Useful Tips for Training and Socializing your Pit Bull or Bully Breed
Owners of APBTs and other bully breeds need to be more vigilant than any other dog owner in showing off the good in their pup at all times. Persistence, Patience, Praise and over all Consistency will very important in working with your pup at any age.
Young children are helpful with socializing pups because they make strange noises, often pet awkward, smell funny, so borrow some from my family and neighbors if you don't have any of your own.
Touching-Touch them all over from mouths to toes. Put some dog toothpaste on your finger and rub it on their teeth and gums; next start using a little toothbrush in their mouths
Nail cutting-I found was easiest when they were asleep LOL I used regular infant nail cutters on teeny ones then dog nail clippers as they grow and then later a dremel.
Ears Start touching and cleaning their ears. LOL people often don't think to do this for some reason
I used clickers a lot when they were really little and you'd be surprised how fast they picked things up. If you want to do it:
-Just wait for them to complete the task click treat and praise
- Also get a clicker that has a little hole at the end so you can tie it around your wrist or your neck because they can be a pain in the neck to hold while you are training and you need it handy
Calling by name
named all the pups in the litter so this was easy. One of the first things they learned was to respond to their names. This makes all other training 10x easier.
Call them click or praise and uses toys or treat when they are old enough for treats ... mashed up cheddar cheese or liver is nice and smelly and works wonders!!!!!! Use whatever works well for you!
Introduce the pups to a variety of sounds. Since I slept with them They got to hear my alarm clock every time it was time for a feeding LOL they learned what that meant quick. I was up for all of the feedings to begin with to make sure everyone was thriving and getting enough. They also had a TV and radio in that room.
After the first week or so I vacuumed around them usually when they were eating but not right near them. They heard normal every day noises I didn't try to keep anyone quiet.
SOME OTHER good noises/things to get used too:
opening and closing umbrella's by them when they get to be about 7 weeks and let them stiff and see the umbrella when it is both opened and closed
clanging dog dishes drop pans
When they start to walk and are not like weebles but them onto different surfaces
Counters, the tub, flooring, blankets, pillows, the grass if it is warm enough outside, sand, dirt, etc.
You want to take them to work on basic commands 1 at a time for not more than 2-3 minutes here and there throughout the day this does not apply to the potty command, do that as much as needed clicker.
once they are ready to venture outside teach them the potty command and treat it as any other training lots of rewards. LOL I used the clicker w/ mine at first for this too. My neighbors think it is pretty funny!
Don't just let your pup out and expect them to go , go out with them make sure they go to the bathroom. Give them time they often go more than once
I find the easiest way to house train is to crate train. The crate will be a safe place for your puppy when you can't be with them.
Some signs that they have to go are, sniffing, circling, pacing, squatting
Crate training overview
Get a crate that they can stand turn around in a lay down , do not give them more room then that until they are trained or they will use it as a toilet.
Many crates come with divider panels so the crate grows with the puppy.
When you can supervise the pup keep them out with you.Take them to potty before and after eating, when they wake up, after they lay and many many times in between
Try to get them on a schedule
do not use the crate as punishment it needs to remain a happy , safe place for them.
The most important command in my book!!!! Knowing their names really helped w/ this one!
This starts as soon as they are wobbling around. kneel about a foot away extend your hand and say the dog's name and come with your hand with food as a lure right by their little nose and bring them into you then can say YEAAAAAAAA (heheh) make a big fuss
As they get bigger, you'll do less luring w/ food and you go up on your feet then you will eventually call them from a little farther away. This takes weeks!!!!!!! You can also call them to come and then run away from them a tiny bit to get their attention and motivate them to chase/come to you.
As soon as the pup plays tug w/ you teach the OUT command
you can also start teaching these below commands as well:
use food right above the pups nose and your sit hand signal while saying sit and gentle hands to help get the pup in position then click treat and praise
ONLY SAY THE actual command ONE TIME
similar to the above just the hand signal and food positioning are different.
this time put the food by the dogs nose then down between his front legs and ease him into a down saying DOWN only 1X. When he is there the second he does it click treat and praise
I didn't go into a lot of detail so if you need more just let me know... Wink
Some Appropriate chew toys
frozen carrots, nylabones and kongs make great chew toys.
never leave them unattended with toys they can break pieces off of and swallow such as stuffed animals and plastic chew toys
All puppies do go through the biting stage as they are teething.
When the pup does play to rough or even nip a little say "NO" in a firm voice or yelp like a hurt pup or say ouch but then also redirect the behavior to a toy like a rope etc. You have to make the toy more interesting than you. You can't just throw it or give it to him and expect him to stop
If you are willing to put the time into training and working with the dog. This is not a major issue.
This behavior can be exhibited by both males and females and sometimes to inanimate objects LOL. It is for the most part a dominance behavior unless a female in heat is around which should NOT be allowed at all. If your pup starts doing this to anyone or anything say 'NO" and redirect them every time it happens. Letting a pup do this to another dog can eventually cause fights and letting them do it to people is obviously just plain old bad manners.
Before a pup has been vaccinated they should NOT be going for walks. However you can start getting them used to a leash, but letting them where one and letting it just drag on the floor by them. Always monitor a pup that is leashed as it can get caught on things obviously. After that you can walk the pup on lead around your own yard and house to get used to the lead being held. It must be kept very positive and in short sessions.
The follow me game can also be played with the pup on or off lead were you pretty much just encourage them to follow you around giving praise and treats or using toys.
After vaccines are fully given you can start taking short walks with the pup on a flat collar. No choke type or prong collars should be used IMO until the pup is at least 6 months of age
When your pup is old enough and vaccinated you can start socializing with other dogs and get out in public to expose them more.
More about Socializing outside the home
Another thing is once they are vaccinated fully they can be socialized around other dogs outside the home as well and brought to a variety of places.This needs to be kept VERY positive as this is a very critical time in their development. They should not ever e allowed off lead in a public area no matter how well they are trained. Some great events to attend are parades, festivals, fairs,. Good ex of places to visit are ON LEAD parks, pet supply stores, shopping center parking lots
Off lead Dog Parks:
These are a big NO-NO with any bully breed as any incident whether it be your dogs fault or not will always be blamed on a bully breed thanks to the media's stereotype of them. Also many people who go to these places have no idea about dog behaviors and or training. One last factor is for health reasons.
Since pups should not be in classes until they are fully vaccinated and young pups are capable of learning so much I developed a free online puppy agility class you can do at you convenience at home. It has simple written out lessons w/ instructions to do with your pup. Take a peek
Also after the pup has been vaccinated, Puppy kindergarten classes and basic obedience classes are not just good for first time owners, but great for socializing the dogs and getting them on their way to becoming a good citizen and great family member. Make sure to look for trainers with experience with working APBTs and ask people for references. Breed clubs often offer help in this area.
Happy vet visits
Taking them to the vet when they don't actually need anything just to say hi and get a treat makes for much easier vet visits when they are there for not so pleasant shots and exams.
Definitely get them used to car rides and make it a positive fum experience. Bring treats but not too many you don't want them throwing up. You can first just practice getting in and out of the car without taking them any place then move on to the actual short trips
Most dogs that end up in shelters are great dogs that their owners didn't take the time and effort to work with properly
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