I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately on what basic commands people should be training their dogs. But honestly, there are 5 basics to train your Bully breed so that they end up being good dogs. Naturally, they’re good dogs to have as companions, but when your dog listens, it’s so much better. Especially when they listen to you.
Imagine, your dog runs out of the car when you stop somewhere. You notice that they start running for a busy street. If you never taught them to Come, they’ll keep running. However, if you’ve taught your Bully to come when you call them, then you can be assured they’ll listen.
This isn’t to say that training them is easy, in fact, it’s the opposite. You have to have a lot of patience to train dogs well. Being consistent is another important factor. In fact, those are the two most important factors when training your Bullies, patience and consistency.
Starting a Training Regime.
When you first start training your dog or puppy, if you know that you’re not a patient person, then you might want to look into classes instead. I’ve taken classes in the past for training puppies and they were well worth it. In the beginning, when I was younger, I did not know what I was doing.
Several pet stores offer training classes and they’re usually not super expensive. If you hire a professional to come to your home, you’re going to pay more money of course. So, if you’re on a budget, then books and online courses might help as well.
After you’ve assessed your own inner abilities, it’s time to start your training regime. I’d like to note, if you have kids, they will make it harder on you. I have two kiddos that often negate everything I do. They’re older, 11 and 13, so they allow my dog to do things I’m training them not to. If your kids are very young, you’re fine.
It’s important, if you have kids like I do, to attempt to train your kids what not to do during your training. This, my friends, takes A LOT of patience.
Okay, now let’s move on to what you’ll need on hand to start the training.
Things to Have on Hand Before Training.
If you’re like me, and you want to train your pup or dog through positive reinforcement, then you’ll need treats. Lots of them. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your Bully. Dogs learn better when they’re praised versus punished. They’ll love you and try everything to make you happy. Not because they fear you lashing out, but because they actually love you.
Treats. This is the most important part of training. Not just blah treats either. For Atlas, I take her to the pet store with me to shop for treats. I take her down the aisle, and I let her sniff her way around. Whatever treat bags she lands on, I’ll start grabbing them. Now, I don’t buy the entire store, and trust me, she’d want me to. Instead, once I have a few bags to start with, then I lay them out on the ground in front of her.
Whichever treat bag she really takes a sniffing to, those are the ones I’ll buy her. Side note – I do not buy fake or processed treats. Even if she’s sniffing them like crazy, I make sure that the treats are actually good for her. I don’t buy my dog McDonald’s over a salad. Even if she always wants McD’s. Sorry kid, not today.
Pass those up and move on the something more healthy. Their guts will thank you later, and the poop you have to clean up won’t be as disgusting.
Now that you have treats on hand, where do you start?
Basics to Train Your Bully.
This topic varies with every single dog training site out there. Some like to start with Come. Others like to start with Leave It. Personally, I always start with Sit.
Let me back track for a moment though. I want to mention, if you’re just bringing your puppy home, and they’re the average 8 weeks old, then the very first thing you should be training them is going potty outside. I’m going to run with this one first as the most important training you can do for your dog.
Training going potty outside is all about consistency. Consistency on taking him/her to the same exact spot every single time. You can not vary from this tip. When a puppy smells his/her own pee or poop, they’re more likely to understand what you’re asking them to do. Also, limit where they can go in the house between potty breaks. Puppies pee and poop a lot! On average, puppies pee about every 20-30 minutes. Younger than 8 weeks and it’s more like every 15 minutes.
Puppies need to poop about 10-15 minutes after they eat. You should be feeding your puppy about 3 times during the day. Be sure to time it to about the 15 minutes, then take them to their spot. Now, I tell my puppies, “Go potty outside.” After they go potty, I give them a TON of praise and lots of, “Good girl, you went potty outside! You went potty outside. Good girl.” I say this a few times. Yes, it’s silly, but it works.
Okay, back to the command, Sit. I start with this command, with every dog, every time. I think it’s because I want them to know that they need to focus on me. This allows them to be calm during training time. Once they’ve sat, all eyes and focus are on me. To start with any command, have your treats on hand.
You give the command first, “Name, Sit.” Gently push their bottoms to the ground. They’re going to be confused at first, that’s okay. You keep doing it. Keep saying, “Sit” and gently push their bottoms to the floor. Once they’ve stayed in a seated position, give lots of praise and the treat. Be happy when they’ve listened to you. Always give a lot of praise.
5 Basic Commands After Potty Outside.
I was going to move into advanced training in this article, but I’ve come to see that writing about training is making this a long-winded article. I haven’t even moved on to the 5 basic commands. Also note, please, please, please, teach them one at a time. Potty outside is a given, that takes time. You can teach them to sit while teaching them going outside.
But before you move onto Stay, they should be sitting on command. So, here’s the order I always follow with my dogs. Don’t ask me why I’ve always done this, but my dogs have all learned fast. The 5 basics to train your Bully are:
I go in this order for several reasons. First, I want my dog to know to sit so that I can calm them down when I need to. A dog sitting will allow them to focus their attention on me. They understand that I’m most likely about to give them another command.
Also teaching a dog to Stay will do several things. Think of having them in the car with you and you open the door to get out. Dogs are excited going with us wherever we go. Inevitably, your dog will most likely want to exit the car with you. But if you’re near a busy highway, them knowing to Stay will keep them safe. They won’t try to jump out, or run off.
Come is the next very important command. I teach dogs this after the stay command. Why? It’s really hard to teach your dog to Come when they chase after you with the treats. So, I teach Stay first, then Come.
Down is very important, so that’s next. If my dog is being crazy when it’s bed time, I want them to obey the Down command. I use other things with my dogs, and you might think it’s silly, but that’s okay. My dogs all know, “Night night.” Every single night, I tell them it’s Night night time. They know what it means. In the beginning, they don’t, so I teach Down first. After a couple of weeks of repeating, it’s Night night time, they know when it’s time to settle and go to bed.
Finally, Speak. Some dog trainers don’t teach this until advanced stages of training. However, I want my dogs to know when it’s not okay to Speak. If my kids are asleep in the next room over, the last thing I want is for my dogs to bark. So Speak comes early, when they’re puppies. When it’s not time to bark and play, I say, “No Speak.” They listen.
Final Words of Thought.
As you can see, it’s important to teach dogs certain, basic commands. Having them learn these commands early on is the best thing I’ve ever done for my dogs. I need them to know when it’s time to listen and obey, especially when I’m in a busy area.
Moving into advanced training after your pup knows the basics is pretty easy. Leash training is also important, so I train them while they’re young as well. Basics for leash training are Heel and Leave It. Heel trains them NOT to pull. I will note, my dogs are stubborn on the leash and they’re big. I’ve always bought a Gentle Lead to leash train them. I refuse to have a strong dog pull me. It’s my go to for leash training.
Leave it also teaches them not to attempt to eat strange things on the ground. Not going towards people that look scared of my dog. This is a command I always train them while we’re on walks. I’ll also note, I don’t throw out the 2 commands together. Heel and Leave It are 2 separate commands that I train them on. Heel is just to NOT pull. Leave It is exactly what it sounds like, Leave It alone.
After they understand the basics, then I can show my dogs other fun commands. They learn to Shake; my girls are working with Atlas to Spin. I’m also working with Atlas daily on a command that teaches her to be on alert. This teaches her when they’re sketchy people around and I want her guarding the kids. I think this command is very important for larger dogs. To know when I need her on high alert. Pointing with my hand also shows her where I think the danger is. I simply speak this command, pointing my hand in a direction and she’s on alert.
I want my dog to be happy, and in order for that to happen, they have to listen when we need them to. If my dog starts running, issuing the Come command brings her back. Not teaching your dog these basics can’t guarantee their safety.
Especially in busy places, I want to know my dog understands me and will listen.
Hopefully this has helped you to understand where to start with your puppy/dog. If you have any questions or suggestions, leave your comments below.