Bulldog puppies love nipping and biting. While this may seem playful at first, it can get out of hand if you don’t train your pet as early as possible. Puppy biting is often a precursor to other behavioral problems if not addressed. Still, you should be patient as your Bulldog pup is yet to master the art of play etiquette. Knowing how to train a Bulldog puppy not to bite may take weeks, but it’s a necessary process to raise a well-rounded doggo.
Puppy teething and biting
Before you conclude that your pup has a behavioral problem, you should first check if it’s still teething. Like babies, Bulldog pups will experience teething in their first months. Its first set of daggers will come out on its second week of life. The puppy teeth will continue to sprout until the sixth week.
As the teeth come out, your Bulldog pup will have an unbearable urge to bite and chew. This is to ease the sore gums, which is part of the teething process.
At this point, it’s best to wait until the teeth have all come out. You should give your pup chew toys, so it won’t vent its little chewers on your skin or belongings.
However, your Bulldog’s puppy teeth will fall off once it reaches 8 to 12 weeks. This is to give way to the growth of its permanent set of dog teeth. Again, this will cause agonizing discomfort to your Bulldog, which will result in biting.
Chewing and biting are normal for young pups, but it’s something you can train away with the right technique. Below, I listed a few tips that will help curb your Bulldog’s biting habits.
How to train a Bulldog puppy not to bite
Biting is a common problem among dogs, not just Bulldogs. To help correct this behavior, you can start with the following tips:
1. Use your hands
One of the most popular methods pet owners uses bite inhibition. This involves letting the dog bite their hand then exaggerating a hurt reaction. It has seen excellent results among pet owners and dog trainers.
You can do this by playing or feeding your Bulldog using your hands. If your pup bites your hand, make it limp and yelp in pain. Make sure that your reaction will startle the dog. This will let the Bulldog pup that what he did is painful or uncalled for.
After making this reaction, you should stop anything you and your dog are doing. This sudden change in behavior from your end will signal the dog that what it did was wrong.
You may need to sacrifice your hand for a few bites to teach your pup that biting isn’t a proper reaction. As much as you’d want to, I don’t recommend using gloves since this won’t let you feel the pain of the bite. Your dog may also associate the gloves with biting since you don’t react in most of them.
Aside from that, never pull your hand away the moment your dog bites. This will just cause your Bulldog to bite even more as an instinctive response of not letting their prey escape. While English Bulldogs have a low prey drive, this instinct is hard-wired in almost every breed.
2. Utilize toys
Nothing can stop a teething Bulldog puppy from biting and chewing. It’s their way of easing their sore gums, and punishing them for it will just cause more problems.
Instead, you should channel the biting behavior into chew toys. This will teach your pup where to and where not to bite.
Biting is a dog’s instinct, so you should let your Bulldog pup let loose from time to time. You can get one of those rope toys that you can use to play tug with your pup. Chew bones will also work, but you should always supervise your pup whenever it’s on the treat.
Also, it will help a lot to reward your pup if it bites and chews the toy and not your skin. Over time, your doggo will learn that leaving people and other pets alone is a rewarded behavior.
3. Provide socialization
Another important thing that you should do to curb biting is to socialize your Bulldog. The more your pup is desensitized to various stimuli, the more it will be disciplined and laidback. This way, your pup won’t consider biting as its first response when placed in an unfamiliar situation.
Socializing a Bulldog puppy will also help tone down other aggressive tendencies. It’s a must for every pet owner to ensure that the doggo will not pose harm to other people and animals.
However, you should know that bite inhibition is different from socialization. Nevertheless, you need to do both.
4. Stop playtime
One way to teach your Bulldog pup the consequence of biting is stopping anything fun they are currently enjoying. If the bite happened during playtime, yelp in pain, then walk away. Make sure that you lock away the pup’s toys as well. This is a solid message that will teach your dog that biting is wrong.
Over time, your pup will pick up this pattern and stop biting. In case it tries to put its teeth on you to taunt you, say a firm ‘no’. If the pup lets go of your skin, praise it or give it a treat.
Also, you should always be the one to start playtime. Never give in to your dog’s urging, like carrying a toy to your spot or initiating rough play. If you do so, your Bulldog pup will learn that he can push you around. That’s something you wouldn’t want to happen as the alpha of the pack.
5. Use a bitter spray
For Bulldog puppies that just won’t stop biting, a bitter apple spray will usually do the trick. This spray is non-toxic and marketed as a biting solution for dogs. You just have to spray a small amount on your skin. When your pup bites, it will taste the awful flavor. Over time, your doggo will find your skin unappealing, which will help stop the biting habit.
However, bitter apple sprays aren’t the sole solution to the behavioral problem of your Bulldog. Training is still the permanent fix. While your Bulldog puppy may stop biting you, it can vent its nippy behavior somewhere else.
6. Provide ample mental stimulation
Sometimes, Bulldog puppies will resort to biting and chewing when it’s bored. This is why you should give your dog mental exercise to keep its mind off biting.
For Bulldogs, playing fetch, learning a new trick, and interactive toys are excellent options. This dog doesn’t need a lot of exercise, so always choose low-impact activities that you can do inside your home.
Another trick I do with my Bulldog is to rotate his toys. This way, he always has something to look forward to during playtime, unlike having all toys in the open.
Also, I make my dog work for his food. I bought him a KONG toy that I stuff with treats. This way, my Bulldog pup has to work on the toy to get the food out. It also makes the treats last longer. And instead of biting me or the other pets at home, my pup will be busy licking, chewing, and pawing on his tasty toy.
7. Start obedience training
Obedience training is necessary if you want to stop your Bulldog pup from biting. You should start with basic ‘Sit’, ‘Stay’, ‘Come’, and ‘Leave it’ commands that will do wonders for your pet. It will also give you more control over the canine and its biting habits.
When training a Bulldog puppy, you have to practice more patience. Unlike other breeds, Bulldogs can have stubborn streaks. The key here is showering them with food rewards and keeping the training session short.
You can also seek the help of a professional trainer. Nevertheless, there are many online resources that you can use to train your dog at home. This will save you a lot of money while boosting the bond between you and your pup.
Also, to avoid confusing your dog, always use short cue words that are easy to pick up. You should also follow the cue word with your dog’s name. For example, you should say ‘Sit, Marley!” instead of just ‘Sit!’. Saying your dog’s name will attract its attention, and it will let the pup know that you’re communicating with him.
8. Never use punishments
Some pet owners tend to hit their dogs when it bites. This is the biggest mistake you can ever do. Instead of stopping your dog’s biting, violence will just fuel it further.
Your dog will not understand why you’re hitting him. And as an instinct, it will defend itself by biting more. Even laidback breeds like English Bulldogs can do this if they are raised in a violent and negligent household.
You can ask every pet trainer in the world, and they will agree with one thing: physical punishment is not the way to go. I know that getting dog bites all the time is annoying. However, there are more effective solutions you can explore to fix the problem. You’ll never go wrong with training and positive reinforcement, whether it’s puppy biting or other behavioral problems.
9. Send your dog to time out
If your Bulldog pup bites you, you can send it to time out. It could be being placed in the playpen for 10 minutes or in a separate room. By taking your dog away from the fun, it will learn the consequences of biting.
Also, the time alone will give your Bulldog the chance to tone down its energy. After a few minutes, you can let the dog out and try resuming playtime. If the dog bites again, stop playtime at once and hide the toys.
However, never use your dog’s crate for a time-out. Doing so will make your dog associate the crate with a negative experience. This is something you wouldn’t want to happen since dog crates are integral in curbing separation anxiety and performing potty training.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do Bulldog puppies bite a lot?
A: It’s normal for puppies to bite a lot due to teething. But in general, Bulldogs aren’t really notorious chewers or biters unless they have a bad case of separation anxiety. Either way, training will go a long way in curbing negative behavior.
Q: How long does it take to train a puppy not to bite?
A: It depends on how often you train your dog and the method of training you’re using. Starting early will yield better results since a young pup is easier to discipline. They are yet to develop their habits and responses to various stimuli, so their habits are easier to shape. Overall, a few weeks to several months is a give-and-take timeline for training.
Q: Why is my Bulldog puppy biting me aggressively?
A: A Bulldog that bites and draws blood is showing its dominance. This isn’t a good sign if you want to be the alpha. You have to train your dog and take action immediately to prevent further biting, especially if you’re always expecting guests.
Q: Should I worry if my Bulldog puppy bites me?
A: If your Bulldog pup has been vaccinated properly, there’s nothing you should worry about. However, if the dog is unvaccinated and the bite breaks the skin, I suggest going to the doctor. You can also consider updating your anti-rabies shots to be sure.
Q: What should I do if my Bulldog pup bites and draws blood?
A: In case a pup bites you, and it bleeds, you should wash the wound right away with running water and soap. You should also cover it with a sterile bandage before you go to the doctor. You can also use an over-the-counter antibiotic cream or, better yet, a prescribed medication from the doctor.
Knowing how to train a Bulldog puppy not to bite takes patience. Just remember that punishment and violence have no place in training or raising a canine. Positive reinforcement and consistent training are the best solutions to stop your pup from being a notorious biter.