Archive for the “Choosing Your English Bulldog” Category
Choosing Your English Bulldog.
A puppy is a blank slate. She is the result of her genetics and the care she’s received as a baby, but other than that, she’s just ready for the world. An adult English Bulldog, on the other hand, is already formed. What you see is what you’re going to get.
The adult English Bulldog also has a history. Perhaps she was in a loving home and lost that home due to a divorce or a death in the family. She may have been in a home where she was neglected or even mistreated. The things that happened to her have shaped who she is. She may always be worried about large men with sticks in their hands, or she may always be attracted to older women.
If you decide to adopt an adult Bulldog, it’s important to find out as much as you can about the dog and her first home so that you can help her make the adjustment to your home. For example, if the shelter people say she appears to be afraid of brooms, once she’s in your home, ask a trainer or behaviorist for help desensitizing her to brooms.
Tests used on baby puppies do not work on adult dogs; so when adopting an adult Bulldog, you need to rely on any information you can get from the people who have been caring for her. Then, before you make a decision, spend some time with the dog. Take her for a walk. Sit on the grass and give her a belly rub. Toss a toy for her to play with. Get to know her before you make any big decision. After all, this doe will be a part of your family for years to come.
No Comments »
Service English Bulldog trainers have developed puppy tests that help them evaluate puppies’ responses to specific stimuli and choose puppies for certain service dog work. The service dog trainers are then able to train only those dogs who have the temperament, character, and personality traits that are best suited for service dog work.
Although Bulldogs are rarely used as service dogs, puppy tests can help you, too, because these tests can help you choose the best dog for you, your family, and your goals for the dog. The tests are best done when the puppy is 6 to 7 weeks old. Many breeders do puppy tests, so if your breeder does, just ask if you can watch. If they normally don’t test the puppies, ask if you can do it. They may just be interested enough in the results to let you try.
Look at the Whole Litter
On a sheet of paper, list all the English Bulldog puppies. If several look alike, put different color ribbons on them. Now, without getting involved (no petting or playing), just watch the entire litter. There may be three or four puppies in a Bulldog litter. By 6 weeks of age, the puppies will be playing with each other, bouncing around, tripping over each other and their own clumsy paws.
As you watch, make some notes about their behavior. The boldest English Bulldog puppy, who is often also the biggest, is usually the first to do anything. She is the first to the food, the first to check out a new toy, and the first to investigate anything new. She would not be a good choice for someone who lives alone and works long hours, nor would she be a good dog for someone with a less-than-dominant personality.
Bulldogs rarely have fearful personalities, but it can happen. The fearful English Bulldog puppy will sit in the corner by herself, just watching what her brothers and sisters are doing. She may duck her head. Although some fearful puppies can come out of their shell with a calm, caring, knowledgeable owner, these dogs usually retain some of their fear their whole lives. These dogs are not good for noisy, active households or for first-time dog owners.
Most puppies fall somewhere in between these two extremes. In one situation the puppy may be bold and outgoing, and in another she may fall back to watch. While you’re watching, look to see who is the crybaby, who is the troublemaker, and who always gets the toy. Jot down notes.
Now it’s time for the test.
English Bulldog Puppy Temperament Test
Have your paper at hand and make notes as you go along, or better yet, have someone else make notes for you. Test each English Bulldog puppy individually. Don’t look at your notes until you’re done.
Walk away. Place the English Bulldog puppy on the ground at your feet. Stand up and walk away. Does the puppy:
a) Follow you.
b) Put herself underfoot, climbing on your feet.
c) Do a belly crawl to follow you.
d) Ignore you and go the other direction.
Call the puppy. Move away from the English Bulldog puppy, then bend over and call her, spreading your hands and arms wide to encourage her. Does the puppy:
a) Come to you, tail wagging.
b) Chase you so fast that you don’t have a chance to call her.
c) Come slowly or crawl on her belly to you.
d) Ignore you.
Gentle restraint. Pick up the Bulldog puppy and gently roll her over so she’s on her back in your arms. Place a hand on her chest to gently restrain her for thirty seconds—no longer. Does she:
a) Struggle for a few seconds, then relax.
b) Struggle for the entire thirty seconds.
c) Cry, tuck her tail up, and perhaps urinate.
d) Struggle for fifteen seconds, stop, then look at you or look away.
Lifting. When the English Bulldog puppy is on the ground, place both hands under her rib cage and lift her paws off the ground for thirty seconds. Does the puppy:
a) Quietly accept it with just a little wiggling.
b) Struggle for at least fifteen seconds.
c) Accept it with a tucked tail.
d) Struggle for more than fifteen seconds.
Toss a ball. With the English Bulldog puppy close to you, show her a ball and then toss it just a few feet away. Does the puppy:
a) Dash after it, pick it up, and bring it back to you.
b) Bring it back but doesn’t want to give it back to you.
c) Go after it but does not pick it up, or gets distracted.
d) Pick it up but walk away.
Looking at the Results
There are no right or wrong answers. This is a guide to help you choose the right English Bulldog puppy for you – and even then, this is only a guide. English Bulldog puppies can change as they grow up.
The puppy who scored mostly As is a middle-of-the-pack dog in terms of dominance. This is not the most dominant puppy or the most submissive. If she also scored an A in the ball test, this puppy will suit most families with children or active couples. This Bulldog puppy should accept training well, and although she may have some challenges during adolescence, she will grow up to be a nice dog.
The English Bulldog puppy who scored mostly As and B’s will be a little more dominant, a little more pushy. If she scored a B or a D on the ball test, you may find training to be somewhat of a challenge.
The puppy who scored mostly B’s is a more dominant puppy. She could be a great working dog with the right owner. She needs an owner who has a more forceful personality; she is not the right dog for a passive person. She will need structured training from puppyhood on into adulthood.
The puppy who scored mostly C’s will need special handling as this puppy is very worried about life. She could, if pushed too far, bite out of fear. She needs a calm environment and a calm, confidant owner.
The English Bulldog puppy who scored C’s and D’s may have trouble bonding with people. However, if she finds the right owner, she will bond and will be very devoted. This puppy needs calm, careful, patient training.
The puppy who scored mostly D’s doesn’t think she needs people. She is very self-confident and will need to spend a lot of time with her owner so that she can develop a relationship. If she spends too much time alone, she may not bond with a person at all.
After looking at the English Bulldog puppies, figuring out the results, and perhaps narrowing the litter down to one or two puppies, now what? Which Bulldog puppy appeals to you the most? Which puppy keeps returning to you? Which one makes your heart go thump-thump? Which puppy makes you laugh out loud?
Although these tests can help narrow your choices, you still need to listen to your heart. So think logically and then let your heart work with your brain to choose the right English Bulldog puppy for you.
No Comments »
Don’t be in a hurry to find a English Bulldog. It may take a little time. If you see a hand-some, well-behaved Bulldog on a walk with her owners, ask them where they got her. They may be able to recommend a local breeder.
Check out local English Bulldog clubs, too. You can find these on an Internet search. For example, type “Bulldog club + (your city and state)” into a search engine. Go to a club meeting or two and introduce yourself. When they learn you’re serious about finding a good pet and companion, they will be more than willing to help you.
Once you have a few referrals to some breeders or rescue groups, call and ask for an appointment. Some may prefer to talk on the phone, while others may wish to meet you face to face. Ask the breeder a few questions: How long have you been breeding? Do you show your dogs? What health screenings do you do before breeding your dogs? What kind of sales contract do you use when selling your dogs?
Ask the rescue group some questions, too: Where did the dogs come from? How much do you know about the dogs? Do the dogs stay in foster homes or a kennel? Are the dogs spayed or neutered? Vaccinated? Microchipped?
The breeder or rescue volunteer will ask you some questions, too. Don’t try to tell them what you think they want to hear; answer the questions honestly. Some questions might be: Have you owned a Bulldog before? Or any dog? If so, what happened to that dog? Where do you live? Do you own your own home? If not, will your landlord allow a English Bulldog? Is there a homeowners’ association that might forbid a Bulldog? Do you have a securely fenced yard? Will the Bulldog live in the house or out in the yard? The answers to these and other questions will determine whether the breeder or rescue volunteer will let you have a dog.
Everyone loves puppies, right? Sure. But not everyone needs to live with a puppy or raise a puppy in order to have a great pet and companion. Sometimes the better choice may be an older puppy or an adult English Bulldog.
Bulldogs are good with children, but young, clumsy, untrained puppies and babies under 3 years are not a good combination. Neither is mature enough to comprehend the limitations of the other. If there are children under 3 years of age in your family, I suggest you look for a puppy at least 6 months old, or a young adult dog. It is not true that a pup must grow up with a child to accept the child. A little time and a little patience and even an older dog can be taught.
If you are busy, have some physical limitations, or are short of patience, you may want to consider an adult dog rather than a puppy. Puppies are cute and snuggly, but they require a great deal of supervision, socialization, training, and patience.
You had your heart set on a white puppy, but there are no white puppies. Should you look further for the white puppy? If the only thing that’s preventing you from selecting one puppy from a litter is color, I suggest you pick the one who pleases you most in this particular litter.
Color really is not important, and soon you will have forgotten you ever wanted a white one as the brindle one (or the brown one or the red and white one) finds her way into your heart.
Male or Female English Bulldog?
Should you get a male or a female? Both sexes make equally good pets, and neutering the male or spaying the female prevents many problems as your English Bulldog grows older. So often it is a purely personal decision as to what sex to get. Many men prefer female dogs because they feel a stronger bond with a female, and many women prefer a male dog.
If possible, get to know a few Bulldogs before you make any decision and see if either sex appeals to you more. You may be surprised.
No Comments »
English Bulldog Rescue
Almost all breeds now have organizations dedicated to finding homes for dogs of their breed. English Bulldogs lose their homes for various reasons. Perhaps a person bought a Bulldog puppy without first researching the breed and realized later that this was not a good match for their lifestyle. A English Bulldog’s owner may have passed away, or perhaps a couple divorced and neither wanted or could take the dog. Sometimes a Bulldog ends up in rescue because the owner didn’t train their dog, socialize her, or teach her any household manners and now the dog has some problems.
Rescue groups evaluate the dogs coming into their program and then try to match them with new owners. They will ask you to fill out an application and supply a few references, just as breeders do. Although the rescue group may not be able to tell you much about the dog’s genetic background, the evaluation process is usually pretty thorough, and they should be able to tell you whether the dog is housetrained, has any behavior problems, or is good with kids.
Adopting a dog from rescue is the choice for many people because not every-one wants a puppy. Lots of people also like the idea of saving a dog in need. By taking a dog who needs a home, they get a new family member and provide a needy dog with a secure, safe place to live.
Dogs end up in shelters for many of the same reasons they end up in rescue programs. The primary difference between getting a dog from a rescue program and a shelter is that the people who work in a Bulldog rescue program know the breed and can evaluate the dog thoroughly. Shelters take in dogs of all breeds and mixes and of all ages, and are focused on getting those dogs adopted. They often cannot evaluate a dog as thoroughly as a rescue group can, and because the dogs live in runs rather than homes, their behavior is often unknown.
Shelters are also as good or as bad as the community that supports them. Some are wonderful, with caring employees and volunteers who keep the runs clean and give the animals as much attention as they can. Other shelters are horrible.
Ideally, a dog adopted from a shelter will be evaluated behaviorally, spayed or neutered, microchipped for identification, and up to date on all vaccinations.
Free to Good Home English Bulldogs
Have you heard the saying, “If you get something for free, that’s exactly what it’s worth”? Why on earth would someone give away a Bulldog? Especially a English Bulldog puppy? When females have small litters and need surgical help to give birth, puppies are too valuable to give away!
Any English Bulldog offered for free should be viewed with skepticism. That cute puppy may be a Bulldog, but more likely she is a Bulldog mix. It’s unlikely the puppy had any vaccinations or was given a health check before appearing in the cardboard box outside the grocery store. The half-grown puppy advertised in the classified ads for free was probably ignored in the backyard and so is not house-trained, is a rowdy teenager, and has no social skills.
A English Bulldog offered for free is rarely a bargain. Dealing with already established behavior problems can be tough, plus the lack of history about the dog can make living with her difficult. The lack of any health information is also hard: Does she need vaccinations or not? Has she been spayed? Does she have any inherited health problems?
If you wish to save a Bulldog in need, especially one who might be facing death, that’s fine. Just make sure you understand all the potential problems before you do so.
No Comments »
Before you can bring a English Bulldog home, you must find one. Bulldogs are not a prolific breed. Compared with other breeds, English Bulldog litters are usually small, and most puppies must be delivered by cesarean section. The demand for puppies generally is greater than the supply. Have patience; your Bulldog is worth waiting for. Take time to find the puppy who is just what you have been dreaming about and enjoy the complete and nonjudgmental love and devotion that dog will offer.
A reputable breeder is someone who breeds a specific breed of dogs and knows about their breed, has studied the genetics of dog breeding, and chooses the sire (father) and dam (mother) of each litter carefully.
Reputable breeders usually show their dogs in conformation dog shows so that the judges (who are also breeders) can evaluate their dogs. They will also have the necessary health checks done before breeding their dogs.
Most English Bulldog breeders are sincere, honest people. They care about the welfare of their dogs and want only the best for you and the dog. A breeder who really cares about their dogs will screen potential buyers carefully because they are concerned about the future of their puppies. You may be asked to fill out an application and will be asked for references. If you don’t sound like a good match for one of the puppies, the breeder will not sell you one. Don’t take this personally. The breeder is not saying you’re a bad person. They are simply saying that perhaps a Bulldog is not the right dog for you.
How do you find a reputable breeder? If you know someone who has a wonderful Bulldog, ask them where they got their dog. Ask the American Kennel Club for its list of breeders, or ask the Bulldog Club of America, which will direct you to breeders in your part of the country.
If you buy a puppy (or dog) from a reputable breeder, they will be there for you in the future. They will be able to answer questions about their dogs and the breed in general, and will be able to guide you as your English Bulldog grows through puppyhood and on into old age. The breeders of several of my dogs have turned into lifelong good friends.
A backyard breeder is someone who has bred their dog but does not have the knowledge (or desire, or energy, or finances) to do what is necessary to produce the best dogs possible. Pet owners who pay a lot of money for their English Bulldog sometimes decide to try to earn that money back by breeding the dog and selling the pups. These breeders do not research the pedigrees of their dogs to deter¬mine whether they are suitable breeding candidates, and the tests that can help predict the soundness of puppies are not done.
Sometimes a litter “appears” when the female has not been spayed and no efforts are made to keep her confined when she comes into season. The puppies may or may not be purebred, and the father (or fathers) of the litter may not be known.
Backyard breeders can produce some very nice puppies; it’s happened before and will happen again. Unfortunately, they may also have less to offer you, especially when it comes to knowledge and experience. If you have problems with your puppy, will that person be able to help you?
No Comments »
The English Bulldog you choose to join your family will be a vital part of your life for the next ten to twelve years. English Bulldogs don’t like to be ignored. This is not a dog who can be left in the backyard all the time or who will sleep quietly on a cushion as life goes on around her. Bulldogs like to be in the middle of everything, and will be!
It’s very important that you choose the right Bulldog for you and your family. Although all Bulldogs have characteristics in common – short muzzles and a tendency to snore, for example – they also have individual personalities. Make an educated, well-researched choice and bring home the English Bulldog who will best suit your needs.
No Comments »