Reactivity in larger breeds

It’s worth remembering that reactivity can occur with any dog, regardless of breed, but the reality is that when that dog is boisterous, strong and has been appearing in the news a lot, the problem only becomes heightened. It can’t be ignored that a small breed dog that is anxious and vocal will be received differently to a large breed showing the same behaviour in a public space. Not only are conscientious owners aware of controlling their dogs, but other members of the public become more likely to react to them, which can result in unpredictable behaviour that is triggering for any nervous dog.

Is it really ‘deed not breed’?

The saying ‘deed not breed’ has been around for a long time. However, as more dog breeds are added to the ‘banned’ list, this perception has changed. Dogs deemed too dangerous to be allowed to be bred at all, increased coverage in the press of dog attacks, dogs raised for fighting, improper breeding, puppy farms, incorrect socialising and many more factors have led to a powerful rise in those who believe that some dogs are just born a certain way, and that no amount of training or love will change that.

How can training help?

No matter which dog or puppy breed you welcome into your home, they come with responsibilities. Alongside the basics of food, shelter, care and exercise, your dog will require, and thrive on suitable training. With large breeds such as XL Bullies, positive reinforcement training will help your dog to feel calm in different situations, to know they can look to you for guidance, reassurance and fun, and give you the confidence that you can handle your dog in all environments you need to visit.

XL Bully, American Bulldog lying down placidly

Getting started with training an XL Bully

The main message we would like to share is that it’s not too late to train your XL Bully in the right way. The new legislation may make things trickier when you are in public, but the more calm your dog is, and the more in control you feel, the less of an issue this will be. We are here to help you achieve the relationship you need with your dog to enable them to live a happy life.

We would encourage all XL Bully owners to download our training guide, and to encourage fellow owners to do the same. This includes some starter tips particular to Bull breeds to get your training going, or to enhance what you are already doing. We would also love to talk to you if you are facing a particular challenge. You can book a call with one of our expert training team or book an assessment onsite so that we can meet you and your dog and discuss your needs.

Black and white XL Bully American Bulldog standing proud

What kind of training is appropriate for XL Bullies?

Despite their strength and energy, XL Bullies respond to training in the same way as other dogs. Faced with positive reinforcement of the right behaviours, they enjoy the playful side of training, getting the full attention of their owner or trainer and receiving the benefits or treats that doing what is asked of them brings. While a young XL Bully’s biggest problem may be their boisterous energy combined with their size and unfortunate reputation, adult Bullies often present with fear-based anxiety that has led to reactivity and unpredictability.

In contrast, some dog trainers offer what is termed ‘Balanced dog training’. Although this may sound positive, it is based on punishing the dog when the incorrect behaviour is displayed. This may be through choke collars and electrical aids etc. Sadly, we meet many stronger dogs who have been trained in this way and although they may do what is required when under the fear of being punished, the result is increased fear and anxiety, furthering the problem at the root cause.

XL Bully, American Bulldog standing proud

Residential Dog Training – our signature service

Originally, Royvon dog training was created to help dogs to receive the training they need to prevent them from being put to sleep. Breeding and boarding German Shepherd Dogs from the beginning, Darren James, Owner and Managing Director, grew up around them when his parents started Royvon in 1959. He saw the heart-breaking reality that many of these beautiful dogs were being put to sleep because they were deemed ‘unfixable’, and he started to work on training guests himself, teaching basic obedience then progressing to helping with deeper behavioural problems.

That training basis developed into the services we offer today. Residential dog training remains our signature service, offering full immersion training for dogs over a three-week period, working intensely with a trainer to meet the goals agreed upon. Our customer reviews for residential training prove what a dramatic difference can be achieved, alongside owner training that establishes a trusted bond between owner and dog for life. We also offer puppy training and onsite training blocks. We can help you to decide what best suits your needs, simply book a call with one of our dog trainers.