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Is a Bull Terrier for you?
It has often been said that Bull Terriers are "special dogs for special people". They are not a dog suited to everyone and require a lot of patience, determination and an iron will if they are to be raised successfully.
Ease of training is not a trait of the Bull Terrier, quite the contrary. They are like naughty children and appear to enjoy upsetting their owners, although most forgive them. Their apology in the form of an apologetic, shy smile does wonders for an escalated blood pressure! The circumstance of the husband and wife both working is really not suitable to a Bull Terrier puppy. They need care, in feeding and in attention. The puppy that is left on its own will chew – bored growing puppies do, and they chew hard. Tiles, walls, doors disintegrate under attack from a Bull Terrier puppy. Added to the damage caused is the very real danger of a blockage, followed by an operation, and sadly often death. Another consideration is the damage caused to the puppy’s temperament by boredom.
Adult Bull Terriers
An adult will often fit in to a working household routine and adjust its sleeping habits to correspond with its owner’s absence; even so, being left all the day is not desirable. Items left carelessly on the floor are always a temptation to any dog. Bull Terriers are no exception. The plastic toy when swallowed, and under x-ray not discernible, is the cause of many dog deaths and the responsibility must rest with the owner.
Training A Bull Terrier is a MUST!
A Bull Terrier must have training and even the laziest owner will need to complete some schedule. Obviously, House training in a puppy is an early must, a “Dirty” and rapidly growing puppy will cause friction in any household and the sooner the newcomer adopts social habits the better. Its is not a good idea to shut them out and leave them for long periods – that will teach them nothing. Putting them out first thing in the morning means just that, first thing, and not after the kettle has being put on.
Lead training is essential, taking any untrained dog on a lead is hard work, and with a Bull Terrier it is a short cut to a long arm or a heart attack! Dogs should not be allowed off the lead. It is also worth remembering that a dog not on a lead, is not under the owner’s control. It is also not advisable to allow children under 15 to be in control of a Bull Terrier in a public place. All experienced Bull Terrier breeders will know of “trained” Bull Terriers who have come to harm through their owners carelessness, in not appreciating the dangers for a dog not on a lead.
Excercising a Bull Terrier
Exercise needs will vary from dog to dog, some enjoy unlimited walking whilst others will satisfy their needs within the confines of the house. However a general rule of thumb is that two 30 min walks per day is sufficient for most Bull Terriers. They will fit in with their owner’s habits – human companionship is what they are really after.
The law requires that a dog must be under control and the owner responsible for its actions. Wise owners will insure against third party risk. Many household policies incorporate this type of cover at little or even no extra charge, but it should be checked with the insurers to be certain.
Bull Terriers and Gardens!!
Most important is to have a securely fenced garden at least 4ft high. THIS IS ESSENTIAL. The thin lap wood fencing is no use at all. Bull Terriers have been known to go straight through it when in pursuit of a cat! Prospective owners must be honest when obtaining a Bull Terrier, if the garden is not well fenced or has weak spots, Bull Terriers will wander. There is a danger it may not be recovered and often they come to harm. They may even cause damage and injury or death to other animals. Whatever happens it is the fault and responsibility of the owner. Generally, puppies reared with cats will live well together with them, even adult Bull Terriers can often gently be moved in to live with cats, but the “cat hater” will kill cats.
Keeping more than one Bull Terrier
It is generally not suitable to have a Bull Terrier of the same sex as a dog already in residence. Despite an excellent temperament of the sitting tenant they may sooner or later fight and providing they both survive one will need a new home, very upsetting for all concerned. Bull Terriers of the opposite sex will usually fit in quite well, but there can be exceptions and one must be aware of the need to guard against unwanted litters. Its is wise to have facilities available to keep the two dogs separated when the owners are out. One should never leave two dogs together unsupervised.
A Bull Terrier should be good natured, loving to all humans, tolerant of abuse to a point of stupidity, and although never completely trustworthy with other animals, should be of a fairly even disposition towards them.
Bull Terriers are a rambunctious breed so they must learn that they are the bottom of the family pecking-order. Kindness and love should be tempered with discipline and control. There should be no need to go through early ownership of a Bull Terrier with an iron fist, most will respond to a disapproving word, a tap on the table or the rattle of a newspaper.