Diary of a Bulldog Owner: Part 1
Welcome, my aim with this Diary is to have fun and share with you some true stories to give you an idea of what life is like living with a bulldog. I also want to share with you some useful information and top tips over the coming weeks, as I know some of you are considering bringing a bulldog into your life.
So, here he is, the star of the show, Monty our 2 years old bulldog. He is possibly the only living creature on earth that can give Mariah Carey a run for her money on the diva front! More about that a little later...
Since joining our family 2 years ago, Monty has certainly enriched our lives. Like all bulldogs, he is full of character, affection, energy, and crazy random behaviour (known as zoomies among bulldog owners). He has some funny and quirky traits. I've mentioned a couple of these below, but I plan to share these with you in more detail next week during Part 2.
If you have never lived with a bulldog, then you are probably thinking they are the same as any other dog breed! Well, in some ways, you are right. After all, they have four legs, bark loudly and need feeding. But for me, and other bulldog owners I know, that is pretty much where the similarities end.
You see, bulldogs are a unique and iconic dog breed. There's something about them that gets a grip of you, a powerful force that makes total strangers cross the road and say "I just had to come over and stroke him, I've always wanted one he's lovely". Yes, this really does happen on a monthly basis.
Monty loves people and gets beside himself with excitement whenever he meets children and adults. Bulldogs need to be with people for them to stay happy.
Psychological Warfare Bulldog Style
Behind the cuteness, wrinkles and loving cuddles lies an expert in psychological warfare. I'm convinced that in a previous life, Monty was a Professor of Psychology. Make no mistake, Monty knows exactly what he wants, and he knows exactly how to go about getting it. Allow me to give you an insight into his expertise...
4:50 am Emergency Dash
On this particular morning, at 4:50 am, I woke to Monty barking and running down the stairs. It's normal for him to do a dash for the loo at this ungodly hour. So I'm scrambling around searching for the patio door key, knowing I've got a desperate Monty "on the tail". I quickly open the door and out he runs and climbs straight into his paddling pool. There he's sat facing the morning sunrise.
You see, he didn't need the loo. He didn't need to bark and run down the stairs. But rather cunningly, Monty knows how to get a sleepy human out of bed to deliver him to his sunbathing spot in the wee hours. In total disbelief, I found myself saying to him "are you joking?". He didn't even turn his head to acknowledge me. Off I went back to bed. 15 minutes later he's barking to come in. His love for sprawling out on a hypnos bed had got the better of him...
In case you are wondering, Monty refuses to go in his paddling pool if there is water inside. He just loves to sit in his empty paddling pool and contemplate toys, treats and walks!
In our living room there are two large identical sofas. Here we see Monty sitting on the sofa exactly where I like to sit. This innocent spot has become a citadel of psychological warfare between man and bulldog! To put this into context, no dog I have ever known or owned has ever demonstrated the calculating, ninja like thinking and moves that Monty demonstrates. Allow me to explain...
Monty can be fast asleep by the fireplace in a world of snoring heaven. I can leave the room for less than 2 minutes and on my return find him sat on the sofa in my place. Let's break this down a little... Monty has six available sofa cushions to sit on yet he chooses mine. Within less than 2 minutes of me leaving the room, he has woken from his snoring coma, surveyed the lounge and decided that he must move quickly to secure my spot. This is an on-going battle that rages on.
You can see from the image above, that I'm dealing with an expert in mind warfare, one that shows no mercy and has a look that says "what's your problem". I know I must remain strong to make it through the next 10 years. You find bulldog owners in forums leaning on each other for emotional support, each telling the other to "be strong, you can do this".
Yes, bulldogs are known to be stubborn. Without doubt, the most stubborn breed of dog that I have come across - it creates lots of laughter in our house... This stubbornness is often confused with the breed being stupid, which is not the case.
As covered in the Bulldog Bible. Bulldogs will often do what they are asked provided they can see a benefit in doing it. So, if I am not holding a toy or a treat, it can be a challenge to get Monty to obey various commands. A labrador or a springer spaniel would comply with such commands in a heartbeat to please their owner. There's a saying "bulldogs don't have owners they have staff".Here's a link to a video, which I recently shot whilst walking Monty. We have since used the footage to support men's mental health. The video was posted on Facebook and LinkedIn. In the video you will hear me calling Monty's name. Now Monty knows that I'm not holding anything of value to him - there's no toy and no treat. Watch the video and let me know your comments.
Top Tip: Bulldog Bible
If you are seriously considering owning a bulldog, then I highly recommend you buy the book "Bulldog Bible" by Tania Holmes. Tania is an expert in all things bulldog related and has dedicated her career to the breed. Having read this book, I believe it is a must read for those who are thinking of buying a bulldog or who already live with a bulldog. Fully understanding the needs and behaviours of this fun but rather complex breed, will help you and your bulldog to have a happy and enriching life together. Here is a link to Amazon (no, sadly, I am not being paid to plug the book).
I hope you enjoyed this introduction to life with a bulldog and living with Monty. Next week, in Diary of a Bulldog Owner: Part 2, I will dive deeper into the breed and share with you important information about specific bulldog behaviours and health issues, along with several top tips.
Thanks & take care!