Tips for Raising a Happy Pit Bull
Pit Bulls have definitely gotten a terrible reputation the past few decades. In the 1920’s they were seen as a beloved movie mascot and in the 50’s they had the nickname of “nanny dog”. But after dog fighting became more prevalent and the media blew things out of proportion, the general public developed an unwarranted fear of the breed.
People focus on their heritage of being war dogs, but their aggression was actually aimed at pleasing their masters. So, they were just following instructions. This is the important point to remember when raising a Pit Bull – you are in charge of the training. Leaving any dog to grow up without proper training is doing you and the dog an injustice.
The key to good training is positive reinforcement. You can’t beat your dog into submission or shout at it till it obeys you. Using fear to manage your dog is a recipe for disaster! Somewhere along the line the dog might retaliate and you’ll be dealing with an aggressive outburst, seemingly out of nowhere.
So to help you with raising a happy and healthy Pit Bull pup, we list some easy to implement training tips.
Tip 1: House Training
Pit Bulls do tend to lean towards the stubborn side, so you will need lots of patience in your potty training process. But their stubbornness means that they are smart. Stay clear from the traditional method of rubbing your puppy’s face in the mishap and reprimanding it. This will only instill fear in your dog’s mind.
In the beginning a few accidents are inevitable while your puppy learns this new habit. When you see your puppy sniffing around, this usually means that it’s looking for a place to relieve itself.
Immediately take your puppy outside and wait for it to do its business. It should take about five to ten minutes. After the puppy has relieved itself, remember to praise it, using words such as “good boy/girl!” to create a positive connotation of not messing inside but going outside.
Tips for Pit Bull potty training:
- Take your puppy outside at least once every hour, and 20 minutes after feeding
- Take your puppy outside regularly, whether they have to relieve themselves or not. This way the habit will sink in more effectively
- Take the puppy out on a leash for the first week
- Take your puppy to the same spot every time for consistency
- Focus on the puppy first relieving itself before encouraging exploring and playing
Read this article for more tips on potty training.
Tip 2: Socialize Your Puppy
This step is crucial if you want a well-adjusted adult Pit Bull. By surrounding your puppy with people and other animals, it will learn from a young age to live peaceably with all living things. You can retrain an adult Pit Bull and work on socializing it, but it will be much more challenging.
A great way to manage your Pit Bull, is to teach it to promptly respond to its name. If the dog starts growling at another dog or at a person, you can grab its attention by saying its name. In the beginning you will have to keep treats close by to reward your puppy for obeying you quickly.
You have to remain in control at all times, so it is best to keep your dog on a leash when going out in public. This way you can also use the leash to grab your dog’s attention when it is behaving badly. One quick yank will snap the dog out of the unwanted behavior.
Before taking your Pit Bull out in public, slowly introduce it to new people by inviting a few friends over to your house, or taking it to visit a family member or friend at their house. If you have other pets, do not overwhelm the animals by just dumping them together in the same space all at once.
You could consider keeping your new Pit Bull puppy in a separate area of your house for the first few days. Introduce the pets to each other slowly and monitor their behavior towards each other. Especially with two dogs, it’s best to keep some treats close at hand to distract them if one of them starts showing signs of aggression towards the other dog. Keep your voice neutral and refrain from shouting to maintain a positive environment. Another option is to keep both dogs on leashes, so that you can yank them apart if you notice aggression building up.
Keep the interactions brief in the beginning. Before leaving the dogs on their own together, make sure you’ve engaged them in this controlled interaction for a few days in a row so that they can get used to the idea of staying together. Read this article to be aware of signs of aggression.
Tip 3: Use Positive Training Methods
Years ago people believed that you had to beat obedience into dogs. But this is definitely not the correct way to deal with an animal, and dealing with a stubborn breed such as a Pit Bull, this method will get you the opposite reaction from what you want. Oftentimes the aggression we perceive in dogs is merely the dog trying to defend itself.
You will need to be very patient during the training process. Imagine being the teacher in doggy school, you want to make the experience stimulating and fun for your dog to learn as quickly as possible. Pit Bulls were originally bred as worker dogs, so they have an ingrained sense of wanting to please their masters. You can harness this inclination in their temperament to get the best results while training. Consistency is key, you will have to repeat the same command over and over.
Example: teaching your dog to sit. Keep a handful of treats with you, kibbles or other dog-friendly treats. Use a basic command, such as “sit” instead of “sit down”. Every time your dog obeys, give it a treat and give lots of verbal praise in an enthusiastic voice with a moment’s affection. Repeat this routine 10 times, exactly the same every time. By the 11th time, your dog will probably sit before you even offer it a treat. Using positive reinforcement in the form of dog treats or their favorite chew toy is an effective way to train your pup.
The aim of the positive training method is to build respect. Your dog will be much more eager to obey you from a respect perspective than from a fear perspective.
Common Training Mistakes
Training a Pit Bull can be challenging, but you just need to stick to good training methods. The following are a few common slip-ups:
- Not having enough patience
- Lacking consistency
- Reverting to negative training methods
- Not being open-minded
Prepare yourself mentally before you start the training process. Don’t expect instant results and you will remain less frustrated with your dog. Proper training for a Pit Bull is essential. Your cute little puppy will turn into a feisty big dog, and you need to know how to manage it.
What training methods have you found work best for your Pit Bull? Any challenges you had to deal with?
About the author: This article was provided by Andy from theeverythingdogsite.com, which is a site dedicated to helping promote responsible dog ownership as well as helping spread the word of how amazing dogs are!