Are American Bulldogs Natural Chewers? Tips for Managing Their Chewing Behavior

American Bulldogs are known for their strength, athleticism, and loyalty. As a proud owner of an American Bulldog, I can attest to their unique personality and the challenges that come with it. One aspect of their behavior that often perplexes owners is their penchant for chewing. In this blog post, we will delve into the natural chewing instinct of American Bulldogs and explore tips for managing their chewing behavior.

The Natural Chewing Instinct

Like many dog breeds, American Bulldogs have a natural instinct to chew. Chewing serves several purposes for them, including exercise, stress relief, and dental care. Understanding this instinct is crucial for effectively managing their chewing behavior. By providing appropriate outlets and guidance, we can redirect their chewing tendencies towards more desirable items.

Why Do American Bulldogs Chew?

The Importance of Chewing for Bulldogs

Chewing is an integral part of a dog’s life, and American Bulldogs are no exception. It helps to keep their teeth clean and healthy by removing plaque and tartar buildup. Additionally, chewing exercises their jaw muscles and provides mental stimulation. It is essential to recognize that chewing is a natural and necessary behavior for American Bulldogs.

Distinguishing Between Normal and Destructive Chewing

While chewing is a natural behavior, it is essential to differentiate between normal and destructive chewing. Normal chewing involves the use of appropriate chewing outlets, such as toys or bones, and does not cause damage to valuable items. Destructive chewing, on the other hand, involves chewing on inappropriate items like furniture, shoes, or household objects. Understanding this distinction is crucial for managing and redirecting their chewing behavior effectively.

Managing Chewing Behavior

Providing Appropriate Chewing Outlets

To prevent your American Bulldog from chewing on inappropriate items, it is vital to provide them with suitable chewing outlets. This can include a variety of chew toys specifically designed for strong chewers. Look for toys made of durable materials, such as rubber or nylon, that can withstand their powerful jaws. By offering appropriate alternatives, you can steer them away from destructive chewing habits.

Choosing the Right Chew Toys

Not all chew toys are created equal, and it’s important to choose ones that are safe and engaging for your American Bulldog. Look for toys that are size-appropriate, as well as those that are designed to promote dental health. Toys with textured surfaces or ridges can help clean their teeth while they chew. Additionally, interactive toys that dispense treats can provide mental stimulation and keep them occupied for longer periods.

Supervising and Redirecting Chewing

Supervision is key when managing your American Bulldog’s chewing behavior, especially during their early stages. Keep a close eye on them and redirect their attention if you catch them chewing on inappropriate items. Offer them an appropriate chew toy and praise them when they engage with it. Consistency is crucial in reinforcing the desired behavior and discouraging destructive chewing habits.

Training and Behavioral Techniques

Positive Reinforcement Training Methods

Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool when it comes to training your American Bulldog and managing their chewing behavior. Reward them with treats, praise, or playtime when they chew on appropriate items. This positive association will encourage them to repeat the desired behavior. Avoid punishment-based training methods, as they can create fear or anxiety, which may exacerbate chewing issues.

Teaching the “Leave It” Command

Teaching your American Bulldog the “Leave It” command is invaluable for managing their chewing behavior. This command teaches them to leave or let go of an item on command. Start by offering them a treat in a closed hand and say “Leave It.” When they stop trying to get the treat, reward them with a different treat from your other hand. Practice this command consistently, gradually increasing the difficulty by using more enticing items to leave.

Using Crate Training for Chewing Management

Crate training can be an effective tool for managing chewing behavior, particularly when you’re unable to supervise your American Bulldog. Dogs have a natural denning instinct, and a crate can provide them with a safe and secure space. Make sure the crate is comfortable and enticing, with appropriate chew toys and bedding. Gradually increase the duration of time spent in the crate, always associating it with positive experiences and rewards.

Preventing Boredom and Anxiety

Physical and Mental Stimulation

Boredom and anxiety can contribute to destructive chewing behavior in American Bulldogs. Providing adequate physical exercise and mental stimulation is crucial in preventing these issues. Regular walks, play sessions, and engaging activities like obedience training or agility courses can tire them out both physically and mentally. A tired Bulldog is less likely to engage in destructive chewing.

Exercise and Playtime Strategies

Engaging your American Bulldog in regular exercise and playtime is vital for their overall well-being. Incorporate activities that tap into their natural instincts, such as fetch, tug-of-war, or hide-and-seek. Introduce variety into their playtime to keep them mentally stimulated and entertained. Interactive play also strengthens the bond between you and your Bulldog, further reinforcing positive behaviors.

Using Interactive Toys and Puzzles

Interactive toys and puzzles can provide mental stimulation and keep your American Bulldog engaged for extended periods. These toys often require problem-solving skills to access treats or rewards. By challenging their minds and rewarding their efforts, you can redirect their focus away from destructive chewing and towards more mentally stimulating activities.

Solutions for Destructive Chewing

Identifying Underlying Causes and Triggers

If your American Bulldog’s chewing behavior persists and becomes destructive, it is essential to identify any underlying causes or triggers. Sometimes, chewing can be a result of anxiety, boredom, or even teething in younger Bulldogs. Monitoring their behavior and consulting with a veterinarian or professional trainer can help pinpoint the root cause and develop a tailored plan for managing their chewing habits.

Consulting a Professional Trainer or Behaviorist

If you’re struggling to manage your American Bulldog’s chewing behavior, seeking professional help can be beneficial. A certified dog trainer or animal behaviorist can assess the situation, provide guidance, and develop a customized training plan to address the underlying issues. They can help you understand your Bulldog’s specific needs and work with you to modify their behavior effectively.

Exploring Chewing Deterrents and Repellents

In some cases, using chewing deterrents or repellents can be helpful in preventing destructive chewing. These products are designed to make objects unappealing to dogs by imparting a bitter taste or unpleasant smell. However, it’s important to choose deterrents that are safe for dogs and follow the instructions carefully. Additionally, these should be used in conjunction with other management techniques to address the root cause of the chewing behavior.


Understanding and managing your American Bulldog’s chewing behavior is crucial for a harmonious coexistence. By recognizing their natural chewing instinct, providing appropriate outlets, and implementing positive reinforcement training methods, you can redirect their chewing tendencies towards more desirable items. Remember, consistency, patience, and an understanding of your Bulldog’s unique needs are key to successfully managing their chewing behavior. With the right approach, you can help your American Bulldog lead a happy and chew-friendly life.

ThePetFaq Team