I have a 3 and 2 year old american bulldog we adopted and they said they were house trained, but the 2 year old won't go outside at all while the 3 year old is fine. Any suggestions?
Kristin from Cincinnati, OH
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I just got an american bulldog last week. He's a male 2 month old brindle puppy. Does anyone have any tips to help me? He needs to be trained fast. He is a play biter but bites pretty hard.
Jimmy from Illinois
By Maggie from Virginia
By Joyce wis
By Donna J.
By Natalie from Florida
Sasha, my AB, was crate trained while I was out of the house and she now likes her crate. At first she whined when I left the house. However, since I never went back in when she was whining she quickly learned that it wasn't acceptable behavior. The crate training while I was away prevented her from destroying my house! They will chew up your house if they are allowed to! The two times I left her out I came home to chewed up tables or carpets. I plan on crating her while I'm away until she is two.
As for the biting, make sure that you give your AB lots of toys to chew on. Sasha really loved tug of war toys when she was a little girl. Since the breed has a sensitive stomach, limit your choices to bully sticks, stuffed or rubber toys, and bones. I gave mine pig ears as a puppy and she ended up puking with diarrhea. The dehydration gave me a $700 vet bill!
Good luck! They are great dogs with good temperaments if raised correctly. They are really smart dogs and learn quickly. It isn't necessary to use newspaper to hit them as another person recommended on this website. Use your energy to let them know what is acceptable. Dogs can sense if you are displeased with them. They want to please you their owner. The love you'll get back will make the first few months of work worth it. (08/25/2006)
I do training before her second feeding and use the small kibbles from our Chichiua's food as treats to avoid the extra calories. She is the most loving dog, very smart. I can see the stubborn side emerging and am reading everything I can on raising AB's and watch "Cesar" faithfully. Be patient with your puppy. Read up on BF Skinner's Behavior Modification techniques, those reinforcement methods are what you will need to train your dog!! We started training from day one. I took the night shift and someone took the days. We all did the same thing consistently. Now she sleeps all night.
She and our male chichiua are inseperable, we have to watch both of them closely, she's larger then him now! I just hope the rest of the training goes as well! She gives good eye contact and to maintain that I hold her treat up on my forehead and make her give me eye contact as I give the command.I read that a dog that gives good eye contact is a better listener, more willing to please. It's working. Also, the second I see her trying to chew on something inappropriate, I clap my hands and sternly say no, and give her a chew toy. Now most of the time I just have to say no. Have fun with your AB puppy! (01/16/2007)
By Kathi from Michigan
As far as house breaking her goes, she is learning quickly. She has had a couple of misses but is getting the point. I recommend the "Natures Miracle" brand of puppy pads which are sold at Petsmart. They have a slight grass smell and seem to work perfect. As soon as I set the first one down she immediatly went potty on it. She has tried to chew a little but we give her a pat on the nose and a firm "NO" (I understand with this breed it is important to have a firm hand but not a heavy one plus she is so young we don't want to traumatize her).
She loves to lick and is very much a cuddler. She nuzzles right in underneath your chin and goes right to sleep. We have already begun socializing her with humans and other animals alive which has proven handy. She and our friends pitt/beagle mix are very playful with one another yet also very sweet. I could not have asked for a better puppy. I love this breed. (01/18/2007)
I have a 3 and a 2 year old American Bulldog we adopted. They said they were house trained, but the 2 year old won't go outside at all while the 3 year old is fine. Any suggestions?
Kristin from Cincinnati, OH
The key is consistency and training. I put mine through early puppy training. These dogs are incredibly smart and respond right away to structured training. Don't feel bad that you can't train them on your own without assistance. They can be difficult at times. Also, be sure to do lots of dominance training/handling training. You are the boss of this dog and he/she needs to know this fact intimately. Dominance training is essentially ensuring that you are seen as the one who makes the decisions. Touch your AB while they are eating, practice laying the pup on the ground gently, your vet should be able to give you hands-on demonstrations of how to do handling exercises; mine did. So, all this being said, there is no quick cure to the play biting. Don't allow it or you'll regret it. Provide consistent, firm discipline. Exercise the dog as much as possible. A tired dog is a good dog! The good news is if you do these things, the biting will pass and your dog will love you unconditionally. Ours does. Soon, I will be taking my AB to more training. You can never train a dog too much.
-*- Happy Bulldoggin' -*- (04/23/2007)
A friend of mine bought my AB's sister. She is a power house! She doesn't pay a lot of attention when my friend is trying to train her. All she wants to do is play. So we have figured out a trick for training her. We have brought her training into her play time. She has finally caught on to "sit" and "stay" (the stay command drives her nuts!). When she finally catches on to that we will move on to more. Good luck to you all. Once you get them trained they are awesome! (06/26/2007)
By Wiley from Colts Country
By Jason, AZ
(1) Definitely invest time and energy in formal training. PetSmart has good puppy classes; that's where I took my little devilette. You may think that you can train him at home, but in the end you won't be happy with your own results.
(2) Please ensure that if your AB pup is around the kids that you are right there, within arm's length. Puppies play bite; that's how they play with their litter mates. Right now, your pup thinks you and the kids are his litter mates. Not good, but normal.
I can't say that the next year-plus won't try your patience; because it will. However, a mature and trained AB is one of the most loyal, obedient, and wonderful companions a pet parent can ask for. That being said, AB's aren't for everyone and you might not have the time or energy to put into ensuring that your lil' guy grows to be a balanced dog. Hope all works out!
Happy Bulldoggin' (04/25/2008)
My advice if you're getting an American Bulldog, especially a male (males tend to be more clumsy and "rougher" in play), is to not get them too early. I've read some posts where people have gotten their AB's at 5 and 6 weeks. This is not detrimental, however, not wise at the same time. At least wait 8 weeks. I got mine at 10 weeks. The breeder insisted on it. Trust me a few weeks can make the world of difference. Some breeders don't wait until 8 weeks so they won't have to worry about a bunch of puppies running around, which is what they start to do at about that age; this running around and playing is exactly why it's so important to wait.
After about the 4th or 5th week, puppies start playing with their siblings and their mother. This time is crucial in establishing the correct amount of force they should exert while playing. But more so with these breeds, it is the time where they learn: "how" they know "when" they are being too rough! If they played too rough with their fellow siblings, then their siblings would "yelp", in which they would back off.
The mom's would use a very calm, low rumble (not growl) and a stare in the eyes, to express this as well and probably not allow them to play with them anymore (mom's would walk away and lay down somewhere else). So, if you are having a dog that you got around 5 weeks old and he/she is being too rough, it's probably because they never got a chance to learn what "too rough" is exactly.
First, make sure when your ABs play too rough, that you do not correct them in a "punishing" way. If you do that, especially with the other dogs present, they might associate the negative action at the other dogs and not at their rough playing. Or they might associate it with playing in general, and you don't want them to do that either. Second, make sure you are exercising your AB enough. Get their energy out.
They are a working dog, and will work to please, however, if they have too much energy they will want to please you even more. This extra energy and extra need to please might be shown with extra roughness or extra force. If they don't have a job or are not working (exercising), then they feel it's because you as the pack leader, don't think enough of them and so they try to prove their worth to you.
Lastly, understand that similar size dogs would be in the same pack. You can't blame your AB for playing too rough to a Yorkie's standards, which is why it's important to consider all the dogs in your pack before getting a new one. Many people will get a small dog (i.e. Yorkie) to be a "cuddle" dog and then a larger dog (i.e. American Bulldog) to be "guard". Very, very irresponsible. I'll explain later about establishing roles with your dogs.
If it's is being too rough with you or other humans, then look him dead in the eye until he sits and say with a low rumble "no" or I say "too rough". No matter what age you get them, they sometimes are. If he knows how to sit, you almost don't even need to say the word because he knows what you mean by your stare. Then walk away, put the toy up (if you were playing with one) and ignore him. But stay in his site and go sit somewhere else; besides where the rough play took place.
Then, after some time, go back to playing and repeat action if necessary. You can also turn your back and ignore them in the same way. Don't keep playing and expect him to understand with words alone. He needs to see what should happen when he plays too rough, which is stopping. He will also see from ignoring him, that it displeases the pack leader. If he sees that it displeases you, then he will know that it's not good for the survival of the pack. Pack leaders know best! If you have a really rough one this might take several times. This only works, if consistency is applied. See where the 3C's came into play here. No pun intended.
If the rough playing is with other dogs, first of all, make sure it is playing and not them trying to establish their role and position in the pack. Is the AB standing over the smaller dogs, mounting the other dogs, not letting the other dogs pass them through doors? Things that a dog does to display dominance over another dog that might be mistaken for playing is: rolling over on the back when the other dog is near, pawing, rubbing their lips on them (this might first be thought of as licking, but it's actually a non-aggressive way of saying " I respect you as another dog in this pack, but you're not above me" and "Look I'm "not" licking you. Get it!" Licking is what inferior dogs do to superior dogs".
This dominance display by a larger dog towards a smaller dog sometimes happens because smaller dogs tend to get more attention, picked up, and allowed to sit on furniture than do larger dogs. An alpha dog or a "beta" dog in human homes (beta's are second in command), would be more in this position of attention getting. Your dog might be trying to say to you, "See pack leader, I'm stronger, I can protect you better, why are they getting the attention? I should be the beta dog!"
Be consistent and neutral with all the dogs in your pack, because that's what a true pack leader would do. Let your dogs establish their role and then as the pack leader respect it! If one dog shows its dominance above another, then feed it before the other and so on. I know this sounds harsh, but you've got to understand their world. Trust me, the smaller dog will feel better because it will then be able to relax in its new position. It is the job of each individual dog in the pack to establish his or her position.
The pack leader cannot establish this for them. Only intervene if there is a sign of aggression and/or if a dog might get injured. If you prevent your dogs from doing this, then it can lead to aggression because they will become anxious to step up to their role. They will become stressed out because they will feel their pack is not stable due to the fact that all the positions are not filled.
A dog will do whatever they need to do to maintain stability within the pack. In their eyes their survival depends on it! No matter if we, as humans, find this ridiculous. They don't understand or trust it, unless you step up as pack leader and maintain stability for the pack. If you don't it will domino into: your AB becoming anxious to display his role and irritated more and more to figure out it's role. It takes it out aggressively towards the smaller dog. It gets punished for it by you, and becomes even more aggressive towards the smaller dog and to the pack leader. This is because you are not maintaining stability.Your AB starts trying to bypass the whole pack and become the leader, so the pack can survive! Pay attention to what this "rough play" actually is.
If it is playing, see what the other dogs do to make him "recognize" that he's playing too hard. It's probably a yelp. Hear the exact sound they give, to tell your AB it's being too rough! When they do that, immediately take the AB away and give him another toy to play (don't play with him as well though because this might start a pattern).
When you are playing with him, the moment he gets too rough with you or what you think would be too rough on your smaller dogs, make a similar sound that your other dogs make at this. Turn your back to him and ignore him. After he calms down and becomes submissive (sitting or lying down), then return to play; repeat if necessary.
You have to do these things consistently. They were not conditioned to know this if they were taken from their mothers at 5 weeks. Once the rough play is mostly corrected, because you have to understand they can only decrease it so much due to their breed type, give them some time alone with the other dogs (only if you are in a different room).
See how it goes. But I would never suggest leaving AB's alone with smaller dogs totally. Don't put any of them in that position. Mainly because an AB's innocent play or just their clumsiness could accidentally injure another dog. The blame would then be on the pack leader. They ultimately need their pack leader to keep order and balance. Trust me they don't want to hurt another dog in their pack! That would not be good for the survival of their pack, no matter how small. If you're a good pack leader, then they know all the dogs in their pack are important to their survival. Good luck! (06/21/2008)
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