If I had to sum up this article in a phrase that phrase would be…
People suck at training their Pit Bulls because they lack knowledge and patience. When you boil down training you come to those two things. Knowledge and patience. Before you can train your Pit Bull you first have to have the knowledge. Once you acquire the knowledge you need patience to use that knowledge.
My friend it really is that simple but it isn’t easy. Let me explain…
Knowledge is One Thing, Using it Correctly is a Completely Different Matter
I use and teach positive training methods because they are easy to use and hard to mess up. If you use leash corrections and a training collar you can (and most people do) mess up the training process. Here’s why…
Common situation: John uses a prong collar on Rocko. When Rocko doesn’t obey John’s command to sit John issues a leash correction. However, John issues the correction too hard and Rocko hesitates so John gives him another hard correction. Rocko hesitates again and this time John (who is a bit mad at this point) issues a serious correction and Rocko cowers. What happened here is John over corrected Rocko and since he was taught to correct him until he sits (force training) he continues the corrections. Rocko is not sitting because he is freaking out over the corrections and John is not giving him enough time to comply.
Sadly, this is a common training scenario that I see quite often from dog owners.
Another situation: Bill uses positive marker training (AKA clicker or using a word to mark a behavior) along with taking things away from Rocket for corrections. Bill gives Rocket the sit command and Rocket hesitates. Bill uses a verbal warning (eh-eh) and Rocket still does not comply. Bill then takes off walking with Rocket, stops, and issues the command again. This time Rocket sits. Bill gives Rocket a pat on the head and continues with their walk.
How did Bill correct Rocket? He did not reward him for a late response that was the “correction.” Now you might be thinking, “Jason, if Bill doesn’t correct Rocket doesn’t that teach Rocket he doesn’t have to listen the first time?”
No. It teaches Rocket that in order for him to earn something rewarding he must perform to Bill’s standards. Read the part in bold again because it’s important.
Rocket has to Perform to Bill’s Standards
There in lies the big “ah ah!” moment in training. What do you want your dog to do? If you don’t know how are you going to teach them?
People suck at training because they see Bill and think, “Hey, I want my dog to do that.” Then they start trying to get their dog to do something like Rocket does. But Rocket has 5 years of training under a professional trainer who knows how to communicate what they want to their dog.
You have an idea but not the actual “how to” of the process. What happens is you get demanding, over bearing, frustrated and you frustrate your dog.
This leads us back to having knowledge. If you want to train your Pit Bull to do back flips you can. If you have the knowledge. If you want your Pit Bull to do agility they can, if you have the right knowledge. It all comes down to knowledge.
Once you get the knowledge training becomes easy. Teaching your Pit Bull how to do things becomes routine and you begin to show your stuff and smile when people say, “That must have taken years to teach!” knowing it only took a few days.
Knowledge is the Key to Training Your Pit Bull
Where do you acquire this knowledge? For starters you can read every training article here at PitBullLovers.com.
I have said it many times during this article that knowledge is the key to training your Pit Bull. Most people do not know where to look to find that knowledge. Below are a few places that I recommend you start your education. Most of them are based around clicker training but you don’t have to use a clicker. You can use a word instead. I sometimes use the word, “yes!” to mark behaviors that I am teaching. It works the same way as if you were using a clicker but you are using a word instead.
Whether you believe in clicker training or not the concepts are sound and will help any body learn more about effective training methods. Even if you use the traditional prong collar and correction training methods learning more about positive marker (clicker) training will help you become a more effective trainer with your Pit Bull.
I personally believe the best way to teach Pit Bulls to behave is by the owner (that’s you) training the dog at home or in a distraction free area. Once you learn how to train your dog using the most up to date methods and techniques the rest becomes easy.