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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.
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!
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
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.
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.
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.
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!
Give your pup verbal and physical praise for completing a successful walk. This will help maintain the behavior in the future.
The Lure 'Heel' Method
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
The Turn Around Method
Begin the walk
Start the walk as you would normally. Plod along until he commits the offending behavior.
Issue the command
Say 'heel' firmly but not aggressively.
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!
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.
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.
By Olivia Draper
Published: 03/22/2018, edited: 01/08/2021