English Bulldog Care and Training Facts

English Bulldogs are pure sweet hearts, but they can also be very stubborn making it difficult to train them. Learn how to best train a Bulldog with these tips.

What Are the Best English Bulldog Care Techniques?

English bulldogs are pure sweethearts, but they also have a very stubborn temperament, making them difficult to train. The best English bulldog care and training techniques revolve around positive reinforcement via voice commands and treats. Because dogs of this breed suffer from health conditions that affect their breathing and joints, you must take care to prevent overexerting your dog during training.

Although English Bulldogs look intimidating, that can be deceiving. These dogs have a friendly, laid-back attitude, and they love spending time with their families, usually in the role of couch potato.


English bulldogs tend to be affectionate and friendly with people, lavishing them with kisses and attention. With other dogs and with cats, they sometimes will be aggressive, unless they have had positive early interactions with them. Expose your English bulldog puppy to positive experiences with new people and other pets from the time the puppy joins your household. Reward your dog during and after such interactions to reinforce the experience as good and fun. Obedience classes provide a good way to gain socialization opportunities for your English bulldog puppy.

Obedience Training

Teach your English bulldog basic obedience commands such as "Sit," "Stay" and "Down." Keep training sessions short -- 5 to 10 minutes daily -- to keep your dog's attention. Reward the dog with a treat and verbal praise for performing a desired behavior. English bulldogs are food-motivated, and they respond well to positive training methods. Negative training methods will simply produce a stubborn English bulldog who won't have any interest in learning from you.

Teach your English bulldog pup to sit by giving the verbal command "Sit," as you hold a treat just out of reach above the puppy's head. When the puppy sits, immediately give the treat along with praise. With repetition, the pup will quickly learn to associate the command and the action with obtaining the treat. Use one command to build on another over time, turning "Sit" into "Stay" by lengthening the time between giving the "Stay" command and giving a treat and praise. Teach your English bulldog to "Down" from the sit by holding a treat in your hand and taking it to the ground and away from the puppy as you give the command. When the dog goes down to follow the treat, instantly praise and give the treat.

Safety Training

The "Leave it" and "Drop it" commands are important for the English bulldog because these dogs can be possessive about food, making it difficult to remove a pilfered table scrap or something potentially dangerous from the dog's mouth. The "Leave it" command also can stop aggression toward another dog before a scuffle starts.

To teach your English bulldog to drop an item, start by giving the dog a favorite toy. When your dog has taken the toy and is holding it, order "Drop it," or some other word of command, and show the pup a treat. The moment your dog drops the toy, give the treat and praise the dog.

To teach the "Leave it" command, put your English bulldog on leash and tell the dog to "Sit." Put a favorite toy in front of the pup. Say "Leave it," and use the leash to prevent the dog from getting to the toy. Once your dog sits without trying to get to the toy, give your dog a treat.

Crate Training

Give your English bulldog a crate to use as a safe "den." Make the crate as cozy and pleasant as possible, lining it with a comfortable blanket and placing some toys inside. You can feed your English bulldog inside the crate to make the dog feel protected while eating. English bulldogs tend to be possessive of food. Feeding your dog in the crate makes the crate a desirable place to be, gives the dog a sense of security while eating, and prevents children and other family members from disturbing the possessive dog during the meal.

The crate should be large enough that your English bulldog can sit up, lie down and stand in it comfortably. The dog should have enough room to stretch out, but not so much room that the dog will be willing to soil the crate. Dogs naturally want to avoid soiling their immediate surroundings. This makes a dog crate a useful aid in house-breaking your English bulldog puppy.

Train your English bulldog to go inside the crate on command, using a verbal command such as "Crate." Lure the dog into the crate with treats, and reward the dog for entering the crate. You may also want your English bulldog to sleep in the crate and not on your bed, because these dogs are notorious snorers.

Potty Training

Consistency is the key to housebreaking your English bulldog. Take your pup outside for a potty break every two to three hours, especially when the puppy awakens from a nap and after meals. Choose a spot for the pup to use that is protected from the elements so that potty breaks will be comfortable for your dog. Choose a command such as "Potty." Rewarding your dog with verbal praise and returning indoors as soon as pottying is completed will help establish in the dog's mind the purpose for going outside. Between potty breaks, monitor or crate the puppy to prevent accidents. Take the puppy outside immediately when you see signs of the need.

You'll be able to lengthen the time between potty breaks as your puppy grows older and gains better control over elimination. By 6 months of age, English bulldogs will be able to go 4 or 5 hours without needing to go out. Because they are mellow dogs who often prefer to stay indoors, English bulldogs can also be trained to use a large doggie litter box indoors.

Training Cautions

Like all dog breeds with shortened faces, English bulldogs don't tolerate heat and humidity well, and they can easily suffer breathing problems and heatstroke if they are overexerted outdoors in such weather. With their compromised breathing passages, they can experience problems such as panting and snorting, making them intolerant of exercise in either hot or cold weather. It's best to train your English bulldog in a climate-controlled indoors environment.

Provide your dog with plenty of fresh water during training to prevent the buildup of phlegm from excessive panting. While other breeds can be taught agility or other such strenuous activities, English bulldogs are more sedentary. They often also suffer from conditions like hip dysplasia and arthritis, even at a younger age, making such training even more difficult for them. If your English bulldog has serious breathing issues, consult a veterinarian to determine whether surgery could help improve the dog's ability to breathe.

Never use a choke collar on an English bulldog. These dogs have a narrow trachea that can be injured by such equipment, according to the American College of Veterinary Surgeons. A harness is a better option for this breed.

English bulldogs are more prone to deafness than other breeds. If you notice that your dog doesn't respond to verbal commands, have your veterinarian check the dog's hearing. Deaf English bulldogs can be trained using hand signals instead of verbal commands by using treats to reward proper responses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are English bulldogs easy to train?

English Bulldogs can be stubborn and have a strong will, so they may not be as easy to train as other breeds. However, with patience and consistency, they can be trained to learn basic commands and tricks. Positive reinforcement methods, such as treats and praise, are often effective in training English Bulldogs. It's also important to start training early and to socialize them well when they are young.

Are English Bulldogs easy to take care of?

English Bulldogs have some specific care needs due to their unique physical characteristics. They are a brachycephalic breed, which means they have flat faces and short noses, which can make it difficult for them to breathe and regulate their body temperature. They are also prone to certain health issues such as skin allergies, hip dysplasia, and breathing problems. Due to these concerns, English Bulldogs may require more care and attention compared to other breeds.

How do you discipline an English bulldog?

Disciplining an English bulldog should be done with patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement methods. It's important to use consistent commands and be consistent with discipline, rewarding good behavior with treats and praise. Positive punishment, such as calmly and firmly removing the bulldog from a situation, can be effective in addressing bad behavior. However, it's important to avoid physical punishment as it can cause fear and anxiety in English Bulldogs. They are known to be stubborn and may take more time to train than other breeds, thus it's important to be patient and persistent in your training efforts. If you have trouble managing your bulldog's behavior, you can seek the help of a professional trainer or behaviorist who can provide guidance and a customized training plan to help you and your bulldog.

Do English Bulldogs like to cuddle?

English Bulldogs are a lot like other dogs in that they love to cuddle, but they're not very good at it. Bulldogs are built to be cuddled since they have short muzzles and more curved spines than other breeds of dogs, which makes them very comfortable when you hug them. However, in the same way, that your cat is not going to sit on your lap and purr while you pet him, an English Bulldog won't stay still while you cuddle him. He'll wriggle around until he's happy with his position, which can be anywhere from lying on his side with his head resting on your leg to sitting up straight and looking at you. But don't let this discourage you! Bulldogs are loving animals who love attention from their humans. They just need a little time to figure out how best to get it, and maybe some snacks.

Why do bulldogs ignore you?

Bulldogs are naturally very stubborn and independent dogs. They want to do things their way, and they don't like being told what to do. Because of this, they often ignore people who try to tell them what to do or how to behave. This may be because they don't like the way you're talking to them or because they just don't feel like listening. Bulldogs are very loving and affectionate with their owners and family members, so if you're not one of those people, you may have a hard time getting your bulldog's attention.

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