There are many types of Pit Bulls, although generally speaking they all have the same patterns of personality, strength and obedience. But it’s very important to know how to train a Pit Bull correctly, because poor training can lead to a very dangerous dog.
Pit Bulls are dogs who are mainly characterized by their strength and bite; being hunting dogs, they can produce strong bites without letting their prey go, whatever it may be. We could say that they are dogs just like any other breed and everything depends on their training and upbringing, but the truth is that’s not the case.
They are very strong dogs with a lot of personality, and need much more intensive and constant training than other dogs. With the right training, they can become great dogs, but to be completely honest… very few people know the right way to train a Pit Bull.
Unfortunately, this breed has become fashionable among teenagers, who, far from knowing how to train their dog, often use them to show off or intimidate others – a big mistake.
We’re going to explain how you should train a Pit Bull from when they’re puppies, and if you adopted one who is already an adult, we’ll also give some useful advice for their training and socialization.
How to train a Pit Bull puppy: his place at home
You should prepare a place in the house where your Pit Bull puppy can rest; a comfortable, fluffy bed is best for this. You can make it yourself with some pillows and blankets, or buy one at any pet store, they aren’t very expensive.
Put the bed where you spend the most time with your Pit Bull; if you spend the day in the living room, put his bed there so he can sleep peacefully whenever he wants. Remember that puppies sleep many times per day, taking short but constant naps.
If you plan to have him sleep in the living room or kitchen at night, don’t go to pet him even if he cries and whines, because this will teach him that he can cry to get your attention and he’ll never learn to sleep alone in his bed.
Generally speaking, they learn to sleep alone in two or three nights and will stop crying. Many people choose the kitchen as the spot where their Pit Bull sleeps at night, since they haven’t learned to do their business outside yet, and it’s easier this way (preventing him from leaving his pee and poop all over the house at night).
If your Pit Bull puppy is going to sleep outside, you should wait until he is at least three months old, and it’s recommended to wait even six months (provided it isn’t cold or too hot outside and he has his own doghouse).
How to train a Pit Bull puppy: meal time
Many people think that the best way to feed a puppy is to leave a lot of food available for him all day long. In other words, leave him an all you can eat buffet at his whim. This is possibly the worst mistake you can make.
You should buy an appropriate dog food for your dog; that is, a high quality food designed for puppies of medium breeds. Or otherwise, use a natural diet based on raw foods, like the BARF diet.
The correct way to feed your Pit Bull is to divide his daily food up into as many meals as you feel are necessary, with the recommendation being four for puppies and two or three for adults, so that your puppy has breakfast, lunch, dinner, and supper.
Put your Pit Bull’s food in his bowl without putting it on the floor and tell your dog to sit (if he doesn’t know how yet, you can skip this step and use it when he learns how). When your Pit Bull puppy sits, put the bowl in front of him on the floor, but don’t let him eat.
Keep him from eating his food until he looks you in the eye, and when he does, give him permission to eat. His look is a way of asking permission, so that if he doesn’t look at you after putting his food in front of him, he doesn’t eat.
Leave his bowl for just 15 minutes and then save it until the next meal. If he hasn’t eaten or has leftovers, save them (don’t add them to the food for his next meal). Remember that you should always have cool, clean water available for him, all day and all night.
This is the only correct way to feed your Pit Bull. He might take a few days or weeks to learn to do it like this, but it’s essential that he learn. If your puppy is six months old or older and you’re exercising him to build his muscles, we suggest you use a high quality dog food rich in proteins to develop his musculature. From personal experience we recommend: Cookieswil 60% chicken.
How to train a Pit Bull puppy: learning to be the alpha male
Pit Bulls are very dominant; that’s not our opinion, but actually in their genes. Even puppies are, generally speaking, more dominant than puppies from other breeds, which is why it’s so important to make it clear who should obey who starting from day one.
Pit Bull puppies are sometimes known as gladiator puppies because they often prefer to play with each other, rather than running or chewing a toy like other puppies do.
This is some advice that you should use to help your dog understand that you’re in charge and he should obey you. Remember that you must never hit your dog; if he does something else, simply scold him or ignore him (always using positive reinforcement when he does a good job).
- When you leave or enter the house, you should always go first, and then your dog. If you are with other people, the humans should go first, and the dog last.
- Never let him get up on top of you to get food or to sit on top of you. It’s even recommended that you don’t let him use the sofa at home, or the bed where people sleep.
- When you feed him and he starts to eat, try taking the food away for a few seconds or put your hand in it so that he stops. You should never let him growl at you or bite you, he should simply respect your hand and wait for you to take it away to continue eating.
- Don’t let him on top of you, or to jump up on you with his front paws. Scold him if he does.
- Never let him mount you (like when they mate), and never let him spray any urine on you.
- If his meal time is at the same time as yours, never let him eat first. You eat first, and when you’re finished, give him his food.
All of these tips will be very helpful for reducing a Pit Bull’s dominance, and so that he understands that only you have the power to give orders. In short, they will help you make your dog respect you as the alpha male.
How to train a Pit Bull puppy: walking and socializing
As soon as your puppy has all of his shots, you should take him out to walk every day, several times a day, and following the same schedule (more or less). So, if you take him out four times a day, try to take him out at the same times every day.
It’s super important that you let him be a dog outside; that is, let him sniff everything he wants (even if it’s poop), let him smell the other doggies you pass on your walk, let him play with other dogs, and above all, let the other dogs smell him and correct his behavior if necessary.
Remember that dogs greet and recognize each other by smelling each other’s butts and genitals, so never stop him from doing that. Even though it seems gross to us, for them it’s the most natural thing in the world.
If you think it’s impossible to walk with him because he’s always pulling on the leash or is too hyper, we have some detailed advice to put into practice: Teaching a puppy to walk.
If you have a dog park close to home, it would be fantastic to let him play with other dogs every day. It’s very important to socialize him well, for him to play, for the bigger dogs to growl at him when he does something wrong and even for him to get scared. It’s all a learning experience and it’s absolutely necessary for this breed.
Training a Pit Bull puppy means socializing him correctly with dogs and people, because otherwise, your dog will be gruff, fearful and aggressive as a result. You can see detailed info here: How to socialize a dog.
If during your walks or while playing with other dogs, your Pit Bull puppy tries to dominate or gets aggressive with them, you should stop him, scold him, and sit him down for a while until he calms down. It’s totally normal for them to nibble each other while playing, but there’s a big difference between biting in play and biting from aggression.
How to train a Pit Bull puppy: going pee and poop outside
Puppies will answer nature’s call wherever they happen to be, that is, inside the house. You should never get mad because your dog urinated or defecated in the house, or give them dirty looks or scold them. Simply ignore them and clean it up.
A very common mistake it rubbing their nose in their pee so they learn not to do it in the house… please, don’t ever do this, it doesn’t work at all!!
The correct way to teach your Pit Bull puppy to do his business outside is with positive reinforcement and scheduled outings. The first thing you should do is schedule when he goes out, so he’ll learn when it’s time to go out for a walk and he’ll learn to hold it until he goes outside.
For example, you could take your puppy out at 9 am, 12 pm, 3 pm, 7 pm, and 11 pm. Remember that it’s recommended to go out at least four times a day; the majority can be for 15 or 20 minutes so he can sniff around a bit and do his business, but one of them should be at least one or two hours, so he can have fun.
Every day, you should take him out at the same time, whatever times you’ve chosen. If you don’t respect the schedule, he’ll never be housebroken.
The trick is very simple. When he goes out to walk with you and he pees or poops outside, wait for him to finish and praise him enthusiastically. Say nice words, pet him, praise him, and even give him a treat (a biscuit, a piece of sausage, etc.).
If your dog pees or poops in the house, ignore him completely. In this way, he’ll learn very quickly that he has to do it outside, because that’s how he gets praise and treats. Dogs aren’t stupid, trust me.
A Pit Bull puppy will normally learn in just a few weeks. Remember that you shouldn’t start to train him before he’s three months old, because he simply won’t learn anything.
How to train a Pit Bull puppy: teaching him not to bite
All puppies bite, absolutely all of them. They bite their beds, they bite the furniture, they bite their toys, and they might even bite us. It’s completely natural because they use their mouths for absolutely everything, just like we use our hands.
On the other hand, there’s the period where his teeth come out or are replaced with permanent teeth, known as teething. It’s painful for them and they feel the need to bite things for relief.
Teaching your Pit Bull puppy not to bite is really very simple, not to mention mandatory. When your dog bites you, scold him so he stops doing it – never hit him, just scold him. Next, grab a toy or chew toy for dogs and play with him so he bites it. Usually the game is, he grabs it, and you pull to see if you can take it away…
When he bites the toy while playing, praise him. If he chews on clothes, furniture or anything else, do the same thing: scold him, and give him a toy to chew instead. This way, he’ll learn that he can chew his toys but not other things.
If your Pit Bull puppy bites a person, you should firmly scold him and punish him. The punishment consists of sitting him down and looking at him angrily for a few minutes, so he understands that you’re really upset. You can read more information about how to solve this type of behavioral problem here: How to keep a puppy from biting.
How to train an adult Pit Bull
Unfortunately, because they are such a strong breed with a very specific personality, if you’ve adopted an adult Pit Bull, our advice is to see a professional trainer as soon as possible.
Only a professional trainer can assess the dog’s aptitude and apply the discipline they deem necessary. An adult Pit Bull may have had a bad life in the past, which could have made him develop bad behavior, or he simply may not have had proper training. Don’t forget that many awful people use this breed for dog fights.
Serious, see a good professional trainer. They’re affordable and highly recommended.