Basic Commands to Teach Your Bulldog Puppy

Five simple words to help train your puppy.

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Start leash training soon after your Bulldog puppy comes home. Simply attach his leash to his buckle collar and let him drag it around for a little while every day. Play a puppy game with the leash on. Make wearing his leash a happy moment in your dog's day. If he chews the leash, distract him with a play activity.

After a few days, you will be ready to try walking together. For this, you will want to put the small choke collar on your puppy. Be sure that you have been shown how to put it on and use it properly. Hold a treat lure at your Bulldog puppy's eye level to encourage him to walk next to you. Pat your knee and use a happy voice. Use the phrase "Lets go!" as you move forward, holding the treat low to keep him near. Take a few steps, give the treat and praise. Move forward just a few steps each time.

Keep these sessions short and happy, a mere 30 seconds at a time (that's long in puppy time). Never pull on the lead, thus dragging your dog around with the choke collar; rather, just encourage him with happy talk. Walk straight ahead at first, adding wide turns once he gets the hang of it. Progress to 90-degree turns, a happy verbal "Lets go!" and, of course, a treat. You will always use only gentle leash tugs so that the choke collar quickly releases after tightening. Walk in short 10- to 20-second bursts with a happy break (use a release word like "OK") and brief play (hugs will do nicely) in between. Always quit with success, even if just a few short steps.

This will probably be the most complicated of the five basic commands to teach, as dogs view the down position as a submissive one. Place your dog in the sit position, kneel down next to him and place your right hand under his front legs and your left hand on his shoulders. As you say "Down," gently push his front legs out into the down position. As soon as his elbows reach the floor, give him a treat, talk gently to him, stroke his back so that he will be comfortable and then praise him. Once he knows the down well, teach him to stay in the down position using the same method as with the sit/stay.

The recall, or come command, is probably the most important for your dog's safety. If your dog escapes from the yard, breaks his leash or otherwise gets away from you or is nosing around in something harmful, his reliable response to your call could save his life. Always practice the come command on leash and in a safely confined area. You can't afford to risk failure or the pup will learn he does not have to come when called, and you want his response to be reliable.

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