How to Train a Pit Bull Puppy to Walk on Leash

Easy
2-4 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Your little Pit Bull bundle of joy is gorgeous! He’s like a squashy ball of love. You’re looking forward to taking him on long walks through the countryside, or maybe even just a stroll to the corner shop. But before you can do all of this, your little Pit Bull has to learn how to walk on a leash. Many dogs naturally want to pull on the lead, run in circles or try to fight it. It’s not that he hates the leash, it’s just that he’s not used to it. A little bit of training and you’ll have him walking by your side like a champ!

Pitbulls can look scary to some people when they are grown up. You may love your little one, but you need to make sure he is trained well so that members of the public who don’t know his personality can be comfortable. 

Defining Tasks

It’s important to make sure that your pup can walk on a leash until he is fully trained in other areas. Until he can come back when called and knows to stay within a reasonable distance to you, he cannot be let off the leash. You wouldn’t want him running away and not coming back! Therefore, it all starts with him learning how to walk comfortably alongside you.

This is a skill which takes a bit of practice rather than serious doggy school. You should be able to train this behavior within a matter of weeks. Using the leash regularly will help him understand what it feels like. To get him to walk alongside you on the leash, you’ll need to use the command ‘heel’. This will stop him pulling and get him to come back next to you.

Now is the perfect time to get started! Puppies learn incredibly quickly, so the earlier you begin, the less time it will take to train him, and the more time you can spend playing!

Getting Started

You may want to start by using treats to train him. As we all know, dogs love food, and they will do almost anything to get that tasty morsel. Therefore, it’s a good idea to get something tasty that your pup will love, and use that to tempt him into responding.

You’ll also need a secure leash. You’re training him because he loves to pull on that line, therefore it may help to purchase a puppy harness. Not only does this stop your little wonder from hurting himself, it also makes it easier to pull him back if you have to. Sometimes training leashes can also be useful, these are shorter than normal, so your pup is closer to you and will have to listen.

Now you have everything you need to get started, let’s dive right in!

The Get Used To It Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Try the leash on for size
At this point your little Pit Bull is simply not used to the sensation of the leash. Therefore, you need to put it on while at home so he can experience how it feels.
Step
2
Calm the environment
He might be so excited about the walk, that he keeps getting tangled! Speak calmly and softly, yet firmly. Ask him to 'sit' as you usually would. It's a good idea to get him used to sitting before a walk, so he knows he needs to be responsive.
Step
3
Stop jumping at the door
Some pups love to jump at the door with excitement. If he does this, sit back down on the sofa or nearby chair, and ask him to 'sit'. Once he is calm, you can get up again. Repeat until he is ready to leave calmly.
Step
4
Prevent pulling before you leave
If he pulls on the leash before you've even left the house. Stop in your tracks. He will soon learn that if he pulls, he won't be going anywhere!
Step
5
Praise
Give your pup verbal and physical praise for completing a successful walk. This will help maintain the behavior in the future.
Recommend training method?

The Lure 'Heel' Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Put that leash on!
Put your Pit Bull pup on his little leash, using a harness if you think it will help. You can start by doing this in the home, or if you don't have enough space, begin your walk.
Step
2
Let him pull
Once you're plodding along, wait until he commits the offending behavior. He will likely pull on the leash, and then it's time to act.
Step
3
'Heel'
Issue the command "heel" firmly and stop dead in your tracks. Don't sound too aggressive, you don't want to sound like you're telling him off. On the other hand, don't say it in a sweet voice. He needs to listen to you.
Step
4
Treat him
Your pup may look around a little confused. Give a light pull on the leash and let him return to your side. Once he is next to you, you can reward him!
Step
5
Practice makes perfect!
Every time he pulls on that leash, issue the command and repeat the method. Eventually he will associate the command with returning to your side. Simple!
Recommend training method?

The Turn Around Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Begin the walk
Start the walk as you would normally. Plod along until he commits the offending behavior.
Step
2
Issue the command
Say 'heel' firmly but not aggressively.
Step
3
Turn around
Immediately turn 180 degrees and walk back in the opposite direction. This is to show your pup that pulling does not get them where they want to go!
Step
4
Repeat the process
Every time he pulls, turn around until he stops the offending behavior. You may be walking back and forth for a while. But eventually the time between pulls should get longer and longer.
Step
5
Praise
Always make sure you praise your dog for acting as you asked. This reward helps to affirm the behavior, and encourages them to continue with it.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Zoey
Pit bull
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Zoey
Pit bull
4 Months

Zoey came into our family 2 days ago from a friend who wasnt able to take care of her. Weve been working on potty training. I take her out first thing in the morning and then every hour after that until about 9 pm. She does go potty outside, but when we come back in, about 10 minutes later she has an accident. How do I prevent this from happening?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
464 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cathy, First, I am assuming that you are taking her potty on a leash and actually watching her to make sure she goes and finishes. If not, start there. Assuming that's what's happening, I would start by attaching her to yourself with a leash while inside the house. She should either be in a crate or tethered to you - hands free clipped to your belt will be easier, at this point. Check out the Crate Training method and the Tethering method from the article linked below. You can use both methods, using the crate training method for most of the time - and adding in the tethering method during "free times" after going potty - until she is in the habit of holding her bladder while inside, then you can start giving more freedom after she potties outside gradually. If you are still having issues even with the tethering, I would actually ask your vet about the issue because there is a change it could be related to a medical issue such as an infection. A Urinary tract infection for instance will lead to frequent urination and every 10 minutes is a lot more often than is really normal at this age. An anatomical issue might also be worth asking about. (I am not a vet though so seek your vet's advice here). It also may not be a normal potty training issue but submissive or excited peeing - pay attention to when it happens. Are you playing with pup and getting her excited? Is someone getting upset with her? Are people arriving home? Pay attention to her body language and when it happens and see if it seems submissive or due to excitement - those issues are treated differently than just routine potty training. A puppy or dog will actually pee a little bit to show appeasement to another dog and it's fairly common in some puppies - so it can be your puppy's way of saying I'm sorry or please like me. Keeping things calm is super important when dealing with this issue. Ignoring pup for 10 minutes when someone first gets home to let her calm down first, only playing really excitable games while outside, limiting touching puppy or talking to pup in a high pitched voice when you know she is already excited or worried, and keeping corrections calm and matter - of - fact, instead of emotionally charged. If you manage the issue well while pup is young to try to limit the amount of times the submissive or excited peeing is happening, most puppies will outgrow it with time. Finally, if the accidents are happening primarily on carpet or rugs, it may be that pup was intentionally or accidentally trained to go potty on fabric type surfaces via pee pads (occasionally paper training can do this but that is less likely). If that's the case, pup's access to those types of surfaces needs to be blocked during the potty training process to stop the accidents so that you can properly teach potty training going forward. Take up all rugs and block off access to carpet if possible. In the very least keep pup tether to you while in those areas so that you can quickly interrupt pup if she is sniffing, circling, or squatting to pee - I recommend limiting all access first though if you have the option. It will be easier than trying to stop pup constantly. Once pup is pottying well outside (and getting treats whenever she goes potty outside), you can gradually start reintroducing carpet and rugs just during times when she is tethered to you and you are closely watching - clap your hands and rush her outside if she starts to act like she may pee - then reward with lots of small treats when she potties outside, so that she will realize that peeing in front of you isn't the issue, peeing on the carpet is. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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