Are you planning to welcome a bulldog into your family but are a bit worried about how they will interact with your kids? A common question parents ask before getting a bulldog is are they good with kids?
English bulldogs are one of the best dog breeds to have with children. English bulldogs as a breed have a loving and patient disposition that pairs well with kids. Children tend to poke, pry, and grab dogs. Many breeds do not tolerate that kind of attention but bulldogs generally do fine with it.
English bulldogs are family pets, and therefore they are not only great around the kids but also around the entire family. They are loyal and will protect your whole family.
Which should you have first, kids or a bulldog?
The best thing about English bulldogs is that they are generally calm around kids as well as infants. However, if you do have a choice, it is always a good idea to have kids first.
It is much easier to train an English bulldog around kids than infants. There will be less supervision needed with a bulldog and kids. However, you should always carefully monitor interactions between babies and bulldogs, especially during their first few meetings.
How to raise a bulldog around young children
Bulldogs are great companions who very quickly become members of the family. However, all of this can happen only when they are familiar with the entire family. It is important to make sure your bulldog is properly trained and socialized to help ensure normal interactions with children.
Don’t assume a bulldog will interact with all family members on its own, it is a good idea to take it slow when introducing them to other family members they have not met yet. You should socialize the dog with one member at a time over a few days. It will help gently break the ice.
If you’re adopting a puppy, the ideal age to socialize him/her with your family is between 8 to 16 weeks. As for adult English bulldogs the process might need be a bit slower.
2. Start with obedience training:
Whether you’re raising a bulldog around kids or infants, obedience training is a must. You need to start with the most basic commands like sit, down, and fetch. If you’re not able to train your English bulldog yourself, you should seek professional help.
3. Preparing for kiddie love:
Most children like to hug their dogs as well as play with them. At the start, this might be a bit intimidating for your bulldog, who might not be used to the grubby ways of affection kids tend to show.
The best way to prepare your dog for the attention they will receive is to praise them and use treats while you pamper him/her. You can hold his/her paws and acclimatize your English bulldog with the different forms of affection displayed by kids.
Unless and until your English bulldog stops showing signs of fear and anxiety at the display of this affection, you should keep children at bay.
4. Familiarize your dog with children’s toys:
Since kids, like dogs, often have favorite toys, they are likely to share them with the dog. However, kid’s toys can be scary for your English bulldog, especially ones that can move or make high-pitched noise.
Take the time to introduce your kid’s toys to your bulldog, making them familiar with the various sounds and lights they may project.
5. Use positive reinforcement:
One of the perfect ways to raise your bulldog around kids is to use positive reinforcement. Whenever the bulldog behaves correctly around children, reward your bulldog in kind. The reward can include:
• Your attention and affection
Soon enough, your English bulldog will get the clue and know how to behave around children.
6. Do not ignore the rules for children:
If your child is old enough, make sure to set proper guidelines and rules around how to interact with the family bulldog.
• Children should handle the dog gently.
• Children should respect the private sanctuary of the dog. (Dog’s bed/Dog’s Crate/Dog’s pen)
• Children should not disturb the dog while eating.
• Children should keep away from the dog when he/she is sleeping.
These few rules will ensure that the bulldog has his/her own space and gets accustomed to your kids.
These are a few helpful guidelines for raising your kids with a family bulldog. However, if you have infants at your home, you may need to take a few extra steps which we will highlight below.
How to raise a bulldog around infants?
While English bulldogs are great around children, you need to take a few precautions when it comes to infants. We will highlight the steps which you need to take below to ensure that both can live in harmony with each other.
1. Create an independent sanctuary:
While English bulldog likes to be with children and family members, when you have an infant in your house, it is a good idea to create an area where the bulldog does not disturb the infant. Putting the infant at a higher level or keeping your bulldog out of closed spaces is a good way to create this.
2. Familiarize the English bulldog with children:
Before the birth of the infant, it is a good idea to familiarize your English bulldog with other children. You can socialize him/her with children in the neighborhood or your extended family.
At first, the dog might find the behavior of children strange, but with time, they will get accustomed to being around children.
You never know how your first interaction between your bulldog and your infant will be. This is why socializing them with other children beforehand is a good way to make this first interaction less intense and surprising for your pup.
3. Train your dog:
Does your dog listen to commands like sit, no, or fetch?
If not, it is a good idea to consult professionals to train your English bulldog, so that he/she learns to listen to you. When around an infant, you need to have complete control over your English bulldog, so that neither get hurt.
4. Adjust routines in advance:
English bulldogs often stick to schedules. If you take him/her out for a walk at a certain time daily, the bulldog will expect that even after the arrival of the infant.
Due to this very reason, if you know that the schedules will have to be changed, you must start to change them in advance. It will provide ample time for the English bulldog to adjust to the new program. As a result, the dog will not get irritated, confused, or lost around the infant. Once the dog gets accustomed to the new schedule, there will be fewer issues.
5. Keep the bulldog away from the baby’s things:
You should train your bulldog to stay away from the blankets and the furniture of the baby. It will ensure that there is no compromise in hygiene and allow for less spreading of germs.
Once you practice these five steps, raising a bulldog around your infant will not be a problem. And as the the infant grows, you will be able to worry less about their interactions.
How should you introduce your baby to your dog for the first time?
Introducing your English bulldog to your baby is a gradual process and might not be accomplished in a single day. Here are some steps that can help with that first interaction:
1. Familiarize your dog with baby songs
Even before the infant arrives, you can familiarize your English bulldog with baby tones. You can play audio of babies giggling or making sounds. Gradually increase the length of the audio so that the dog gets accustomed to these sounds.
2. Allow your dog to sniff baby lotion, powder, and other baby products:
Dogs have a keen sense of smell. You should allow them to smell things like baby lotion and baby powder, to get them accustomed to these items. Once they are accustomed to these products, you can let them sniff the infant’s towel as well. It will help them understand the scent of the baby. Therefore, when you finally introduce the infant, it will not be intimidating for your dog.
3. Greet your dog alone in the first instance
When you arrive home with the infant, it is essential to greet your dog alone at first. This will be a less startling introduction for him/her.
4. Don’t let your bulldog meet the baby on the first day
Many dog owners make the mistake of introducing the infant to the dog right on the first day. While this is not a big problem, we do not recommend this.
Once you bring the infant home, you should let the dog hear the baby, smell the baby, and see the baby. However, you should ensure that they do not get near each other right of the back. Only when the dog is comfortable around the baby, you should think about introducing them.
5. Keep your dog on a leash
Your dog should be on a leash during his/her first interaction with the new baby.Holding him/her with the leash, let your dog sniff the baby thoroughly, and be ready to step in if he/she gets aggressive or too inquisitive.
6. Take the dog off the leash
Only once the dog gets accustomed to sniffing the baby on the leash, you can think about taking off the leash. At the same time, you should always supervise the dog and the infant strictly to ensure that the dog does not get overly excited or afraid.
7. Do not make the bulldog compete for attention
The biggest thing to do to make sure your bulldog is comfortable, is to show him/her that nothing has changed with the arrival of this new baby. Make sure to give your bulldog the usual level of attention and don’t let him/her feel like she needs to compete for your attention and love.
8. Make sure the private space of the dog is intact
English bulldogs take their private space seriously. If the infant crosses into the private area of the dog while crawling, the dog may get uncomfortable. Try and prevent your baby from intruding in his/her space. However, make sure that your dog is not too possessive about things, and that they are comfortable with your baby touching their things.
Training techniques to ensure your bulldog is ready to be around kids
There are a few techniques that can come in handy when training your English bulldog to be around kids:
Positive reinforcement involves praising your dog or giving him/her a treat whenever he/she acts in the desired way. Doing so will reinforce that behavior.
Another technique that you can use is dominance training. It involves stamping your authority as well as projecting your confidence around your English bulldog. Professional obedience trainers often use it. It will help you control your English bulldog in any situation and remind him/her who is boss.
Having a puppy bulldog around kids vs. an adult bulldog:
A puppy bulldog is generally much more adaptive and welcoming of a new family member. Also, the younger English bulldog will have more energy to play around with your child, which is why he/she might seem perfect for your kids.
However, they might get over-excited and jump on your kid and while they have protective instincts, they are not that effective due to the young age and small size.
When it comes to adult bulldogs, they might be a bit difficult to train, but they are protectors of your kids. Moreover, they are calmer, which means that they will be easy to handle around your kids.
Thus, the choice between an adult and a puppy bulldog around kids depends on the pet owner. If you’re looking for a calm dog, the adult one is the right choice. If you’re looking for an English bulldog that can play with your kids, the puppy is a better option.
So, are you still worried about English bulldogs around kids?
We hope not! They are great around kids. Using our guide above, you can train them to remain calm and composed around kids. Also, their protective nature ensures that they will look after your children as well and make them the perfect companion for your kids. And if you need some additional tips, check out our post on steps to welcome a new bulldog puppy to your home.