Just today after I had to maneuver Mila around in a small space using commands I said to hubby how happy I am that communication is working so well between us – in that case “us” was referring to doggie and me. I spontaneously decided to write an essay on this to either get some interesting feedback on how you guys handle this OR maybe even be of some help to other fellow Bull Terrier owners “suffering” from this: You know these moments when you find yourself tripping and stumbling, trying not to lose your balance while practicing the full range of your swear vocabulary … then your eyes meet the guilt ridden teddy face of your Bull Terrier, who, OF COURSE, was in your way, as, of course, he or she always is when you, of course, do not expect it.
Dog owners frequently contact me with questions. An all-time hit are undesired behaviors in dogs of all ages. I have taken one of the recent request for advice as the basis of this essay, because the problem situation seems to apply to a lot of situations owners experience in one way or the other.
Dog owners often find themselves confronted with are undesired habits of their dogs, which can show in a variety of behaviors. Bull Terriers are little bull dozers even when they are happy and just want to make fun or show affection. And when young they come with a bunch of quirks in addition, such as nipping and roughhousing, which are all too typical. But that does not mean we have to accept them as the owners.
We all know that the best time to work on those undesired behaviors is as early as possible while the dog is still young and has not settled into routines and behaviors yet, in order to avoid bad habits from developing and establishing and our dogs from taking them as “normal behavior”.
This time I’ve taken this desperate cry for help from Ruby to write a few more articles about the “wild puppy days” of a Bull Terrier in order to help other owners who are experiencing exactly the same problems as well.
“Hello, I am having a hard time trying to train my 4 month old bull terrier, Pluto is his name. He is full of energy and I have a few questions to figure out how to make him stop acting up. He is always ripping the carpet in my house, He starts to get crazy (happy and excited) when he sees people, or other dogs, he doesn’t stop barking even if I speak to him in a calm voice, and in the car he will continue to bark at me or try to get on my lap. I really want to get some help on how to train him because I don’t want him to get out of control when he gets old or become aggressive. Please help me.”
A very typical behavior for puppies is using their mouth to explore the world around them.
Parents of a baby or toddler probably know the situation: Everything needs to be secured. Besides electricity, risk comes especially from small objects that can be swallowed.
Just as babies, puppies do explore the world around them mainly using their mouth. This is even more important to know, because despite babies, who at some point stop using their mouth and start using their hands instead, puppies will continue to use their mouth when exploring even when they mature.
We all know that dogs can’t learn how to use their paws to grab and hold things the same way humans use their hands for. But even some dog owners are not aware that this is the reason why the mouth remains the dog’s “hand” even through its entire adult life.
Many owners have dogs that love to play. That is especially true for Bull Terriers. But these rugged little power packs can be rough players and pretty destructive.
Especially when they initiate their very special way of “letting it out” in the so-called “Bully run”. That’s when they start throwing their butts around, circling around you or the room, bouncing themselves against and off walls, furniture or shinbones and often also start nipping like a snapper turtle. Even older Bull Terriers tend towards such sudden and often unexpected outbursts of energy that sometimes seem to be hard to get under control.
As I have already explained in my essay “The aggressive puppy – do I have an aggressive dog?” in puppies nipping and chasing are all normal.
No need to be alarmed or think that you’ve adopted the “devil” of the litter. They are all the same. And they all more or less go through the same issues.
You’ve probably heard that it is advised by trustful breeders that the dogs will not be separated from their litter before the age of eight weeks.
Stop commands are one of the most common misunderstandings between dog and owners, because many people just assume that the dog understands a firm “NO!” without ever really teaching them what it actually means.
The fact that this command is used to control many different kinds of situations does not make it much easier for the dog.
Luckily in many situations our Bull Terriers or other dogs do understand the meaning over time.
Because after experiencing certain situations and the tone of the voice repeatedly they can eventually count one and one together and learn the meaning of “NO” on their own.
Excessively barking dogs can be annoying. Bull Terriers usually are not known to be excessive barkers. However, even among them there are individuals that can become pretty vocal.
My English Bull Terrier Mila, for example, is a frequent barker and besides that a very vocal dog in general. She is using a whole variety of noises to communicate. Some of them are a little annoying, while others are utterly cute. Her predecessor Fancy had a crisp “barking phase” at a younger age, when she would notify us of things happening beyond our front door. Later in life this completely ceased and we hardly ever heard her voice.
Many owners don’t mind theirs dogs barking in general. After all barking notifies strangers of the presence of a dog. But a lot of owners would like to have better control over time and length of the barking. To handle the issue it is important to understand triggers and the dog’s intentions.
Many owners who start dog training sooner or later encounter their dog “offering” certain behaviors which they have learned in the past.
In clicker training this is part of the basics of this training technique. Dogs are either lured into desired behaviors or the trainer is waiting until the dog is OFFERING the desired behavior or a tiny part of it.
So, in general “offering” is appreciated.
It can, however turn into a hassle when the “offering” develops into “predicting” and leads the dog to take premature action.
Dogs are creatures of habit and one of the greatest experiences for them is to KNOW in advance what is going to happen.
Especially when it concerns things that mean a lot of fun or food, such as playtime or dinner.
Does your Bull Terrier keep popping up like a “Jack in the box”? Are you green and blue with “bruises of joy” from your dog? All of those, who already owned a Bull Terrier in the past probably know about this issue.
It is a pretty natural behavior of this breed. Many English Bull Terriers are very high-energy and active dogs and need proper outlets for this energy. Poorly exercised Bull Terriers can easily develop destructive and self-destructive, obsessive behavioral disorders.
Many NEW owners are pretty much caught by surprise when their English Bull Terrier keeps jumping at them and going up a lot – often accompanied by constant nipping. Luckily this behavior can be corrected.
But let’s take a quick glance at the causes first.
Jumping is not limited to English Bull Terriers, but it is very common among them and if not corrected can become pretty extreme and even lead to injury, loss of teeth and similar unfortunate events.