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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.


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May 25, 20073 found this helpful

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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December 17, 20151 found this helpful

A special trait of pit bulls is that they are always alert to whether or not everything is okay. Never, EVER swat, pat on the rear, tap on the nose, or otherwise hit a pit bull. They will not learn anything from it because there is no similar disciplinary action among canines. All it will do is make the dog wonder when it is going to come at them from out of nowhere again. In other words it will make your dog unable to trust you. And if your dog can't trust you, then he can't see you as a leader. If your dog doesn't believe you are a leader, eventually he might just prove it.

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

0 found this helpful
January 3, 2011

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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January 4, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

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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April 12, 20121 found this helpful

What you are doing is abusive. You need to go to pets mart and get training there. It is free. You are teaching you baby to be aggressive....would you like someone to hold you down like that?...I always treat my dogs as my own babies.

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June 17, 20160 found this helpful

I tried both of them with my pit bull and didn't work

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0 found this helpful
January 2, 2016

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?

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January 2, 20160 found this helpful

Your pup may have a medical problem-please take her to your vet now. She will also need vaccines, etc. so vet can check her for all needs.

Re training-once your puppy is healthy, perhaps a training school is a good idea-for training by a professional for all three of you.

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January 6, 20160 found this helpful

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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August 19, 20130 found this helpful

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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June 26, 20160 found this helpful

The time to decide whether a dog has the right energy level for your family is BEFORE you bring him home. Visit your puppy a few times before bringing him home and watch how he behaves under normal circumstances.

Don't bring home a hyperactive puppy, unless you plan to make an agility champion out of him. Don't bring home a strong or powerful breed of dog unless you plan to climb Mount Everest with him, and don't bring home a very athletic breed unless you plan to train him to run the Iditarod.

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September 17, 20160 found this helpful

It will pass. He is teething. All puppies love to bite. It's how they play and express themselves they don't have hands. My pitty was extremely aggressive shaking her toys so much it was embarrassing. I realized these behaviors are natural traits and instincts of canine. I suggest wearing long sleeves until your pup is 6 mos old. By then it will be all about the toys not your arms and clothes. I took my girl to Petco puppy training and took her every Saturday to puppy play time with all the other puppies. She's 10 mos now and she is GREAT all the way around. Except I had her spayed 2 days ago she won't eat and just sleeps. I don't know if this is normal or not. I hope so because she is an amazing blue fawn and if they ruined her I will be extremely disappointed. Just be patient with your little guy. It's normal what he's doing. Give him lots of chew toys.

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February 20, 20170 found this helpful

My vet recommended putting bitter apple spray on our hands. When the puppy mouths, she tastes it and thinks we taste bad. It has solved 90% of our proble. When she is really wound up, that doesn't help though.

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March 10, 20050 found this helpful

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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June 28, 20080 found this helpful

For the nipping, what seems to work for me is a chew rope with pig hooves on it. You can get them at walmart for like 5 dollars or less. Every time he nips at something he shouldn't, I grab his mouth and tell him no, then I give him the chew toy.

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July 7, 20080 found this helpful

I consider myself lucky when i got my little ed nose he immediately picked up on going outside to urinate and such. I just praise him but with my pit he really responds well to a deep voice that says NO, when he nips hard and what worked well is the handing him a toy technique now he knows to go full out on the toy. Not my hands/face. Thanks for a lot of the info. Andrew

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August 29, 20080 found this helpful

My pit is only 6 weeks and he pretty much knows he supposed to go outside to poop. I just started taking him outside a lot and there was other dogs out there he must of got the scent or something because it seems like he waits for me to bring him out already. He does pee though indoors sometimes. His names Cash. He's got a dipstick tail black tear drops and all four of his socks. I am so lucky to have him. He is a champion pure bred. He does nip at your face while kissing, so I'm working on teaching him not to.

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June 4, 2005

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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June 29, 20050 found this helpful

I also have a 9-week-old pit bull pup named cronus and i love him so so much. He also is having his biting moods. He has a chew bone but sometimes gets tired of it. He sometimes keep it behind a big bag leaning on the wall where he also keeps his ball.

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July 21, 20050 found this helpful

i think if you take on the response abilty of owning a pit bull you should know how to handal apit bull

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January 1, 20060 found this helpful

My husband bought my pit bull last christmas.I wanted a boston terrier.So he comes home with this.I was kind of taken back thinking [what is everyone going to think].Am I able to handle raising a dog like this.WEll I can't begin to brag enough how good she is.I did alot of reading about the breed and I raised her firm but with alot of love. I never left her alone when she was a puppy.I socialized her with other animals ,she loves to make friends, I make other people touch her when she eats so she gets used to that.I had her trained at boot camp[I went away for 2 weeks and instead of leaving her in a kennel I had her trained at boot camp]positive reinforcement. The price to do so was only a little bit more but well worth it. The best advice I can give you is when ever my puppy would bit me all I had to do was scream no really loud and she let go, they hate when you yell at them. Be very loud to get her distracted then give her her toy to play.Ypo my all so cut a piece of a rag,towel and wet it and freeze it good luck""""

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0 found this helpful
April 18, 2010

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

By cocoa from Augusta, GA

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April 18, 20100 found this helpful

I'm the momma of 2 4yr old pits and now a new 11 week old! and yes they do need to be socialized and i totally agree with kenneling up! I was never a big fan of the choker collar (NOT the one with spikes!! the regular chain one) but my male knows when he hears the sound of me catching his chain collar he stops whatever it is he's doing and sits. We have had lots of different dogs over the yrs and its just all in how you raise them. We are a big happy family 3 pits 1 min pin, 1 ferret, 2 cats, and they all play and get along. Its a sight to see the big dogs and the ferret drinking outta the water bowl at the same time, and even the cats curl up on the sofa with the dogs!

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April 19, 20100 found this helpful

The top 4 things you need to know are:

# 1) No biting ever:

Never let the dog bite you, that means not in playing or anytime! And don't ruff-house with the dog because it will confuse the dog if you let it bite you when playing then you get mad when he bites a child or person. This means to not let ANYONE play like this with your dog! Not your roommate or anyone, ever!

# 2) Socialize early:

Acclimate your dog to children early & teach him not to jump up on kids or adults. Make sure you start early to teach him to behave around kids & other dogs... This means when he/she is young, the pit should be socialized & be around lots of other dogs & children so they are familiar.

# 3) Exercise:

Walk your Pit (or any dog) for at least 45 minutes a day. This is very important, because a bored dog is a dog that gets into trouble. And don't think that because you have a large back yard that the dog needs no walking, because how would you like to look at the same 4 walls every day & never go anywhere. You would go stir-crazy & start looking for trouble, so will you dog!

After your dog learns good walking habits, you can let a dog-walker or someone else walk him/her, but until then, you need to train your dog to behave on a leash yourself! This means he should never walk in front of you, but to walk beside you at the "heal" position. Also, even don't let the dog out the door for the walk until he is totally calm. Always start the daily walk with a calm dog & you will have less trouble, because once they get all riled-up, they don't listen!

# 4) Neuter or spay:

Neuter or Spay you pit as soon as your vet recommends, because a pet who always thinks about sex is nearly impossible to control & it's not fair to the animal to constantly be thinking about sex. If you don't have the money, you can get a free voucher from your local Humane Society or County Pet Shelter for free or reduced Spay/Neuter. Because Pit-Bulls have such large litters & because many owners don't neuter them, there are more pits in the Animal Shelters than any other breed! So do your pet a favor & neuter/spay him or her because there are too many pits abandoned already!

* Rarely, you might get a pit that's parents & ancestors have been bred to fight, be aware of this & choose your pit wisely. I have heard of several people that no matter what they do to socialize their dog & train it, it still bites & fights & they have had to humanly euthanize their dog, so do your best to choose your pit wisely.

If you do theses simple things, you will have a well-mannered dog, because pits are wonderful & loving family pets!

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April 19, 20100 found this helpful

First, I would look into the insurance you may have to some apts and some rental places will not allow these wonderful dogs without insurance.

I have heard the Farmers line of insurance will cover for these types of doggies.

Go to and read all the free articles, about establishing pack order , and philosophy of dog training, and puppies biting, etc.


These puppies will draw blood if they are allowed to play too hard, as many others will also do. I like to have a toy and put it in its mouth to distract it..some of the puppies are so intense about this, you actually have to grab their scruff and shake them, not violently at all, but enough of get their attention. This is because when the jump at your face and bite in play they can hurt someone, especially children and they don't mean to.

IF you have to separate a fight, I would gently grab its back legs and pull it out ...these puppies don't really start fights, but sometimes they will end them..LOL. My moms chihuahua always started fights and once the bully dog got into it, he couldn't seem to control himself. I only had to pull him out of the fight this way two times and then he left the chi along. They are smart,and they seem to look into your soul!

I love these dogs and the first thing I would do is to target train the dog to come to you and touch nose to your hand. I use a clicking sound with my voice, and then say good boy when it comes to my hand and touches it. You might have to reward just walking toward your hand and then reward closer contact, etc until he gets the idea.

This is because as a puppy he will be in constant trouble and you want to be able to tell it no, and then the minute is stops, target by clicking and telling it to come to you so you can love on it..this establishes trust..

No dog parks...No dog parks No dog parks. Dogs a lot of times feel intimidated at a dog park, if he loses trust in your ability to keep other dogs from coming up to him training will be harder than ever.

If someone tries to play tug of war with the pup, you will have to fall on them like a ton of bricks..this is one breed that doesn't need encouragement to hold on to a hand or arm and pull, that means stitches. No tug games or rough housing.

I would do the "no free meals" training with the dog.

This means that before any positive thing, make him sit or have him do, etc. This reinforces your pack order...

read and see what his opinion is and watch the podcasts on training with markers..this is great..I might even consider buying one of these tapes rather than going to an obedience is cheaper anyway and you can refer to it anytime but there are enogh free podcasts on here to last you a long time..

Have fun and love love love love love the doggie...

they are so sweet, my favorite to foster and the most important thing is to socialize them, which means differnt sounds, smells, etc. Get their shots first and then take them to petsmart, to the people park on walks and all this other stuff.

Get a hot dog and cut it up into many pieces the size of a pea and drop them and click. When the pup realizes that a click means food, you are on your way to having afun way to share time, and have fun.

Hold a piece of hot dog over its head, and when it looks up and sits click and reward. If it just backs up and doesnt sit, walk off and dont reward but dont complain it and then whenit comes to you ,give the treat..

Good luck and these are probably the smartest of all dogs...


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September 28, 20110 found this helpful

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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September 30, 20110 found this helpful

He's way too young to be away from his mother. Contact your vet or local pet rescue centre and get advice from them as to how to care for a baby that young. He will require a lot of special care, but as long as you keep him warm and feed him what the experts tell you to feed him, he will be fine. No cows milk! And you have to learn how to stroke him to make him go to the bathroom as that is what the mother does by licking him. Good luck!

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October 1, 20110 found this helpful


4 weeks old is very young and he should still be with his mother. Please take your new fur-baby to the veterinarian for an exam and ask questions when you go. Your vet can advise you.

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October 1, 20110 found this helpful

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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October 20, 20120 found this helpful

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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October 22, 20120 found this helpful

I suggest you join your nearest Puppy Obedience Club as soon as possible. This is totally unacceptable behaviour and why were both Dogs not on a leash controlled by their owners.?

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October 22, 20120 found this helpful

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:

http://www.akc.  rier/history.cfm

Look here for some recommendations on training clubs:

http://www.akc.  aining/index.cfm

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:  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:

http://www.comp  s/products/halti

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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March 18, 20140 found this helpful

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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March 20, 20140 found this helpful

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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April 4, 2008

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.

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January 3, 20111 found this helpful

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.

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November 30, 20100 found this helpful

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

By Nancy from Holland, MI

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February 27, 20100 found this helpful

Tips for training a Pitp Bll puppy. Potty training advice and training a Pit Bull to not be aggressive.

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