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 page about training a Pit Bull puppy.
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May 25, 2007

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.

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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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January 28, 2020

We just adopted a 7 month old pocket Pit Bull. He is not neutered. He seems extremely good, but the only thing is he constantly is chasing the cats and and barking at them. I'm not sure if he is being aggressive or not.

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He was with another cat before and constantly trying to mount the 5 year old Lab. Any help or tips? He is so good other than that.

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January 28, 20200 found this helpful
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You should actually get him fixed right away. As for the cat if he was friends with another cat he might want to try and be friends with your cat. You need to be consistent with his training and when he is bad to stop him and talk with him to let him know his behavior is not correct. it will take time to work with the dog nd teach the dog. If you are having some otherissues you can check into hiring a trainer to help you out.

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January 28, 20200 found this helpful
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Your dog is developing habits you need to stay on, 7 months old and mounting ,also the aggressiveness and barking. Talk to your Vet for options before he gets out of control with the other pets!

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January 28, 20200 found this helpful
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aside from neutering him right away, the best tip is to exercise him a lot. I mean, a lot. I mean, an hour a day of strenuous walking, if possible.

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with this sort of dog sometimes they behave better when you put a little bag on them, because then they are 'working' and have an outlet for nervous energy.

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January 29, 20200 found this helpful
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I would get this puppy neutered immediately. Before hormonal urges become bad habits. I agree with another poster that exercise daily will help a lot. You could also consider a puppy training class.

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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?

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By ella from Seattle, WA

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January 4, 20112 found this helpful
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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.

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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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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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By guest (Guest Post)
June 5, 20050 found this helpful

Do not hit him in any way. You must be firm and consistent in saying NO when he does something wrong and he will learn to respect you, not fear you. You will have to cuddle him and pet him and play with him and maybe over time he will know that you will not hurt him again with your hands. BUT, he is still a baby. Play with him, but if he gets too rough and bites, tell him NO and simply quit playing, walk away from him and ignore him for a short time. That's what another dog would do and he would get the message that he can't play like that. 8 weeks is very young to be away from his mother, so you will have to act like his mother for a while and teach him what's right and wrong. Also, he is probably teething and needs something safe to chew on besides you. His mouth probably hurts from the teething. There are surely some chew toys you could get for teething puppies that he might like. My 8 year old dog still acts like I'm hurting her when I try to give her a bath. She just doesn't like to get wet. Just make sure the water's not too warm and the shampoo doesn't get in his eyes.

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June 5, 20050 found this helpful

Thank you very much for your advice.I did actually go out and buy him some chew toys.So hopefully he sees the toys as a new challenge and stops biting my feet!lol.Thanks again.
Yendor(Trinidad)

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By Jannie (Guest Post)
June 7, 20050 found this helpful

I have a 16 month old, 75 pound red nose pit bull. We never hit her with our hand when she was a puppy, we always used a fly swatter. Now when you get the fly swatter to get a fly, she runs and hides. Sometimes we use the broom that is in the kitchen to get after her. The broom that is outside, she plays with it. She knows the difference between the 2 brooms. Pit Bulls can get very aggressive at times also. She started out being my husbands dog with him taking her to work everyday. He does construction work and sometimes if a person got to close to him she would go after that person. After hurricane Ivan, he left her home with me and she is very protective now. She has attacted 2 men already, tearing their pants off but not biting them. She went after my husband one day when he walked by me and popped me on my rear end with his hand. She doesn't like people in uniforms or people that drink! She likes little kids but not the pre-teen aged kids. She has all kind of chew bones and toys. Her favorite toy is the frizbee..she has 7 of them outside. She doesn't like to be left alone so I take her everywhere with me. If I go somewhere where I can't take her or it is too hot to take her my son has to stay home with her. She is very active and very lovable, and she loves her 10 month old kitten. She doesn't like to take a bath but she knows she has to have one. I have 2 part red nose pit bulls (males) in the back yard and she likes to go and play with them When my husband got her, I was mad because I didn't want that kind of dog, but now I wouldn't trade her for anything!! She is my dog now!!! (I don't like dogs in the house..and that tail of hers..I have bruises on my legs from it) Good luck!!

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By Bron (Guest Post)
June 7, 20051 found this helpful

Pit Bulls are becoming banned in Australia and I am a strong supporter of this ! Having worked as a veterinary nurse for years I saw many, when they were new and popular. Consistently they displayed trigger aggressiveness, just the slightest thing would set them off, they are extremely dominant and were highly resistant to discipline. The breed was developed to fight anything that moved, and fight to the death. I see nothing attractive about these dangerous bundles of liability and if your dog continues to show aggression towards you (your hands are part of you) and hold a grudge because you tried to put him back in his place, then for your own sake make a sensible decision about the dogs future before he mauls somebody (you included - frequently they have mauled their owners) and you end up injured or sued!! If they were human they would be diagnosed as psychopaths.

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By guest (Guest Post)
June 8, 20050 found this helpful

Physical punishment makes dogs mean. Train using positive reinforcement (there are tons of books on the subject). The puppy is probably teething and needs chew toys just like regular babies do.

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March 10, 2005

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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March 10, 20050 found this helpful

think of the nipping that he does, sort of like when a baby reaches out for you, then grips and pulls(like on your hair) it is motar skills combined with new things to explore. It isn't out of aggression or anything like that. They haven't learned yet how to control their mouths and such. I know those sharp little baby teeth can hurt though, so if he nips to hard, hold him up to your face and possible hold his mouth shut, very gently and say gentle,gentle. That worked with our dog. I wish I could be more help with the potty training thing... 9 weeks is still very very young. Take him out side or on the paper much more than you think he really needs. Say every 20 mins, and when he does go potty give him lots and lots of praise. He should come along as he ages. hope this helps you. enjoy your little fella.


morgan

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March 10, 20050 found this helpful

On the play fighting - this is normal and should continue. The pup is learning and the older dog won't hurt it, unless it oversteps the mark, then she may nip it and the pup may yelp. The older dog is teaching the younger dog the equivalent of good manners. They are pack animals and need to know their place - with you at the top of course!

For the toilet training observation is the key. With my dog I just watched her behaviour. If she was asleep, as soon as she woke up I took her outside and wandered around and waited for her to 'go' after 15 minutes we went back indoors but almost invariably she had passed urine before the 15 minutes was up and she got lots of praise and taken indoors again. If she was awake, and hadn't been to the toilet for a while, I watched her and as soon as she started sniffing around looking as though she was choosing a place to go to the toilet I took her outside. My pup only ever had accidents when I was out, and very few of those. At night she slept on the bed and if she woke up so did I, and took her outside. She was toilet trained in a few weeks but she was 12 weeks old when I got her.

To learn about normal dog behaviour as puppies develop get a book on dogs and dog training.

Regards

Jo

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March 10, 20050 found this helpful

On the play fighting - this is normal and should continue. The pup is learning and the older dog won't hurt it, unless it oversteps the mark, then she may nip it and the pup may yelp. The older dog is teaching the younger dog the equivalent of good manners. They are pack animals and need to know their place - with you at the top of course!

For the toilet training observation is the key. With my dog I just watched her behaviour. If she was asleep, as soon as she woke up I took her outside and wandered around and waited for her to 'go' after 15 minutes we went back indoors but almost invariably she had passed urine before the 15 minutes was up and she got lots of praise and taken indoors again. If she was awake, and hadn't been to the toilet for a while, I watched her and as soon as she started sniffing around looking as though she was choosing a place to go to the toilet I took her outside. My pup only ever had accidents when I was out, and very few of those. At night she slept on the bed and if she woke up so did I, and took her outside. She was toilet trained in a few weeks but she was 12 weeks old when I got her.

To learn about normal dog behaviour as puppies develop get a book on dogs and dog training.

Regards

Jo

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By Joyce (Guest Post)
March 11, 20050 found this helpful

I did have i pit bull now & what i did was every hr i took him out side for a bit so he knew that is were he is suppose to go, but ( please don't laugh now ) i did put him in a baby crib with blankets & some chew toys that does help with the nipping so it was a very small place too clean up & in 2 - 3 weeks he was completely trained.

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By Rebecca (Guest Post)
May 1, 20051 found this helpful

one trick to help house training is when you take the dog outside while he is going to the bathroom use a "key word" like potty or whatever you choose, and give him praise at the same time. After he is done give him a small treat. Repeat this every time you take him out. He will soon accoicate getting a treat with going to the bathroom outside. After a while you can ask him while you are inside if he needs to go potty and you will get a responce from him. It worked with my dog at least.

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August 19, 2013

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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November 15, 2018

When I'm trying to train my 6 month old Pit Bull puppy, my nephew is holding him back when I call for him. What is the best way to handle the issue? Should I take his collar off so he can't hold him by it? This is my first Pit Bull and I don't want him to have a bad mind set with a distraction of something like that. I really dislike that he does it, but don't know what would be the best way to go about handling it. I was told someone can help me with this issue before it's too late for the puppy.

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April 18, 2010

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

By cocoa from Augusta, GA

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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.

Cesar from Arizona

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September 28, 2011

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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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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October 20, 2012

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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December 27, 2017

Can I play "sock " with my Pit Bull? I have always done so with other breeds, but don't want to make my dog aggressive. I have always had good dogs. Is training a Pit Bull any different or is it just good common sense?

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March 18, 2014

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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May 16, 2018

This is a page about working with an aggressive pit bull puppy. The most important thing in dealing with an aggressive puppy is to find a good trainer and be very consistent in your training. Socialization in a safe and controlled environment is often beneficial too. The earlier you address these concerns, the better!

Pit Bull puppy looking at the camera.

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