English Bulldogs have a reputation for being dangerous dogs. But is it a reality or a myth?
Bulldogs are not dangerous. In fact, they are really lovable, docile dogs that adore attention and people. They do have a reputation for being dangerous due to their breeding history as they were originally bred to be fighters. But the aggressive traits needed to fight have been pretty much bred out of them.
The Truth About Bulldogs
English bulldogs are so adorable with their soulful eyes, grumpy expressions, and adorable saggy wrinkled faces. Not to mention the snuffled sounds they make as they run over to see if you might have a doggy treat for them.
Puffing and panting away is a trademark of the bulky English bulldog that is seen in almost all of them. So is a lot of gas and snoring.
But English Bulldogs aren’t dangerous. The biggest danger you might encounter is getting dribbled on big time. So be sure not to wear your favorite t-shirt around this lovable pooch.
As for English bulldog puppies. One look at this irresistible pup could melt your heart in a moment.
Why Do English Bulldogs Have A Reputation As Being Dangerous?
Walking down the street with your pet bulldog you might have experienced people give you a wide berth, look slightly alarmed, or even turn the other way. Many people are wary of or fear English Bulldogs.
Those studded collars, the stories everyone seems to have, and the people who have raised bulldogs in the wrong way or mistreated them all contribute to their bad rep. Not to mention the artistic cartoonists who love to portray the Bulldog as a burly, aggressive pooch.
The major reason for the negative reputation is because they were originally bred to be fighters as well as farm herders and workers. They were used for bull-baiting which was a very vicious blood sport originating in the British Isles in the 13th century.
The Bulldogs were forced to fight with a bull for the entertainment of spectators. Also, it was believed that bull meat would be more tender after being baited. For that reason, bulldogs can have aggressive tendencies if they are not trained and treated properly.
Thankfully this horrific blood sport was permanently banned long ago due to animal cruelty.
The aggression and fierceness needed to fight and overpower a massive bull have mostly been bred out of the bulldog. There is still a possibility of that instinct emerging from the bulldog, but only if it’s not trained and treated properly.
Over many years English Bulldogs have been bred into the loyal and faithful canine companions that they truly are. You couldn’t wish for a more affectionate, cuddly dog who has a gentle temperament and loves like no other.
Socialization And Training: What Do English Bulldogs Need?
With the right training, lifestyle, and upbringing that includes extensive socialization, bulldogs make the perfect pet, companion, or guard dog.
From a very young age, bulldogs need to be socialized. Like many dog breeds, bulldogs need training from puppyhood and also ongoing training that is frequent and consistent throughout their lifetime.
Any time from 3 months of age is the ideal time to teach your puppy the behavior and rules expected of them.
They also need a safe environment, a healthy diet, and plenty of exercises – similar to many dog breeds. You need to be sure you have enough time for your bulldog because they need plenty of training and encouragement to reach their potential.
Your bulldog needs a firm master, leader, or owner. Whatever name you prefer to call yourself, your dog needs to know who is boss. Once you have established dominance your dog will be easier to train and socialize.
As dogs go you can say a bulldog is a high maintenance pooch that needs a lot of attention, love, and care.
Bulldogs also have a stubborn nature. When bulldogs don’t want to do something their decision can be final. Stubborn, but not dangerous.
Your bulldog will likely live for 8 – 10 years and will follow your command, obey your orders, and love you to the moon and back if you give it everything it needs.
Tips To Make Bulldogs More Sociable
During daily life use a firm, calm voice. Keep your tone low. Don’t show aggression towards your bulldog. Never yell or shout or show signs of panic. If you do your dog may get excited, aggravated, and hyped up. Or it might feel threatened.
Take your dog out for walks and let it see other people, dogs, and other animals every day if possible. If appropriate let them approach each other and have some friendly interaction. Always keep your dog on a leash.
Let them be around children and adults as much as possible including family members and strangers so they get used to people. The goal is to let them get used to as many people as possible and in as many different environments or situations as possible.
If you have children you need to teach them how to behave around your bulldog. Generally, bulldogs are very lovable and gentle around children. But if they sense a child is being aggressive they might react. Children shouldn’t hit or try to ride the bulldog.
Kids will be kids but also bulldogs will be bulldogs. So training and socialization need to be a two way street of awareness and respect.
Also, don’t let children near your bulldog when it’s eating. It’s a bit of an understatement to say bulldogs love their food. They may become very agitated if they feel dinner might be taken away. A child could easily get a nip on the hand if your bulldog thought the food bowl was being invaded.
Teach your bulldog not to jump on people. This medium-sized muscular dog is much stronger than it looks and can easily knock a kid or even an adult over unintentionally.
Take your beloved bulldog to different places so they can experience all kinds of sounds, smells, sights, and situations.
Places to Socialize
Here are some places you could take your bulldog exploring on a lead to help socialize it.
- The streets in your town or city
- Country roads
- A drive in the car
- A boat ride
- Visiting friends or family at their homes
- To a cafe or restaurant that welcomes dogs
- To your workplace for a social visit (if allowed)
- To a park
The more social your dog becomes the more it will gain confidence and a sense of calmness in any new situation life might present. All these steps will lead to your bulldog being well-socialized and able to interact well with other people and animals.
There is a high chance that during these socialization trips your dog will get aggravated, excited, or a little out of control. It is to be expected as the whole reason they are being exposed to these situations is so they can get used to them.
How To Handle An Out-Of-Control Bulldog
When the day comes that your bulldog loses control you must be calm, firm, and dominant. Use the words you have established to make your dog sit, stay, and obey. Don’t show your stress or anger if you feel the situation is escalating.
If your bulldog obeys make sure you praise it and give a reward. If your bulldog seems to be showing signs of fear, aggression, or stress you might need to move it away from the situation if possible or wait and do your best to calm your pet.
It’s times like this you will see your pet’s strong personality come out. You need to move your dog’s focus on the distraction back to the commands of its master, which is you.
There is no way to prepare for this moment, but it’s part of the vital socialization process. The first time your dog seems out of control might be the worst but you just can’t know what might set it off. It could be many things including:
- Loud sounds from vehicles
- Children screaming
- Other animals that are making your pet feel threatened
- Weather such as thunder or rain
- Unfamiliar smells like a skunk or other strong-scented creature
It could even be something subtle that you are not aware of. However, this will be a learning curve and an experience that will help with socialization. So try to take it as positively as possible.
Why English Bulldogs Make The Best Pets
If you already have some experience with bulldogs you will know it’s a gorgeous breed of dog that has so many wonderful qualities and traits including loyalty, devotion, and curiosity.
They are very protective of their owners and family members. You can feel safe and protected with a bulldog on the job.
Around children, they are gentle and affectionate. The bond is very strong between a family bulldog and children, especially if they have been together since birth.
Bulldogs love to cuddle, play, and be loved. They make excellent companions and are a very popular breed of dogs all around the world.
When Might A Bull Dog Be Dangerous?
Like many dog breeds, bulldogs can become aggressive if provoked or threatened and that includes if someone or something was trying to hurt you or your family. This fear-driven behavior could include barking, nipping, biting, and attacking. But it isn’t common.
They are also very territorial. Any intruders or trespassers will have a hard time getting past this dog. That is why they make excellent watchdogs as well as guard dogs.
Sadly there are some pet owners who haven’t taken care of their bulldog properly. In these cases, the dog can suffer and become dangerous.
An owner might lack knowledge on how to train and raise a bulldog properly. A dog can’t be blamed for not knowing right from wrong if it wasn’t taught properly in the first place.
An experienced and professional dog breeder will check if an owner is aware of the responsibilities of owning a bulldog. But sometimes bulldogs fall into the wrong homes.
Other times a dog owner might have trained a bulldog to be extremely aggressive on purpose. To see this beautiful dog mistreated in this way is very sad.
How Do You Socialize Older Dogs?
If you adopt or buy an older bulldog that isn’t fully training and socialized you will have a challenge ahead of you. But it isn’t impossible to socialize an adult bulldog if you have the time, knowledge, and patience to dedicate to your dog.
Get all of the background information you can about your new dog. Sometimes dogs will have triggers that set them off. Any background info you can gather might help you understand your dog.
If you are adopting a senior dog well done on opening your heart and home to a dog that might otherwise be left in the pound.
COVID: The Generation Of Unsocialized Dogs
It seems Covid-19 has affected areas of our lives we never thought possible. Even our precious pets have been impacted by this world-wide pandemic.
Many pet owners haven’t had the normal opportunities to socialize their furry friends due to the restrictions of COVID. It’s a real concern and you need to be aware that other dogs on the street may not have been socialized.
Also, you need to explain to people in public if your dog hasn’t been properly socialized due to COVID. Take precautions and be careful and understanding.
So Now You Know Bulldogs Are Not Dangerous
This useful advice will help you to raise a sociable and well-behaved bulldog. Bulldogs do need a lot of attention, training, and love but the payback is totally worth it.
When your bulldog is properly taught how to behave and is treated well the only danger will be when someone or something threatens it or it’s family.
Otherwise, there’s no danger to be concerned about. But watch out – they also are major farters and snore like old men. Along with the drooling it can all be forgiven with just one look at that cute grumpy face.
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