How to Tell if Your Bull Terrier Is Happy

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If you have adopted a Bull terrier, you might face challenges socializing and bonding with the dog. Learning how to tell if your Bull terrier is happy can help you understand the dog’s feelings towards you, letting you know when the dog has finally bonded with you.

How to Tell if Your Bull Terrier Is Happy

Generally, Bull terriers have emotional capacities almost like a two to two and half-year-old child. They can have mixed reactions of anger, fear, or joy. Just like how children of that age can’t verbally communicate their feelings, dogs don’t have speech.

A Bull terrier with a brown and white coating wearing a red collar walking on a grass field

That means, as the dog owner, you should be able to understand the feelings of your dog through behavioral changes and physical looks. Regardless of the dog’s age, the following signs can help you know whether the dog is happy.

Happy Facial Expression

Just like children, dogs can express their happiness through facial expressions even if they can’t express their feelings. Usually, a bored Bull terrier will have its mouth closed and look off-minded and full of thoughts. On the other hand, a happy dog seems to be smiling.

For instance, if the dog is in a relaxed mode with the eyes partially closed, you might see it frequently raising one or both eyebrows to make eye contact with you. It might also have the mouth opened such that the edges of the mouth are turned up and some teeth visible.

The opening of the mouth should look soft, not the usual way the dog opens when aggressive or panting. For example, if the dog opens its mouth wide, curls its lips back, and bares its teeth, it could indicate aggression.

Happy Barks

Both standard and miniature Bull terriers are not known to bark a lot, and they might only bark when provoked or spots an intruder. When the dog is happy and excited, it might also make high-pitched barks for a short period.

However, since these dogs can be aggressive even with minimal barking, it’s not advisable to judge the feelings of your dog based on the barks alone. Instead, check for other signs that might indicate the reason for the barking, such as the general environmental mood.

For instance, high-pitched barks when the dog sees you approaching with a bowl of food might indicate happiness. In contrast, similar barks when a stranger enters the compound might indicate anxiety or aggression.

Good Behavior

Bull terriers were initially bred for pit fighting, which makes them have strong territorial instincts and are aggressive when provoked. These instincts make the dog stubborn and challenging to train or socialize. Even if Bull terriers are intelligent, the dominating traits make them unwilling to follow commands.

Keeping in mind that these dogs are also energetic and Bull terriers need regular exercises to help them release energy, they tend to develop destructive behaviors when bored. The combination of high energy and independent nature makes these dogs naughty and uncontrollable.

However, when the dog is happy, it becomes willing to please and might stop the destructive behaviors and start obeying commands. For instance, the dog might start sticking by your side when going for walks instead of wandering around.

Wiggly Tail and Body

Like humans, dogs tend to be more tense when anxious or aggressive and relaxed when happy. A happy Bull terrier tends to wiggle, showing its belly. The dog might also wag its medium-length tail. Keeping in mind this dog’s tail is usually carried horizontally, it might raise it slightly.

However, if the dog raises the tail so high, it could be a sign of over-stimulation or agitation. If the dog stands still and waves its tail tightly, it could indicate nervousness or alertness. On the other hand, if the dog pins the tail under the body, it indicates fear.

Gentle Eyes

Bull terriers have unique triangle eyes that are usually dark and deep-set. In most cases, you can tell whether the dog is tense, relaxed, or anxious by looking at the softness of its gaze. When the dog is happy, the eyelids are usually open and relaxed, and the dog gazes at you softly.

The dog might also blink frequently, which indicates the dog is not alert or looking at something attentively. However, if the dog opens its eyes wide, it’s an indication of fright, and if it narrows its eyes and gazes hard, it’s a sign of aggression.

A Bull terrier with a white coating wearing a unicorn headband

How to Make a Bull Terrier Happy

In most cases, Bull terriers become anxious, unhappy, or destructive when sick, bored, or lack mental stimulation. If the signs indicate your dog is unhappy, you can use the following tips to improve its emotional and physical state.

  • The dog might lack interest because of a weaker bond between you. Try to improve the bonding by showing the dog lots of affection and love
  • If the dog is engaging in destructive behaviors because of boredom, engage it in intense exercises such as long walks or jogging
  • If you have no time for daily exercises, provide the dog with interactive toys such as puzzle toys to provide it with mental stimulation 
  • Bull terriers are prone to painful patellar luxation problems, where the kneecap dislocates. You can reduce the risks of this problem by ensuring the dog is not walking or playing on slippery surfaces, or jumping from high places
  • Keeping in mind that the dog might be in pain and unhappy due to an underlying health condition, consider taking the dog for regular medical checkups
  • Feed the Bull terriers nutritious foods to ensure it’s healthy and energetic

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a Bull Terrier Become Jealous and Unhappy?

The dog can become jealous and unhappy if it notices you are switching attention and affection from it to other pets or humans. The dog might even become aggressive.

Can Happiness Affect a Bull Terrier’s Sleeping Patterns?

Happiness can affect the dog’s sleeping patterns. Usually, a healthy and happy adult Bull terrier sleeps for around 50% of the day, while puppies sleep even longer, around 16 hours a day. If the dog suffers from insomnia, it’s a sign of health issues or anxiety.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to tell if your Bull terrier is happy can help you know whether the dog is angry, suffering from anxiety, or having an underlying health issue. You can tell the dog is happy if it looks relaxed, wags its tail, and generally wants to obey and please you.