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Socializing your Pit Bull will be key to his training and demeanor. Pit Bulls are very intelligent and eager to please. When you train your Pit Bull to give his paw, you can take an opportunity to show others how affectionate and sweet your little guy is. These dogs are friendly with lots of energy, and with motivation and positive reinforcement training, they are eager to learn. After training basic commands, asking your Pit Bull to give you his paw is a great fun trick to teach, so he has a greeting when he meets people outside your family.
If you own a Pit Bull now, you will soon learn if you socialize him from an early age with people as well as other dogs, he is well set up with positive relationships for years to come. These fun tricks, such as giving his paw, are a great way to break the ice and get your Pit socialized.
Positive reinforcement training for Pit Bull is really not any different than it is for other dogs. You are going to teach your Pit a command, what happens when you say the command, and reward him for reaching his goals. You'll want to ensure your little guy knows how to sit first because this trick will always start from a sitting position. If you plan to use a clicker, this is another way to give your pup positive reinforcement training with the rewarding sounds of the click along with the tasty treat as a prize for a job well done. Make sure you're focusing on milestones as your little guy is learning how to give you his paw. This is one of those tricks that build trust between dog and owner so have fun with it. Though you can train your Pit Bull at any age, including rescue dogs, it is easier to train younger pups. If yours is older or a rescue, take your time and be patient. With positive rewards for good behavior, he’ll get it.
Even though this is an incredibly easy trick to teach as well as for your dog to learn, make your training sessions short and focused so your Pit Bull can enjoy the rewards he earns. Grab some tasty treats before each training session so you can reward him with something he'll enjoy. The only other thing you may consider is providing a distraction-free training environment for your short training session so you have his full attention.
The Pawing for Treat Method
Have your Pit Bull sit in front of you. If he doesn’t know the 'sit' command yet, go back and teach this to him first. 'Sit' is a foundation command for many tricks and obedience commands to come.
Hide a treat in your hand and hold your hand out in front of your pup’s nose. Do not let him get at it, but let him sniff it and know it’s in there hiding for him.
Give your Pit Bull a command such as ‘shake’ or ‘give me your paw.’
Pawing for treat
Be patient and give your pup a moment. He will eventually start pawing for the treat in your hand. He might sniff first, but stand firm and stay still while he explores how he can get to the treat.
Grab his paw and shake it when he holds his paw up to paw for the treat. Say "good boy" after your shake and give him the treat.
Keep practicing with your pup until he gives you his paw when you ask and not only when he wants to get a hidden treat.
The Nudge Paw Method
Have your Pit Bull sit and give him a treat for doing so.
Treat for paw
Hold another treat out and show your pup he can earn it.
Give your Pit Bull pup a command asking for his paw. You can use the word ‘shake’ or ask your pup to "give you his paw". Whichever command you use, make sure it is the same command each time you ask for his paw.
After asking for his paw, use the hand not holding the treat and nudge the back of his paw up.
Once his paw is in the air, grab it and hold it with the hand holding the treat, repeat the command, and then give him the treat as you let go.
Go over this with your pup several times before you stop nudging ad use only the command to get him to give you his paw. Be sure you are offering him a nice treat each time his paw lands in your hand.
The Paw to Hand Method
Sit down in front of your Pit Bull and have him sit as well.
Hold a treat
Put a treat in your hand and show it to your dog. Let him sniff but do not give it to him just yet.
Hold your other hand out and ask for his paw. At first, you might need to keep both of your hands close together. One hand to hold his paw and the other with the treat. To keep your little guy from getting to the treat, consider closing your hand around the treat.
Give me your paw
Ask your pup to give you his paw. You can also use a command such as ‘shake.’ Be prepared for him to sniff the hand that is hiding the treat.
Paw to hand
When your little guy realizes he’s not getting to the treat by sniffing it, he will likely paw at your hand to get to it.
Once he places his paw on your hand, give him some good boy excitement and celebrate with the treat.
Keep practicing this, only after several times succeeding in this way, stop hiding a treat and only hold out your hand and use the command. Be sure to still give him a treat once he shakes your hand.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 03/21/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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