Pit Bull Training

When it comes to training a pit bull, you can choose between a few different methods of training. Regardless of the particular training method you choose, however, remember that you will need to stick to that particular course of training. Although pit bulls require a consistent training method and continuous effort, appropriate training will generally help make your pit bull an obedient, loyal and happy pet.

As with many dog breeds, training has the best effect if it starts when the dog is a puppy. This means that you will have to start training your pit bull from the first moment you bring him or her home. Because the occasional bad behaviors can quickly become habit, it”s best to nip these behaviors in the bud as soon as you start noticing them.

How to Train a Pit Bull

There is no one specific way to train a pit bull. Some owners will find certain methods more successful than others. The important thing is to find a training method you like and to stick with it.

Training Methods

Pit bull training methods can typically be classified as either aversive or positive. Aversive methods include:

  • choke chains
  • pit bull kennels
  • pit bull muzzles or harnesses
  • praise/correction
  • prong collars
  • shock collars.

Positive methods include:

  • clickers
  • food rewards
  • gentle leaders
  • pure praise
  • toy rewards.

While both methods are effective for the majority of pit bulls, most people recommend positive methods over aversive methods.

One training method that many pit bull owners find effective is to make your dog earn everything as you establish your dominance over him. This can be done in a non-confrontational way because your dog does not need to do much to earn his privileges. Practicing this training method simply requires that a dog submit to your control by sitting still and quietly before getting his way.

Things your pit bull should learn to earn include:

  • attention (including an invitation up to the couch or bed, if allowed)
  • food
  • getting his leash and collar put on
  • treats
  • trips inside and outside.

This plan can be easy to follow, as long as you avoid giving in to bad behavior. Pit bull owners should settle on a “no reward ” word or phrase for when the dog does not earn what he wants. While this can be as simple as a firm “No ” or “Too bad, ” make sure your phrase is short so that your dog can easily remember and recognize it.

Tips for Consistent Training

Follow these other tips to make the non-confrontational dominance training method work:

  • Avoid confrontation with your dog at all costs. If something creates conflict, remove it and don”t give it back until your dog earns it back (i.e. a specific toy).
  • Do not over-praise your dog, as it will water down the value of your praise and become ineffective. However, make sure to praise your dog when he earns his privileges and submits to your control.
  • Ignore demanding behavior, such as jumping up on your lap or barking in your face. Use your no reward word and walk away from your pit bull if he tries anything controlling, inappropriate or disrespectful.
  • Keep regular feeding times and do not leave food down in between feeding times.

Most importantly, do not expect training to be immediately successful. Expect slip-ups, as your dog will need time to understand and remember what you expect from him. Try not to get frustrated and keep at your training routine.


Castillo, Cynthia (n.d.). Training Tips. Retrieved January 22, 2008 from the Pit Bulls on the Web site: http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/training.php.

Thompson, Susan (n.d.). Pit Bull Breed Info. Retrieved January 22, 2008 from the Pit Bulls on the Web site: http://www.pitbullsontheweb.com/petbull/breedinfo.html.