Bull Terriers are not only family dogs. They are also very physical. That goes for them acting among each other and also for their interactions with humans.
This funny youtube video, posted by Australians Against BSL, speaks volumes:
I often hear people wondering: Why does my dog always follow me? I hear people complaining about tripping over their dogs in the kitchen because they are always right behind them. Or they take a nap on people’s feet.
But just because Bull Terriers are very physical that does not mean that we have to accept everything no matter what.
Dogs show each other when they feel bothered and sometimes they even show it to us or just walk away when they had enough.
Some owners seem not to be aware of the fact that we humans have the same rights. And, in fact, I find it particularly important to teach a dog that sometimes we need our distance and privacy.
Some owners mistake the dog’s staying close as a pure display of affection. Yet, that is not always the case. Often we are only monitored closely by the dog because it expects something will be up to scrounge when we eat or prepare meals.
It’s legitimate for the dog to hope and try. Nevertheless, we do not have to accept being under siege because of the dog’s desires.
Whatever the intention, as Bull Terriers can be very persistent, sometimes we need to be a little more clear, unmistakable and persistent to get our hand on things before they become a problem. But even if we missed the point and they already have become a problem for us – the good news is, it’s never too late to introduce changes and new rules.
It all boils down to communication
A basic part of the problem in many cases is miscommunication.
My experience tells me that dogs don’t know the concept of “bothering people in order to make them angry”.
Dogs communicate with us in different ways to make their wishes and needs known to us. Often when we do not react dogs simply assume that we have not yet understood or have not taken notice of them. So they try again and they try harder. A nudge can turn into bumping or even barking at us.
Therefore not reacting in some cases can be counterproductive because it can initiate more effort in the dog to try and be understood. Or the dog takes it as a non-spoken acceptance of its behavior.
A better way in such cases instead of NOT communicating at all by ignoring or avoiding the dog is to COMMUNICATE, but not give in.
It’s not rocket science. We just should not be afraid to carefully shove a besieging dog aside and out of our way. No physical force here that could cause harm, that goes without saying. Just enough to move the dog. It is non-verbal, but it is a message. Especially when the dog experiences this situation multiple times. No scolding needed.
Bull Terriers very often run into or over each other. That’s because Bull Terriers have a very strong physique and very high pain tolerance and they don’t really care if someone bumps into them or lays down on them. So, it may need a certain strength to move the dog and a certain number of repetitions to transport the message.
Shoving them out of the way will only show its educational effect over time.
Doggie needs to experience a certain string of events a number of times before it is able to connect the dots.
How about some training
Another very helpful and rather proactive and constructive way is to teach them certain commands and use some organizational tricks or rituals.
For example, establishing a command to send the dog a few feet away is VERY helpful in the kitchen. A command to make doggie leave things alone is also a great helper. The stay command can be used to keep doggie in a certain place.
Training is also a great way to interact and bond and enhance communication!
Also, I have very good experience with assigning a certain spot to my dog in different rooms where interesting action takes place.
In the kitchen I used to ONLY feed my girl in a designated space and nowhere else in the kitchen.
That worked pretty well for us …. until I ruined it by being inconsistent and starting to feed her kitchen scraps in other corners of the kitchen.
That one’s on me.
Before, she actually ran to her assigned spot and sat down tight right there when she expected to get something.
The “cuddly issue”
When it comes to cuddling habits, Bull Terriers, again, love it as close as it gets.
That can be a problem when sharing the bed or on the couch. But, again, consistency is key here.
And it all depends on what the owner likes and decides to tolerate.
Everyone is different. While I want my dog to show perfect behavior towards strangers in public, at home I allow her a lot of things that other owners probably would count as bothersome or bad habits. Climbing me like a throne and then just residing there is probably one of those things.
But I am not complaining about it. I think it’s funny.
Every behavior that bothers me is not accepted and will be worked on.
It can be laborious to correct the dog over and over again. But it does not help to assume that the dog is displeasing us on purpose. The standpoint of the dog explains things a lot better:
A dog that displeases has not yet understood better. So, we need to be good teachers. And in the end with consistency success will come.