Archive for the Training category

What’s the Best Way to Train Pit Bulls?

Is there any breed more controversial than the American Pit Bull Terrier? Not only are many people afraid of them, they’re even singled out to be killed on sight in some areas due to Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). So what’s the truth about Pit Bulls, and how can the average owner train one to be a friendly family pet? Read on.

Pit Bull Temperaments

Contrary to the beliefs of the legislators and activists who have introduced legislation banning them in many cities and counties throughout the United States, Pit Bulls are not naturally vicious. In fact, their ancestors were family dogs prized for their ability to guard their owners’ wives and children without harming them or the livestock while the man of the house was away from home.

Most Pit Bulls are naturally prone to test their limits and ignore the occasional command. They may, due to their background as a dogfighting breed, be reactive toward other dogs. Pit Bulls are best suited for households with at least one experienced dog owner who understands positive reinforcement training and is willing to take some obedience classes with the dog. As long as there is a family member taking responsibility for training, however, most Pit Bulls do very well with children of all ages. Their low sensitivity to pain makes them less likely to react violently to a pulled tail or being tripped on by an exuberant child. Additionally, they are playful, puppy-like dogs throughout life. Most are very fond of children if socialized with them at a young age.

Training Pit Bulls

Pit Bulls, like all dogs, learn best through positive reinforcement. Harshly punishing a Pit Bull can be dangerous. They have a high tolerance for physical pain, so by the time you are giving a big enough correction to get a response from the dog, you could be at risk of injuring him or her. Additionally, Pit Bulls often associate whatever they’re looking at when they feel pain with the pain, rather than their own behavior. For example, if you gave a harsh collar correction for sniffing a cat while walking, the dog might think that the cat caused the pain and attack the next cat it sees.

Try clicker training to motivate your Pit Bull during training. This method allows you to reinforce the exact instant your dog performs the correct behavior. If your Pit Bull isn’t food motivated, try using a game of Tug-of-War with a favorite toy as a reward for each click. Some Pits will even work hard for praise alone.

Combine clicker training with a NILIF (Nothing In Life Is Free) approach to make sure your Pit Bull continues to obey even when you’re not actively in a training session. That means no attention on demand–if your Pit walks up and shoves his head in your lap, ignore him. When he’s doing something desirable, like chewing an appropriate toy, call him over and give him attention, then stop on your time, not his. Whenever the dog wants something, he must perform a desired behavior to get it. That includes petting, going outside, coming back inside, getting his breakfast, getting a treat, getting his leash put on for a walk, getting his leash taken off when you get home, and everything that the dog finds desirable and rewarding. This method of interacting with your Pit Bull will keep him continually attentive and obedient.

Dog Training Roundup: Links and Resources

cover2_blank.jpgDogs, much like children, thrive in an environment that is ordered and structured. This means that your pooch needs a firm hand and clear guidelines so that he understands who the pack leader is. When you send your pet mixed signals and do not set clear boundaries, he becomes confused and chaos (bad behavior) results.

If your dog is headstrong and likes to have his own way, you will need to correct this behavior. This type of behavior may result if your dog does not clearly recognize you as the leader. One of the best training methods to correct this type of behavior is the NILIF method. NILIF stands for “Nothing in Life is Free”. The system rewards your pooch for appropriate behavior and responses. You may use dog treats or other items to help you with this system.

Sometimes, it is not that you have not properly trained your dog, but you may have adopted him from a shelter or another owner. Though you may love your new pooch, when you adopt an animal unfortunately you must deal with existing behavioral issues that may not have been properly addressed by the previous owner(s). There are literally hundreds of approaches you can take to address these issues, but we suggest that you begin with these 5 fundamental dog training tips.

Training can be a trying and stressful experience for both you and your dog. Though it may seem a bit mean, using a crate to train your dog may be just the thing to help you and your new pet adjust. Crate training helps your pet feel secure. You may have noticed how your new puppy or dog crawls beneath furniture or curls up in the corner. This is normal dog behavior and a crate helps to simulate a cozy, secure environment.

If you live near the ocean, lake, river, or have a pool, you may want to train your dog how to behave appropriately around water. This may be fairly simple or agonizing depending on how your pet feels about water. However, if you are patient and work with your dog, you will have no problems. You should never force or throw your dog into the water when water training him.

There are so many things that you will teach your dog as time goes on. The most important thing to remember, though, is to show patience and love and to be consistent in your training. Good luck!