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Whilst dogs have been bred away from being predators like their wolf ancestors, most of them still retain the instinctive ability and want to hunt – due to breeding, the prey drive manifests in many different ways in different dog breeds. Prey drive includes a few different behaviours including searching, stalking, chasing, biting to grab or biting to kill. Obviously not all dogs have such a strong prey drive, but it’s good to be aware of the specific behaviours as all dogs are individuals and temperaments can vary.  English Bulldogs are well-known for their courageous personalities and will stand their ground when they feel that they should. They do not have a very high prey drive, but it is common that they may want to chase a cat or other small animal that they’ve never met before when coming across them – once they are set on something it can be hard to drive their attention away from it. It’s hard to trust that your dog won’t run away or take off if they spot or catch the scent of anything, they believe to be worth chasing even if at a long distance.  They are well renowned for being very tolerant of children and are kind in nature to kids of all ages. The only thing is that they are such heavy dogs and so it’s not a good idea to leave children and Bulldogs together without supervision just to be safe. It’s also important to know that even though the English Bulldog loves to play with their family, they can sometimes be a bit boisterous in playing so could accidently knock a child over. Although the English Bulldog does not have a high prey drive, they can become very protective of their family and specifically the children. As an owner, this is something that you need to be on the lookout for especially when there are other people around – your dog could easily misinterpret a situation and feel that they need to protect their family.  These loving dogs need to be well stimulated both physically and mentally in order for them to be well-balanced dogs and to prevent them from developing destructive or unwanted behaviours due to boredom. Being wilful dogs, they need an experienced owner that can handle the breed and gain the dogs respect as the calm and consistent leader in the home and outside.  There is a major difference between a playful dog and a dog that is pushing the boundaries – this should be corrected as soon as it is noticed otherwise it will develop and the dog will keep pushing the boundaries to see how far they can go.  As I mentioned already, the English Bulldog is extremely courageous and so can be very challenging to train. They must be socialised from a very young age with other dogs, people and situations.  It’s important to understand the difference between prey drive and aggression as they can very easily look like they are one in the same. A dog’s aggression is driven by very strong emotions like fear whereas their prey drive is instinctive. Aggressive dogs will want to increase the distance between themselves and the object of their aggression, but a dog’s prey drive will draw them closer to the target. So why does this really matter? Well – as a dog’s prey drive is not driven by emotions, it is most often easier to manage than emotion-based aggression.  An extremely strong prey drive can be particularly problematic if you dog wants to chase absolutely anything that it sees – going for walks could become a nightmare for you as an owner. So, they need to be properly trained and corrected in order to prevent your dog from ignoring your every call. Most of a dog’s prey drive behaviours are harmless, but can cause problems for you as an owner, being unable to go for a walk with your canine companion and to be constantly worrying that they are going to take off.  It’s super important to look into the specifics of a dog breed before bringing them into your home to make sure that you and your pup will be a good match. Plus, it’s good to be aware of the different behaviours that your breed of interest may show more than another breed would.

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