Bull Dog

Dog Trainer Gives Facts on Training Your Pit Bull

American Pit Bull Terriers are a great breed with a bad rap. Any breed would have a bad reputation if they become overbred and are too-often popular among irresponsible people. In Chicago, Pits are a very popular breed among many. A true APBT is a loving and highly trainable companion. Pit owners have a duty to train their dog and teach it to behave as a good representative of the breed. Here we will go over your key points to owning a Pit, then dispel myths regarding Pit Bulls and training your Pit Bull.

KEY POINTS TO TRAINING YOUR PIT BULL

* Absolutely no pulling- who is leading here?

* Train for obedience around many distractions

* Train a reliable come when called

* Use praise when your dog has earned it

* Take ultimate responsibility for your dogs behavior

MYTH: Pit Bulls are all dog-aggressive

FACT: This depends on their breeding (genetics), how they are raised and socialized early in life, and how they are handled as an adult. Not every Pit Bull has animal aggression, in fact many live in homes with other dogs and cats or attend daycare plays. Because of some of the genetics and history in certain bloodlines, animal aggression and high prey drive can be an issue in the breed. It comes down to this- Not all dogs are going to get along with every other dog. If this is the case, you must accept this and learn to manage it properly. Even if your dog is non-social, you should still have full control over your dog through obedience, and he should be a safe dog in public and around other dogs under your supervision. You cannot control what other people do with their dogs, but you can make sure your dog is safe and under your control.

MYTH: Pit Bulls require very firm or harsh training because they are a dominant breed

FACT: False. You can never generalize an entire breed. Most Pit Bulls are in tune with their handler and respond to fair and consistent training. Some dogs require more firmness from by their owner, just as some children require stricter parenting. If you have a large, strong, and high drive breed you do need to step up and be firm when required, but it doesn't mean you have to be harsh. When people get frustrated or think their dog is stubborn, they are no longer teaching the dog, the are only punishing it. Dominance is a situational relationship issue between a dog and owner, and is not a breed trait of Pit Bulls.

MYTH: Pit Bulls are difficult to train

FACT: They are, on average, no more or less difficult to train than other breeds. They are generally willing to please if they are given proper direction and clear rules to abide by.

MYTH: Pit Bulls snap on their owners, attack out of nowhere, or have unpredictable aggression

FACT: Pure myth. A dog attacking their owner can be caused by many many things, such as neurological issues, pain, or poor training. It is not a breed trait of the American Pit Bull Terrier. According to Karen Delise, founder of the National Canine Research Council, and author of the book "Pit Bull Placebo,"

"The classification of an attack as unprovoked is usually based on the declarations of a negligent owner who does not care to understand canine behavior, an owner who is unable to read (understand) canine behavior, a busy owner who is too preoccupied with the tasks of daily living to see the signs and signals dogs usually display, or persons who deliberately misrepresent the facts to limit their culpability." Take this to mean that no dogs attacks "out of nowhere," there is always something precipitating it.

OPTIONS FOR TRAINING

When your dog is a young puppy, a puppy class is a great opportunity to begin socializing and exposing your dog to new things. Then formal training should begin at about 4-5 months of age. Many owners choose a dog boot camp, or board and train, where the trainer works with your dog and trains your dog for you. You will still need to be involved, but the dogs foundation of training will be done professionally. Another option is private lessons where you are coached by a trainer and practice exercises at home. You may want to visit with a few trainers before making your choice, as well as looking at their credentials and experiences with the breed.

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