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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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.'
Recommend training method?

The Start with a Name Method

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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.
Recommend training method?

The Positive Attention Method

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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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Daisy
Pit bull
7 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
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
114 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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