Make Yourself Pack Leader
Whether you have just adopted a young puppy or an adult, you have many things to teach your new bully. You want your bulldog to be loved, trained and lively, but not spoiled, not a machine or uncontrollable. Bulldogs can be naturals at learning manners and commands, particularly when you understand a key aspect of their nature. Dogs are social, pack-oriented animals. Your bulldog will respect a strong leader. If you fail to take on this position for yourself, your bulldog will feel obliged to try to take the position of leader for them self. In the wild, dogs live their entire lives within the close structure social order of their pack. While young, they begin to learn the workings of the pack's social system and as they grow they begin to establish their place within the packs hierarchy.
Leadership, dominance, submissiveness, obeying others these are all concepts that every bulldog understands. These are concepts that you need to understand if you want to be successful. Every
pack has a leader, someone who is dominant over the pack. In wolf packs that someone is the alpha. Thatís the leader who makes the decisions, who must be obeyed. That is the leader you must be in your bulldog's eyes.
Every bulldog needs a leader. Without that leader, a bulldog will feel lost and insecure. If you donít take the role of alpha, your bulldog will be forced to take the role them self. Here are some steps to establishing your role as the alpha. Notice that these involve both behavior and body language - two types of communication that your bulldog will understand.
1. Always praise your bulldog as if you own it.
Put your hands firmly on the bulldog. Hug your bulldog, pat it so that your hands get warm from the contact. Donít praise your bully in a timid way.
2. Praise warmly, well and fast.
Do not drag out your praising of a working bulldog. Do not fawn over your bully just because it did one sit-stay.
3. Reprimand fairly and fast, then forgive.
Never hold a grudge against your bully. When you put your hands on your bulldog, do it with confidence and authority. Hands on does NOT mean hitting. Hands on could mean a leash correction, a surprising assist into a sit or down. Do it fast and with authority. Then when you've made the bulldog do exactly what you want - once - give him a hug. That's alpha.
4. Make your bulldog obey on the first command.
Don't get into the habit of repeating yourself. A bulldog's hearing is significantly better than yours, I can guarantee you the bulldog heard you the first time.
5. Give commands only if you can follow through
, and make sure you always follow through. If your bulldog is running across a park to meet another dog, do not yell "come" - if he decides not to obey, you have no means of correcting him. Once your bully accepts you as leader, he will stop and return to you - because he will have learned that leaders are to be obeyed.
6. Give permission.
Give it for what the bulldog is about to do anyway as long as it is OK with you. This does not mean you say OK when you see your dog about to steal a steak off the counter. This means you do say OK when your dog is about to get into the car for a ride with you, eat the food in his bowl, go out with you for his morning walk. It means that teaching the bulldog to look to you for approval and permission instead of making decisions on his own. Remember - the better behaved the bulldog, the more freedom and fun the bulldog can have.
7. Deny permission.
Watch your bulldog's behavior. Teach your bully some manners. Even if you like him to walk on your couch, the bully shouldn't do that in other people's homes. When you take him to the lake or the beach, the bully should wait for permission to swim. It may be too cold some days or there may be too many young children swimming.
8. Do a sit-stay.
This is an easy way to reinforce your role as alpha. Put the bulldog in a sit-stay for five to ten minutes. If bullyís a wild animal and it doesn't know the meaning of the word obedient, all the better. When the bulldog breaks - and it will - put the bully back. If the bully breaks 14 times put him back 14 times. At the end of a few minutes, the bulldog knows you're alpha. The bulldog knows that anyone who holds its leash can call the shots. And this is with no yelling, no hitting, no electronic stimulation, no leaving him in the kennel or garage for three days, no nothing, just a sit-stay.
9. Be benevolent, but tough.
Act like a top dog. Tough, but loving. Always be fair and NEVER get angry. Bulldogs understand what's fair and what's not.
10. Be a model to your bulldog.
The top dog behaves with dignity, surety, confidence, authority, and intelligence. This will help your bulldog to be calm cool and collected.