The Importance of Training & Socializing Pit Bulls

by Quentin Coleman
    The term pit bull describes American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers and some mixed breeds.

    The term pit bull describes American Staffordshire terriers, American pit bull terriers and some mixed breeds.

    Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images

    Despite their reputation as dangerous dogs, pit bulls make great companions if you are willing to put in the work. Unfortunately, many pits find their way into animal shelters after they are abandoned by abusive or uninformed owners. Training your dog is critical for his development into an friendly pet.

    Fighting Blood

    Many pit bull breed types were bred specifically for dog fighting, which is illegal today. Inherited traits as a result of selective breeding for fighting has created a lingering impact on the breed. While this means pits need a little special attention, it doesn't mean they are necessarily dangerous pets. New owners should be aware that pits have an innate potential to adopt aggressive behavior and should consciously work to encourage healthy personality development.

    Staying Safe

    The most important reason to train and socialize your pit bull is safety. These dogs are tall, muscular and prone to scuffling with other animals. Even benevolent pits can harm children or other animals through overzealous efforts at friendly play. They are also known to become aggressive on a moment's notice, especially in conflicts with other dogs. If your pet injures another person or another person's pet, you could face a lawsuit and possibly loss of the dog. Responsible owners should have the time and resources available to send their young pit bull through months of obedience training.

    Raise Them Right

    Don't wait to start your dog's socialization training. The first year of your pup's life is a fundamental period for his mental development, so it's important to capitalize on the opportunity. Even pits younger than 6 months old can be enrolled in puppy classes to begin conditioning good habits and obedience. Owners who choose to adopt grown dogs from shelters should also enroll in obedience training and socialization classes. However, some particularly aggressive and unruly adults may need to spend years with an experienced handler before they are suitable pets.

    It Takes Time

    When you purchase or adopt a pit bull, you should be ready to spend at least two hours with him every day. You need to create a relationship with your pet to gain his devotion and respect. These dogs have tons of energy and need to stay physically active. Allow him time and space to exercise if you want to encourage calm behavior in the house. Neglect may prompt him to seek escape. Some pits are known to climb over or dig under fences when desperate.

    Photo Credits

    • Duncan Smith/Photodisc/Getty Images

    About the Author

    Quentin Coleman has written for several news publications as well as the University of Delaware's public relations department. He also spent more than 10 years working with a local animal shelter to help nurse kittens, treat sick cats and domesticate feral animals. Coleman graduated from the University of Delaware with a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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