American Bulldog Training Tips & Secrets

potty trainingIf there is a dog breed that is super adorable, smart, stocky and muscularly built, it has to be the American Bulldog without a doubt. Compared to other breeds, they look unique with short their coat (easy to care), stocky/muscular built and block shaped head. Given their athletic ability and muscular physique, American Bulldogs were bred to work and live in tough conditions such as hilly terrains and countryside areas where they catch livestock and protect properties of their owners. This is probably the reason why they have natural instinct and strong genetic predisposition towards loyalty, physical/mental toughness and protectiveness. All these traits and strong personality characteristics makes it easier for owners when it comes to training american bulldogs for obedience and various tricks.

Even though American Bulldog is one the most popular breeds preferred by millions of people to adopt them as pet, but given their aggressive personality, they may not be an ideal breed to bring home for first timers. This is mainly because without proper understanding and firm knowledge of how to train an american bulldog for obedience and socializing, it can quickly turn into a nightmare when the puppyhood ends. Therefore, having in-depth information on how the breed communicate, personality, characteristics and psychology is highly imperative to raise a healthy and happier dog.

How To Train American Bulldogs

black american bulldog

American Bulldogs are highly rated as one of the smartest and intelligent dog breeds. Their eagerness to learn keeps them physically and mentally active which is what makes them ever so happy. They are very adaptive and their strong personality makes them a trainer’s delight because they observe and learn new tricks faster compared to other breeds. Training your american bulldog with various commands can be time consuming but well worth the effort if you want a dog that is going to spend all his life with you as a companion. Let’s begin with few training tricks & tips.

Teaching Your American Bulldog Tricks

American Bulldog1. Divide The Trick Into Steps: Breaking down the entire trick into multiple steps is the easiest way to get started. For example, if you are teaching “Stay” command, then it can be divided into different steps so that your dog will remember it easily step by step. Begin with teaching your dog to sit down and stay there until allowed to get up again. After this you can move on to next move to teach staying at the spot for a short time. With that taught successfully you can move on to teaching staying for a longer duration.

The most important trick for an american bulldog to learn is the “Down” command, because their natural instinct is to chase, catch and herd anything they see which can be other dogs, animals and humans. Teaching the down trick will allow you to control their aggressive behavior specially when they are restless and in playing mood. You can make it even more effective when used with other tricks such as stay and drop.

2. Command Consistency: It is very important to keep commands consistent to make your dog remember it and not get confused with other ones. Make sure you pick one word for particular command and always use the same word for it. If you switch around different words for a command for instance ‘Sit’ & ‘Sit Down’ then it is only going to confuse your dog and it will take longer to perfect it. So, just pick one word and always stick to it.

3. Once Is Enough: Repeating commands again and again is going to confuse your dog, therefore you should say the command once. Your dog will pick it up naturally, so always say it once and move on with teaching the behavior. This is important because some owners do the mistake of saying the command word multiple times thinking their dog didn’t listen to it. Doing this will make your dog to expect you to say it multiple times every time you give the command. This should be avoided and taken care of properly during the initial training period.

4. Using Treats: When it comes to american bulldog training, using treats is no secret. It is undoubtedly the most effective way of teaching anything to your dog that he’ll remember forever. It is a great asset to encourage your dog’s behavior you want. For example, use a treat for teaching your dog to sit patiently. For this, hold a treat close to your dog’s nose and now slowly move it above his head. This movement make the dog sit at the same spot. Also, make sure you use the command word ‘Sit’ in conjunction with the action to make your dog remember that he must sit down in order to get the treat once the command is over. Once the dog sits, wait a few seconds, praise and reward him the treat.

5. Fading Out The Treats: As soon as you are assured of your dog has learned the trick, you can slowly start with doing it without trick to fade it out gradually. You can achieve the same response with praising and petting. Properly using intermittent reinforcement is also important when fading out treats from teaching methods. With this you reward your dog with treats randomly few times and not always. This makes the dog hopeful of getting the treat if he performs the trick. They are very smart and understand the process once they learn that they may or may not get the treat.

cute bulldog6. Keep Practicing: The only way to perfect the command and make your dog remember it is to keep repeating the practice. In the beginning you must do it several times every day, and over time your dog will learn what you want him to do when you say the command word.

7. Short Interval Training: It is considered a good practice to limit the training periods to short intervals. This is important because dogs don’t like being kept in one place for long duration and if you do that forcefully they’ll get bored and their aggressive instinct will come out. Therefore, never let the training sessions go beyond 15 minutes mark.

8. Try Different Tricks: Dogs love doing new things and that is why changing your tricks during the training sessions is important. Never teach the same trick for the whole 15 minutes of training. Ideal repetitions of a trick are five, not more than that. You should switch to at least 2-3 tricks during every 15 minute training period.

9. Finish Happy: Always keep the trick your dog loves doing the most for the last session. That way he’ll finish happy with all the love, praise and petting from you. This will keep your dog’s mood fresh and energetic for the next upcoming training session in some time.

Train Your American Bulldog To Catch A Disk

1. To begin with any trick training, learning american bulldog’s instinctive behavior is important. They are physically strong, aggressive and have herding tendency that makes them chase moving objects, other dogs, animals and humans as well. This is also the reason why they love chasing and catching sports such as catching discs a lot. Besides being a perfect exercise for your dog, catching discs isn’t just a park or backyard game, as you can participate in regional and national dog sports competitions as well if your dog have mastered it.

american bulldog training2. To start the disk catching training session, you can begin with providing food to your dog in the disc. This is going to kick start the learning process because your dog will associate the disk with food and that’s what they love. This step will make the dog think that it is okay to hold it in his mouth. You can do this by putting food in the disc for 3-4 days before you start the training session to let your dog be okay with it.

3. The next step involves a bit of teasing with the disc. Just show the disc to your dog from couple of feet away, act as if you’re giving it to him and then take it back to create that playing scenario. Your american bulldog is most likely to latch on to it as it will instigate that playing instinct in him.

4. Once the disc is in his mouth and he’ll starts playing with it. Praise him saying “Good Boy!” and then after few seconds tell him to ‘drop it’. Take the disc from him but make sure he drops it and you don’t play tug-of-war with him. If he acts stubborn and won’t give the disc away, then simply stop talking and looking at him. You should completely ignore him, because no attention will make him drop it, and when he does that, immediately praise him. The drop it command will take some time to perfect, so keep working on it until your dog starts dropping the disc on your command.

5. Now the main part begins. Start with rolling the disc. Your dog is most likely going to chase when you roll the disc away from you. As soon as you see him catch the disc, tell him to come back and ‘drop it’. With few rolls, catches and drops, your dog will know that this game is fun and he’ll naturally start playing along.

6. Make sure when you throw the disc, it should be tossed away from your dog. There should be some distance for him to chase it down or catch it in the air easily. Never throw the disc directly at your dog, as it may injure him and it takes away the fun part of chasing it. Let him play with it for a while and tell him to bring it back, and if he doesn’t then go grab it yourself and repeat the process.

7. Once your dog learns how to chase and catch the disc, it is time to teach him to bring it back on calling back command. Call him back and tell him to drop it down.

8. Catching the disc is a fun game and almost every dog loves it. It can be trained in different styles and methods. For example, you can do it at various distances and speeds at advance stage of training. However, it should be done gradually once the basics are covered.

House Training Your American Bulldog

american bulldog puppies1. Puppyhood is the best time: Starting young with house training of your american bulldog is the right approach and it should be started right from the moment when you bring him home. Puppies learn very fast as they notice and absorb information whether you are actively training them for various behavioral traits or not. Therefore, teaching good habits to your dog during the puppyhood is important.

2. Keeping your puppy in restricted area should be your priority as this is the number one rule of house training. For this using a crate or leash should be considered. You can also do that if you have a small backyard room or storage space. This is good option because it allows you to monitor your puppy, and if you notice he wants to pee, you can take him outside immediately. That said, it is a fact that majority of dogs do not like going to the bathroom close to a place where they sleep.

When buying a crate for your american bulldog puppy make sure it is spacious enough to let him easily stand up, sit and turn around.

If you notice the puppy is peeing in the crate, then you should immediately stop using the crate for some time because it defeats the purpose. This happens when a puppy is not ready for house training or have some other problems that must be resolved first before you house train him. It generally happens when a puppy wants to go out more often.

3. Taking out your puppy frequently is important, because a 2-3 month puppy cannot hold it for long. It’s a good practice to take out your puppy to potty at least in every 1-2 hours. According to training experts and vets, it is better to wait until 3 months to start potty training a puppy. This is because that’s the age when they start developing more control over their bladder.

4. The best way to potty train an american bulldog puppy is to take him to the same spot in the yard every time to make him remember and familiarize with the area. It’s a good approach because dogs have strong sense for smell and they can smell their scent which makes them go to the same spot for peeing every time.

Every time you take him out for potty, you should use a verbal cue. For instance say ‘potty time’, so that your puppy will start associating these words with going out to potty.

IMG300125. The best way to make a dog learn is to praise the good behavior. With potty training also it works wonderfully well. Soon after your puppy finishes his potty, reward him with praise and petting or may be give him a treat to make him feel like ‘it’s a job well done!’.

6. Maintaining and following a strict schedule is important part of house training. Be it taking him out or feeding, everything needs to be done on time to be consistent with house training. Therefore, being consistent is the key otherwise all your hard-work and patience will be useless as your dog will be confused about what you want him to do.

7. Avoid Negative Reinforcement: Most dog owners get frustrated when they see their new puppy peeing all over the house and they react with anger. This is negative reinforcement and it should be avoided strictly. Shouting on your dog’s face and pulling the leash to force him to follow your command will only make the situation worse. Your dog will learn to be afraid of you, and that’s not what you want. You have to be patient in this whole process and with time your dog will learn to follow all your commands happily.

8. Patience Is The Key: Most new or first time dog owners think they can fully house train their dog in a month, which is a wrong assumption. Some dogs learn fast, and some of them take more time. It’s all in their learning ability and natural instincts. That is why the owner must be patient. It generally takes 6-8 months to fully house train an american bulldog or any other dog breed. You may experience frustrating times, but in the end you will have a dog that knows how, when and where to go for potty every time. Just give him the time and love he deserves and everything will be fine!

I hope you found these american bulldog training tips useful. For more in-depth and insightful training methods, tricks and secrets you can read my american bulldog owner’s guide that explains everything in a practical and step by step manner. All the best and never stop training your dog!


  1. donna says:

    ABD 4 months, everything you say a true, best dog ever,we socialize, play, excellent temperament, great at pup play groups. one big problem is taking him outdoors. he struggles, even when carried out to potty, he’ll hold it or go a little, then runs like the dickens back in and goes potty in house. what’s up with this, normal?

    • donna says:

      * (Donna cont.)… this pup also doesn’t want to go for walks or play either. and at 4 months, he just weighed in at 42 lbs., i won’t be able to carry him out much longer, (i’m female weighing125 lbs). should i get a wagon? would love to find a better solution, my son told me that a wagon is rediculous. please respond, any advice is greatly appreciated

      • ricardo says:

        i don’t like the ideia to get the dog exciting,but in this case,why don’t u try a little pieces of chicken. he’ll associate walks with food. this prossess of course,it’s just enough to motivate him to go out and enjoy the outside world,u DON’T need to give food for the rest of his life,undertand?
        introduce the leash to him whith chicken,open the door and go for a walk…
        this will be my advice for u,and u hope it works.
        best lucky,

  2. Sammy says:

    My American bulldog pup keeps pulling off the clothes from my clothes line how do i get him to stop..

  3. Layla says:

    Put it higher so he can’t reach it doe doe

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