Every pet parent around the world wants to share a life with a well-mannered dog. That applies even more if you own a bully breed.
In recent history, Bully breeds have garnered some bad reputation. The reality is these dogs are affectionate and loving, but they do need some early socialization and obedience training. How to train American Bully?
Today, we will talk about everything you need to know about raising an impressively obedient dog. When properly trained and socialized, American Bullies adapt well to family life.
But before you even think about adopting an American Bully rescue or getting one from a reputable breeder, you have to know this is a very active dog.
Get to Know the American Bully
Before we talk about how to train American Bully, we have to talk a bit about the dog breed. First things first, the American Bully is not a recognized breed by the American Kennel Club.
Instead, it falls into the group of Pitbull dogs, which include the American Bully, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, American Staffordshire Terrier, and American Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
Out of all those, only the American Staffordshire Terrier is recognized by the American Kennel Club. The AKC wanted to recognize one breed and put everything else under that umbrella term. Why the Staffy? Because it has no history with dog fighting sports. The American Pit Bull terrier suffers from that bad reputation and history.
This is where it gets challenging with the American Bully. A lot of people think of it as the same as the American Pitbull Terrier. There is a difference.
And nowadays, the Pitbull terrier is nothing close to the dog fighting animal he was. Both of these are gentle, loving, affectionate, and well-mannered dogs.
When to Start?
No matter the dog breed you have, if you want an obedient dog, you have to start early on. That means the moment you bring your puppy home.
No matter if your new puppy is just several weeks old, begin training and instill good behavior habits and manners.
Obedience training should start as early as possible. Early training will help your dog establish good habits and understand the boundaries and expectations. There are always rules within the household, right? Well, only if you begin early, your puppy will be able to understand the boundaries.
Now, if you have a rescue Bully, start immediately as well. But be prepared for some setbacks. It is common for rescues to take some time to build trust with you and begin to communicate with their new dog owner.
You cannot know the full history of the dog. Some dogs might have gone through some traumatic experiences. It is your job as an owner to help your dog trust people again and build on that bond.
Are American Bullies Easy to Train?
Yes, American Bullies can be easy to train with the right methods, techniques, and experience. A dog owner who knows how to motivate his American Bully dog will go a long way in raising a well-mannered pet.
These dogs are intelligent, and they love to please their owners. Combine those two traits, and you have a Bully breed that is eager to learn. You just need the right motivation. We will talk more about it later on.
Now, some commands do not come naturally to them. For example, they are not a working dog breed. So, do not expect them to retrieve things or herd things. They are not a Golden Retriever or a Blue Heeler.
Yes, you might be able to teach them those commands eventually, but it will take patience.
What is the Best Way to Train your Bully?
When it comes to training an American Bully, the most important thing is consistency. You need to establish a routine. Set a training routine and stick to it. Dogs, American Bullies included, thrive on predictability.
That means your dog should know and expect when to train. You can set a routine for the same time every day. Or for example, training after every walk. Yet, we have to say, do not remember the important rule, Always Be Training!
American Bullies respond well to positive reinforcement techniques. The trick is finding what motivates your American Bully puppy.
But the premise is simple. You reward good behavior and reinforce the desired action from your dog. It encourages your pet to repeat the same behavior and action over and over again.
You can use treats, toys, verbal praise, affection, and more to reward your puppy.
Does Clicker Training Work?
Clicker training adds the use of a clicker to the positive reinforcement training. The small device with a button makes a click sound when pressed.
We often use a clicker to mark the exact moment the desired behavior occurs. Yes, clicker training can work with an American Bully puppy.
Instead of saying verbal praise like “good boy” and “good girl”, you click the clicker. But we do not recommend using a clicker as much.
Why? Well, because Bullies are motivated by different things.
What Motivates American Bullies?
The most important thing when training a dog is finding his motivation. What drives your puppy? What makes him go crazy and listen to every command you give?
For example, Jack Russells are motivated by toys and playing, namely games where they use their chasing prey instinct. Golden Retrievers and Labs are easily motivated by food. They will do anything for food.
When it comes to your American Bully pet, affection and toys work the best. I would say affection is the best motivation. These dogs live to make their pet parents proud. They will do anything to get a praise from you.
The trick is to be consistent when rewarding and praising your dog. And praise the exact moment the desired behavior occurs.
As for toys, American Bullies love to play with balls and tug toys.
Challenges of Training American Bullies
The biggest challenge with training an American Bully is you have to meet his basic needs before you can train. What does that mean? Well, an American Bully needs between 45 and 60 minutes of exercise per day.
Without meeting those needs, your dog will not be motivated to train and learn. You can combine playtime with training sessions for better results.
But never start a training session with basic commands before you provide some exercise.
Another thing to note is that these dogs are prone to obesity. Be careful with how you give dog treats, dog food, and similar rewards.
Let’s wrap it up with some training tips that will help you be successful.
Here are some basic tips for training dogs that work with American Bullies as well.
- Vary the tone of your voice when giving commands. Your dog will lose interest if he hears the same thing every time.
- Keep sessions short and fun, limiting them to somewhere between 5 and 10 minutes. Yes, you can have multiple training sessions per day, but keep them short.
- Always finish a training session with something your dog knows. Make sure your dog wins, so that your dog loves to train again and again.
- Be patient and positive. Do not raise your voice if your dog doesn’t follow the command. That will only make your dog anxious and negative toward training.