Preparing your Puppy for Shows


Unlike many breeds, bull breeds are usually easy to show because they do not require a lot of grooming like long-coated or trimmed breeds. As long as they are regularly brushed, they maintain a naturally clean, smooth and shiny coat, which you may enhance by using a chamois leather or a velvet pad to rub the fur.  An occasional bath doesn’t go a miss, especially if your dog is predominantly white. It is important to regularly check any wrinkles are clean and dry, and also to ensure the ears are clean and nails are regularly trimmed short.

Training for the show ring

It is up to you as the handler to maximise your dog’s best qualities and minimise the ‘not so great bits’. All dogs, the same as people, have qualities and faults that you’ll want to highlight or try and lessen the appearance of.

Show training should begin early on, even before your dog’s first outing. It is a long-term investment. Many lead judges have recommended helpful tips such as standing your puppy on a table every day, not for long, maybe a few minutes here and there. By doing this from about six weeks it will start to develop good habits and comfortableness for future shows. Get your puppy used to wearing their collar, don’t focus on the leash just yet. Firstly, aim to have your puppy standing still, while you give them plenty of calming strokes. At this stage, don’t worry about how the legs and feet are placed. You want your puppy to develop a good standing posture, you can place a hand upon his chest, then with the other cup his rear. Do this for ten or fifteen seconds, while continuously repeating ‘stand’.

After you’ve had a successful few sessions, you should be able to square up their legs into the proper position, you may need to hold the chin or collar. Place the back legs a little closer together, so they can be seen between the front legs.

Now remember training should always be adapted to suit the temperament of your dog. You must make sure it’s a happy time for your dog with a reward after each session. Be ready to have endless patience as your dog will immediately sense if you’re not happy, this will send the wrong message to your dog and spoil any progress. It is best to keep training sessions short and sweet, but make sure you never stop on something negative, always finish with praise and positivity, no matter how small the achievement.

Entering Shows

When you go to shows your dog will have to face a lot of strangers, both doggy and human. This can cause stress and anxiety which is why your dog MUST be well socialised before taking them to any shows.

From 6 months of age puppies can compete in the UK, although not all puppies would be ready that early in their development. So it is important to make sure both you and your puppy are ready before showing. In some cases, it may even be wiser to wait if you feel your dog is not yet ready for the show ring, pushing your puppy too soon is not worth the placement.

When you first attend observe the more experienced handlers to see how they manage their dog/dogs. This will give your puppy time to get used to their surroundings, the other humans and other dogs.

Toilet training for puppies


Toilet training your puppy can be simple as long as you make the time to get into a good routine.

At first, you will have to build your routine around what your puppy needs. It can be useful to keep a record of when your puppy eats, sleeps, urinates and defecates, although you do not have to. To help your puppy understand what you want in future repeat cue words like ‘wee wees’ and ‘poo poos’ or ‘be clean’ while the puppy is urinating or defecating. Using different words for each will prompt the puppy later on.

When should you take your puppy out?

Puppies need to urinate as soon as they wake up, so you must be ready to take your puppy straight out without delay.

Eating stimulates its digestive system, commonly puppies will urinate within fifteen minutes of eating, and poo within half an hour (although this may vary).

Puppies have very poor bladder control, and need to relieve themselves at least every hour or two. They may spontaneously urinate when they get excited, so take your puppy out more frequently if it has been playing or become excitable.

Rewards based training

Always go with your puppy when you put it out, that way you are there to attach the cue words to the successful actions and reward your puppy. Fortunately, puppies are creatures of habit, once you introduce the garden/outdoor area to your puppy as a toileting area, you will find they are naturally drawn to using that area.

Common errors made when ‘puppy toilet training’

There are lots of possible reasons why ‘toilet training’ may not go as smoothly as it could, here’s some of the common mistakes to avoid:

  • Feeding too varied a diet or an unsuitable diet
  • Over-feeding your puppy
  • Not keeping to regular feeding times
  • Feeding too late (which could cause overnight accidents)
  • Punishing the puppy for its accidents (this can make it scared of toileting in front of you – even when outside)
  • Feeding your puppy too salty foods, which makes them drink more
  • Using cleaning products which are ammonia-based (these smell similar to urine)
  • Expecting the puppy to tell you when it needs to go; it is much better for you to regularly take them out.
  • Leaving the back door open for the puppy to come and go as it pleases – Once your puppy is fully toilet trained this can be an option, however when they are learning they may think that running out whenever they want is more of a fun place to play than a toileting area. Also, when the weather is colder so the door is closed, your puppy will not have learnt how to alert you to open the door for them, even if they know to go outside.
  • Leaving your puppy for too long will force them to ‘go’ inside which increases the chances of bad habits developing and toilet training taking longer.
  • Using praise words like ‘good girl’ or ‘good boy’ when they go’, instead of sticking to the cue words. You won’t want to know what might happen the next time you praise your puppy.
  • Having access to rugs or carpet without supervision (which feel nice and absorbent – similar to grass)
  • Being a lazy owner, this will likely result in more wees inside than outside.
  • If your puppy is submissively or excitedly urinating on meeting people or other dogs, take your puppy outside before you acknowledge it and completely tone down your greeting so that it is less excited and not overwhelming.
  • When your puppy is very young it is unfair to expect your puppy to go right through the night, so try and take him out late before you go to bed and first thing in the morning.
  • Ideally you should let your puppy out once during the night to relieve itself.

Please note: there are many different ways to train your dog. This is just one method and a few helpful suggestions. Please seek professional advice if you’re in need of support.

Dog Sports 

Dog weight pulling is an internationally recognised sport with various breeds taking part. The goal is for the dog to pull a cart for a short distance in the quickest time. Dogs compete according to their size and the weight they can pull.With safety at the forefront, specialist equipment is used along side experienced trainers/owners.

Breeds commonly used for the dog sport of weight pulling:
  • American Bulldog
  • American Pit Bull Terrier
  • American Bully
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Siberian Husky
  • Various Mastiff type breeds
Other breeds can also be used if they have the required drive, strength and stamina. Historically many dogs were used for pulling carts or even freighting and were bred with this in mind. Advocates of weight pulling believe that it can help to calm the dog down a great extent by helping vent out pent up energy, while also creating a stronger bond between owner and dog.

This is great for a lot of the Bull type breeds with drive and a genetic disposition towards various activity/work. Weight pulling should always be done by professionals or under supervision by a professional to ensure no injury or harm comes to the dog, which should be the first and foremost concern.

Various dog sports and obedience training are highly recommended for Bull breeds and Molosser type dogs, it will stimulate
their brain while keeping them occupied and focused, the sports also help channel drive and energy and fulfil their natural instincts. 

Flirt pole: A flirt pole is basically a stick with a rope attached, the rope usually has some sort of toy or rag on the end of it, you simply drag it around in various directions along the ground and the dog then chases it trying to catch it. This is a fairly quick and easy way to tire out the dog.

Spring pole: A spring pole is simply a spring connected to a rope which hangs from a beam or a tree, the rope has a lure attached to the end which allows the dog to basically play tug of war with itself. This is popular with a lot of breeds especially the highly driven types that love a good tug of war.

Other sporting activities include:
  • A-Frame Hang time
  • High jump
  • Tug of war
  • Lure racing
  • Obstacles
  • Personal protection
We will be adding further info/articles with regards to training and dog sports

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