VCA Northwest Hills Animal Hospital

Tips for training a bully breed

Published: Jan 30, 2013

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When you adopt a "bully breed" such as a pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, bulldog, Boston terrier or other similar canine, you may already know that your precious puppy might have a negative reputation that precedes him. As an owner of a so-called bully breed, you may find yourself frequently defending your dog against negative stereotypes such as dog aggression and other bad behaviors.

It's important you train your canine companion to become what is known as a breed ambassador. This means that, with plenty of training, your dog can prove to the world what you already know - that he (and perhaps the rest of his breed) is a sociable, well-behaved canine who makes a perfect companion.

Here are some tricks for training your bully breed to show off his best behavior all the time.

Know what pleases your puppy
When training, you will need to have some type of motivation for your dog. For many canines, this means food or treats, but others may respond better to toys or praise. Once you figure out which reward appeals most to your pet, you'll have a much easier time training him.

Basic training
Basic puppy training commands like "sit," "stay" and "come" are crucial for your bully breed to learn. Fortunately, these breeds are quite intelligent and will be able to master these commands quickly with plenty of positive reinforcement. Other commands you may need to work on with a bully breed are "no," for a variety of behaviors like dog barking or chewing, and "off," since their eagerness to meet new people may cause them to jump. Teaching your bully breed not to jump is important because it can frighten people who have heard about the negative reputation of these dogs, and because once your dog is fully grown, his strength might be enough to knock someone over.

Focus on socialization
Socializing a puppy is as important as getting him his dog vaccinations and pet food. Why? Without proper socialization, your dog can become fearful of situations he has not experienced before and act unpredictably.

Animal Planet reports it's crucial you develop a strong bond with your bully breed before socializing him with other people. Once he fully trusts you, he will respond better when you introduce him to the many faces of the world - make sure you include men and women of all different ages and races, as well as men with facial hair, people bundled up in coats and scarves, and people with other features that make them look unique.

Bully breeds tend to prefer the company of people, and not all will get along with other dogs. Knowing this, use caution when introducing an adult bully breed to other dogs. When you are raising puppies, it is sometimes easier to socialize them with other dogs and animals. The sooner you begin introducing a pittie pup or other bully breed to other dogs, the more likely he is to accept them and get along with them when he is older.

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Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

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