How to Correctly Discipline a Pitbull? 8 Useful Tips from Experts

Adopting Pitbull Terriers is very exciting, but it does come with some challenges as these dogs have a reputation for being aggressive and headstrong.

However, like any dog breed, a pitbull’s behavior is a product of its upbringing. With proper training and discipline, your pitbull will be the most loyal and loving companion to you and your family.

So, how to discipline a pitbull terrier? To discipline a pitbull terrier, it’s best to use positive reinforcement tactics which involves rewarding your dog whenever they display good behavior whether it’s by treats, toys, or simply praise. It’s also best to avoid yelling or hitting to punish bad behavior.

Keep reading to learn more about the best methods to use to properly train and discipline your pitbull to prevent it from becoming aggressive.

Are Pitbulls Terriers Hard to Train?

pitbull being trained to show how to correctly discipline a pitbull

Despite their reputation, Pitbulls are not hard to train. They are naturally smart and they’re always eager to please which makes them more open to accepting any discipline tactics. It all depends on which discipline tactics you are using and how early you start the training process.

Training and disciplining your pitbull is usually a lot easier when you start at a young age. This will help prevent your dog from developing aggressive behavior as it grows up. It will also help establish a stronger and healthier bond between you and your dog.

If you’re adopting an older dog, you might find it more difficult to change pre-learned habits and behavioral patterns, but it’s definitely not impossible as long as you’re consistent and patient enough throughout the training.

Do You Need to Establish Dominance Over Your Pitbull?

When it comes to disciplining Pitbulls, there are many misconceptions about the proper method to use.

Various pet parents in the pitbull community believe that establishing yourself as the alpha and asserting dominance over your dog is the right way for discipline. However, this tactic often involves bullying the dog into submission, which rarely results in a positive behavior change.

So, you don’t always need to establish dominance over your pitbull because their misbehavior doesn’t really come from their need to be dominant over you or others, but rather from their natural instincts which are very difficult to resist and a lack of awareness about what you want.

What Is the Best Way to Discipline a Pitbull Terrier?

The best way to discipline a pitbull is to use positive reinforcement tactics.

This tactic is all about figuring out what motivates your dog the most, whether it’s treats, toys, or simply words of praise, and using it as a reward to encourage your dog and get it to continue displaying a certain behavior.

You need to keep in mind that positive reinforcement should be given during every training session and only a result of good behavior. If you reward your dog when they display bad behavior or for no reason, it will send mixed messages which can confuse the dog and hinder the training progress.

You also need to keep in mind that pitbulls will respond best to discipline tactics when they can understand the instructions. You need to make sure they understand clearly the difference between good behavior and bad behavior.

Does Negative Reinforcement Work on Pitbulls?

Negative reinforcement does work on pitbulls and it can also be utilized along with positive reinforcement tactics. You just need to understand the difference between both of them.

It might seem like negative reinforcement involves yelling at or hitting your dog to discourage it from bad behavior but that’s not what it means at all.

When you use positive reinforcement, you are basically adding something that your dog desires, the positive reward, to your dog’s training process to encourage a specific behavior. While with negative reinforcement, it’s the opposite as you remove something that your dog desires to discourage bad behavior.

An example of how to utilize negative reinforcement is to remove your attention from the situation when your dog misbehaves. This can be very effective with pitbulls as they hate being ignored and seek out attention constantly.

8 Professional Tips for Training a Pitbull

Now that you know the best discipline tactics to use with your pitbull, here are some additional tips from experts to help you with the rest of the training process:

Start by teaching your pitbull some basic commands

Your pitbull needs to learn basic commands like “stop” “sit” “stay” “come” and “down” at the beginning of the training process.

Once your pitbull has no problem obeying those commands, you can move on to more advanced commands or tricks like “fetch” “leave it” or “spin”

Do not ask your Pitbull to do something unless you can enforce the command

When you command your pitbull to do something, you need to make sure you can enforce the command and try not to ask more than once

Pitbulls are very smart dogs and once they realize they can keep behaving a certain way until you’ve asked them more than one time or that you won’t actually follow up on command, they will take advantage of that and start misbehaving on purpose.

Make sure your pitbull is socialized early on in its life

Socializing your dog involves allowing it to interact with a variety of new environments and exposing it to different scents, sounds, animals, and people.

Pitbulls can benefit a lot from socialization, especially at a young age, as it teaches them not to be afraid of other dogs or humans and prevents them from developing aggressive behavior as they grow.

If your pitbull is older than one year, it may be more difficult to socialize them, but it’s definitely not impossible.

Some pet stores hold socialization events where you can bring your dog to meet other dogs and people. If you can’t find a socialization event near you, you can always take your dog to a busy park. 

Catch and discipline negative behaviors during the act

When disciplining a pitbull and discouraging negative behavior, you need to catch your dog while the act is still in progress as it will be effective to interrupt the negative behavior and replace it with the desired behavior.

If you wait too long to discipline your pitbull’s behavior, you are more likely to make it confused.

Some of the negative behaviors you need to immediately discourage your dog from doing include:

  • Chewing on furniture or anything they shouldn’t chew on
  • Whining or barking loudly at you or at an object they desire 
  • Jumping up on you or pushing roughly against you with their body
  • Pawing or digging at the ground
  • Pooping or peeing inside the house

Never punish your pitbull by hitting it or yelling at it

Punishing your pitbull by hitting or yelling at it will make it feel threatened and provoke it to attack in self-defense.

It’s very important to keep in mind that aggressive behavior from you will always result in equally aggressive behavior in the dog. Your dog needs to obey you out of love and trust not out of fear.

Make sure your pitbull gets enough exercise

Pitbulls are highly energetic and they love being active, so they require regular exercise to help them release their energy.

Exercise can be a part of the training process for pitbulls to help improve their behavior. You can exercise your dog by playing a game of fetch which will help respond better to commands. You can also exercise by going for a run with your dog which will help it practice proper leash behavior.

Take breaks when your pitbull is overwhelmed

Pitbulls don’t have a very long attention span so they might feel overwhelmed or tired during a training session and stop listening to your commands. So, it’s very important to allow your dog to take breaks whenever it’s needed to avoid straining it or causing it to act out and misbehave.

It’s recommended to keep the training sessions short, about 15 minutes or so, and repeat them several times a day instead of having one session stretched out for hours.

Be patient with your pitbull and remain consistent

The key to success when it comes to training and disciplining your pitbull is to be consistent throughout the process and not slack off.

If your dog doesn’t take to learning a certain command at the beginning, just be patient and keep trying and they will eventually get it right.

The training process is a bonding experience for you and your dog and requires a great amount of dedication. It should be something you enjoy and look forward to.

How to Crate Train Your Pitbull?

To crate train your pitbull, you need to place the crate in an area in the house where they feel safe and comfortable as they will be spending a lot of time in the crate. 

They will hate staying in the crate overnight at the beginning, but they will eventually get used to it.

Crate training is an important aspect of disciplining your dog as it will keep it out of trouble and teach to be on its own when you’re not at home.

How to Leash Train Your Pitbull?

To leash train your pitbull, you need to take your dog on walks daily while wearing the leash and make sure to discourage your dog if they start pulling too roughly on the leash or walking ahead of you. 

You also need to choose a well-fitting collar and leash as your dog will respond best to leash training when they feel comfortable.

When Do You Need to Seek Professional Help with Training Pitbulls?

If you feel like you’re not up to training dogs or have no idea where to start, then it might be a good idea to seek a professional to help with training your pitbulls.

There are various pet centers that offer basic training classes for puppies as well as more advanced and intense training classes for older dogs.

You can attend the classes with your pitbull and make it a fun bonding experience for the both of you.

Related Questions

What Is the Best Way to Punish a Pitbull’s Bad Behavior?

The best way to punish a pitbull’s bad behavior is to ignore them or take away something they want like a treat or a toy. Pitbull’s are always eager to please and they hate being ignored, so this is will be an effective method to discourage them from misbehaving

What to Do When Your Pitbull Doesn’t Listen During Training?

When your pitbull doesn’t listen during training, then it’s best to take a break as they might be overwhelmed or tired. Sometimes, pitbulls will also stop listening or suddenly forget how to perform certain commands due to a change in the environment where you normally train.

Is It Possible for A Pitbull Turn on its Owner?

It is possible for a pitbull to turn on its owner if it was provoked enough. Pitbulls will remain loyal and obedient to their owners as long as they are trained properly and receive constant affection. However, if they were harshly abused or threatened, they will become aggressive and attack in self-defense.

How to Tell If Your Pitbull Is About to Attack?

You can tell your pitbull is about to attack if they start growling loudly at you while retracting their lips and showing their teeth. Their tail will be raised in a rigid position while moving back and forth, and their ears will be pulled back. You will also notice that your dog is avoiding direct eye contact.

Are Pitbulls Safe To Have Around Children?

Pitbulls are safe to have around children as long as they are trained and socialized properly from a young age. Pitbulls are normally loyal and affectionate with their family members but they can be territorial and will turn aggressive and attack if they feel threatened.

Helpful Resources 

How to Raise the Perfect Dog: Through Puppyhood and Beyond (A Book by Cesar Millan) – You can also check it out on Amazon here.

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