Psychology of the english bulldog

The Character

Ideal as a companion dog, the English bulldog loves to be surrounded and pampered by the people with whom it interacts on a daily basis; loyal and protective, he also possesses the qualities of a discreet guard dog.


Quiet and lazy, he spends a lot of time resting, particularly in the warm months when the short nose bridge could cause him some breathing difficulties.

Psychology and character of the english bulldog

  • Character

    Every dog, in the various situations of daily life, reacts differently.

    The character regulates the dog's behavior and its reactions, is made up of the set of natural psychic qualities acquired through DNA and therefore, through a complex genetic mechanism that can be transmitted to the newborn.

    The natural qualities are: temperament, temper, docility, sociability, aggressiveness, combativeness, possessiveness, curiosity and vigilance.

    We must distinguish the character from the learned behavior which is given by the set of experiences lived by the dog.

    When we talk about our dogs' problems, we need to distinguish the "character disorders" related to the presence or absence of natural qualities; and "behavioral disturbances" related to negative conditions acquired by the dog in the first and most important moments its life that may affect the dog/owner relationship, and in addition to those caused by an owner who doesn't know how to communicate with his 4-legged friend.
  • Aggressiveness and combativeness

    Let's talk clearly,  this is a natural gift of the dog and not an abnormal behavior . This is purely an erroneous belief of the mass media to do "cynophilist ignorance"!

    This isn't a big deal to give an all-inclusive view of the dog world and I believe that to understand the true "sense" of aggression, you can't ignore the reading of Lorenz's text that I quote at the end of the work.

    So the aggressiveness is "the dog's reaction to external situations that he perceives as dangerous for itself and for things or people present in its territory".

    There are dogs that don't recognize humans as conspecific or acquired conspecific and unload their aggression on various objects (kennel, bowls, furniture, etc.).

    These particular deviations should be carefully analyzed because they can give us the key to understand some anomalous behavior of dogs.
    Those dogs which didn't socialize in the "sensitive period" (60-100 days of life) with other puppies or with adults may create an incomplete development of their psyche,  and the consequence is that as adults they can manifest forms of uncontrolled aggressiveness towards conspecifics.

    Some dogs totally ignore aggressiveness towards humans, Konrad explains this by stating that it happens because the dog doesn't see a man as conspecific because the period of socialization with him may have been missed.

    From the analysis of the character profile (which is performed by people specialized in canine psychology with specific tests other than behavioral experts), two aggressive character profiles emerge aggressiveness towards the human being.
  • Aggressiveness and fear in dogs

    Those specimen with aggressiveness expressed towards man, are fearful ones, they have fear of noises, they have a soft temper (another natural gift of the dog) and their aggressiveness is rooted in fear.
     In such cases, recovery will start from the analysis of the subject and specific fear.

    Potentially dangerous subjects for all adults, children, dogs and other animals, even for the owners. It is these indocile dogs that do not accept any form of authority, they are dangerous dogs to use a common term. In these cases, it is possible to intervene through a redirection of aggression with different techniques aimed at the physiological recovery of the natural dowry.

    Aggressiveness is related to dog breeds, some are more affected as it is present in their "breed memory" and is the natural gift less man-controllable as it is tied to instincts.
  • Idiopathic aggressiveness

    Unfortunately, our dog can be victim of a very serious form of aggressiveness, the idiopathic one. This is a real pathology, this is what in a human being we would call mental illness.
    These dogs have no predictable behavior, their aggressiveness is sudden and violent. You should contact your veterinarian who will advise you for the best, in some cases with sad choices to make.

    In the event, that aggressiveness is incorrectly oriented but there are specific correction techniques to approach with.

  • Dog combativeness

    Often the cliché leads to identify aggressiveness with another natural gift which is combativeness, to  be clear , this is  "the ability to respond to an unpleasant impulse with an attitude of struggle towards the opponent, be it man or dog".

    Combativeness is temporally the phase following aggressiveness which alone, wouldn't justify a prolonged struggle over time.

    The aggressive impulse is part of the first moments of a fight and after a short period of time gives way to combativeness. In Molossians, even as adults (in puppies, it can happen in all breeds), there is a possibility that combative attitudes may also manifest with a man 
    without the aggressive impulse first.
  • Mistreatment and education of dogs

    The dog's mental balance begins before birth. 
    The word "mistreatment"  give us the ideas of cruel and violent images such as a owner who beats the dog, who keeps it in chains etc.

    In fact, these are real types of abuse that anyone who loves and respects animals should not accept.

    There are other forms of mistreatment, more difficult to see. Its not difficult to find there are private individuals, without any economic interests, but who wish to reproduce their dog and maybe give the puppies to trusted friends.

    Sometimes private individuals get serious information about all the physical and behavioral needs of puppies, showing great respect for these animals.  Sadly, sometimes these people separate the puppies from the mother too early or too late, they leave them isolated for too long, it won't help them to grow serenely.

    Puppies should be handled by people who raise them from birth and given the opportunity to deal with the most varied circumstances.
    Since the very first moment, that the dog enters in our home, it begins its education, so it is that the dog-owner communication begins.
  • Owner / Dog communication:

    All those who have dogs hear about how the dog's learning mechanism takes place or through classic conditioning, operative conditioning; and behavioral correction techniques: extinction of behavior, systematic desensitization, counter-conditioning.

    For dogs, the literal meaning of words is relative, even if this topic is part of various studies, aimed at proving the opposite.

    More important are the para-verbal characteristics of words and phrases, that is: the timbre of the voice that allows you to identify the person speaking, the intonation, the pauses, the rhythms and tones of the voice.

    These elements determine true changes in the dog's behavior which, according to the cases, punishes them and gratifies them. Even more important than the para-verbal signs, we have the non-verbal signs given in other words by the body language that accompanies the verbal sign.

    If we say a word to the dog that has literally a negative meaning, but our body mimicry is, for example, an invitation to play, the dog will be a little destabilized, but the invitation to play will arrive. If I say "No" to the dog, but I do it in the same tone as pampering, the tone will arrive to the dog but not the "meaning" of that "no".

    In such circumstances, the owner ends up losing patience and believing that the dog doesn't obey and this is what we call  "communicative pathology". The dog becomes the victim of our inconsistent communication: saying "no" with a sweet tone leads the dog to confusion and stress, as well as the inconstancy for which one day we make it get on the sofa and tomorrow not).

    The dog has a greater ability than a man  in detecting changes in body language.  Dogs communicate with the bodies and with the man through an infinite series of postures and vocalizations.

    Communicating with your dog means knowing how to understand and interpret the body language of your four-legged friend: posture, the position of the ears and tail, gaze, vocalizations.
  • The caresses

    Caresses are a valid means of communication with the dog, as long as the subject likes them, BUT not all dogs love to receive them.

    We distinguish simple caresses whose aim is to communicate affection (they must be given on the belly, on the breastbone and accompanied by a calm and low tone of voice) from the aimed caresses represent a gratification. The latter, is interpreted by the dog as a reward, therefore they must be given when the dog executes a command, do it along the lateral sides of the body, alternating long movements with small taps always on the sides and talk with a high tone of voice. 
    Caresses should not be made 
    on the other side of the fur because the dog could get annoyed. Now, let's think about, how many times we do the caresses aimed at the dog: do we always perform them to say "good" or often just as a cuddle or often to gratify our desire to love the little one?

    If we use them as a cuddle and maybe the dog did something wrong we are praising it! Each of our behavior for the dog has a meaning and if we do not know it, we risk getting the opposite of what we would like from our dogs as well as creating confusion and stress in them.
  • Stress in the dog

    Stress in dogs can be caused by prolonged physical exertion or mental pressure, these factors, which affect learning ability and can even cancel it.

    A stressed dog doesn't learn. it is not receptive because its receptive faculties are inhibited. 
    The physiological process that induces stress is quite complex, but we are interested in how we can help our friends to have a  lower level of stress by shifting it attention to something else.
  • Mental stimulation of the dog

    • Toy: mechanism that occurs through the game and can be used to mentally activate the dog by pulling the ball and letting it chase after it. The TOY is a fundamental educational and communication tool between dog and owner.
    • Problem solving: always with the toy, we hide an object, maybe a snack, and we leave the circles, we hide and let it find us. I n this way, the dog will focus its attention on an element by driving  it from the object that causes its stress.
    • Simple caresses: we caress the dog in the specifically receptive areas (belly, sternum) we use a low tone of voice and a reassuring look.
    • Flower therapy: therapy with the help of a homeopathic veterinarian.
    • Pharmacotherapy: only in very serious cases and only by vet prescription.

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