Are American Bullies Stubborn? 5 Ways To Make Training Easy

Getting an American Bully puppy earlier this year has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life. It has also come with its share of challenges, as every new puppy owner has experienced. I knew from the beginning my American Bully was smart, affectionate, and loyal. Training was where I learned if he was stubborn.

Are American Bullies stubborn? As a whole American Bullies can be stubborn. They can be a strong willed breed of dog that is unwilling to take direction when not given the proper incentives. The American Bully is a very smart dog, which in turn can also make them question commands when unmotivated.

Encountering the stubborn side of my American Bully puppy was something I was a bit unprepared for in the beginning. I have worked with Bully breeds for years, and have owned a Staffy for 10. Staffies are also known to be stubborn at times, but the will of my American Bully was much stronger at certain times.

Over the past year I have worked tirelessly with my American Bully to bridge the gap and find ways to remove the stubborn streaks he can display. The strong will and intelligence of the American Bully needs to be directed to turn any stubborn tendencies into swift obedience.

In this post I will cover some of the ways you can make training for your American Bully fun and easy. These approaches have helped me remove that stubborn barrier and have my American Bully respond with enthusiasm. Let’s dig in.

Is The American Bully Easy To Train?

american bully sad face

The American Bully is a smart breed of dog and can be easy to train. Under the proper direction and leadership, American Bullies can learn the basics to advanced commands in a relatively short period of time. 

Training can become a little more difficult with your American Bully when your approach is inconsistent, impatient, and discouraging. This can easily happen when your American Bully starts to become stubborn and unwilling to follow directions.

Fear not my friend. Not only does this happen with us all at some point, but it is something that can be overcome. All you need to learn is how to help your American Bully learn. In the next section we are going to cover just that. How to train an American Bully, and remove that stubborn streak.

ruby and chester in front of mural

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How Do You Train An American Bully?

Training your American Bully comes down to some basic principles and practices. There are 5 simple rules I follow when training my American Bully. Keep it short, keep it fun, keep it consistent, keep it persistent, and keep it positive. Through these techniques you can overcome stubbornness and teach your dog almost anything.

Short Sessions

Training sessions with you American Bully should always be fairly short. I typically will only do focused training sessions with my American Bully for 15 minutes at a time. This prevents my dog from losing interest as time goes on, and allowing that stubborn behavior to begin to show.

Short sessions keep things concise and focused for an appropriate amount of time to get some key learning accomplished. You can do more than one training session in a day, but I recommend never going longer than 15-20 minutes, and spreading sessions apart by several hours.

Focused, high quality training for short periods are far more beneficial than a long session. Long sessions will eventually result in a disengaged American Bully, which will lead to stubborn defiance. This can result in your dog learning how to be stubborn and stunt your training progress.

Fun Interactions

pocket american bully chester training

Every training session should be a fun interaction with your American Bully. Oftentimes the stubborn behavior your American Bully displays is because they need to be convinced they should do something. When activities don’t get their interest, that is when they question the need to perform.

Training should be enjoyable for you and your dog. Keep things interesting by working on different commands throughout the session. Never stick to just one command like “sit” for an entire training period. Mix things up to keep your dog engaged and challenged.

When training sessions are repetitive, monotonous, and boring, your American Bully will quickly lose interest. Keep it fun for them and they will have every reason to respond to you and continue learning.

Consistent Practice

Like everything in life, practice makes progress. Consistency is absolutely essential in training your American Bully. Setting a daily routine of training can keep newly acquired learning fresh and reinforced through practice. 

Inconsistency in training can result in stubborn behavior due to confusion. Something you may have taught your American Bully is quickly forgotten when training is not practiced on a consistent basis. This lack of routine can result in stubborn behavior due to confusion and frustration on what is being asked of your dog.

Set aside time each day for at least one 15 minute training session. Practice commands from the previous sessions, and slowly introduce some new intermediate and advanced ones to keep things fresh and interesting.

Related ArticleHow Do You Train A Pocket American Bully? 10 Easy Puppy Tips

Persistent Follow Through

american bully sunshine

Persistence is an important element of training an American Bully that I had to learn very quickly. There is no magic training formula that will remove all stubborn behavior all the time. Sometimes you have to be more stubborn than your American Bully in making sure you follow through with a command.

This means that sometimes during a training session you will hit a stubborn streak with a command you know your American Bully understands. For whatever reason, whether they are bored or disengaged, they might not feel like responding to a command like “sit” for example.

Follow through with your training until their command is complete. For me this meant patiently waiting sometimes for a minute or more before my American Bully would give in and “sit”. The key is patience and an unwillingness to reward the stubborn behavior by allowing the behavior to slide.

These kind of standoffs can be avoided by following the above 3 rules of keeping sessions short, fun and consistent. The need to insist on basic commands to be followed will be few and far between when your dog is engaged and having a good time. 

Never scold, yell or force your dog into compliance however. This is not a follow through that will benefit your dog’s learning. If anything this will teach distrust, fear, and be counter productive to your goal of establishing a positive connection with your American Bully.

Encouraging Every Success

Positive reinforcement in training is something I strongly believe in. Encouraging every small win and success in your American Bully’s learning only further enforces that wanted behavior. American Bullies are very eager to please their owners and they respond incredibly well to positive reinforcement.

By using encouragement in every success you keep training fun and rewarding for your American Bully. In return you see less and less stubborn behaviors. Your dog learns that when you ask them to do something, and they obediently respond, this makes you extremely happy.

This keeps learning fun and rewarding for your American Bully and removes any doubt or stubborn response they may consider. Always praise and reward your dog during training, and always end sessions on a high note.

Final Thoughts

american bully smiling in field

Through consistent practice, fun short training sessions, and tons of positive reinforcement you can eliminate 95% of your American Bully’s stubbornness. People sometimes think stubborn behavior is a personal attack on them as an owner. A show of disrespect, when in reality it’s a missed opportunity to engage your dog.

American Bullies can be more stubborn than other breeds of dogs, but for me this is a sign of intelligence and not a flawed trait. This challenges us as owners to step up our game and make training a more entrawling, fun, encouraging and enjoyable experience.

The American Bully brings out the leadership we should all be displaying for our dogs. By directing the experience, guiding their learning journey, and being fully engaged in the right type of communication they need. 

Training my American Bully has taught me a great deal about myself, and pushed me to be stubborn in my own pursuits. The challenge to never stop finding ways to keep things fun, positive, and challenging for my dog has been one of the best rewards I could receive.


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Outward Hound Food Puzzle – Outward Hound food puzzles are the best in the industry. Available from beginner to advanced. These are an excellent way to challenge and mentally stimulate your dog.

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HiKiss Long Training Lead – Recall training and puppy training outdoors requires a long training lead. My favorite to use is the HiKiss long training lead. Available in a range of lengths to suit your long lead training needs.

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