Training a Pit Bull Puppy

Pit Bull puppies need the same training and socialization as any puppy. There are some additional steps you can add to your training schedule for these energetic powerful dogs. This is a guide about training a Pit Bull puppy.

Pit Bull Puppy
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I have a 7 month old Blue Nose Pit Bull puppy. I had just gotten her a few days ago and understand her separation anxiety. Anywhere that I take her, especially when I take her on walks or on a car ride, she whines constantly. The owners that I got her from said she's perfectly fine with car rides when clearly she isn't and the same with bathing, nor is she fine with that. I can tell she is always wanting to play with other people off in the distance or other dogs which is fine, but it's difficult since me and my boyfriend are both disabled veterans. It is also difficult to teach her or train her when her attention is elsewhere and she is whining. Is there any way of getting her to stop whining in a week or would I have to wait another few weeks?

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    First of all, you point out you just got her. She probably thinks she is just visiting you and is going back soon. The whining is probably, as you say, because of the separation. It will no doubt stop. Basically, the dog is saying, "You're not my REAL mom and dad!" and it will take time for it to realize the situation it is now in.

    I'm a bit puzzled. You say it is hard to train the dog when its attention is elsewhere. That's true, but no dog is born trained. Just like a child, its attention is pretty much always "elsewhere"- that is on something she would rather be doing. It's sort of like saying it's hard to teach a kid math because he'd rather be playing video games. Well, yeah. It wants to run and play and it can't. I'm curious what you consider strange about any of this.

    Well, anyway, the training has to be done. A seven month pit bull is already a pretty big dog and getting bigger all the time. People won't give it any leeway as far as behavior is concerned. Both you and your boyfriend will need to be on board training the dog. This dog breed does require a lot of physical exercise, so even though you are disabled, you will have to provide this. If you or he have electric scooters you can walk the dog just fine. She will need to be leash trained properly. You can also obedience train her. An obedience class is probably available in your area.

    Bonding with your dog through walking, playing and obedience training will probably solve any problems you are having.

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    Concerning the training of "pit bulls" and other stubborn/aggressive breeds: If you've rescued a pit bull (or any terrier breed), it's very important to recognize this dynamic animal's character. They were genetically designed to be robust, strong, and ruthless in the execution of their intended duties. From the Jack-Russel and the American Staff (pit bull) to the seemingly "cute" long and short terrier breeds, you have a natural born killer on your hands.

    When training these dogs, it is paramount that you remain absolutely ruthless in your own right! They need to know who's the boss from the get-go. However difficult, it is necessary to be very stern with your cute little puppy. A loud "NO!", combined with a decisive but gentle pat on the rear end, goes a long way in establishing your dominance.

    Don't even think about being violent with your new friend because first, it's cruel, and secondly it will create behavior issues down the road. And heck, this is your little buddy we're talking about here! The key is to establish yourself as the alpha male/female at a very early stage of your pet's development. I know it's hard, but it's imperative for the sake of the pet's mental health as well as your own. In saying that, it's equally important to offer love in ridiculous quantities the rest of the time (very easy).

    By jhorn from Vancouver, B.C.

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    I have a 8 week old Pit. Is it OK to put him on his back and hold his mouth till he becomes submissive? Or is it OK to put him on his back and continue staring at him till he looks away? Should I not try these at all?

    By Ella from Seattle, WA

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    I agree with "looneylulu". A Pit Bull doesn't need "special" training, only regular "good training". Even though they are a naturally aggressive breed, (which could be controlled with proper handling) the bad rep that Pit Bull's get is from obnoxious pet owners that train their dogs to be mean and fight for their lives.

    Please check into a local American Kennel Club (AKC) branch or chapter and ask about "Obedience Classes". A reputable club will accept all breeds, mixes and mutts and the skills you and your dog will learn will be a lifetime benefit for both of you.

    One other point of advice, Ella. I know what you are talking about by trying to get your dog on his/her back for understanding submission, but this should not be tried without you, the human, being adequately trained in this procedure. Again, a puppy or dog (any breed, mix or mutt) with appropriate obedience training probably does not need this in the first place and doing so unnecessarily, causes excessive stress on the dog. Please don't try to implement this type of "training" without the help of a pet training professional.

    Please look into Obedience Classes. You and your pup will learn from and enjoy the experience and they are not very expensive, either. (Mostly they just cover the costs of the club offering the classes.) Take care Ella and puppy! P.S. Your puppy is a cutie pie! Wishing you and the pup the best of a long and happy friendship!

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    What do I need to know in raising a Pit Bull?

    By cocoa from Augusta, GA

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    Make sure you spay/neuter, and socialize socialize socialize and train train train! A dog reflects its owner. Show people that pit bulls can be great dogs!

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    My daughter was given a 4 week old Pit Bull puppy. Will he learn from her what to do and not do? I have heard puppies learn a lot from their mothers and siblings. I don't want him to be mean and aggressive.

    By Fay

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    I think the puppy is too young for sure! He will need to be around other dogs, and puppies, so he will learn how to interact with dogs! Also I recommend watching the "Dog Whisperer" TV program, it is extremely informative, and there is a website too. Good Luck!

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    I have a female Pit. I want to know how old she should be before I start training in the basics? Also I was at the park and a male Pit came to visit us. He was 12 weeks old, mine is 10 weeks, but she laid him out flat. I want to know what I should do about this behavior?

    By Tiffany

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    She sounds very territorial, very. You should be looking at websites and library books for help training her to hold back on that-there are several good books available now regarding training the (American) Staffordshire Bull Terrier (the official breed name of the pit bull), look here for some information on the breed:

    Look here for some recommendations on training clubs:

    I Googled using the search term 'training a pit bull to be a good neighbour' and am pasting in the search results, there are a lot of excellent resources there for self-help: ... cl=35466521&biw=1024&bih=654

    One of the resources is an online forum geared towards owners who are working towards training their Staffies to be good neighbours who are welcome in their communities, you may want to look into that:)

    My cousin raised ASBTs for over 40 years (recently retired, he and his wife now have just one at home) and always started his puppies training from DayOne. The main thing was to always stay calm yet firm, and let the pup know he was in the Boss, not the pup. He would gently but firmly take the aggressive pup to it's crate, for example, should the puppy growl or nip, speaking calmly and firmly 'No Rover, not good!'. He never called any dog 'bad', btw, always said 'Not good!' in a firm voice.

    My cousin used gentle methods like longer walks wearing a Halti style muzzle and harness, more crate time for the pup, and was always very careful to restrict and supervise any interaction with other dogs of any breed, size, or condition.

    You can find out about the Halti here:

    Be sure to Google and search info regarding laws about your dog in your state and county. There are several locales both in the US and across Europe (I live in the UK where Staffies and other similar breeds are highly regulated) to be sure that you are in compliance. This can include purchasing insurance for owners of dangerous breed dogs, strict control via use of leash/harness/muzzle, and registration with local authorities. My cousin had to register all his dogs with the local police after the laws changed in his county (mid-late nineties); he lived in LA County.

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    I have a 10 month old Pit Bull that I need to train badly. How do I make her sleep at night in her kennel? How do I make her stop growling/barking at every noise she hears? How to make her stop jumping on me?

    By Jordin

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    The one thing that I can think of, besides continuing your training, would be lot of walks. Puppies have a lot of energy they need to burn off. When she jumps up on you tell her down and step very gently on he hind feet with your feet(if you can). Obviously not with your shoes on. You just need to touch the top of her feet and she should get down.

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    I have a 9 week old male Pit Bull and he's very hyper. He bites everything, me, my clothes, furniture, everything and when he bites it hurts! When he does this I tap him on his butt and tell him "no", but this is not working. I also tried holding his mouth shut and telling him "no" but all he does is growl and bark at me. He's been getting way too aggressive and I don't know what to do. Can you please help?

    By Emily

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    it is very simple and when I say this you may think oh that is mean but no it is not, get some newspaper and roll it up putting tape on one end to hold it in place, any time your puppy tries to bite you say no VERY firmly and tap him on the nose with the newspaper only hard enough for it to make a loud noise. Do this every time he does something you do not want him to do, if you let him get away with it even once then you have just destroyed all the training you have already done.

    The newspaper does not hurt (trust me I have been hit with rolled up newspaper) it just creates a sound that the puppy will learn to associate with bad behaviors. Just always remember that no matter the breed of dog you are training it is always the same, you have to show them that you are the dominate one. Dogs have a pack mentality so they will see one person or animal as the highest authority, you just have to make sure that you are the one that they know to listen to above all else.

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    I am going to get a very young pit bull pup because the mother won't care for it. It's maybe a couple of hours old.

    Cesar from Arizona

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    Try goat milk - in the health food store if there are no goat keepers around you. Try the ADGA website, the American Dairy Goat Association, and they have listings of goatbreeders in all states. Arizona has plenty. Good luck! Take your puppy everywhere but make sure she can sleep with peace of mind! While she's sleeping is when she fights disease and grows.

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    I have a 7 week old blue nose Pit Bull puppy. He likes to sleep, but when he does awake he loves to play. My main concern is that he will grow up to be aggressive. He does bite a lot when I play with him and I shove his toys on his face so he bites that instead of me. When that doesn't work I close his mouth and tell him "no!".

    That seems to be working, but I don't want to punish him the wrong way and have him still be aggressive. So how should I train my puppy?

    By Erin from Hemet, CA

    Training a Pitbull Puppy

    Don't give him a biting substitute (the toy) teach him not to bite, period. It's not mean to shut his mouth and say "no bite" - Say "No Bite" not just "no" so he knows specifically what not to do. If he stops only to try again, repeat the process and then turn your back to him for about ten seconds. It really breaks their hearts to be ignored and they will find a way (learn what you are trying to teach) to make you happy. He really just wants to please you, but you have to be clear about what is and isn't acceptable. If you are consistent, he will learn that biting is not acceptable.

    I highly recommend you find a local branch/chapter of the American Kennel Club and ask about their "Puppy Classes". A good chapter will accept all pure breeds, mixes and mutts and will be a great opportunity for you to bond with your puppy and begin the process of socializing him with other dogs and people.

    From your posts, you sound very eager to be a wonderful pet parent, but you do seem a little nervous about it. The staff (most are volunteers) at local kennel clubs will be a great support system for you. There are plenty of people on this site with lots of information and advice to share with you so keep coming back when you need help, but there's nothing like actually meeting, mixing and mingling with other fur pets and their skin parents. Good Luck! (11/30/2010)

    By KansasCindy

    Training a Pitbull Puppy

    Thank you so much! This really helps, and I will keep coming back with questions. (11/30/2010)

    By Emonster12

    Training a Pitbull Puppy

    You have a very cute little puppy!

    I agree, teach him "no bite!", say it firmly and set him away from you as you do. If he stops, fine, if he comes back and bites again, repeat it,if he does it again, stop playing with him for awhile, he'll get the picture eventually. You may have to hold his muzzle as you tell him no if he keeps pulling his head away and coming back at you. We did this with our dog and she thought she was so smart when she figured it out, she'd stop biting, but very gently take our hand into her mouth and hold it as if to say "see, I'm not biting!"!

    Don't give him a 'bite substitute', but he definitely needs something to chew on. Puppies go through teething just like babies and their mouths hurt. They will chew and bite to relieve it and sometimes seem desperate. My dog had 2 favorite toys that were virtually indestructible! Her 'binky'(puppy pacifier) and a piece of bone-shaped black rubber that looked like tire tread. She chewed and chewed and chewed.

    Also, when my mom was raising her German Shepard, we learned that with breeds that could have a tendency to be aggressive , you should never encourage games like tug-of-war , 'keep-away'(where you hold a toy out of reach for them to try to get) or anything else that turns it into a struggle/control issue between you and the dog. (12/01/2010)

    By lyonpridej

    Training a Pitbull Puppy

    Kudos to "lyonpridej" for mentioning something I forgot to mention. A puppy definitely needs chew toys but a chew toy should not be used as a "bite substitute." Sorry I didn't say so, too, but I agree that your pup is a cutie pie! (12/01/2010)

    By KansasCindy

    Training a Pitbull Puppy

    Watch the dog whisperer. It might sound silly,but, you will learn a lot. I have 2 pit girls, one 4 months and one 3 months. My girls are the sweetest. (12/27/2010)

    By icy/zoey

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    How do I teach my 4 month old Pit Bull obedience?

    By Nancy from Holland, MI

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    I had a female Pit Bull puppy, she was thirteen weeks, I gave her back to her owner because he wanted her back. His sister gave her away and I have come to find out the reason that she did was because he was abusing her. I feel so bad now because I sent her back there. I did get in touch with this girl and she said that she is gonna take her back and bring her back to me. I was suppose to get her either last night or sometime today.

    When I get her back, knowing everything she has been through and, I know that it isn't too late for her to learn that she will be safe with me. I just want to be responsible and train her in a way that makes sure she is not aggressive. I also would like some potty training advice. I anyone has any advice, that would be great. Once I get her I'll take a pic and let you guys see her, she is so beautiful, I fell in love with her the moment I saw her.

    Thank you.
    I feel bad 19 from NH

    Training a Pitbull Puppy

    I have a Pit puppy too. She is a 10 week old female Whopper Pit, adorable. Anyway, basically all you need to do is:

    1. Never hit or in any way abuse the animal.
    2. As far as potty training goes, accidents are going to happen and you just have to deal with that until they are trained. Don't rub the dog's nose in it, that's way unsanitary and the animal will just think you're abusing it.

    Take them outside as soon as they wake up, after playing, and especially within the first 30 minutes of them eating/drinking if not sooner; you just have to watch them. If they're sniffing around, take them outside. Oh, and pick a word you want to associate with going to the bathroom, like say "potty" or "outside" every time you take them out, and make sure it's to the same spot as last time and you stay with them. If the dog goes to the bathroom outside, reward them. I like the puppy biscuits (like miniature Milkbones), but you can just verbally praise/ play with them. Dogs can sense how you feel towards them just by your tone. Use good, happy words when the animal is behaving.

    Use a more strict tone when they misbehave, but always let them know you still love them after. A hug and a kiss on top of the head usually suffices. Chew toys are also a good idea seeing as how Pit Bulls have a natural urge to chew. Kong bones (any pet store would have this or could recommend something of the nature) work really good. I hope you can take something from all this. Please raise your puppy to be a good doggie. Pit Bulls have such a bad rap and it's not their fault.

    Any animal is a reflection of its owner. Oh, and make sure to check for any bans or limits where you live. You don't want animal control taking your dog away. I know it's stupid, but other peoples' mistakes with upbringing Pit Bulls has a huge effect on the people who just want a life long friend, like us.

    pitmommy 19 from NC (01/15/2010)

    By mmmkitty

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    Tips for training a pitpull puppy. Potty training advice and training a pitbull to not be aggressive.

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    Hi all, I have an 8 week old Pit Bull pup. I love the little guy to death but he's a spritely fella and bites EVERYTHING he puts his mouth on. I made the MISTAKE and gave him a tap on his mouth one day when he was biting my feet. Since then he looks at my hand as the enemy. Also, when I'm bathing him he cries and thinks I'm punishing or harming him. He used to be very responsive, but now when I call him (and he sees my hands gesturing this) he's a bit apprehensive. How do I correct this and rebuild his confidence in me?

    Yendor from Trinidad

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    theres no bad dogs only owners ,ive been a proud owner for 11 great years never a bad moment , loves the kids lives on a farm with animals not a problem , all we need to do is love them & they will devote to you ,very intelligent animals, owners should be trained to keep these dogs.

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    I have a 9 week year old pit bull that I have many questions about. He keeps niping everything, me, my furniture, everything! When he licks my face he sometimes nips. What should I do?

    Also i have an adult Sheperd that seems to get along with him but they play fight, should I let this continue.

    And the potty training, he's not like any of the dogs I've had, I am having a lot of the problems, he dosent get the point that he shouldnt do that!

    Please help me with answearing these questions. Thanks,

    Mike from North Carolina

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    No no no. Never tap, swat, flick or otherwise strike a dog in order to train it -- ESPECIALLY a pit bull! You are creating an animal that doesn't trust you. And if he doesn't trust you, he won't see you as a leader. Don't be surprised one day if he asserts himself as alpha over the untrustworthy, weakling human who uses his hands instead of his noggin to manage a dog. And never put a dog's nose in or near their pee or poo. Come on, you are smarter than Special Ed. Act like it.

    Look up bite inhibition training. It uses canine behavior to your advantage. And when your puppy pees or poos in the house, IMMEDIATELY say "NO", scoop him up and take him outside to finish -- IF you catch him in the act. If you don't catch him in the act, let it go and learn to be a better supervisor.

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