Before we go any further I want to share with you some things you do not want to do while conditioning your Pit Bull.
- Do Not: Put a heavy chain around your dog’s neck. Not only is this ineffective it can damage your dogs neck or worse, cripple them for life. Bottom line, it’s not smart.
- Do Not: Tie your dog out using a huge logging chain. The reason is the same as above. It will break your dog down long before helping them in anyway.
- Do Not: Put any kind of weights on them. Weight vests, weighted collars, and weighted harnesses are not proper strength building tools.
The Most Important Thing You Should Not Do is…
Try to condition a dog that is younger than 18 months of age.
Out of all the questions I receive the one that burns my chaps the most is when someone asks how to add weight, bulk up or add size to their 2-3-5-6 month old puppy. Ugh! They are puppies and they need to grow first!
Would you ask a 2-3 year old child to lift 30-40 pounds? Of course not! It would cause the child harm.
The same goes for puppies. Asking them pull weight or wear a chain or put a huge vest on them is silly. Even if the weight is 2-10 lbs it is still harmful.
You have to wait for the dog’s joints and muscles to develop before putting any strain on them. If you do this too early you will cripple your dog.
Use Your Pit Bulls Natural Strength During Conditioning
Pit Bulls are naturally strong, athletic, and agile. Working with their natural abilities will help you condition your dog safely.
Start by hand walking, playing, and taking short jogs on grass or dirt to will help build up their stamina for more intense work down the road. If you fail to prepare your dog for the work your dog will fail to do the work. I can’t stress this enough because Pit Bulls, while tough as nails on a whole, do need develop before they can really get into hard work.
People think conditioning is putting a huge chain on their dog and having them carry it around to build strength. This is not only wrong, it’s cruel and stupid. I said it is wrong, cruel and stupid. I apologize for repeating myself but I want to make my opinion of this practice crystal clear.
Developing your Pit Bulls strength should be approached much the same way you would approach building your own strength. Developing high quality strength takes years to accomplish. Both for people and for Pit Bulls.
Lets talk about using weights in the conditioning process shall we…
How to Properly Use Weights While Conditioning Your Pit Bull
You want to start with light weight and then gradually move up to heavier weights.
When your Pit Bull reaches 18-24 months in age put them in a quality weight pull harness and have them drag 3-5 lbs for short distances while walking. This is where most weight pull trainers start their dogs. We are not going to get into weight pull training in this article but the benefits of this exercise carry over to building your dogs strength up.
Once they are dragging this weight easily then you can add one or two lbs of weight. Increasing the weight a couple of pounds will not kill your dog but you should remember that you need to go back to short distances until your dog is pulling the weight over longer distances without much trouble.
You do not want to increase the weight any more but instead increase the distance. The lazy way out is to add more weight while keeping the distances short. This will work but it increases the risk of injury and the likelyhood of your dog quitting the work. We want to avoid both of these issues so it’s better to slowly increase the distance your dog pulls the weight. This will help conditioning two important elements and they are muscle and stamina.
Pit Bulls that Don’t Have Stamina Will Not Build Strength or High Quality Muscle Tone
Pulling a lot of weight short distances is great if you are competing in weight pull but for building high quality muscle tone and overall strength pulling light weights (no more than 15 lbs) for long distances will develop a lean dog with superior wind, strength and beautiful muscle tone.
Think of the training in regards to an all around athlete like a tri-athlete. Someone who is strong but can run, swim, ride a bike, and do these things consistently well for hours on end. Now compare that to the power lifter that can lift 800 lbs three times and that is all.
Pit Bulls (aka American Pit Bull Terriers) are built like the tri-athlete. They are naturally strong so adding stamina will increase their ability to perform longer and more intense tasks than a power lifter type.
Another important reason for conditioning your Pit Bull in this fashion is because even power lifters break down and hurt themselves by lifting too much weight. Keeping the weights to reasonable amounts will help build your dog up and not break them down during the process.
Feed Your Pit Bulls Need for Conditioning
Pit Bulls are athletes. Plain and simple. If you take them out and walk with them, put a few light weights on them, have them play on the spring pole for 20-30 minutes a day and feed them with a high quality feed your Pit Bull will start to build strength and stamina.
Proper conditioning builds a beautiful Pit Bull and a Pit Bull in peak condition is truly a beautiful sight.
You may also be interested in purchasing a treadmill specifically for your Pit Bull to help get them in tip top condition. Treadmills are especially helpful if you live in an area with a cold or rainy climate. Even if you don’t live in such a place treadmills offer a way to give your Pit Bull a much needed walk when the weather is bad.