How to Socialize Your Bully Breed

posted: 05/15/12
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The key to all socializing is taking it slow and steady.

Bully breed dogs are naturally social animals who love being around people, but if they aren't properly socialized, they can become timid or develop unruly behavioral issues. As with any new pet, it's important to introduce your bully to all types of people as soon as possible so that strangers won't faze him. Unlike other dogs, however, bullies already have a strike against them due to misconceptions about their temperament, so it's especially crucial that your dog knows how to behave in public. In this article, you'll learn how to get started, tips for easy socialization, and how to introduce your bully to other dogs, too.

Socializing with People

It's essential that you establish a close bond with your bully before you worry about socializing him with other people. Spend the first few weeks getting him adjusted to his new surroundings and giving him lots of one-on-one attention. Once you have earned your bully's trust and admiration, you will have better results socializing him with other people.

To start, consider registering your bully for basic obedience lessons where he'll be around professional trainers who can work on any bad habits, such as jumping. After your bully has had time to learn a few basic commands, start introducing him to men, women, children, people of different races and sizes, men with facial hair, and people wearing scarves and heavy coats. Variety is the key to getting your bully used to different faces, and the more he's around all types of people, the more comfortable he will become. Just remember that safety comes first, and always have your bully leashed and under your control when introducing him to strangers.

Socializing with Other Dogs

Introducing your bully to other dogs is an entirely different matter, since bully breeds tend to prefer people. Not all bullies are going to get along with other dogs, and it's important to know your dog's personal tolerance level before proceeding. If you're adopting your dog from a shelter, ask them to conduct temperament testing to find out how welcoming your bully is to other canines. If he shows signs of dog-aggression, it's best to keep him away from other dogs at all times. If he seems open to a little dog-on-dog interaction, work with an experienced trainer to introduce your bully to other dogs gradually.

If you adopt your bully breed dog when he's a puppy, you might have better luck socializing him with other dogs while he's young. According to, the sooner you begin introducing your little tail-wagger to other dogs, the more likely he is to accept them when he's an adult. Dog parks probably aren't the best place to socialize any dog, and many animal welfare groups, including Pit Bull Rescue Central, don't recommend these doggie gathering places for bullies ever -- regardless of how well-mannered your bully is. The key to all socializing is taking it slow and steady; never push your dog into interacting with a person or dog if he seems timid or hesitant. Trust your dog's instincts, and he'll trust you.

- Association of Pet Dog Trainers. "Understanding Training Methods." (Aug. 31, 2010)

- Pit Bull Rescue Central. "Socializing Your Pit Bull." (Sept. 1, 2010)

- Rice, Dan. "Big Dog Breeds." Barron's Educational Series. 2001.

- Saunders, Kim. "The Adopted Dog Bible: Your One-stop Resource for Choosing, Training, and Caring for Your Sheltered or Rescued Dog." Harper Paperbacks. January 2009.

- Shaw, Jamie. "Dog to Dog Communication: The Right Way to Socialize Your Dog." The Lyons Press. 2008.

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