American Bullies certainly look impressive and even a little intimidating! But are American Bullies dangerous?
It’s an interesting fact that American Bullies were actually bred to be companion dogs and nothing else.
But genes aren’t everything when it comes to canine aggression. Absolutely any dog can become aggressive if it isn’t properly raised and trained. And if that dog happens to be an American Bully, things could get messy!
To find out more on this, we’re going to look at the American Bully as a Breed, what might cause a Bully to get aggressive, and what you can do to prevent this from happening.
The American Bully Breed: Aggressive By Nature?
American Bullies are actually quite a new breed that isn’t recognized by all kennel clubs.
Breeders combined American Pitbulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Bulldog breeds and the aim of the exercise was to produce a reliable companion breed of dog.
The Pitbull in the bloodline makes many people worried, but it has to be said that the Pitbull’s fierce reputation is largely undeserved.
This may seem like a strange statement to make about a breed that’s banned by law in certain jurisdictions, but many experts have argued that breed-based bans don’t do anything to combat the problem of aggressive dogs.
Irresponsible, neglectful, or uncaring pet owners are the real problem, and dog bite statistics from places where Pitbulls are banned bear this out.
By the way, American Bullies get lumped in with American Pitbulls where breed specific anti-dog legislation is in force, so check out what laws apply in your area before considering getting one.
We should also consider that breeders hoped to create a trustworthy companion in the form of the American Bully. They would have eliminated any dog with aggression issues from the breeding program.
Returning to the question: when you get an American Bully puppy, you don’t have to worry that you’re getting a dog that’s aggressive by nature.
But what you do need to be sure of is that you’re willing and able to provide the nurture that will make your dog a friendly and easygoing pet.
What Might Make An American Bully Dangerous?
Before we begin, let’s just note that none of the points we’re about to make is exclusive to the American Bully. Any dog can become dangerous for the reasons we’re about to discuss.
However, because of its strength, you need to be extra careful with a Bully. A Yorkie that sometimes nips people isn’t going to do much damage, but an American Bully will be another matter.
An Excess Of Energy
Any dog that doesn’t get enough play and exercise with its owners can start developing behavioral problems – and that includes aggression.
A lot of people with “bad” or “naughty” dogs simply aren’t giving them enough attention.
So, with your American Bully Puppy comes the responsibility of providing safe outlets for all that energy. Just having a big yard and providing a selection of dog toys isn’t enough.
You will have to get involved, and that means about two hours a day of play and exercise with your pet every day once your American Bully has grown up.
While he’s still a puppy, keep exercise fairly gentle – no long walks and no long runs. It can hurt their developing bones causing permanent injuries.
But do start the doggie walking as it will be part of his socialization as well as being worth learning young.
Play is a great way to let off steam, of course, and Bullies love playing tug of war.
However, do prevent your dog from getting overly excited and out of control during play.
While play is a good thing, your American Bully might forget his strength and hurt you if he gets over excited, or even start engaging those teeth on items other than his toys.
Lack Of Leadership
If you don’t take the leadership position in your relationship with your dog, then he will.
This can be a problem with any breed of dog, but as an intelligent breed, American Bullies will be quick to take advantage of the situation.
Your task is to teach him that you are in control of the relationship, but there’s no need to be rough with him in the process.
In fact, you shouldn’t be. It’s enough to be firm, consistent, and in control.
If you can’t control your dog, and if you don’t provide training to show him how to be a “good” dog, he isn’t going to learn it all by himself. And, since he thinks he’s “in charge” he might assert himself through – you guess it – biting!
American Bullies may look like the Rambos of the doggie world, but they’re actually quite sensitive. A dog who is afraid or anxious is also more likely to be aggressive.
If you try to rule your dog by making him fear you and the ways you might punish him, the irony is that you might end up with a dog that you should fear!
But there’s more to “poor treatment” than scaring or hurting your dog. For instance, you should never chain up your dog in your yard, and you shouldn’t leave your American Bully alone for too long.
Apart from food, water, and space, your dog needs love and affection, a sense of belonging, training, and exercise. If you can’t provide these things, you shouldn’t have any dog, let alone an American Bully.
American Bullies are highly protective. That can be a good thing, but it can easily go too far if you don’t take the necessary steps.
It’s easy for an overprotective dog to misidentify a threat. Your kid’s buddy coming to play, for example, or your friends dropping in for a visit aren’t threats – but your dog might think they are!
Socialization training should ideally start as soon as you get your American Bully, and it will help your dog to understand that it shouldn’t attack everything that comes into your yard.
Apart from getting used to people he hasn’t seen before, it should also involve other animals and new situations – and you need to be there every step of the way.
The urge to hunt, chase, and possibly kill smaller animals is natural to all dogs. When this instinct is triggered, they won’t always listen to their owners.
Even with good socialization training, many American Bullies never quite lose the urge to hunt down anything that runs away from them.
Good obedience training together with socialization training can go a long way towards preventing ugly incidents.
But, since your American Bully won’t necessarily like other dogs, may play too roughly, or respond to other dogs trying to dominate him, it may be best to keep him on the leash in the doggie park.
Like prey drive, resource guarding can be instinctive and crop up suddenly in an adult dog even when he didn’t do it as a puppy.
The dog decides that something – be it food, toys, or his bed, belong exclusively to him and he will snap at anyone who approaches or comes between him and the item he’s guarding.
It’s not a behavior that’s exclusive to American Bullies, but when it occurs, it can become dangerous.
You should see the signs. Your dog stiffens, stares at you with the whites of his eyes showing, or growls.
This can be a tough problem to deal with, but beating your dog is only going to teach him that he has reasons for guarding behavior.
Going about trying to train him out of it could be dangerous for you, so do get advice from a veterinarian, animal behaviorist, or a very good dog trainer.
American Bullies And Other Pets
If you already have other pets, including old dogs or smaller or lighter dogs, decide if an American Bully might be a little too much for them.
Although he’ll probably get along fine with existing pets he’s properly introduced to, he’s big, heavy, and he plays rough, especially if he gets over-excited.
The best pals for American bullies are dogs that can keep up with them in play, and since the American Bully is something of a canine cannonball, that’s going to be quite a big buddy!
As for cats, the introductions will have to be done very carefully indeed. And if your cat is going to run when chased, then it will get chased!
Even if your American Bully is generally OK with other dogs when you’re out and about together, remember that introducing a new pet to your home will be a process.
Your Bully will see the home as being his turf, and he may not take kindly to an interloper. Think it through before you try it and get advice to help you make the process a little easier.
Your American Bully Pup – It’s Not OK To Chew People!
Puppies like to chew. At the age when an American Bully typically gets introduced into a home, its permanent teeth are starting to break through, and chewing is a must.
But chewing you is definitely out. “No” is one of the most useful words to teach a puppy. Use a stern tone, and give him something else to chew.
Some people suggest letting out a high pitched yelp – which is what your puppy’s mom did when play got too rough.
It certainly could be a neat solution if your baby Bully gets the message more easily thanks to this noise.
If he tends to nip because he gets over excited during play, it’s time to calm things down. Say “No” or choose a consistent command word of your own, and move away.
Never punish a puppy for chewing. He’s just doing what comes naturally. But if you’re struggling to teach him not to chew people or to nip at them, you may need a bit of help. Be sure to choose a trainer that doesn’t use harsh methods.
Puppy School And Dog School Are A Big Help
Even if you’re pretty confident about your ability to train your dog, puppy school and later, dog school, are worth considering.
If you’ve no idea how to train a dog, it becomes a must. Choose a trainer who supports positive reinforcement training and watch how they go to work.
Besides teaching you how to train your dog, “school” becomes a fun outing for both of you and it will be good for your American Bully’s all-important socialization training. It might also serve as a springboard for discovering activities to do together.
For example, agility training is a great way to help your dog wear off some of that seemingly boundless energy.
Unexpected Aggression In Older Dogs
American Bullies aren’t abnormally aggressive, and if they show signs of aggression, there’s always a reason.
If your dog is in pain, for example, it’s no wonder that he gets grouchy. This could relate to one of the common ills that American Bullies often suffer from: hip dysplasia.
Although it can’t be treated, veterinarians can prescribe reasonably effective pain relief for which your dog will be thankful.
Thyroid issues can also cause behavioral problems. The hormonal imbalance can make them fearful, and when dogs are afraid, they might lash out.
If you see your dog behaving strangely, it’s always best to see a veterinarian. In this case, this will come in the form of tablets that fix the hormone imbalance.
Are American Bullies Aggressive? Summing It Up
American bullies aren’t usually aggressive or dangerous dogs, but they do need the right training, plenty of love and attention, and respect for their need for company, interaction, and exercise.
They’ve actually been bred to be friendly, outgoing, and non-aggressive, but if they’re mishandled or their needs aren’t properly met, they may learn bad habits.
Getting any type of dog is a big decision, and you should be ready to do what it takes to raise happy, well-adjusted family pets.
Get it right, invest the time, and you’ll have an adorable companion who is never happier than when he’s spending time with you.