Everything You Need to Know About Raising a Catahoula Bulldog
The Catahoula bulldog is a popular pet. It’s easy to see why too as this breed can be incredibly loving if raised correctly.
With that in mind, however, this breed, like any breed, is not for everyone. Before determining if this type of dog is right for you, it’s important to understand the breed, its temperament, and any special needs that it might have. That way, you will ensure you bring home the right pet for your home, your lifestyle, and your family.
The Basics of the Breed
So, what exactly is a Catahoula bulldog? A lot of people, surprisingly, have not heard of this wonderful pet. It is actually a mix of two different dogs: a Louisiana Catahoula leopard dog and the American bulldog.
These dogs are known for being very intelligent and for letting their feelings show on their faces…and in their ears, which they often move around to show excitement and curiosity.
These dogs have sort, glossy coats that can be several different colors and even a mixture of colors. They are also larger dogs and can sometimes weigh as much as 100 pounds or more.
The Temperament of the Breed
One thing to understand about these dogs is that they typically like to have a job of some sort to do. This is because, originally, they were often hunting dogs, working dogs, or guard dogs. Thus, they tend to function best and be happiest when providing some kind of service or at least when being regularly exercised and highly active.
When trained properly, this breed can be incredibly loyal. It is also highly protective and easy to train, which is a definite plus.
Many people choose to use their dog as a hunting dog or a herding dog. However, some people also use them as service dogs or just as companions.
Are There Any Health Concerns to Know About?
If you are familiar with dogs and dog breeding, then you probably already know that hybrid dogs, like this breed, often have a variety of health concerns and shortened lifespans.
Fortunately, however, that is not the case with this particular breed. They rarely have health concerns and actually tend to have a longer lifespan than most other hybrids. On average, they can live for around 13 to 15 years. So, if you’re looking for a dog that is not likely to cost you a fortune in vet bills, this breed is a great choice.
Are There Any Health Concerns to Know About?
As you probably already know, dogs can be an expensive purchase. However, since this dog breed is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club, it doesn’t have the huge pricetag of better known breeds.
Depending on where you go and who you buy your bulldog from, you can expect to pay around $500 to $700.
Try your best not to buy from pet stores or from puppy mills, which often produce unhealthy animals and put animals in undesirable conditions. Instead, do your research to find a reputable breeder in your area.
General Tips for Training Your Dog
Once you bring your Catahoula bulldog home, the next step is properly training it.
Fortunately, as mentioned, these dogs are very intelligent and well-tempered, which makes them easy to train.
Probably the first thing, aside from house training, that you will want to work on with your dog is leash training. Get this dog used to walking on a leash right away and to stopping when you say to. While all that pulling and running might be cute when your dog is a puppy, it won’t be cute when it’s a fully grown and very strong dog.
Also, if you have other pets in the house, you’ll want to be careful about introducing your new dog to other dogs or cats. These bulldogs can be very bossy around dogs and can sometimes pose a danger to cats, due to their hunting drive, if they aren’t taught to view cats as friends, not food.
These are just some important things to get handled right off the bat. Otherwise, you might end up with a dog that bosses you around, instead of the other way around.
Treats are Your Friend
It’s no secret that dogs love treats, and the Catahoula bulldog is certainly no different. If you want to get your dog to do something, treats are the way to his or her heart.
When you’re teaching behaviors, always have treats available. Then, whenever your dog does something correctly or obeys you, give the treat.
If you’re trying to do a lot of training at once, rip treats into smaller pieces and just give your pet a little bit at a time. You’ll be amazed at just how hard your dog will work for even the smallest treat.
Focus on Rewarding Good Behavior
A lot of the time, when we’re training our dogs, all we can think about is catching them in “the act,” meaning bad behavior and then punishing or stopping them.
And, while that’s certainly an important part of training, you’ll find that rewarding good behavior is nicer and even more effective.
Anytime you see your dog doing something good, even if it’s out of the blue, reward the behavior. Whether it’s with praise or a treat, your dog will soon come to understand that if it does the right things, it gets the treatment it desires.
Ensure That Your Dog Gets Daily Exercise
Part of being a good dog owner and training your dog properly is making sure that your dog gets plenty of exercise. This is especially important with the Catahoula bulldog breed.
If they are not stimulated enough and don’t get adequate exercise, they can often gain weight, which is bad for their health. Also, they can sometimes turn to destructive behaviors, like chewing on shoes and scavenging through the trash, if they don’t have something else to occupy their minds with.
A daily walk or even a run will be good for both you and your furry friend.
Be as Consistent as Possible
One of the most important things, when it comes to training your Catahoula bulldog, is to be consistent. You can’t enforce the rules only some of the time and expect your dog to make sense of it.
Likewise, remember that everyone in your home needs to be enforcing the same rules. If one person lets the dog jump up on people while another always issues a sharp “no,” that is confusing to the dog, and definitely not a way to get him or her to do what you want.
Remember, You are “Teaching” All the Time
We often forget that, just like children, our dogs watch us and learn from how we treat them.
For example, you might not think you’re teaching your dog anything by taking him out every time he barks. However, you are teaching him that, if he barks, he’ll be allowed outside.
The same thing goes for accidentally rewarding fear behaviors. If you cuddle and comfort your dog when it’s scared of thunder, you’re teaching it there really is something to be scared of.
Be aware that everything you do is teaching your dog something. It’s up to you to figure out what that “something” is and to make sure it’s what you want.
Give Freedom Gradually
A big mistake that new pet owners often make is letting their pets have free reign of the home on the very first day. They go off to work and are surprised when they come home to find peed on floors and chewed up shoes.
However, the fact remains that dogs need limits, at least at first. Work your dog up to being at home with free reign all day. At first, you may want to try crate training. You can gradually move up to leaving your dog in a single room when you’re gone.
Eventually, the dog may be capable of staying out all day long. That’s up to you, but, no matter what you ultimately decide, don’t just expect your dog to be perfectly behaved and trustworthy without lots of training and work on both of your parts first.
Love Your Dog Above All Else
As you can see, there is a lot to know about how to properly raise and train a Catahoula bulldog.
The real key, though, and the most important “tip” of all is to love your dog above all else. Love him even when he does something “bad” or makes a mistake. Commit to training him and not giving up on him.
So many dogs end up in shelters because they don’t get the hang of their training as quickly as their owners might like. Don’t let your dog be one of them. Make a commitment, from the get-go, to love your pet, care for it, and train it properly and to be gentle and forgiving when it makes mistakes.
This is the real secret to creating a wonderful bond with your dog that will last throughout its lifetime.