Most people think pit bulls are dangerous dogs, but nothing is further from the truth; if you educate them well when they are young, you will be left with an obedient, loving and faithful companion. However, they are considered potentially dangerous dog breeds in some countries. So, before adoptoing a little pit bull you may have to obtain a specific licence and be aware of the legislation that may affect you.
They are very strong and energetic dogs, so they need an experienced owner who will guide them in the right way towards good education and training. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use force under any circumstances to educate them, but the contrary. You must be firm, but always using positive reinforcement.
In this AnimalWised article we will show you how to educate a pit bull puppy so you know how to control these dogs and achieve a balanced and happy companion.
As with any dog, preparing and understanding how to welcome a puppy to your home will be crucial for starting the experience positively and correctly. To do this, you need to teach them where their place is. They should have their own place where they feel comfortable and safe. It’s best if you put their bed in a place where they spend lots of time, such as the living room.
It’s important that you instil some behavior rules from the beginning, and that you are firm with them. Don’t let them do something one day and not another, or they will get confused. For example, if you aren’t going to allow them to get up on the sofa or go into your bedroom, you should teach this from the beginning, and always maintain this attitude. If you aren’t going to let them sleep in your room, and the dog is going to spend nights alone, you need to be firm. Don’t go running to them when they start crying, as doing this means they will never learn to sleep alone.
You should feed them with high quality puppy feed about 4 or 5 times a day. Up until four months of age you can moisten this with water so that they are able to chew it, and from this age onwards you can gradually stop moistening it until they get used to eating it completely dry. If you see that they are still having difficulties in swallowing dry feed (even when mixed with water), you can opt to use wet food. However, this always needs to be of a high quality.
On the other hand, you should remember that pit bulls are medium to large-sized dogs, so they will need specific food for puppies of such a size. Some people also offer extra calcium to their pit bulls to aid their development. Pose all of these questions to your trusted vet to find out if this is necessary or not in your particular case.
On the other hand, and to avoid future unwanted behaviors, we recommend that you teach them to sit; the first of the basic commands. By doing this, you can ask them not to eat until you give them permission, which will stop them jumping up at food in the future.
Another thing to consider is the time they take to eat. Your dog should get used to eating however much you put in their bowl. If, on the other hand, you give them food throughout the day, you might not be sure if they are eating properly or not. For this, the best thing to do is only leave their food bowl out for 15 minutes, and take it away once this time has passed. By doing this, they will learn that they need to eat at a fixed time. Don’t worry if they don’t finish the food the first few times you do this. They will work out what they need to do within a couple of days.
In order to teach your pup to go to the toilet outside the house, you should follow the same steps as with any other dog. Remember that you won’t be able to take them outside until they have had all of their vaccinations, so in the first few months you should teach them to urinate on a newspaper.
During this stage you should make a note of the times when your puppy usually goes to the toilet. By doing this, you will know the best times to take your dog for a walk.
Once they are ready for being taken outside, you should take them for walks every two or three hours and praise them each time they go to the toilet outside. If you see that they haven’t been able to hold it in and has done their business inside, do not hit them or be too hard on them. Remember that your pet is still a learning puppy.
Pit bulls are very energetic dogs. Therefore, once they have had all of their vaccines and is prepared for going outside, you should walk them two to three times a day, making sure they get a fair amount of physical exercise. In order to avoid tiring them out too much, as a result of their young age, you should make the activities shorter. For example, it is better to play ball games twice over a short period of time, rather than one highly intense activity.
Remember that your pit bull will be more relaxed if you let them sniff around after doing exercise and going for a walk, which will give them a more positive attitude towards this activity. Do not forget the importance of socializing them properly with other dogs and people, following our tips on puppy socialization. This will stop them developing behavioural problems, which could be very serious in the long run and in their adult life, as they are very unpleasant and difficult to alter. This is the best time to work on socialization.
Besides socialization and basic obedience commands (sit, come here, stay…) your dog should also learn tricks and do varied activities to ensure that their mind is always stimulated. Intelligence games are another excellent option.
One thing to consider is that it might sometimes be necessary to castrate a dog; not only to ensure stable behaviour, but also to prevent your dog having unwanted offspring. In addition, castration offers many advantages such as a reduced probability of suffering cancer.
If you don’t know how to educate a pit bull puppy, you can always go to a dog trainer for classes and to be taught how to educate them correctly. Likewise, for any behavioral problem it will be crucial to go to an ethologist. They will help the new member of your family grow up happy, balanced, and perfectly adapted to family life.