Over the years, Pitbulls have been suffering from the bad rap of stereotypes. A lot of people think these dogs are aggressive, the kind that will bite that minute you get close. But with proper socialization and training, Pitbulls will be total sweethearts and people-pleasers. Early obedience training for Pitbulls is the key. If you know how to channel their energy into something productive, they will definitely mold their behavior in a disciplined and obedient nature.
Pitbulls aren’t always for everyone, especially first-time dog owners. You’ll need extra effort to make them follow what you want. Due to their dark past in blood sports, you have to be patient in order to dampen their seemingly stubborn and eager personality.
Pitbull puppies are still establishing their fears, aggression, and behavior. If you train them early, you just don’t set the rules straight. You also get to be their alpha. With this strong-willed breed, that’s one thing you have to achieve.
During puppyhood, make socialization a priority. Expose them to other dogs by walking them to the park or scheduling a dog play date with other owners. This will make your doggo comfortable with the presence of other people and animals.
Allow your Pitty to approach and explore things in his own timing.
If he doesn’t want to play with another puppy, don’t force him into it. If you do so, you’re fueling the possible aggression. It’s the opposite of what you want to happen.
Even before you start with the formal drills, get your puppy used to restraint. Touch and handle him until he feels comfortable about it. Put a collar on and walk him on a leash around your yard.
Interaction with other dogs
Due to their history with dog fighting, Pitbulls tend to loathe the presence of other dog breeds. Still, it doesn’t mean they will have the same aggression with humans. Nevertheless, never consider this intolerance as a normal thing. Hatred is taught, both to humans and dogs. It’s your job as the paw-rent to make sure that this will be fixed.
Once you succeeded on early socialization, it’s now time to do basic obedience training drills. The sit and stay command is a good start. Make sure that you practice this in different environments to strengthen the recall of the dog. This is what we call proofing.
Proofing is when your dog reacts to your cues instead of being distracted by the elements on his surroundings. Even if there’s another dog or food around, he should be able to respond properly to your command.
It’s understandable that not all dog owners can handle training. If you are always busy at work, you can enroll your Pitty to an obedience school for Pitbulls. Through this, your pet can get reactive obedience training for Pitbulls.
The use of positive reinforcement
It’s been proven, time and again, that positive reinforcement is the single method of dog training that yields the most positive results. On this aspect, there’s not much difference of training other breeds than training a Pitbull.
The only problem with Pitbulls is that they have stronger muscles and a stocky build.
Punishments will only aggravate the situation and make leash training almost impossible.
With that, you’re left with clicker training with positive reinforcement as the best method.
The consolation here is that Pitties are eager learners. If you handle them well, they will be more than willing to earn the rewards.
Obedience school for Pitbulls
For pet owners who don’t have the time and confidence to take on the training, the Canine Good Citizen Program of the American Kennel Club would be a good option. On this program, dogs from all breeds will undergo formal training with their owners.
Usually, pet owners take the AKC program as their springboard to more training sessions in the future.
During the training, your dog will be taught basic obedience commands like accepting petting from strangers, walking in front of a crowd, sitting, fetching, and more. Remember that this will be done together with other dogs. At some point, this also allows your Pitbull to socialize and meet other humans.
Once your dog passes the tests after the training, he will get a Canine Good Citizen Certificate from the AKC. This has a host of benefits to both the owners and the pet. First, landlords usually require a pet owner to prove that the Pitty isn’t a safety threat to the neighborhood. Also, some insurance companies will ask specifically for the AKC certification so they can grant you animal liability coverage.
The AKC certification also gives sporting dogs an edge as well as those who are training their canines to be therapy dogs. There’s no age limit to the AKC program and both pure and mix breeds can participate.
The benefits of home training
An obedience school for Pitbulls is a big help. Aside from making sure that your dog gets proper training, you also learn some tips from the trainers. Still, home training has its own set of benefits. It allows your dog to focus on you and to the commands that you specifically want him to learn.
Some pet owners only have home training as an option. Rural and remote areas with no access to a local dog training school typically opt to train their dogs at home.
You don’t have to fret since home training can be as effective as hiring a professional trainer. The formula here is patience, consistency, and starting early.
If ever you decide to do obedience training for Pitbulls at home, you can still tap the help of AKC for some tips. The AKC GoodDog! Helpline is available every day in case you need advice about training and other dog support. They can give advice about behavioral issues and house training.
However, you should be careful and precise with your method. Remember. Bad habits are easy to build but hard to quit.
Where to find obedience school for Pitbulls
In case you’re bent to send your doggo into a formal training school, AKC isn’t the only option. Other organizations also offer sessions and drills. Make sure that they are skilled in handling the dog breed before you sign up.
Here are some of the groups that offer dog training:
➕Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT)
The APDT supports training for the so-called “dangerous dogs” and they also oppose legislation that discriminates dog breeds. They conduct training based on LIMA or Leash Intrusive, Minimally Aversive methods that are proven to be humane and non-violent.
They do not tolerate the use of punishment to correct behavior, instead, they work based on the dog’s environment and physical well-being. APDT uses differential reinforcement, counter-conditioning, and desensitization to name a few.
This organization also uses positive reinforcement with the help of highly trained behaviorists and trainers. They also let the pet owner choose and control what their dogs would learn.
➕Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers (CCPDT)
CCPDT is one of the leading certifying organizations for dog trainers. On their website, you can find a dog trainer on your locality. This is a good choice, especially if you want your Pitty to have a one-on-one training session with an expert. Also, you can look for a trainer that works in a class so your pooch will get to socialize with other dogs.
Before you hire a trainer, take time to read their “How to Choose a Trainer” guide. It’s very informative and it even contains some red flags to watch out for. The biggest advantage with CCPDT is you’ll find a trainer that’s legitimately certified to handle dog training.
If you’re new to these organizations, feel free to ask your friends and neighbors. If they have well-behaved pets, they can possibly refer you to an experienced trainer. The best advice is from someone who owns a Pitty that happened to attend obedience school for Pitbulls.
Aside from the known training organizations, there might be a more affordable and accessible facility in your locality that other pet owners know about.
Your responsibility as the pet owner
When you send your Pitty in a training school, you also have to go with him. It’s not the same as sending your kid in a play school and you’re off the hook for the rest of the day. You have to do your part of learning, handling, and comforting your dog. That’s how obedience training for Pitbulls works.
As much as a trainer can teach your doggo, your presence is very important. Take note that you and your dog will be together at home so it makes perfect sense why you have to be the one to hold the leash.
Also, Pitbulls may tend to shy away from a stranger. If you are there to reassure the pooch, the training will be much easier for everyone.
Dog trainers also perform discussion in between dog drills. This is a very crucial moment for you as the owner. What you will learn during the training can be used during practical situations at home.
Does your dog mouth your hand? Is he resisting to be leashed? All of these can be discussed during training.
Topics will also include body language and socialization which are all directed to the pet owners. Some trainers also touch the topics of proper grooming and basic medications for some health issues. A veterinarian might also be present during the discussion.
Pitbull behavioral problems during training
Pitbulls have hard-wired behaviors that can be problematic to its owners. One of the most common issues with Pitbulls is chewing. If you have a teething puppy, this will be normal. However, if the destructive chewing lingers, you have to do something and subject the pooch to intense obedience training.
Another thing is their strong bodies. If you are a lanky dude, you will probably have a hard time maintaining control over a yappy Pitty. It’s best to let a professional trainer give you a head start before you dive into more serious training.
Tips when training a Pitbull
Dog training rules with other breeds apply to Pitbulls as well. But considering their unique nature, you should practice some of these tips to increase your success rate:
If you don’t show your Pitty who’s the boss, he will be running the place and drag you around. Make sure that you step up as the alpha by being consistent with your rules. Let the Pitty know that it’s not okay to jump on you or bite your hand. Even if it’s intended to catch your attention, the doggo doesn’t know that it’s a bad move.
You have to teach your pooch that there are more ways to get your attention. If he responds well to your command, reward him consistently. Still, don’t let this become a bribe.
➕Never reward a bad behavior
Do you keep giving treats when your dog is throwing a fit? Doing this will only fuel the bad behavior. You’re gearing away from obedience, and soon, your dog will be reigning over. Reserve the petting and rewards when the doggo complies with the commands. If he responds harshly, walk away and store the treat back to the jar.
➕Training isn’t just for competing dogs
Some dog owners think that training is just for dogs competing in sports and agility competitions. In fact, all domesticated canines should be subjected to this, especially Pitbulls. It satisfies their much-needed mental stimulation plus it keeps them well-behaved.
A well-trained Pitty can respond positively in the presence of other dogs and people. Training is also a good way to correct rash behavior they’ve picked up as rescue dogs. And even for pups that came from commercial breeders, training is a must.
Yes, a tired dog is a happy dog. But a mentally and physically exhausted pooch will be the happiest one.
You always have a lot of options when it comes to obedience training for Pitbulls. You can sign up to a training school or do it at home. With tons of resources, there’s no excuse why your Pitty shouldn’t be training now.