Having a well-mannered American Bully is essential to providing your dog with a long and happy life. Bully dog breeds often have a poor reputation for bad behaviour.
While this is not actually true, you will need to protect your American Bully by ensuring that he knows how to navigate the world safely.
If you’re wondering how to train an American Bully, you’ve come to the right place.
To be able to do this successfully, you will need to understand what traits an American Bully has and what kind of training that you should do with your dog to have a long and happy life with your dog.
American Bully Traits
Let’s start with what the American Bully breed is actually like. The breed itself is a more recent breed, having popped up in the 1990s, after the dog breeds the American Pit Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the English Bulldog, and the Staffordshire Bull Terrier were crossed.
The result of the cross is a highly intelligent dog that works well within a family. They do have a lot of energy, however, making proper training all the more important to your household and lifestyle.
Here’s How To Train Your American Bully: Basic Dog Training
Before we get into the specifics of training a bully dog breed, let’s go over the basics of dog training that apply to every breed of dog.
The first thing to know is that training a dog is not just teaching basic commands or tricks. Proper training happens on a neurological level.
As the dog trainer, you need to remember that you need to be patient and that time is of the essence.
You should start training your dog as soon as you can after adopting the dog. That way, you don’t set into bad habits that you have to break again later.
But, it is never too late to try, it just may require more work if you have already lived with your dog for a long time.
You will need to have a good collar and leash available for your dog as well. This means a leash and collar that is appropriate for a bully breed, not just ones based on what you think looks the best.
Bully breeds are stout and muscular, so your leash and collar need to be strong and durable. The collar needs to fit right as well.
Do not go for the choke, prong, or even shock collars that are often associated with these breeds. Those only provide negative reinforcement.
Ultimately, consistency is the key. Do not change what words demand the movement. You will have better success with sticking with one word for each command. Here are some of most basic commands.
This is the standard command to start with, because it is pretty natural for your dog to do and important that your dog does. It keeps the dog calm and prevents him from jumping around. This is how you teach it.
- Have a reward handy and make sure that the dog knows that you have it.
- Standing in front of your dog, make sure that your dog is looking at you.
- Tell your dog the command sit.
- With your dog’s eyes on the treat hidden in your fist, follow an imaginary line that leads over his head and behind him.
Your dog may not get the action immediately, so keep trying until he does sit and then reward him.
After your dog can sit, you will need to make sure he can stay put. This is important if there are other people around or if you need to keep your dog away from something or someone. This is how.
- While your dog is already sitting give him the stay Count to three and then release your dog. Add time on to how long you ask your dog to sit before releasing him.
- Then, once your dog is good at the sit/stay movement, then you need to give the same command and then move away from the dog. Don’t rush this phase. Just take a step away at a time before counting, and then rewarding your dog.
- You will need to add variables and distractions after your dog has mastered staying as you move away from him for longer periods of time. The goal is to simulate what he will be facing in real life.
Having your dog lay all the way down is another essential basic command and if your dog is able to sit and stay, down will be easy. It is a natural progression to do sit and then
- Start by asking your dog to sit. After your dog listens and does the movement, then use your down You should point to the ground at the same time. If your dog doesn’t move, make sure the dog knows you have a treat and then lower your hand to the ground.
- When your dog lies down, give him the treat and lots of celebratory praise.
Come or Here:
If your dog is in a situation where you need your dog to come back to you for one reason or another, you will want to call him back over to you.
- Start by putting a treat down on the ground, under your shoe. Shout here or come. Then you can show your dog the treat so they can come and claim it.
- Repeat this movement in different locations, trying to not use the treat. If doesn’t come without the treat, add the treat back in.
- Then, repeat the action while increasing the distance that you are calling him from. Always use positive reinforcement when he does make it back to you.
There are other commands that you might want to teach such as fetch, jump, heel, find, and drop it, but it depends on your needs as a dog owner as to which ones that you might need to have in the future.
Training Your American Bully
Now that your American Bully knows all of the standard commands, it is time to train him in the more specific way that is geared for bullies themselves.
These commands can be more like party tricks, such as playing dead, or can be more practical like getting your dog to safely run next to a bicycle.
The biggest thing to remember with the other types of training is that bully breeds really need to have their basic needs met before they can be expected to follow commands seriously.
The breed is athletic and muscular, which also means that they can be prone to obesity if not exercised well and their mood will also be affected.
Swimming is an excellent way to keep your bully in shape as well and it is nice and light on their joints.
Positive Versus Negative Reinforcement
When you are training your dog, you need to make sure that you are using only positive reinforcement. This means that you provide praise and rewards for all of the good behaviour your dog does.
That way, your dog will understand what are the good things that he is doing and can learn to understand what you are expecting from him.
Negative reinforcement is reacting angrily or overly forcefully when your dog does not follow the command the way that you are expecting him to.
That does not show a clear understanding of what you had expected or tell the dog what he has done wrong.
Showing aggression toward your dog is not going to turn him into a better listener. This instead can make your dog aggressive himself or passive, depending on his personality.
Instead, when your dog does the wrong thing, just provide a basic “no” and leave it with that. You want to stick with the good and forget about the bad.
When you provide positive reinforcement when your dog follows your command, he will then provide more positive responses to you.
If you only use negative reinforcement, your dog will think that is the nature of your relationship and be trained to respond to that instead.
Another method that you might want to try out is the clicker method. Clicker training has been shown to be a safe and effective way to train dogs.
The clicker will make the dog look at you. If you ask something from your dog, use the clicker, and your dog does the intended action.
Then, you will be able to reward the good behaviour that your dog has exhibited. Clickers are commonplace and easy to find if that is something that you would like to try.
Beyond commands and positive reinforcement, there are some other skills that you need to teach your American Bully to do.
One that need to be trained early for your own sanity is house breaking, or potty training. Dogs by nature do not want to urinate within their living space. It is not a natural thing. But as babies, they are still working things out.
You need to start by showing puppies that relieving themselves in the house is a bad idea. The key to successful housebreaking is consistency and patience.
You will not house break your bully puppy in a day, a week, or maybe even a month.
As he gets bigger and his bladder gets stronger and larger, your need to take him out as frequently will decrease, but he will not be able to tell you that he needs to go out for a while.
If accidents happen indoors, as they will likely do, you need to clean it up immediately and use a proper pet cleaner to eliminate the scent. You do not want your dog to think that it is ok to keep going in the place that they had the accident.
To successfully train your American Bully puppy with potty training, take your puppy out regularly. Take him outside, walk him until he relieves himself, and then provide high praise.
Keep doing the same in the future. As he gets a little older, you will be able to see the signs that he needs to relieve himself and immediately take him outside.
Stick with the positive praise as well and he will begin to actively indicate to you that he needs out.
Another good way to teach obedience to your American Bully is through crate training. This is a nice way to help train a dog while still providing him with a safe and comfortable place. Your dog should learn to relax there in time as well.
The biggest key to crate training is that it is not meant as a punitive method. It is just a better place to keep your dog safe. A crate is not a timeout location.
A crate first needs to be large enough that your Bully can be comfortable in there. He needs to be able to move around, stretch his legs, and not feel super confined.
You should also have the crate in a communal space and not in a garage or somewhere out of sight. Your dog will still want to be included and know what is going on.
The crate should also have a blanket, toys, and some food, showing that the crate is a place for comfort and relaxation.
Never force your pup to go inside of the crate, but rather show him that it is a great place for him to be. Feed him with the door open and when he seems comfortable, you can then close the door.
Do not leave him for long at first. It is best to crate train the dog gradually until you can leave him there while you are out of the house or during the night.
Ultimately, you need to have a high level of trust from your American Bully before you can successfully train him. This means that you need to treat your dog with love and kindness.
He will learn those traits from you and will become loyal. Your dog will know you have his best interests in mind and be able to take your commands willingly.
Through guidance and clear rules and expectations, your dog will know how you want him to behave and be able to show it.
Unfortunately, the bully breeds have a poor reputation and while the general population needs to be better educated about the breeds, it is up to you to ensure that your American bully shows the best traits about the dog.
You can improve how people feel about your dog and eliminate unfounded fear and provide him with good and consistent training. He will be safer, happier, and your life with your dog will be better with thorough training.