it can take as long as a year.
- Provide toys–Make sure you keep plenty of toys on hand for your pup and teach her where the toys are and what is acceptable to play with. This will help to ensure she doesn’t decide your shoes or throw pillows make for an interesting treat.
- Start using basic command words at 7 weeks of age —Many assume puppies won’t be able to master commands until they’re older but that’s simply untrue! Puppies can understand basic commands as young as 7 to 8 weeks of age, so it’s smart to start training your pup to “sit” and “stay” as soon as you take him home from the breeder. What’s more, a good breeder will have likely already have started teaching your puppy basic socialization skills, so it’s possible your puppy will have already been introduced to those commands and others. Keep in mind, however, that puppies have short attention spans. Your puppy will likely only be able to focus on the commands for five minutes at a time, so make sure to keep your training sessions brief, but interspersed throughout the day. A good goal is to have three, 5-minute training sessions each day, for a total of 15 minutes per day.
4 Puppy Training Tips:
1. Avoid treat training if you can
Treat training can make teaching a bulldog puppy difficult because it may cause your puppy to only listen to commands when she is hungry or expects a treat. If you can, try to persuade your puppy to follow your commands using praise. Instead of feeding your puppy a biscuit each time she obeys a command, for example, tell her “good dog” and pet her head or scratch behind her ears.
2. Be firm and consistent with your commands
It’s also important to establish early on your role as an authority figure. Since dogs have a pack mentality, one of the first steps in bulldog puppy training is to clearly demonstrate that you are the pack leader.
You can do this by being firm with you commands and making sure to show your displeasure when your puppy misbehaves. Be careful to be consistent, however, as to not confuse your dog by accidentally rewarding the wrong behavior. For instance, if you are firm with your scolding but then, out of guilt, give your dog a pet, he may take this as a sign of reward. You should show your dog that the only way to gain your affection is to listen and obey your commands.
3. Use lots of praise
If you have a puppy that constantly jumps on people and you want to stop this activity, simply guide the puppy back to the floor and firmly say “no.” When the puppy listens and stays seated, you can then reward him with praise. Praising with words such as “good”, “good boy” or “good dog” in a friendly tone will show your puppy that you are proud of him and approve of his behavior.
4. Only teach one command at a time
In order to avoid overwhelming your bulldog, stick with teaching one command at a time. Do not move on to a new word until he has mastered the previous one.
About Cascade Bulldogs:
Cascade Bulldogs is a bulldog blog managed by Gail and Eddie Harris, two bulldog enthusiasts who live in the Seattle, Washington area. Their bulldogs, Wildflower, Snow White and Declan, are celebrity show dogs who compete in dog shows across the country. You can follow all of their adventures on the Cascade Bulldogs Facebook page.