SO,YOU WANT TO OWN AN AMERICAN BULLDOG?
You saw that dog on Homeward Bound didn't you? Wondered to yourself, "what is that dog?"
Is it a Boxer? Is is a Pitbull? "Just what the heck is that dog?"
As you obviously know since you found your way here, it's an American Bulldog.
A common montra from the general public is
"I just love that dog from Homeward Bound!".
The dog from Homeward Bound named "Chance" in the movie, real name was Sure Grips "Rattler", he was a good dog, pleasing to the eye, highly trained and beloved by his owner Kyle Symmes.
If only people knew American Bulldogs are NOT that picture of Disney perfection, Rattler I'm sure was no exception, he was an American Bulldog in every way...
Bully American Bulldogs:
The Johnson bred American Bulldog is a wonderful breed, loyal, loving especially to children, vigilant eager to please,and absolutely stunning impressive dogs. On the same token, they are also dominant, powerful, stubborn, somewhat dog aggressive and did I mention stubborn and powerful?
When we first got our AB's we thought we had it all planned out, basic obedience training, crate training, a rigid housebreaking regime and a good quality food, by all accounts our efforts were what any puppy owner should do and are exactly what I recommend except for a few minor details.
Lets go over them one by one:
BASIC OBEDIENCE TRAINING:
This is NOT a do it your self project!
get a good trainer familiar with training "Bull Breeds" to train the puppy for you or preferably with you.
Trust me if you never owned an AB before, you will not be able to train the pup yourself effectively.
AB's are dominant dogs and training is essential, I can't stress this enough, your pup must learn that all people are Alpha dog over them and this must be taught at an early age.
Here's some things you can look forward to if you do decide to cut corners and take the "Do It Yourself" training course.
Bully pups enjoy chewing the leash, jumping up into your face, balking, crying, yelping and jumping around like a rabbit caught in a noose and my personal favorite "THE TOTAL SHUTDOWN" where the pup just lays there with no intention of doing anything what so ever, and all this because you put a leash and collar on them.
Also both Standard or Bully pups can be extremely handler sensitive especially females,
not knowing this can be tramatic to a pup and they will have trust issues for the rest of their lives.
Ineffective training can also lead to dominance aggressive issues between you and your dog later on down the road, who needs that?
On the upside, once the pup is trained professionaly these problems will NOT be an issue anymore as long as you are consistant in it's training throughout the dogs lifetime as long as the pup has a stable base temperment.
This is why choosing a reputable breeder is KEY to a good base temperment and a great adult American Bulldog in the future.
CRATE TRAINING YOUR AB: THIS IS NOT A CRUEL PRACTICE!!!
If you don't crate train your AB pup, it will find the following
all of your tv remotes, baby socks, hair scrunchies, underwear, trash cans (they love the bathroom trash), furniture legs,lots of great places to poop and pee and this includes your bed and couch, computer wires, phone cords I can go on and on.
Now tell me what's more cruel?
A) Keeping your pup safe in a crate or kennel while you are busy or not home
or B) Explaining to your children why your puppy died because it ate their socks and hair bands left on the floor and got a bowel obstruction because it was left unsupervised and uncrated?
or C)Why your house burned down because your puppy decided to chew on an electrical cord because you left your puppy home uncrated and had full run of the house?
Would you leave 3 year old home alone unsupervised? Choose the best option, Crate Train your AB!!!
HOUSEBREAKING:Are you ready for this? I would guess that the majority of American Bulldogs take anywhere from 4 months to a year to fully house break.
Sad but true, my Bully AB'S took 7 months to semi-housebreak (which means they could hold their bowels) and another 5 months till I could trust them not to pee in the house while out of their crates unsupervised while I was home.
Any standard humane housebreaking practice will work, but don't expect miracles so you won't be dissapointed.
Slow housebreaking does NOT mean your dog is stupid or slow, it does mean that your bully's bladder hasnt fully developed and has no control over making accidents.
Take it slow and be patient, crate training keeps the mess to a minimum.
American Bulldogs were bred to work!
These dogs were mainly used for farm utility, property protection and hunting purposes.
American Bulldogs were also bred to hunt wild game,
mostly wild boar, which is still done in some parts of this country
There are working events you can work your dog in, such as wieghtpull, Iron Dog, agility, personal protection.
If you don't plan on working your AB don't buy one, they will be unhappy and so will you
Nothing worse than to see a good bulldog go to waste on a couch.
Keep them working, that is what they are meant to do.
PLAY,PLAY,PLAY: I have never had a breed of dog that enjoys nothing better than to stomp on you and yours with delightful glee!
AB's can be very in your face friendly, literally right up in your face licking, love nibbles, hugging, snuffling, knock you to the ground and lick you with 90-100 lbs + of utter loving admiration till you can't stop laughing,which makes them love on you even more.
This is considered a good thing for people who embrace the bulldog culture
not such a good thing if you are uptight and don't want dog slobber on you and a roll in the grass,
maybe you should buy a lab instead???
Then there's the AB that I have grown to love,
the one that sleeps on the floor by my bed every night
and the one that sleeps right next to me
lifting her head every once in a while to sniff the air and make sure all is well,
before snuffing her head back under my arm and back into a snoring slumber.
If you still want a bulldog after reading all of this,
you may just be ready for the Bulldog Culture...
Thompson's American Bulldogs