How to Train a Pit Bull Puppy to Sit

Easy
2-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

You’ve decided to adopt a Pit Bull puppy. He’s young and cute, but prone to destruction. You ask yourself how you’re going to turn this stereotypically aggressive dog into the sweet family dog you desire. With Pit Bulls, their personality comes from how you train them from an early age. By working with your puppy to learn basic skills, such as 'sit', in a positive way, you can build a healthy relationship with your Pit and groom him into a loving, friendly adult.

Defining Tasks

'Sit' is an important skill for all puppies to learn at an early age. It teaches them self-control, helps you calm them down, and creates a solid foundation for learning other commands. In general, 'sit' is an easy command to learn. Your pitbull puppy should be able to master it within a couple of weeks if you are consistent and reward your puppy for his good behavior.

Getting Started

Gather some treats and choose an area of your house for training. When starting out, you want a distraction-free area where your puppy can focus his attention on you. In the beginning, your puppy may feel overstimulated easily if you try to train outdoors or around other people or pets. If you want to clicker train your Pit Bull puppy, this command is a good place to start.

The Treat for Trick Method

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Step
1
Get your puppy's attention
Stand in front of your Pit Bull puppy and make sure you have his full attention. If your puppy loses focus easily, you can start by rewarding him for focusing on you before working on 'sit'.
Step
2
Show him the treat
Hold a small treat in front of your puppy’s nose, close enough so he can see you have it but not so close that he can grab it out of your hand. He should now be fully focused on you and the treat.
Step
3
Use the treat as a lure
Slowly move the treat over your puppy’s head and backwards towards the back of his head. Your puppy should follow the treat by lifting his head. As he does so, his rear end should head towards the floor.
Step
4
Mark the behavior and reward your pup
As soon as your pitbull puppy’s rear end touches the floor, mark the behavior with a click or a marker word such as “good” or “yes.” Then give him a treat as a reward.
Step
5
Keep practicing
Practice during short training sessions over the next few days. Once you think your puppy has the hang of sitting, start using the command word “sit” instead of the marker word when his rear end touches the floor.
Step
6
Stop using the lure
Over the next week, you should start using the command word without the treat lure. You want your puppy to respond to the word “sit” even when you don’t have a treat in your hand. Switch to only rewarding your puppy if he sits on command without the treat lure.
Step
7
Wean him off the treats
Eventually, you want your Pit Bull puppy to obey your commands without any treats at all. Start exchanging the treats for other types of rewards, like a toy or a pat on the head, and after a week or so, stop giving him treats altogether.
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The Nurturing Nature Method

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Step
1
Keep a close eye on your puppy
For this method, you need to watch your puppy for the behavior you want to encourage, in this case, sitting down. This route requires the patience to keep a close eye on your Pit Bull as he moves throughout his day.
Step
2
Reward his natural behaviors
As soon as you see your puppy sit, tell him “sit” and give him a nice treat as a reward. Choose good treats that he will want to win more of, as this will encourage him to figure out the trick behind the game.
Step
3
Practice often
Rewarding natural behavior only works if you can practice often, especially with puppies. Try staying close to your puppy for a full half hour at least once a day and rewarding him every time he sits down.
Step
4
See if he gets the game
Once you think your Pit Bull puppy has figured out the game, tell him to sit while he is standing. If he sits down on command, give him a big reward. If not, keep rewarding his natural behavior until he learns what the word "sit" means.
Step
5
Go treatless
Pull back on the amount of treats you give your puppy and substitute the reward for something else. Eventually, you want your Pit Bull to sit on command without needing a reward at all. Be careful about when you stop treating your puppy. If you do it too soon, he may backslide and you’ll have to start over.
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The Leash Method

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Step
1
Offer your puppy some guidance with a leash
For especially rambunctious dogs, sometimes the only way to get them to sit is to offer physical guidance about what you want them to do. To practice this method, put your Pit Bull puppy on a leash. If you are concerned about pulling on your puppy’s neck, you can use a harness.
Step
2
Keep your puppy close
Hold the leash tight so your puppy is close to you, but not uncomfortable. You will need to have him within arm’s reach so you can guide him into the position you want.
Step
3
Encourage your puppy to sit
Place your hand above your puppy's rear legs and apply a gentle but firm pressure. You want to guide your puppy into a 'sit' without pushing too hard. Remember, training is about building a good relationship with your Pit Bull puppy, not scaring him into obeying you.
Step
4
Reward him once he sits
As soon as his rear end touches the floor, say “sit” in a clear, happy voice and give him a treat. Keep your hand in place for a few seconds so he holds the 'sit' for a little while. You want to make sure he understands which behavior you are rewarding.
Step
5
Keep working with your puppy
Repeat these steps several times in a training session and then take a break. Be patient with your puppy and continue to provide gentle physical guidance until you think he is getting the hang of sitting.
Step
6
Let him try on his own
After a few tries, tell your Pit Bull puppy to sit without guiding him into the position. If he sits down on command, reward him. If not, continue practicing with physical guidance for a little while longer.
Step
7
Change it up
Once your puppy gets the hang of sitting on command, change training locations or choose different rewards. Consider adding in distractions to the command as well. For example, throw a toy at the same time you tell your puppy to sit. You want your puppy to learn to listen to your commands over everything else.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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