What do I need to know in raising a Pit Bull?
By cocoa from Augusta, GA
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I have 2 male pits, the advice I can give you is to have patience. They are cute and cuddly when they are young, but this is the stage that they need to be socialized. At about 3-5 months they are going to go crazy with nipping and mouthing everything! This won't last forever (as long as you correct it). If you get another dog, you may want to get the opposite sex, since same sex dogs tend to be more likely to fight even if they grew up together.
They require a lot of exercise. There is no compromise with this. On days that I cannot walk my dog, I grab a few Frisbees and we play for at least 30 minutes (although not nearly enough, it's better than nothing).
I thought at kenneling was cruel (hey who wants to be locked up in a cage for hours) but after I got the kennel (because they were chewing everything) it became a great tool for both me and the dogs. It's a great tool for keeping your things safe when you're away and prevents fights when I give them a raw hide bone.
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!
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!
First, I would look into the insurance you may have to have...as 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 leerburg.com 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 something.....target, etc. This reinforces your pack order...
read leerburg.com 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 class..it 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 etiher..call 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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