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For many, the Pit Bull epitomizes the American dog. From Petey in "The Little Rascals" to Sergeant Stubby, who captured a spy in World War I, Pit Bulls have captured the hearts of millions. With their wide smiles and class clown attitude, pits are hard not to love. What some potential pitbull owners are prone to forget and that pitbull owners are always reminded of, is that their dog is a pit bull terrier. Terriers are energetic, fun loving, and some say a little bit crazy. Pit Bulls are no exception, and with their powerful jaws and muscular bodies, it is extra important to make sure your pitbull puppy has an outlet for her uncontainable energy. Luckily for you, most pits absolutely love to chew. Especially when your puppy is teething, you can expect her to devote hours to chewing on all sorts of different things. If you want the things she chews to be of your choosing, crate training is essential for times you are away from her or can't watch her.
All puppies feel the separation from their mother and litter as anxiety. Most will want to sleep with their new human family to ease that anxiety. To teach your new puppy to sleep by herself, as well as to potty train, crate training will be a useful tool. Ease your pup's anxiety by increasing crate time gradually, letting her out frequently throughout the night to go to the bathroom and for some cuddle time with you. While it may be a tough few weeks at first, eventually your puppy will acclimate to sleeping on her own in her own comfy crate.
Pit Bull puppies really do want to chew on everything and for many, this means bedding as well. Provide your pup with a firm, heavy crate bed to discourage chewing. It isn't a bad idea to put a tough nylon cover over the bed and then cover that with a thick fluffy cover. That way if your pup goes on a destructive rampage she will only destroy the blanket, instead of the entire bed.
Hands down, the most important thing for a crated pitbull puppy is chewing entertainment. Provide a wide range of chews suitable for teething powerful breeds. Heavy-duty nylon, thick natural rawhide, and natural horns and antlers are all suitable for your pitbull puppy. Go bigger and heavier wherever possible when deciding on chews for a powerful chewer like a Pit Bull. Kong toys work wonders to entertain even determined chewers. Put all of your dog's kibble in a food dispensing toy for hours of entertainment while she works for her food, and stuff a heavy duty Kong big enough that it won't be swallowed but small enough for your puppy to really squeeze it. You can stuff with all sorts of healthy and natural fillings, or wet your dog's kibble and fill it with that. Try freezing or microwaving Kong toys for added texture. Freezing is especially nice for a puppy's sore gums while teething.
The Crate for Rest Method
Remove other comfy places
Stock your pit bull puppy's crate with a very comfy bed and blankets, as well as all her favorite toys and chews. Remove all the other comfy places where she could sleep from the house, and discourage her from lying on the bed or couch.
Reward for crate
When your puppy enters the crate of her own will to lie down, reward her with a treat or special chew, and your affectionate praise. Tell her a command for "good crate" while rewarding.
Begin closing door
When your pitbull puppy is lying for periods in her crate of her own will, begin closing the door for brief periods, rewarding for calm behavior.
Increase time gradually
Gradually increase the time you keep the door closed. Keep an eye on your puppy by checking frequently or using a nanny cam and release her if there is any discomfort.
Go to crate and reward
Begin asking your dog to go to her crate at bedtime or when you will leave for a few hours. Reward her for entering the crate.
The Crate With a Friend Method
If your new pitbull puppy is very distraught at being crated alone even for a moment, try keeping the crate near you or another dog until she is calmer.
Place the crate next to your bed or near where you are, or near another dog's crate. Fill your puppy's crate with all kinds of chews and food dispensing toys.
Leave the door open
Leave the crate door open, allowing your puppy to go in and out as she likes at first. Reward her for entering and staying in the crate.
Begin walking away for brief periods while your pitbull puppy is occupied. If she follows you, ignore her and walk back to the room until she goes in the crate again.
Close door and increase time
Once you can walk away without your puppy following you, begin closing the crate door for brief periods when you walk away. Gradually increase the time until you can leave her alone for several hours comfortably.
The Where the Fun Is Method
Crate time is fun time
Leaving your puppy's crate door open, put a good new chew or food dispensing toy in the crate. Let your puppy enter the crate naturally.
Only in the crate!
If your puppy tries to carry the chew out, give a command of your choosing to mean, "only in the crate" and block her from leaving.
Let her pass
When your puppy drops the chew, let her leave the crate. If she goes back for the chew, again block her from leaving.
Begin closing door
Once your puppy has internalized the concept that she must chew on her toys in the crate, begin closing the door for short periods while she is occupied.
Build the time your pup spends in her crate until you can leave her for several hours and she will be content.
By Coral Drake
Published: 02/01/2018, edited: 01/08/2021