How to Train a Pit Bull Puppy to Listen

Medium
6-12 Weeks
General

Introduction

If you have a Pit Bull puppy, you may be aware of a common misconception with the breed. Some Pit Bulls, like other breeds, have been trained to be fighters or otherwise mean dogs. But your Pit Bull is naturally a very loving and gentle dog. You can train him from an early age to listen to you and be a great friend and pet in your family. If you train your Pit Bull puppy now to listen to you, he will always look at you as the leader of his pack and therefore won't be the pup with the bad rap.

Imagine the joy of having such a wonderful dog in your family from a breed filled with misconceptions. You can show the world and your community he is a kind, loving pet with manners and strong obedience to you.

Defining Tasks

Training your Pit Bull to listen to you will start with teaching him basic obedience commands and manners. While your Pit Bull is still young, another thing you will need to do during your training sessions after he has gotten his initial vaccinations is to socialize him. Getting your Pit Bull puppy around other dogs is crucial to teaching him manners and conditioning him to understand what your expectations are when it comes to his behavior. During socialization and obedience training, you should be teaching him basic commands such as 'sit', 'down', 'come', 'stay', 'watch me', 'wait', and general manners while walking on a leash or expectations when he is out in public.

Starting small with a puppy works wonders in getting him to listen to you. Start by teaching him his name so he knows when you are talking to him. Other training like housebreaking will also leave you in command. 

Getting Started

Teaching your little Pit Bull to listen will be an ongoing process. You will want your little guy to be rewarded and learn through positive reinforcement. Avoid any training that requires you to punish your Pit Bull. He will respond more with positive reinforcement and rewards for good behavior and good choices than with punishments. Anytime you can, turn a moment into a learning opportunity and reward him for learning, do so. This will require always having tasty treats on hand.

The Your Pit’s Leader Method

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3 Votes
Step
1
Basic obedience
Train your Pit Bull basic obedience commands early on. Once he’s a part of your family, you can start with small training sessions. Start with 'sit' and move to 'down' before working on 'stay' and 'release'. These short training sessions will show him you are the leader and will tell him what to do, with high expectations. Plan to offer lots of rewards to earn his respect as well.
Step
2
Sit
Hold a treat high above your Pit’s head. When you have his attention, move it back towards the back of his head and wait patiently. As he follows the treat with his nose because he wants to earn it, he will likely sit down. When he sits say the command "sit" and give him the treat. Practice this for a few weeks before moving on to the next command.
Step
3
Down
Put your Pit Bull puppy in a 'sit' position because he is well rehearsed at this, and give him a treat for listening and obeying. Once he's in a sitting position, take a second treat and hold it to his nose, then bring it slowly down towards the floor. Once the treat is near the floor, pull it away from his body towards yours. This should lead him to stretch out and lie down on his tummy. When he's down, say the command "down" and give him the treat. Practice often.
Step
4
Stay
Your pup should be between 12 and 14 weeks old when you try to teach him the 'stay' command. He should understand 'sit' and 'down' and be doing those two commands easily. When he's in one of those positions use the command 'stay.' Take a step away from him holding your hand up palm facing towards your dog and wait a moment. Give him a treat if he stays put and practice by taking more steps away over several sessions.
Step
5
Release
Your Pit Bull will need to know when he's able to come back to your side. The release command will tell him when it's time to move from ‘stay.’ Once he is in the 'stay' position, show him a treat and use the word "release". The treats should be enough to motivate him to move. When he does, give the treat. Keep practicing this command so he understands when to stay put and when he can move freely.
Step
6
Rewards
Be sure you are rewarding your Pit Bull puppy with lots of tasty treats while he’s training. These will give him positive reinforcements and remind him as long as he is listening, he can earn rewards.
Step
7
Advanced
Once your puppy has these basic obedience commands well understood and is doing them consistently by command, begin to teach him other, more advanced commands such as 'watch me' and 'wait.'
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The Start with a Name Method

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1 Vote
Step
1
Name the pup
When you bring a puppy home, especially one with such a strong personality, the first thing you will do is give him a name.
Step
2
Train name
To get to your puppy to recognize his name and when you are speaking to him, he’ll need to know his name. Say his name and give him a treat. Do this several times while sitting with him.
Step
3
Without attention
Once he’s heard his name a few times and has earned a treat just for listening to you say it, try to get him to recognize his name when he’s not paying attention to you. Start talking to him when he’s not looking at you. Say his name and watch his reaction. If he looks at you and gives you his attention, give him a treat. If not, try again later after more practice.
Step
4
Knows name
Once your Pit Bull puppy knows his name, start other training. Always use his name before teaching him anything to ensure you have his attention and he’s listening.
Step
5
Rewards
Always give your little guy rewards anytime he responds in a positive way to hearing his name. Use his name when you talk to him, when you need his attention, during training, and while on a leash. Be sure to have lots of treats on hand to reward him for listening.
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The Positive Attention Method

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0 Votes
Step
1
Once home
As soon as your bring your Pit Bull puppy home, you can start playing with him and training him small tasks and commands. Start with his name. Reward him any time he listens and gives you his attention.
Step
2
Name
Spend a few weeks teaching your little guy his name. This should be something you use often. Say his name in a calm manner when you need him to pay attention.
Step
3
Commands
Once he knows his name, you can begin to train basic obedience commands starting with the easy command ‘sit.’ Use his name often and reward him through the training.
Step
4
Potty Training
It will take some time for your little guy to be totally house trained, but take advantage of this training opportunity to remind him of your expectations and reward him when he makes good choices.
Step
5
Socialize
An extremely important task in getting your Pitty to listen to you is getting him social with other people and animals, especially dogs. A social dog is a well-behaved dog. One who is not social might be cautious and not listen as well as you’d like.
Step
6
High-value treats
Remember, the tougher the task, the better the treat. Be sure to reward your puppy with treats for his good behaviors and when he listens to you. He’s more likely to keep listening if he knows he’s getting rewards.
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Written by Stephanie Plummer

Published: 04/17/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Monico Tharpe
Pit bull
2 Months
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Monico Tharpe
Pit bull
2 Months

Sit stay the using the bathroom on
the floor

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
779 Dog owners recommended

Hello Rasheed, Sit and Stay methods: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-sit-and-stay For potty training, check out the crate training method. I suggest using the crate training method or a combination of the crate training method and the tethering method once pup is doing a bit better with just crate training method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Yayo
Pitbull Mastiff
7 Weeks
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Yayo
Pitbull Mastiff
7 Weeks

I’ve had yayo for two weeks now, I wanna train him to be a guard dog for my me and to follow just me when I say his name I would really appreciate if someone can give me some advice/tips on how to train him better!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
779 Dog owners recommended

Hello Jessica, At this age I suggest focusing the most on socialization and basic and intermediate obedience. Socialization will help him learn what is normal human behavior vs. suspicious (You don't want him thinking everyone is suspicious and over-reacting or you won't be able to take him places with you). Intermediate obedience will help him learn to listen and obey around distractions, tuning things other than you out. Basic obedience is just necessary before moving onto intermediate - they build on each other. Look into how Service Dogs are trained. They are very well socialized as puppies. Once they get older they are taught to ignore distractions and focus just on their owners - this is usually done using positive reinforcement for teaching task training and commands, and sometimes fair discipline to modify any bad behaviors. Once pup understands what is normal and can ignore distractions, then work on teaching the specific guarding tasks you want to teach, such as barking at someone suspicious, standing between you and another person, keeping watch, ect... To teach him to follow you, check out the Reel In method from the article linked below. Practice Come and Heel on a long leash, starting in calm areas and gradually practicing in more and more distracting locations as pup improves. Let pup get slightly distracted by something like a smell and move away from them while holding the leash, tell them to Come, and Reel them in with the leash if they ignore you. Reward if they obey and praise as soon as they start to move toward you and when they arrive. Also, during the same training session practice walking away from pup while holding the long leash and if pup comes when you just say their name or don't say anything at all - because they were paying attention to you, give a reward when the arrive. The combination of Come, Heel, and rewarding attention that is given without you having to ask for it can help a dog learn to pay attention to where you are and follow you. Once pup has worked up to doing all of this in a distracting location, practice in lots of different types of locations to really solidify it...outside outdoor shopping areas, parks, outside dog parks (not in them though), in pet stores, and anywhere else he is allowed on a long leash. He must be social and not aggressive toward people to do this in though. Teaching Come - Reel In method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Turns method for teaching the basics of heel first: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Melo
Pit bull
5 Months
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Melo
Pit bull
5 Months

Potty training?

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, this guide has excellent tips for potty training: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside. All of the methods are good. Take Melo outside often, even as much as every 30-60 minutes until he gets the idea. It may seem excessive but is worth it when they catch on in a matter of days or several days. Puppies always need to go immediately upon waking, after meals, after naps, after playtime, etc. Time it right and praise highly when success is achieved. Use an enzymatic cleaner to clean up accidents inside to completely remove the odor that only dogs can smell. This avoids repeat actions in the home. Good luck!

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Daisy
Pit bull
7 Weeks
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Daisy
Pit bull
7 Weeks

Daisy tends to bite me in the face. She hardly uses much force, but I'm afraid she might get accustomed to biting me. Also, she doesn't listen to me. I just got her a day ago

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
779 Dog owners recommended

Hello Lauren, Not listening to you right now is completely normal. She has not been trained to understand anything that you are saying yet. Be patient with her and work on teaching her what communication and words mean. I highly suggest enrolling in a Puppy Kindergarten class with her. That will help her learn to be friendly around other people and dogs while she is still young, and not to become suspicious or reactive toward them. For the biting in the face, check out the article that I have linked below. For the face biting, teach her what "Leave It" means using the "Leave It" method found in that article, and after she understands that command and can do it with objects, then tell her to "Leave It" whenever she tries to bite you in the face, and if she disobeys, then use the "Pressure" method to correct her for her disobedience. If she bites at your hands or arms, then you can also use the "Bite Inhibition" method to teach her how to control the pressure of her mouth. This will help her to learn that biting hard hurts and to practice being more gentle, rather than simply stopping completely before learning that. When she approaches four months of age, if she is still mouthing by then, switch everything to the "Leave It" and "Pressure" methods though, to stop all biting. Having lots of opportunities to play with other puppies under the supervision of a trainer or owners who know how to give the puppies breaks when they need it during a puppy class will also help her learn how to control the pressure of her mouth. Look for a puppy kindergarten class that includes some off-leash play time for the puppies. Some training groups and pet stores offer additional puppy play times during the week that are cheap or free also. Here is the link to the article I mentioned. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Solo
Pit bull
1 Year
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Solo
Pit bull
1 Year

We've had Solo since a pup and he's pretty good but at times he's he just doesn't listen. He's been jumping on people when they come into my place. I've been trying to teach him not to do this, but I've had no success. How can I fix this? What is the best approach to train him. He sits stays (somewhat), understands when we say no. But if he gets too excited, I can't get thru to him. Any advice?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
779 Dog owners recommended

Hello Linda, Check out the article that I have linked below. Check out the "Step Toward" method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump Practice the "Step Toward" method with your own family and willing friends. When he no longer jumps on you when you come home, have the stronger members of the family who won't be knocked over practice this method and get him excited while they practice it. You can jump up and down and make silly noises to entice him to jump. When he jumps, step toward him then act boring and firm again. If he resists jumping, reward him with a treat. If he sits, even more treats. You want to practice times of excitement with him before guests arrive. As he improves, you can make the training even more exciting by holding things like treats and toys and moving them around - he only gets them for sitting though. If he jumps for them, he is corrected by stepping into him again to move him out of that space. Practice creative ways to test his resolve not to jump up and reward him for succeeding, so that he can handle guests later. When guests come over you can have willing guests step toward him, you can get between the guest and him and step toward him (which is claiming the person and telling him to respect their space on your behalf), or you can use the "Leash" Method from the I linked above. Instruct guests not to pet him while he is excited or trying to jump. If he sits for them, the guests can drop treats on the floor for him. When he is calm, they can greet him. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Blu Hussle
American Pit Bull Terrier
4 Months
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Blu Hussle
American Pit Bull Terrier
4 Months

Blu has been pretty good in training. He knows his name, he knows sit, stay (somewhat), he even knows give me paw but recently he started peeing in his cage or my floors instead of the pee pee pads, he also chews the pee pee pads. He knows to use the bathroom outside and when inside use the pads but recently he's just not listening. How do i fix this ?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
779 Dog owners recommended

Hello Shakira, First, you need to try to figure out why he is doing it and adjust those things. It could be a couple of things: 1. The pee pads are confusing him. Some puppies will start out fine with pee pads and then start to confuse the pee pads with other soft surfaces at home, like carpet and rugs. The solution here is to get rid of the pee pads and teach him to potty only outside, or if you have to use an indoor toilet to set up an exercise pen in a specific area of the house and put a real grass pad in it and keep him in the exercise pen where he has access to the pad and not the rest of the house at this age, and take him potty outside while you are home - teaching him to only pee on grass through supervision and management. 2. Is he being taken outside often enough/how is the crate set up? If he is refusing to go potty on the pads (which can happen if puppies are confusing them with other things and trying not to potty on them because of the confusion), then he could be having accidents because he is in the crate too long without another place to pee in his mind. At this age the most he can hold it in the crate without being forced to have an accident due to bladder size is 4-5 hours at a time during the day. Any longer than that and he will have an accident. If that's the case you can try setting up an exercise pen with a real-grass pad instead of pee pad, or my suggestion that would be less confusing to him would be to hire a dog walker or friend to take him potty outside midday if you are gone to work 8 hours. Pay attention to his crate set up. Is there anything soft or absorbent in the crate, like a dog bed or towel? If so he is going to associate that absorbent thing with pottying because of the pee pad training, or simply just not be motivated to hold it in there because the soft thing absorbs the accident - many puppies won't potty train in the crate if there is something absorbent in it like a bed - check out www.primopads.com for another non-absorbent bed type option if you need one. Cot type beds are also good for outside the crate - like in an exercise pen. Also, how big is the crate? The crate should only be big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down. If it's so big he can potty on one end and stand in the opposite end away from it to avoid the accident it won't motivate him to hold it in there. 3. He could have a medical issue like a urinary tract infection that would cause him to need to pee a lot. Does he pee often even if you tether him to yourself with a leash - having an accident after just 2 hours or so if you don't take him potty? If so it may be worth a trip to your vet because he would need medication to clear that up and the behavior to improve. Peeing due to a urinary tract infection of other medical issue he would have less control over it so may not make it to the pads or be able to hold it in the crate - I am not a vet though so check with your vet if it sounds like it could be that. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Bruno
pitbull
11 Months
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Bruno
pitbull
11 Months

Bruno jumps up on people a lot, barks at children, and if I leave him out of his crate he chews up EVERYTHING!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
779 Dog owners recommended

Hello Aleesha, First of all, when you cannot supervise him he absolutely should be crated. It is normal for a dog to need to be crated until 1-3 years of age because of chewing. One of the ways you teach good chewing habits that are not destructive is by confining a dog with a safe and interesting chew toy, like a food stuffed Kong, when you cannot supervise them, to prevent long term chewing habits from forming, until they grow out of the natural chewing phase of puppihood and adolescence. Check out the article linked below on chewing for more tips on things you can do to help the process along in the meantime: Chewing: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ For the jumping, check out the article linked below and follow the "Step Toward" method first. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-australian-shepherds-to-not-jump The barking could be excitement or a lack of socialization. If a lack of socialization, work on pairing the presence of kids with good things like treats when he is being quiet (do not reward him while he is barking, wait until he calms down for at least one second, and quickly reward him then)...also, reward him for staying calm around kids, not reacting badly to begin with when you notice kids are around, and focusing on you. Kids and dogs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n0_27XY3z4 If he is excited, then work on the Quiet command, and work on rewarding calmness and focus on you through exercises like a focused, structured heel in the presence of kids. Use the "Quiet" method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Eli
Pit bull
8 Weeks
0 found helpful
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Eli
Pit bull
8 Weeks

What’s a good place for him to become social or in that type of environment

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
779 Dog owners recommended

Hello Daii, Check out the free pdf e-book AFTER You Get Your Puppy that can be downloaded at the link I have included below. That book goes over details on socialization and ideas for how to do it, including a good puppy class with the right safety measures to avoid disease risk while young, friends' homes, public places where you can carry him to prevent disease exposure from the ground. You can take pup almost anywhere dogs are allowed - but before his puppy shots are done you just have to carry him in areas where dogs may have been since most pup diseases are picked up from contact with the ground where other dogs have been. A good puppy class should clean the floors well before class, require pups to be current on shots (even if not finished), and non-class dogs kept out of the area, and pup carried there to avoid the ground on property where other dogs have been. www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior's position on socialization and safety: https://avsab.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Puppy_Socialization_Position_Statement_Download_-_10-3-14.pdf Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Duke
Bully
7 Months
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Duke
Bully
7 Months

I just got him. Tomorrow will be 2 weeks. We first took him out on a leash. He did good so we started just taking him out without a leash. Now if we take him out without a leash he just starts running and won’t listen. We have to chase him. So now it’s back to a leash. How can I get him to listen when I yell
For him?? He literally acts like he can’t hear me.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
213 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going to give you the steps to teach "recall". STAGE ONE – 'Catching' or Charging Up the 'Come' Cue Start in a distraction free environment so that your dog can focus only on you. Whenever your puppy or dog is coming to you on his own, wait until he is a couple of feet from you and then say his name and the word 'come.' When he gets to you, make a big fuss. With this exercise, your dog will learn that coming to you is a really good thing. After a while, you can lengthen the distance between you and start using the word when he is coming to you from a greater distance. Coming to you should always be rewarded, whatever the circumstance and no matter how long it took your dog to respond. Motivate your dog to come by being exciting, running away from him, waving a toy, or having delicious food for him when he gets to you. This will show him that coming back to you the best thing he can do. STAGE TWO – Solidifying the Cue Through Play Make sure you play the Back and Forth game with another person that your dog is comfortable with. Start the game in a quiet environment so it is easy for your dog to focus on you. Hold your dog back while the other person calls him excitedly. Try not to use his name or the cue word but talk excitedly to ‘gee’ him up. Do not release him until the person calls his name followed by the cue word “come.” When the cue word is given, release your dog and let him go running to the person calling. As soon as he reaches them they should praise and reward him with a game of tug or a food reward. When your dog has had his reward, have the other person hold him back as you call him and release as you say his name followed by the cue word. When he comes to you reward him with another game of tug or food reward. Repeat this game back and forth but only do a few repetitions so your dog does not get bored or too tired. Keeping it fresh means the game is always fun to play. STAGE THREE – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Inside Now your dog knows what the word “come” means you can use the cue word to call him to you while adding a hand signal to the word. Hand signals are always good to build with vocal cues so that even if your dog cannot hear you he will understand what the hand signal means. This is good if your dog is a distance away from you. Start in a quiet environment. Walk away from your dog and call his name followed by the cue word and a hand signal. Praise and reward him when he comes to you. Start increasing the distance you call him from and praise for his compliance. If he does not respond, go back to the previous distance and repeat. Only practice this cue for a few minutes so your dog does not get bored. The secret to success is to always keep it fun, exciting and fresh. When your dog recognizes the hand signal, try calling his name and using the hand signal by itself without the vocal cue. You will then be able to use a combination of vocal cue only, hand signal only and the two together. Now your dog knows what the cue word means you can start to call him from different rooms or from areas where he cannot see you. This will encourage him to respond even when you are out of sight. STAGE FOUR – Adding Vocal Cue With Hand Signal Outside Now your dog is consistently coming to you in a distraction free environment you can proof your recall cue by taking it outside. Practice the recall in your yard and then gradually build up to the point where you can use it in the park or similar environment. The ultimate test is to use the recall when your dog is engaged in a different activity. Wait for a lull in that activity and then call your dog to you. Praise his decision to comply.

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Zoe
pitbu
9 Weeks
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Zoe
pitbu
9 Weeks

Zoe seems to be very stubborn and like to nip a lot. First couple of weeks the biting seems to be painless but recently its kinda strong bite. We did tried to distract zoe with toys but i doesn't last long. And when we try to communicate zoe seems not interested. When she listen she get the treat zoe will walked away and concentrate chewing the treat and only come back when finish.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
104 Dog owners recommended

Hello, try giving Zoe teething toys with texture - she may be more interested in those as a way to soothe her gums. As well, read this guide through - there are great tips. I would work on the "Leave It Method" which will come in handy in many instances: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite. If you want Zoe to not bite, say leave it. If she is on a walk and goes to eat rocks, say leave it, etc. As well, this is an excellent guide: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-bite-2. Read the entire guide and consider the Positive Encouragement Method. Make sure you are taking Zoe out for lots of exercise. She'll need it as she will only get more energetic as she grows. Once the vet says her vaccines are up to date, take her for a few walks every day, making sure that at least one of them is long and brisk. Take her for puppy training as well. That will help stimulate her mind and tire her out, too. Good luck and happy training!

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Bishop
Pit bull
6 Months
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Bishop
Pit bull
6 Months

He listens very well. especially when he wants treats. However he has become very needy and barks a lot when left alone. Very calm when i am in his sight. knows not to get his food until i tell him. very good at making eye contact with me.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
779 Dog owners recommended

Hello KT, I suggest teaching pup commands that build independence like Place, crate manners, and distance down stay using a long leash. Practice these commands often while you are home and work up to pup being able to stay on Place or in the crate with the door open for up to 1 hour while you walk in and out of the room they are in. Practice down-stay from a distance using along leash to keep pup safe and further back from you. Place command: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Crate manners: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mn5HTiryZN8 Work on teaching the Quiet command during the day using the Quiet method from the article linked below. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Second, during the day practice the Surprise method from the article linked below. Whenever pup stays quiet in the crate for 5 minutes, sprinkle some treats into the crate without opening it, then leave the room again. As he improves, only give the treats every 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hour, 2, hour, 3 hour. Practice crating him during the day for 1-3 hours each day that you can. If you are home during the day, have lots of 30 minute - 1 hour long sessions with breaks between to practice this, to help pup learn sooner. Whenever he cries in the crate, tell him "Quiet". If he gets quiet - Great! Sprinkle treats in after five minutes if he stays quiet. If he continues barking or stops and starts again, spray a quick puff of air from a pet convincer at his side through the crate while calmly saying "Ah Ah", then leave again. Only use unscented air canisters, DON'T use citronella! And avoid spraying in the face. Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Repeat the rewards when quiet and the corrections whenever he cries. When pup is doing well., if you are not currently leaving often during the week due to quarantine, practice going on walks without pup - so you are leaving the house without them and working up to being gone for longer. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Sherlock Holmes
Pit bull
8 Weeks
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Sherlock Holmes
Pit bull
8 Weeks

Im not sure what to do about walking my puppy he only had his Frist set of shot so in scared to walk him outside people in my area leave they dogs to use bathroom off leash scared he might catch something plus we live in an apartment so he has potty pads i carry him to socialize him out in house i walk him on leash so he can stil get use to walking. Like 3 times a day for 5 mines and play games and teaching him sit but worried he not getting right amount of exercise how can i help him tell he get all his shots

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
213 Dog owners recommended

Hello! The vaccination conversation is a tricky one. Usually whatever advice you get will contradict the last persons. I have always understood that after the second set of shots, dogs are typically ok to begin socializing. But I don't know what vaccines your dog received, and I also don't know where you are located. So I don't want to give you poor advice. I would talk to your veterinarian directly about this topic. Socialization is so important at this age. So just use your discretion. You can interact with as many people as you want, you will just have to be careful about other dogs.

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Maddi
Pit bull
2 Months
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Maddi
Pit bull
2 Months

Are diaper pads useful in house training?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
779 Dog owners recommended

Hello Valerie, If you are planning on teaching pup to go potty outside long term, I would avoid things like pee pads and diaper pads that might confuse pup with going potty while inside. Those things can help with managing accidents somewhere like a long plane flight, but they generally aren't needed or recommended for normal potty training. To minimize accidents, if your schedule will allow, I recommend the crate training method from the article I have linked below. That method works to only give pup freedom while their bladder is empty, to reduce the number of accidents inside, which also helps pup become potty trained sooner. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Kash
American Pit Bull Terrier
10 Weeks
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Question
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Kash
American Pit Bull Terrier
10 Weeks

How to get her to stop biting

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
213 Dog owners recommended

Hello. Here is information on nipping/biting. Nipping: Puppies may nip for a number of reasons. Nipping can be a means of energy release, getting attention, interacting and exploring their environment or it could be a habit that helps with teething. Whatever the cause, nipping can still be painful for the receiver, and it’s an action that pet parents want to curb. Some ways to stop biting before it becomes a real problem include: Using teething toys. Distracting with and redirecting your dog’s biting to safe and durable chew toys is one way to keep them from focusing their mouthy energies to an approved location and teach them what biting habits are acceptable. Making sure your dog is getting the proper amount of exercise. Exercise is huge. Different dogs have different exercise needs based on their breed and size, so check with your veterinarian to make sure that yours is getting the exercise they need. Dogs—and especially puppies—use their playtime to get out extra energy. With too much pent-up energy, your pup may resort to play biting. Having them expel their energy in positive ways - including both physical and mental exercise - will help mitigate extra nips. Being consistent. Training your dog takes patience, practice and consistency. With the right training techniques and commitment, your dog will learn what is preferred behavior. While sometimes it may be easier to let a little nipping activity go, be sure to remain consistent in your cues and redirection. That way, boundaries are clear to your dog. Using positive reinforcement. To establish preferred behaviors, use positive reinforcement when your dog exhibits the correct behavior. For instance, praise and treat your puppy when they listen to your cue to stop unwanted biting as well as when they choose an appropriate teething toy on their own. Saying “Ouch!” The next time your puppy becomes too exuberant and nips you, say “OUCH!” in a very shocked tone and immediately stop playing with them. Your puppy should learn - just as they did with their littermates - that their form of play has become unwanted. When they stop, ensure that you follow up with positive reinforcement by offering praise, treat and/or resuming play. Letting every interaction with your puppy be a learning opportunity. While there are moments of dedicated training time, every interaction with your dog can be used as a potential teaching moment.

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Viper
pitbull
2 Months
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Viper
pitbull
2 Months

He gets distructed easily

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
213 Dog owners recommended

Hello! The best way to help with distractions at this age is to do any training you are doing with treats. That helps to keep their focus on you and as time goes on, your dog will learn to pay attention and you won't need to use the treats.

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Nebula
Pit bull
1 Year
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Nebula
Pit bull
1 Year

Ill start off with this is my boyfriend’s dog who I live with, as well as my 6 year old very well behaved and trained service dog. They get along fine for the most part. I might have to shorted this up more than i expected but i really want to follow up so i can explain it all better.

Nebula....She knows the basics... whatever that means. And its only sometimes— but ALWAYS on her own terms. She doesn’t listen to my commands over and over... and over... and over again— more than anything else. She will sit there and stare at me blatantly ignoring what I’m commanding her to do (even “sit”—her “most well known” command). Yeah right. I use the same mannerisms, tone of voice and speak with my chest, just like tyler trained her with originally. Ill just pause here for right now because this is just the beginning of what is becoming my nightmare.

Honestly, this is an improvement by far. When I moved Ole’ Hankie (my trained service british lab) into Tyler and Nebula’s home, i fully understood Nebula would see this as “hey, theres another dog in MY house— MY territory.” So, we decided to keep Hank upstairs and Nebula downstairs for the first month or so. Hank would sit at the top of the stairs and watch Neb and vise versa, you know, getting used to things. Little by little, we introduced them in different areas putside of the property, in the house, everywhere we could. A first concern was Nebula would play too rough for Hank (considering shes two times his size and never had played with another dog) in the beginning and he’d get reaaallly irritated but never anything serious. Once she started playing more gently with Hank over time, (because shes got a big ole crush on him) we decided it was time to merge them, considering Nebula AND Hank started to tell us “Hey, thats my buddy. Let us chill together, dangit.” So we obliged to their royal doggo requests.

Week 1 of coinhabiting: Indoor “accidents”(#2 💩) from Nebula (she was completely potty trained) before. Okay, new environment, new rules, i get it. Towards the end of week 1 it turned into a routine for us... it was: Take the dogs out separately, do #1 and #2 before play/anything else outdoors, go inside for a treat. It became: Take the dogs out separately, do #1&2 before everything else, go inside for a treat, disappear for 3 min, and find more poop where nebula “lived” downstairs and was trained NOT to potty and never had an accident once she was trained. (Yes. she’d poop outside and then wait till we turn our back after coming right back inside and literally poop AGAIN ... in the ONLY area she was taught not to do that in. We became stricter and tried reinforcing the idea “hey, you know poopin outside is cool, and its the ONLY place you should go. Not downstairs, upstairs, and absolutely no where inside.”

Week 2: the game room upstairs is where i spend all day doing work and school, so that where they chill with me. I used to open the gate to the rest of the house but she began pooping on the stairs, downstairs, in the hall, in tylers room, and my room. Im NOT shutting my Hank out of the room all day hes my service dog, and i CANT trust her enough to leave the gate open... Tylers gone all day mon-fri so its up to me to fill his roll. She kind of stopped constantly freaking out on me, clawing me, hurting me, and smothering me... almost completely. When id tell her “no.” sometimes she “snips” at me.. or shows and clacks her teeth together— getting closer to my face, while standing very still and staring at me with squinted eyes... This scares me half to death because she has bit me 4 times in 6 months and i dont know how many times for tyler— he also says that she gives him “love bites” and its different in many ways from me (ive seen her “love bites” to him) where she has physically drawn blood and left me in tears... these were totally unexpected bites too— out of the blue. She doesn’t listen to me at all and squints at me like I dont know who I’m talking to, standing completely still in a threatening stance, completely ignoring me.

Week 3: The food had never been a problem. Her bowl and waters always in the game room, with me, her, and hank. Never had a single problem (hank is boujee and only eats his RevRaw kibble and raw diet products so he doesnt care about her food). But he also has horrible digestive issues, sometimes causing seizures, and require really expensive food and diet planning. The first thing nebula does when i let her out to potty— run straight to hanks food he had left over and eat ALL of it no matter what. No amount pf yelling will stop her until you pull her off his bowl, already empty. Okay cool. Now i gotta figure out a new diet plan for my dog that his life depends on to stay healthy. Whatever. The end of this week, hank is waiting on his food outside the game room and nebula was inside eating her kibble. I put hanks bowl where i always do— outside the gate 5ft away from nebula and on the other side of the gate. This is the first time nebula has become hostile over hanks food she KNOCKED OVER THE GATE on top of hank... flinging all the food out of hanks bowl, growling and snarling at him trapped underneath the gate. Needless to say, my dog is my baby and I peeled her right off that gate and put her in her kennel (it had been awhile) and disciplined her as tyler would have. Hanks so shook up he can barely eat...

Week 4: nebula tried biting hank over some empty pizza boxes sitting in front of me and tyler that they had left alone for hours. Hank wanted cuddles, he came over to me, and nebula started trying to fight and gnarling... it made me so sick... she went to the kennel. The rest of the week goes: poops on floor in the quickest amount of time i could possibly turn my back for, disobeying me and now TYLER TOO. Annoying my old dog so much hes growling at her to “just please get off of me for one dang second”

Week 5: nebula COMPLETELY has started ignoring all commands unless we have a treat, and then even after a treat she will continue to do the action. Tyler told her to lay down after snipping at hank last night for no reason. She didnt once. 10 times of telling her to lay down, she finally sat. And immediately got up on the couch like nothing had happened. Tyler grabbed her by the collar and pulled her off the couch and was stern, she rolled over with tyler kneeling (how he usually punishes her when shes gone off the deep end) without a hand on her (not even on her collar anymore) he states “no.” And she showed her teeth and growled at him. That hurt his feelings in so many ways and i feel like im losing hope. Im terrified of this dog and she’s ruining my relationship, my dogs health, my health and my sanity... i could go on and on i just want her to get better she has so much potential its so sad

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
779 Dog owners recommended

Hello Savanah, First, you and your boyfriend will need to be in agreement with her training since its his dog. I would start by desensitizing her to wearing a soft silicone basket muzzle. Done gradually with treats the muzzle doesn't have to be unpleasant and a basket one will allow her to drink water and you to pass treats to her through the holes as she learns. This is to keep your dog safe, you safe, and allow you and your boy friend to train her with the threat of a bit making you nervous around her. To introduce the muzzle, first place it on the ground and sprinkle her meal kibble around it. Do this until she is comfortable eating around it. Next, when she is comfortable with it being on the floor with food, hold it up and reward her with a piece of kibble every time she touches or sniffs it in your hand. Feed her her whole meal this way. Practice this until she is comfortable touching it. Next, hold a treat inside of it through the muzzle's holes, so that she has to poke his face into it to get the kibble. As she gets comfortable doing that, gradually hold the treat further down into the muzzle, so that she has to poke his face all the way into the muzzle to get the treat. Practice until she is comfortable having her face in it. Muzzle introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJTucFnmAbw&list=PLXtcKXk-QWojGYcl1NCg5UA5geEnmpx4a&index=6&t=0s I would also keep a drag leash on her while you or your boyfriend are home so that you can calmly enforce commands. I would avoid the pins and flips since you don't want to stir up her defense drive when she is already aroused. Instead I would work on teaching her a lot of obedience commands that build respect, like a structured heel, 1 hour Place, Out, Leave It, Off, Down-Stay, and Crate/Room command. It sounds like she is already crate trained. Right now feed both dogs in separate locked crates, where there can be no stealing of food or intimidating the other while they try to eat in peace - this should help Hank be able to relax while eating more too, which is better for digestion. After meal time, remove both dogs food bowls so the bowls are not left around to guard. I would have her work for everything she gets in life right now - and I mean everything. Check out the three methods from the article I have linked below, especially the Working method. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you You want calmness and a ton of consistency and follow through with her right now. You want to avoid things that will cause a lot of defensiveness like pinning her, you want her life to be super structured, you want to practice obedience commands and insist on follow through - because it's hard to explain how to do the follow through with each command, I do recommend hiring a professional trainer who specializes in behavior issues like aggression, uses fair corrections, focuses on the structure and obedience commands for gaining respect and trust, and also uses positive reinforcement to teach new behaviors. The combination and calmness with super clear follow through is important. You are likely going to need the basket muzzle in place first, so that when you insist pup obey a command you have given pup can't protest with a bite. The insistence will probably look like withholding something pup wants, like a toy, until pup obeys - even if that means waiting 15 minutes until they obey, or using a method that requires follow through, like the Reel In method in the article below for Come. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O75dyWITP1s Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Out - which means leave the area: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Heel- Turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Come - Reel in method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-whippet-to-recall Off- section on The Off command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-train-dog-stay-off-couch/ Again, a muzzle is important. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Gotti
Pitbull / terrier
6 Months
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Question
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Gotti
Pitbull / terrier
6 Months

Going potty in house doesn't bark or go by door or anything to let me know he has to go potty.

Play biting, he doesn't know when to stop he doesn't listen very well he's a very good dog but I just got him a week ago he wasn't trained obviously n I think he was abused he was very scared of men at first but better now. I just need help with teaching him his name and when his play biting is to much an potty training please

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
213 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am sending you quite a bit of information on potty and crate training just in case you want to use the crate to help with potty training. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior. Crate training can take days or weeks, depending on your dog's age, temperament and past experiences. It's important to keep two things in mind while crate training: The crate should always be associated with something pleasant and training should take place in a series of small steps. Don't go too fast. Step 1: Introduce your dog to the crate Place the crate in an area of your house where the family spends a lot of time, such as the family room. Put a soft blanket or towel in the crate. Take the door off and let the dog explore the crate at their leisure. Some dogs will be naturally curious and start sleeping in the crate right away. If yours isn't one of them: Bring them over to the crate and talk to them in a happy tone of voice. Make sure the crate door is open and secured so that it won't hit your dog and frighten them. Encourage your dog to enter the crate by dropping some small food treats nearby, then just inside the door, and finally, all the way inside the crate. If they refuse to go all the way in at first, that's OK; don't force them to enter. Continue tossing treats into the crate until your dog will walk calmly all the way into the crate to get the food. If they aren’t interested in treats, try tossing a favorite toy in the crate. This step may take a few minutes or as long as several days. Step 2: Feed your dog meals in the crate After introducing your dog to the crate, begin feeding them their regular meals near the crate. This will create a pleasant association with the crate. If your dog is readily entering the crate when you begin Step 2, place the food dish all the way at the back of the crate. If they remain reluctant to enter, put the dish only as far inside as they will readily go without becoming fearful or anxious. Each time you feed them, place the dish a little further back in the crate. Once your dog is standing comfortably in the crate to eat their meal, you can close the door while they’re eating. The first time you do this, open the door as soon as they finish their meal. With each successive feeding, leave the door closed a few minutes longer, until they’re staying in the crate for 10 minutes or so after eating. If they begin to whine to be let out, you may have increased the length of time too quickly. Next time, try leaving them in the crate for a shorter time period. If they do whine or cry in the crate, don’t let them out until they stop. Otherwise, they'll learn that the way to get out of the crate is to whine, so they'll keep doing it. Step 3: Practice with longer crating periods After your dog is eating their regular meals in the crate with no sign of fear or anxiety, you can confine them there for short time periods while you're home. Call them over to the crate and give them a treat. Give them a command to enter, such as "crate." Encourage them by pointing to the inside of the crate with a treat in your hand. After your dog enters the crate, praise them, give them the treat and close the door. Sit quietly near the crate for five to 10 minutes and then go into another room for a few minutes. Return, sit quietly again for a short time and then let them out. Repeat this process several times a day, gradually increasing the length of time you leave them in the crate and the length of time you're out of sight. Once your dog will stay quietly in the crate for about 30 minutes with you mostly out of sight, you can begin leaving them crated when you're gone for short time periods and/or letting them sleep there at night. This may take several days or weeks. Step 4, Part A: Crate your dog when you leave After your dog can spend about 30 minutes in the crate without becoming anxious or afraid, you can begin leaving them crated for short periods when you leave the house. Put them in the crate using your regular command and a treat. You might also want to leave them with a few safe toys in the crate. Vary the moment during your "getting ready to leave" routine that you put your dog in the crate. Although they shouldn't be crated for a long time before you leave, you can crate them anywhere from five to 20 minutes prior to leaving. Don't make your departures emotional and prolonged—they should be matter-of-fact. Praise your dog briefly, give them a treat for entering the crate and then leave quietly. When you return home, don't reward your dog for excited behavior by responding to them in an enthusiastic way. Keep arrivals low-key to avoid increasing their anxiety over when you will return. Continue to crate your dog for short periods from time to time when you're home so they don't associate crating with being left alone. Step 4, Part B: Crate your dog at night Put your dog in the crate using your regular command and a treat. Initially, it may be a good idea to put the crate in your bedroom or nearby in a hallway, especially if you have a puppy. Puppies often need to go outside to eliminate during the night and you'll want to be able to hear your puppy when they whine to be let outside. Older dogs should also initially be kept nearby so they don't associate the crate with social isolation. Once your dog is sleeping comfortably through the night with the crate near you, you can begin to gradually move it to the location you prefer, although time spent with your dog—even sleep time—is a chance to strengthen the bond between you and your pet. Potential problems Whining: If your dog whines or cries while in the crate at night, it may be difficult to decide whether they’re whining to be let out of the crate, or whether they need to be let outside to eliminate. If you've followed the training procedures outlined above, then your dog hasn't been rewarded for whining in the past by being released from their crate. If that is the case, try to ignore the whining. If your dog is just testing you, they'll probably stop whining soon. Yelling at them or pounding on the crate will only make things worse. If the whining continues after you've ignored them for several minutes, use the phrase they associate with going outside to eliminate. If they respond and become excited, take them outside. This should be a trip with a purpose, not play time. If you're convinced that your dog doesn't need to eliminate, the best response is to ignore them until they stop whining. Don't give in; if you do, you'll teach your dog to whine loud and long to get what they want. If you've progressed gradually through the training steps and haven't done too much too fast, you'll be less likely to encounter this problem. If the problem becomes unmanageable, you may need to start the crate training process over again. Separation anxiety: Attempting to use the crate as a remedy for separation anxiety won't solve the problem. A crate may prevent your dog from being destructive, but they may get injured in an attempt to escape. Separation anxiety problems can only be resolved with counterconditioning and desensitization procedures.

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