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Bulldogs are friendly and affectionate dogs. They are known to be ideal companions to a lot of families so it can be quite shocking for pet parents to hear that a bulldog has turned aggressive or suddenly started biting.
So, can bulldogs bite? Bulldogs can bite and they have powerful jaws that can cause serious harm. However, with proper training and socialization, bulldogs will never bite unless they have a reason to. When they’re young, they will bite more often because they’re still teething. As they grow older, they might bite in self-defense if they were provoked or threatened.
Keep reading to learn more about whether bulldogs are naturally aggressive, what causes them to bite, and how to stop them from biting.
Are Bulldogs Naturally Aggressive?
If we look at the history of bulldogs, you will see that they were originally bred to fight bulls and other animals which caused them to develop aggressive tendencies.
However, that doesn’t mean that Bulldogs are aggressive by nature. They can be very territorial and protective, so they might show aggressive behavior if they feel any danger or threat coming toward them or their family.
Just like any other dog breed, Bulldogs are a product of their environment and upbringing. If they have received proper training and socialization from a young age, they would grow to be loyal and affectionate companions. You can learn more about the natural temperament and how friendly bulldogs actually are here.
Why Do Bulldogs Bite?
The thought of bulldogs biting their owners or other people can be very scary. It’s something that does happen often but never without a proper cause.
Like all dogs, bulldogs naturally go through a biting phase when they’re puppies because they’re still teething. They will eventually grow out of that phase by the time they’re 12 months of age.
If the bulldog is still biting when it’s older, then the problem usually comes down to 3 main causes:
- The first cause is that the bulldog just never received proper training, so it just never learned not to bite.
- The second cause is that the bulldog feels threatened or provoked, so it will usually bite in self-defense or to protect its owner.
- The third cause is that the bulldog is jealous or afraid of another dog coming into its territory, so it will usually bite in self-defense or to assert dominance. If the bulldog is biting other dogs, then that usually means that they have never been properly socialized when they were young.
How Strong Are Bulldog Bites?
Bulldogs are fairly large with a strong build. They also have extremely powerful jaws that can lock down and cause serious harm.
Although they do not have very sharp teeth, they have a bite force that ranges between 210 and 305 pounds per square inch (PSI)
The PSI basically denotes how much force is applied by the dog’s teeth on one square inch. This amount of force is considered strong enough to break through skin and bones.
How to Stop Bulldogs from Biting?
There are various ways you can stop your bulldog but it all starts with your dog receiving proper socialization and training at a young age. Also, keep in mind that the key to success in getting your dog to behave in a certain way is consistency and patience.
Now, let’s take a look at some strategies that will help you stop your dog from biting.
13 Strategies to Stop Your Bulldog from Biting
1. Socialize Your Dog at A Young Age
As mentioned before, one of the main causes for bulldogs to bite is a lack of proper socialization.
The purpose of socialization is to teach your dog not to perceive other dogs or humans as a threat which affects how the dog behaves in public with others and helps prevent it from developing aggressive behavior. It will also help you establish a healthier and stronger bond with your dog.
To properly socialize your dog, you need to start at a very young age and allow your dog to interact with different environments, scents, sounds, animals, and people.
The best way to do that is to take your dog for daily walks in a busy park. Another way is to take it to socialization events which are often held by pet shelters so that various owners can bring their dogs to meet other dogs.
2. Make Sure to Curb the Behavior When the Dog Is Young
It might seem cute at the beginning when your bulldog puppy bites and snaps, but this kind of behavior can escalate dangerously as the dog grows older. So, it’s best to curb this kind of behavior while the dog is still young by providing proper training and discipline.
While it’s not impossible to get your bulldog to stop biting when it’s older, it’s definitely more challenging as all dogs are more open to behavioral changes when they’re younger.
3. Catch and Discipline Your Dog During the Act
If you’re trying to stop your bulldog from biting, you need to catch your dog during the act and discipline it.
That is because it will be a lot more effective to interrupt the negative behavior while it’s still in progress and replace it with the desired behavior using the proper discipline techniques. If you wait too long to discipline the dog, you are likely to make it confused.
So, when your bulldog bites you, you need to immediately command it to stop using a firm tone. You can reintroduce the part of you the dog bit to see how it would react.
If the bulldog only licks and doesn’t bite, then you need to praise it and give it a treat for not repeating the negative behavior. If the bulldog bites again, then you need to repeat the previous command until they learn that this behavior is unacceptable.
4. Use a Firm Tone When Commanding Your Dog
When your bulldog starts biting, you need to find a way to let it know that this behavior is unacceptable and that you are not happy with it.
The best way to do this is to give the dog direct commands using words like “Stop” or “No”. You also need to keep your tone firm so that your dog knows that you’re serious about the situation,
There’s no need to yell at your dog or raise your voice all as long as you’re using the right kind tone when disciplining or commanding your dog. In fact, avoid yelling by all means since it usually has the opposite effect on your dog as it will make the dog feel threatened and cause it to bite more.
5. Use Positive Reinforcement Technique to Discipline Your Dog
The most effective discipline technique for getting bulldogs to stop biting is positive reinforcement.
This technique involves identifying the thing that motivates your dog the most, whether it’s treats, toys, or words of praise, then using that thing as a reward to encourage your puppy to continue displaying the desired behavior.
Keep in mind that positive reinforcement is more effective if it’s used to discipline the dog when it shows desired behavior only. If you start giving your dog a reward for no reason, you are likely to diminish the effect of the discipline technique and confuse the dog more.
6. Ignore Your Dog as Punishment for Bad Behavior
If you want to punish your bulldog for biting, you need to avoid using any kind of violence such as hitting or yelling harshly at your dog as this will only cause the dog to feel threatened and bite more.
Keep in mind that aggressive behavior from you will always result in equally aggressive behavior in your dog.
So, the proper way to punish your dog’s bad behavior is to simply ignore the dog and walk away. This method is very effective because bulldogs are sociable animals, they love getting attention and they’re always eager to please their owners.
Once you stop giving your dog attention whenever it displays negative behavior, it will eventually understand that you’re not happy and will start improving its behavior to please you.
7. Use A Squirt Bottle as Punishment for Bad Behavior
Another effective way to punish your bulldog’s bad behavior without resorting to violence is to use a squirt bottle to spray your dog with water whenever it starts biting.
The water spray is completely harmless so it will not cause any physical damage to your dog, it’s only meant to cause a little discomfort and let your dog know that you are not pleased with its behavior.
With repetition, your dog will learn to associate the bad behavior with getting sprayed with water and will eventually stop misbehaving to avoid the punishment.
8. Keep A Close Eye on Your Dog’s Body Language
You need to fully understand your bulldog’s body language so that you can predict in advance how it’s going to behave in certain situations and act accordingly.
Some signs you need to look out for in your dog are:
- Baring its teeth
- Lowering its head
- Barking and growling
- Pulling its ears back completely
- Holding its tail in an upright rigid position
- Moving its back and forth rapidly
If you notice any of these signs in your dog’s body language, this means that the dog is not comfortable or afraid. So, you will need to remove your dog from the situation and give it time to calm down, otherwise, its behavior will escalate to aggression and it will start biting.
9. Exercise Your Dog Regularly to Help It Release Energy
Sometimes bulldogs might display aggressive behavior because they have too much pent-up energy that they need to release.
So, make sure to exercise your dog regularly to give it a healthy outlet for all that pent energy and prevent it from becoming aggressive. You can exercise your dog by taking walks or playing any game that involves physical activity.
10. Keep Your Dog Away from Stressful Situations
There are some situations that might be stressful for your bulldog causing it to feel uncomfortable or even scared. It’s best to be aware of these situations and keep your dog away from them as much as possible to avoid having your dog become aggressive.
However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t introduce your dog to new situations, rather, it’s a matter of being prepared for your dog’s reaction and acting accordingly to quickly prevent their behavior from escalating to aggression.
11. Give Your Do Something Else to Chew On
When Bulldogs are young and teething, they will often bite and chew on anything they come across, including your hand and other parts of your body.
It’s recommended to curb this kind of behavior early on while giving them an alternative to chew and bite so that they can still develop healthy teeth.
There are various kinds of dental chew toys and treats that you can give your dog while it’s teething and even when it’s older.
12. Consider Seeking a Professional Trainer for Your Dog
If your bulldog’s biting problem persists after you have tried disciplining your dog multiple times, then it might be a good idea to seek a professional trainer to help you correct your dog’s behavior.
This will also be ideal if you do not have enough time to train your dog or do not know the right ways to discipline it.
13. Consider Consulting A Vet About Your Dog
If your bulldog’s biting problem persists, it’s also a good idea to consult a vet as there’s a chance that your dog is suffering from certain diseases that are causing it to become aggressive and bite.
A vet might also recommend neutering your dog as this procedure can help reduce aggressive tendencies in dogs.
Are Bulldogs Hard to Train?
Bulldogs are not hard to train. They are highly intelligent which makes them fast learners. They are also very eager to please their owners which makes them more open to responding to commands. However, keep in mind that the training process will be a lot easier if you start while your dog is at a young age.
Are Bulldogs Safe to Have Around Children?
Bulldogs are good around children as long as they are properly trained and socialized from a young age. However, you still need to supervise all interactions between your children and your dog. You also need to be aware of the risks that come with having a dog around your children because accidents can still happen.
Using Punishment Effectively – How to discipline your dog
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