Socializing your English Bulldog


Have you ever experienced a dog that has cowered or even snapped at you while being approached? All the while, the owner of the dog explains that “Fifo just doesn’t like strangers”. More than likely, the dog in question was not introduced to a basic socialization program as a puppy.

A proper socialization program introduces and educates the young puppy about the world around them. The critical learning period for an English bulldog puppy is within the first 3-15 weeks of their life. It is both the breeder and owner’s responsibility to implement a comprehensive socialization program during this time period.

People

One of the first techniques we use is introducing our puppies to a select number of friends and family. We use extreme caution in the selection and screening process. Young bulldog puppies are vulnerable to disease pressure, especially before they are vaccinated. Before our English puppies are adopted, we at Bruiser’s Bulldogs ensure that they have met and interacted with a wide variety of people, especially children. This socialization technique should increase in intensity after the bulldog puppies have had their first vaccination shots. Well-known dog trainer, Ian Dunbar, MRCVS, believes that a puppy should meet 100 people, at least 20 of them children, before the pup is 12 weeks of age.

Touch

Another aspect of a proper socialization program is touch. A puppy should be familiar with touch in all areas of its body at a very young age. We like to focus on problem areas such as the feet, ears, and tail the most. It always makes me smile at the excuses dog owners often give when asked why their dogs have a negative response to someone touching their feet or ears. Outside of physical pain, the answer is almost always improper socialization.

Experiences

Lastly, we feel it is extremely important to introduce and control the new experiences of a puppy. A bulldog puppy needs to experience a bustling street corner while on a walk. It needs to see, smell and interact with fellow canine friends and other animals. It needs to feel the warmth of a gentle bath when it is dirty. These kinds of experiences are what mold, shape, and teach a bulldog puppy about life.

When I said to introduce, I also included the word control along with it. Control is important because the new experiences need to be positive for the puppy. The bulldog puppy needs to understand that the nail clippers or the vacuum won’t hurt them. As a breeder, we take the responsibility of positive experiences very seriously and hope to create a confident foundation in which our puppies can grow.