How To Train an American Bully Dog

The American Bully is a modern breed of dog developed in the United States. The breed was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 2013 but has not yet achieved American Kennel Club recognition. Although sometimes confused with a pitbull, the American Bully is a separate breed. The American Bully is a companion dog who is loyal, protective and bonded to their owners. Because of their connection to people, American Bullies are very trainable. As such, they can excel in a variety of dog sports including Barn Hunt, Trick Dog, and Agility. 

Unfounded stereotypes that American Bullies are dangerous or aggressive persist. In reality, they are strong but gentle dogs. When properly raised, trained, and socialized, these dogs can make wonderful family pets. 

 

how to train an american bully

The Best Training Approaches for American Bullies

Like all other dogs, American Bullies learn best through positive reinforcement training methods. Positive reinforcement utilizes rewards when teaching new behaviors. These rewards include: treats, praise, toys, and play. You can also use positive reinforcement as part of behavior modification training. 

Contrary to stereotypes, American Bullies do not need a "firm hand" when training. Aversive training tools like prong collars and e-collars should not be used. 

Always be consistent with your training so your dog knows what to expect. The best training sessions are short and fun. A few short training sessions during the day are more effective than one long session.

Socialization Training Is a Must 

Especially important when training American Bullies is socialization. This should start when they are puppies. Focus on appropriate introductions to new places, people, dogs, and other animals. Early socialization allows these dogs to make positive associations with new experiences. 

As big strong dogs, American Bullies also need to learn basic obedience skills. This includes recall training or teaching a dog to come when called, and name recognition. 

American Bullies should also learn not to pull on leash. To do this, reward your dog for walking next to you. 

You'll also want to teach basic skills like sit, down, and stay.

Preventing and Interrupting Unwanted Behaviors 

As much as possible, we want to set our dogs up for success. Create a home environment where your dog won't be able to do things you don't like. 

Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, but we don't want them to chew our belongings. Use baby gates to keep your dog in specific safe areas of the house. 

Puppy-proof your house, by putting away shoes, children's toys and other things you don't want your dog to play with or chew. 

Interrupt behavior you don't like by giving your dog something positive to do instead. If your dog is chewing something they shouldn't, take it away and give your dog an appropriate toy or chew. This approach is also effective if your dog or puppy mouths or bites at you while teething or in play. 

Make sure your dog always gets enough attention and exercise and has access to toys and chews.

Training High Energy Dogs: 

American Bullies are active dogs. This is not a breed happy to sit on the couch all day. American Bullies are great active family pets who enjoy hiking, play, and training. You can use playtime as an opportunity to practice and reinforce obedience skills. 

Make sure your dog is getting enough daily physical and mental exercise. American Bullies whose exercise needs are met will be happier and calmer pets. Destructive behaviors like digging, chewing, and nuisance barking are common with bored dogs. When a dog's physical and mental enrichment needs are met, problem behaviors are reduced. 

Getting Support on Training an American Bully: 

When training your dog, it's helpful to work with a qualified dog trainer. Sign your young American Bully up for a puppy kindergarten class. Or, if you have an older dog, attend a basic obedience class to brush up on skills. Once your dog knows the basics, you can explore fun sports like Agility or Scent Work

If you're struggling, consider private lessons with a dog trainer to work on issues. Working with a trainer is an opportunity for you to learn how to teach your dog in ways they understand. This can reduce frustration for both you and your dog. 

Dog training is an unregulated industry, so anyone can call themself a dog trainer. Check references of any trainer to confirm that the trainer utilizes positive reinforcement methods.

Conclusion

Remember to reward your American Bully after training. It's essential for maintaining motivation and reinforcing positive behaviors.

At Bully Max, we understand the unique nutritional needs of bully breeds. That’s why we’ve developed a range of high-protein dog food and treats specifically tailored for them. Our products are designed to keep your dog healthy, energetic, and ready to learn.

american bullies after training

We’d love to hear from you! Share your experiences and tips on training and rewarding your American Bully in the comments below.

About The Author


Sassafras Lowrey Author Photo

Sassafras Lowrey

Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA), Author, Freelance Contributor

Sassafras Lowrey CPDT-KA, CTDI - is a celebrated author and dog trainer. Sassafras’ books have been honored by organizations ranging from the American Library Association to the Dog Writers Association.

Sassafras is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA), a Certified Trick Dog Instructor (CTDI), American Kennel Club Trick Dog/Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, American Kennel Club FIT DOG Instructor, and Fear Free Certified Professional. Sassafras’ multi-media work with dogs focuses on engagement, enrichment, play, and competitive trick training.

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4 comments

Laci Huggins on Jun 11, 2024

Hey, my xl bully pit is around 3 years old and I have had him for about a year and a half. Before I got him he was locked up in a cage every day for the majority of his life and never taken out or anything. He is house trained, he knows sit , shake, he doesn’t pull on the leash hardly at all anymore unless he sees a rabbit lol. However he has a issue with whining. He constantly cries and I have given him everything he needs and wants and he still does it he just won’t stop. I’m not sure what else to do to help him I am almost curious if something is wrong with him physically and that’s why he cries or just separation anxiety from my ex boyfriend. And I’ve never seen him around any other dog besides one and he’s usually never aggressive that I’ve seen but that dog jumped on him and they got on each other they are both fine but how would I do about trying to socialize him ?? Please help ty

H w moore on May 20, 2024

While I did have an “American bully”. I did have a rescue “Amstaff mix I got her from the humane society and she had been fostered The program she went through was referred to as “Adopt-a-bull”. She was crate trained knew her basic commands of sit stay heal and fetch. She also was trained to rest at least 10 ft away while we were eating and stay off the furniture. I’m proud to say I mess all that up I had her for 25 years she was the best trained dog I ever had sleep in the big bed with me and was not only protective of of me and my daughter but also of small children. You could not Raise your voice or physically Discipline a child in front of her without her raising all kinds of hell. As to her temperament my son in laws 8lb cat would pick on her until she got tired and then she would chase it to the stairs where she wasn’t allowed or if the cat was unlucky enough not to make it she would sit on it or push it up against the wall she never made any attempt to bite it.

Kelley Steimle on Mar 22, 2024

I have two 9 month old xl bully pups , had three but would prefer to speak in person privately about the incident I just went thru with her and another dog I have had for 6 years. If possible can someone reach out to me to see if you’ll be able to help me train to avoid any further trouble. Thank you

Robert Rose on Mar 11, 2024

Thanks for the introduction. I’ve been wondering about American bullies ever since I learned they were banned in England crazy people. However, he would be unwelcome in our house as we have ACD who is very jealous to the point of anger. Anyway thank you very much for your very welcome article.