- Jan 9, 2022
- united states
- Bulldog(s) Names
- millie vanilly, beth anne (guest member)
Bulldogs - arguably the smartest breed on the planet. Independent-minded, they're capable of learning just about anything, if they're inclined to do so! Teaching your bulldog the "bump" command not only proves their brilliance but also strengthens your bond.
Here's how I've trained my bulldogs to master the 'bump' command:
Start with Observed Behavior:
Some dogs naturally paw at you when they need attention. If your dog does this, respond with praise saying "Good Bump!!!" For instance, if your dog paws you when you stop petting them, use this as a trigger to reinforce the behavior.
If your dog doesn't exhibit this behavior, fear not! You can still train them effectively.
First Session: Use one of their meals to familiarize them with the trick.
- Sit your dog down.
- Lift one of their paws.
- Touch it with your free hand.
- Offer praise, pet them, and reward with a few kibbles.
- Repeat this until the meal is finished.
Subsequent Sessions: The goal is to encourage your dog to perform the trick independently.
- Draw their attention with a treat.
- Tap the back of their paw.
- If there's no response, try tapping a few more times, maintaining patience. If they still don't respond, revert to lifting the paw.
- The moment there's paw-to-hand contact (especially if they initiate it), shower them with immediate praise, pets, and a treat.
Note: Naming the trick at this stage isn't essential. Many trainers suggest waiting until the dog starts performing the trick on their own before introducing a name.
Follow-Up: Over time, your dog may start performing the trick unprompted in anticipation of the reward. This is not mastery; it's merely a shortcut to the treat. Don't reinforce this behavior by giving them a treat. Instead, request a different trick when they attempt to pre-emptively perform the 'bump'.
Once they've truly mastered the trick, you can try to find ways to branch one trick into multiple ones. You might want to transition to using your foot for the 'bump' and then start asking for high fives with your hand, for instance.
Training should be an ongoing activity, but sessions should be short and frequent. Always request a trick before meals, when entering a room, coming in from outside, meeting friends and strangers... These consistent training moments are not just suggestions; they are crucial to efficient learning. When these moments present themselves, grab a handful of treats and either reinforce the trick you are currently working on, or go through the list of known tricks for practice.
What kind of treats to use
Use a high value reward, especially if you can find a low calorie version. If I am not in the possession of boiled or steamed chicken, I have some low cal freeze dried duck and salmon bites that work well. You have to find something that your dog LOVES, then only give them the treat for tricks.
How I trained Beth and Millie to bump each other
- Beth came to us knowing nothing as far as tricks are concerned. I don't believe she knew a single word-as-command.
- Millie has her TKN title and knows plenty more tricks (we're working towards TKI at the moment). She does bumps on command, multiple times a day, and has for over a year.
- relevant: one of Millie's tricks is "Touch" which eventually became "Touch <Name> (point at named thing)"
We expected Millie to automatically understand "Bump <Name> (with a point)", given that she knew both "Touch" and "Bump" so well. We weren't disappointed, the first time we asked "Millie, touch Beth!" she ran over and smacked beth in the face.
Beth already had observed behavior, pawing at us whenever she wanted attention and pawing at Millie to try to steal attention away.
So, we combined both of these (learned tricks for millie and observed behavior for beth) and using the training methods above we had Beth and Millie bumping paws within a few days. Beth was actually bumping Millie before she was bumping us. The picture above was taken less than a week after we started training Beth for Bump.
Remember, patience is key, and every dog learns at their own pace. Happy training!