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.
However, if such a command has never really been clearly established, chances are that there is still a lot of space left for misunderstandings and misinterpretation and the command will probably still often fail.
Really teaching an stop command and using it consistently is therefore VERY helpful in the relationship and communication with your Bull Terrier.
If possible, something other than the word “no” should be chosen – for example “leave it”, because we are using the word “no” so often in every day life that again it can cause confusion. How is the Bull Terrier supposed to know, if a certain “NO” in the given situation relates to his actions or something else?
Also it is good to not only have an stop command ready, but also a second command to make the dog give away things. This way we can still communicate and tell our dog what to do, should the “leave it” command fail and our dog has already gotten hold of the thing it was not allowed to touch. I use “let go”.
Both commands are pretty easy to train within a few days within a controlled environment and in small steps.
If it is not reliable, don’t use it – yet
It is important to make sure that the command is really understood and followed reliably, before applying it in everyday life. That eliminates misunderstandings and room for the dog to choose its own actions. But once they can be used reliably, we can use those commands to actually TELL our dog that we want him to LEAVE our things for example or LET GO, if he was faster. :).
It is a fascinating fact that once the space for misunderstandings is being eliminated in the communication with a dog and the Bull Terrier actually understands what we want, even for those “stubborn” little hardheads it seems to become a million times harder to disobey. To me it feels like once they have understood what we want they just can’t ignore it.
I’ve witnessed that about a million times with my dogs in the past.
Once the communication is clear, the command usually only fails, if the dog is too excited/ full of adrenaline, because then dogs sometimes literally can’t hear us. And they can’t follow a command they don’t hear. That often happens when the dog is being exposed to too many new environmental stimuli at once.
Well, sometimes Bull Terriers also try to negotiate things. But if we act consistently and insist on our command to be followed, they will eventually give in.