Despite their small stature, bulldogs are an active and boisterous breed. If not properly trained, however, these dogs may develop problems with soiling in the house. Fortunately, housebreaking a bulldog, even one that is no longer a puppy, is not an impossible task -- you just need a little patience!
Set up a crate for your bulldog in an area of the house that will become your bulldog's personal space. The crate itself should be just large enough for your bulldog to stand up, lie down and turn around comfortably.
Line the inside of your dog's crate with a soft blanket or dog bed and place his food and water dishes nearby. You may also want to place a box of your dog's toys near the crate to further establish the area as his personal space.
Confine your bulldog to his crate overnight and during long periods of time when you are away from home. Bulldogs are naturally clean animals that have an aversion to soiling their dens -- by keeping your dog confined to his den during long absences, you can limit the risk of his having an accident while you are gone.
Take your dog outside to dog his business just before placing him in the crate and again immediately after releasing him. Do not leave your dog in the crate for more than 4 or 5 hours at first, then work your way up to a full 8 hours of confinement.
Lead your dog outside to do his business every hour or two throughout the day as you undergo the housebreaking process. It is especially important to let your dog out after meals as well as before and after putting him in the crate.
Wait for your bulldog to do his business, then praise him enthusiastically for a job well done. If your dog learns that a certain behavior is likely to earn your approval, he will be more likely to repeat that behavior in the future.
Supervise your bulldog closely when you are at home and limit his range within the house. Try to keep your dog in the same room as you at all times by closing doors and using baby gates in doorways. If you are able to keep a close eye on your dog you will remember to let him out and, if he begins to have an accident, you may be able to interrupt him and take him outside.
Give your bulldog plenty of exercise and playtime throughout the day. Not only will this help you form a closer bond with your dog, it will also prevent him from becoming depressed or lonely as a result of spending extended time in the crate.
- Be patient and consistent with your bulldog as you go through the process of housebreaking. If you consistently reward your dog for performing correctly, he will be more likely to associate your praise with the desired behavior and thus repeat it more often.
- Never punish your bulldog for his mistakes. As he learns, your dog is likely to have a few accidents in the house. If you punish your bulldog for these accidents he may not only fail to connect the punishment with the accidents, but he may also learn to fear you.
- Never use the crate as punishment for your dog. In order for crate training to be successful, your bulldog needs to form a positive association with the crate. If the crate is used as punishment, he may learn to dislike it and may refuse to enter it.
Katherine Barrington has written on a variety of topics, from arts and crafts to pets, health and do-it-yourself projects. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English with a creative writing concentration from Marietta College.