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Hector the American bulldog who only spoke German has now been taught English

An American bulldog cruelly abandoned outside an animal centre who only understood German has now been taught in English in a bid to find a new home.

The ‘intelligent and ‘loving’ dog, fondly named Hector, was found tied to the gates of an RSPCA centre in Leeds with cigarette burns on his body on August 1.

At the time, staff tried to give the one-year-old pooch basic commands like ‘sit’, ‘heel’, ‘stay’ and ‘down’ in English – but he didn’t respond.

Upon realising that the car of the man who abandoned him had foreign number plates, they gave commands in other languages – before finally settling on German.

The bulldog has been training at the RSPCA Leeds, Wakefield & District Branch Animal Centre in East Ardsley in Leeds, West Yorkshire, ever since, and has now learned to respond to English in the four months he’s been there.

An American bulldog cruelly abandoned outside an animal centre who only understood German has now been taught in English in a bid to find a new home

The 'intelligent and 'loving' dog, fondly named Hector, was found tied to the gates of an RSPCA centre in Leeds with cigarette burns on his body on August 1

The ‘intelligent and ‘loving’ dog, fondly named Hector, was found tied to the gates of an RSPCA centre in Leeds with cigarette burns on his body on August 1

Hector with Lucy and Katie from the RSPCA Leeds, Wakefield & District Branch Animal Centre

Hector with Lucy and Katie from the RSPCA Leeds, Wakefield & District Branch Animal Centre

The RSPCA are hoping to find the ‘big baby’, who weighs six stone, a new home despite the fact he still struggles to trust new people.   

Lucynda Hodgson, animal care manager at the centre, said: ‘He’d been dumped with a hefty muzzle on and had been tied up with a heavy chain lead that was so short he could barely lie down.

‘He’d twisted the lead tighter and tighter around his neck and couldn’t move at all.

‘He wasn’t responding to any English commands so, given the foreign plates on the car, we decided to try some different languages and it emerged he was actually quite well trained and knew several commands – in German.

‘We started to introduce him to English words and used hand signals alongside verbal commands so he started to pick it up really quickly. 

‘He’s a very intelligent dog and is very loving. 

‘He’s a big baby really; he loves to gallop around the paddock and play with his giant tennis balls. He’s so lovable and is such a gentle giant.’

Upon realising that the car of the man who abandoned him had foreign number plates, they gave commands in other languages - before finally settling on German

Upon realising that the car of the man who abandoned him had foreign number plates, they gave commands in other languages – before finally settling on German

The RSPCA are hoping to find the 'big baby', who weighs six stone, a new home despite the fact he still struggles to trust new people

The RSPCA are hoping to find the ‘big baby’, who weighs six stone, a new home despite the fact he still struggles to trust new people

Staff believe he’s had little exposure to the outside world as he initially seemed rather shocked by everyday things such as traffic and strangers but he’s slowly learning more and more.

Ms Hodgson added: ‘All of the staff here absolutely love him but he definitely has a negative association with smokers which confirms our suspicion that he’s been burned using a cigarette.

‘We have two smokers here and they are the only members of staff that he can be unsure of; the only similarity between them and the only reason for him to be nervous is that they both smoke.

‘Hector still finds it difficult meeting and trusting new people so will need new owners who can make regular visits to meet him before building up enough confidence to take him home.

Staff believe he's had little exposure to the outside world as he initially seemed rather shocked by everyday things such as traffic and strangers but he's slowly learning more and more

Staff believe he’s had little exposure to the outside world as he initially seemed rather shocked by everyday things such as traffic and strangers but he’s slowly learning more and more

‘He weighs 40kg and is a big, strong dog so staff would ideally like him to go to a home experienced with large breeds.

‘He’d like a calm and quiet home without too many visitors and must go to a non-smoking, adult-only family.

‘Hector can get a little upset being left alone so we’d ask his new owners to teach him gradually that being home alone isn’t scary.

‘He would also benefit from further socialisation with other dogs so would be best as an only pet with owners who can slowly introduce him to new dogs.

‘He’d love a rural home with a large, secure garden to gallop around and explore. He loves nothing more than a good game of ball and then a relaxing cuddle and tummy scratch in his kennel or a delicious chew to gnaw on.

‘He’s a very clever lad who absolutely loves treats so is very easy to train – especially now he’s picked up English. He’d love to learn more commands, tricks and skills.’  


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