Dogs are pack animals; as such, dogs need a leader. Your Bulldog’s first boss was his mother, and all of his life lessons came from his mom and littermates. Now you have to assume the role of leader and communicate appropriate behavior in terms your dog’s little canine mind will understand. Remember, too, that from a canine perspective, human rules make no sense at all.
When you start training your Bulldog puppy, remember that the first 20 weeks of any canines life are his most valuable learning time, a period when his mind is best able to soak up every lesson, both positive and negative. Positive experiences and proper socialization during this period are critical to his future development and stability. Do you want a well-behaved dog or a naughty dog? It’s up to you.
Canine behavioral science tells us that any behavior that is rewarded will be repeated. That’s called positive reinforcement. If something good happens, like a tasty treat or hugs and kisses, a puppy will naturally want to repeat the behavior. That same research also has proven that one of the best ways to a puppy’s mind is through his stomach. Never underestimate the power of a treat!
Have treats on hand and be prepared to reinforce good behavior whenever it occurs. That same reinforcement principle also applies to undesirable behavior, like digging in the trash can, which the dog or puppy does not know is “wrong.” It’s fun for the pup, so why not? What better reason to keep a sharp eye on your puppy so you can catch him in the act and tell him “No” to prevent those normal canine behaviors? By showing him what behaviors are wrong, and popping him a treat when he stops the undesirable behavior, he learns what is considered “bad” and learns that being good has its rewards.
Next step: Verbal Commands for Bulldog Puppies
Reprinted from Breeders Best: Bulldog © 2004. Permission granted by Kennel Club Books, an imprint of BowTie Press.