How to Train a Pit bull Puppy
Some basic manners pit bull puppies should know
With so many different training methods and philosophies available nowadays, choosing the right way to train your pitbull puppy may literally make your head spin. Don't be fooled by the tough looks of pitbull terriers: truth is, they are loving creatures with quite a soft side. Positive reinforcement training, using rewards and lots of praise, helps build a strong bond and helps make the training process fun and rewarding for your new pitbull puppy.
How to Train Your Pitbull Puppy Basic Manners
These are some basic commands you can introduce to your pitbull puppy. As mentioned earlier, a puppy can be taught to sit as early as eight weeks old. Many of these command will turn out very handy in various circumstances. They are taught through positive reinforcement training and some use a training technique known as ''luring''.
A puppy can easily be taught to sit on command. Start in an area with few distractions using a treat as lure. Place the treat over your dog's nose causing it to point upwards. If you move the treat backwards over the puppy's head, his hunches should automatically lower causing him to sit. The moment the rear touches the floor, praise and give the treat. Repeat several times and then start adding the word ''sit'' every time the rear touches the floor so the puppy starts associating the act of sitting with the command.
- Lay Down
In order to lay down, the dog must know already the sit command. Command him to sit and face him holding a treat. Bring the treat to the puppy's nose and then down in a straight vertical line ending up between the pup's legs and then pull it out horizontally as if making an imaginary letter ''L''. The puppy should follow the treat and lay down. As soon as his armpits touch the floor, praise and release the treat between the paws and let him have it. Repeat and start introducing the command '' lay down'' so your puppy associates the act of laying down with the command.
The recall command is one of the most important commands your Pitbull puppy should know, and it can turn out being a life saver. Start from a quiet area of your home such as a hallway. Your helper holds your puppy . With a treat in your hand, lure your puppy, and then walk backwards toward the opposite end of the hallway while calling your pup's name. Tell your helper to let the puppy go as soon as he shows the desire to come to you. Praise and give the treat as soon as your dog arrives. Make this exercise more challenging by increasing the distance and trying it in increasingly distracting areas.
- Watch Me
The watch me command is very important. It helps your pitbull puppy stay focused on you even if for a brief time. Start by holding a treat at eye level and saying ''watch me''. When your puppy makes eye contact, praise and give the treat. Increase the time you keep the treat at eye level so your puppy looks at you for longer and longer periods of time.
- Loose Leash Walking
Loose leash walking is very important, and it is works best if taught in an obedience class setting so your puppy learns how to behave on the leash despite strong distractions such as other dogs and people. You can teach some basics of loose leash walking by walking your puppy in a quiet area and stopping when your puppy is walking in front of you causing the leash to tighten. Use a treat to position your puppy back to next to you and repeat this exercise over and over. You want your puppy to grasp the concept that every time he is not next to you the walk stops and when he is next to you, it continues. You can also integrate the ''watch me'' command for attention heeling once your puppy is older and has a better attention span.
Stay is another important command to teach, but it requires some attention, so it may be difficult to introduce to a very young puppy. Older puppies may be taught ''stay'', simple tell your pup to sit or lay down next to you and with the palm of your hand open pronounce the word ''stay''. Take a step forward and place yourself in front of the dog with the palm of your hand still open. Return to your initial place next to your dog, praise your dog for staying, and give the treat. Increase the distance by taking more steps forward and increasing the length of time your dog stays. Have your Pit Bull perform this command by adding distance and distracting environments gradually.
An important read for new puppy owners
Puppy socialization is extremely important, Don't wait! This book guides you through on how, where and when to socialize your puppy with a comprehensive description of what the window of socialization entails. A must for breeders, trainers and new puppy owners.
The Importance of Early Socialization
Because some Pit Bull Terriers (as with other breeds) may have a tendency to develop some level of interdog-aggression (aggression towards other dogs) as they reach social maturity, and because they are a very powerful breed, when it comes to dog training it can never be emphasized enough the importance of early socialization and training.
Socializing your pitbull puppy with other dogs may be a bit tricky. Veterinarians may recommend not exposing your Pit Bull puppy to other dogs in order to prevent potentially dangerous infectious diseases that are common in puppies, but isolating your puppy during this important phase of its life may be a big mistake.
According to veterinarian Robert K. Anderson, the risk of a puppy dying from parvo or distemper disease is far less likely than the risk of a dog being put to sleep because of behavior problems. Your best bet would be to socialize your puppy with other dogs in controlled settings with known dogs that have already been vaccinated and in clean, safe environments, according to the Real Pitbull, a nonprofit corporation located in central New Jersey . An ideal place to start would be in a puppy class.
How to Socialize Your Pitbull Puppy with People
Despite a pitbull terrier's reputation, aggression towards humans is very uncharacteristic of this breed and a highly undesirable trait. Indeed, pitbull terriers make poor guard dogs, due to their friendliness towards strangers. The American Temperament Testing Society, which tests different aspects of temperament in dogs, including stability, shyness, aggressiveness, protectiveness and friendliness, gives the American Pit Bull Terrier a nice passing score of 86 percent.
If you just got a Pit Bull Terrier puppy, your first step in Pit Bull Terrier dog training would be to socialize as much as you can. The great part of owning puppies is that they are like a blank canvas on which you can work to create the right imprints. What you do during this time therefore, is very important. In puppies, there is a small window of opportunity, which closes at approximately 12 weeks of age, during which they are most impressionable, and therefore, more open to new experiences explains Joe Stahlkuppe in his book'' Training Your Pitbull'' . Hopefully, your breeder gave your puppy a great start so you can take over this very important task.
How to Socialize and Train Your Pit bull Puppy Around Dogs
While you can teach some commands at home, it is very important to enroll your pitbull puppy in classes so he or she is exposed to other dogs and learns to obey your commands despite distractions. This helps you gain control over a potentially large, powerful breed before it's too late. Look for a reputable training center that offers positive reinforcement training in your area. Most trainers also provide instructions on how to become a benevolent pack leader.
Continuing training and socialization as your puppy grows is very important since once pitbull terriers reach social maturity, they can become aloof around other dogs and discriminative about which dogs to befriend. While puppy socialization may help tremendously in teaching bite inhibition, it may not be enough to override the breed's inclination towards inter-dog aggression, explains veterinarian Jennifer Messer. Yet, it's important to recognize that as with any breed of a dog, a pit bull's temperament and tolerance to other dogs is the result of several factors: genetics, level of training, socialization, ability to bounce back from a negative experience, resilience, context and so on. For more o this read "Are All Pit bulls Aggressive Towards Other Dogs?
Responsible ownership of pitbull terriers is a must, especially since the breed is in a critical situation with breed specific legislation being enacted in several jurisdictions and increasing liability insurance premiums. By demonstrating how well behaved and well trained your pitbull puppy is, you can be an advocate for the breed and educate people around you. This way, people see your dog from a realistic perspective instead of relying on poor representations, which are sometimes promulgated by the media.
For further reading
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