In the world of canine companions, few breeds embody loyalty, affection, and boundless energy like Pit Bulls.
October is National Pit Bull Awareness Month, and 28 October is National Pit Bull Awareness Day, so now is the perfect time to delve into the fascinating history and positive attributes of these dogs, the differences between Pit Bulls and other Bully Breeds AND arm you with games-based concept training methods and the tools you need to train your Pit Bull or Bully Breed – with no force or punishment needed here!
This blog aims to promote awareness and understanding of Pit Bulls and delve into their rich history and endearing characteristics, dispel some of the most pervasive myths, and emphasise the extraordinary qualities that make them cherished pets.
At AbsoluteDogs, we want to make this Pit Bull Awareness Month a time to celebrate, educate, and advocate for these loyal and loving dogs!
Pit Bull Awareness Month Spotlight: Getting to Know the Pit Bull Terrier
“Pit Bull” as a term encompasses a few select breeds, such as the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier and even the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. This remarkable little breed group of charismatic dogs are known for their intelligence, energy and drive to work, as well as their unwavering desire to please.
Pit Bulls were first introduced in the United Kingdom by crossing the Old English Terrier and the Old English Bulldog. However, the dog breed is more popular in the US, thus is often referred to as the American Pitbull Terrier.
Pit Bull Awareness Month Spotlight: A History of the Pit Bull Breed
To truly appreciate the Pit Bull’s history and understand their exceptional qualities, it’s essential to journey back to their origins.
Originally bred for bull-baiting, and later used as farm dogs, Pit Bulls are the descendants of the English Bulldog and were known for their exceptional work ethic and loyalty, making them invaluable assets.
Celebrating National Pit Bull Awareness Month and National Pit Bull Awareness Day allows us to honour this heritage of loyalty, strength, and versatility. From their tumultuous beginnings, Pit Bulls have emerged as cherished family pets, therapy dogs, and symbols of resilience, embodying the true spirit of these remarkable dogs.
Pit Bull Awareness Month Spotlight: Understanding the Difference between Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds
Pit Bulls and other Bully Breeds, like the American Bully, share a close genetic lineage, and they exhibit striking similarities in both physical appearance and temperament, although they are often mistakenly grouped together as a breed due to their looks and lineage.
However, it’s important to understand that many of the Bully Breeds are now their own distinct breed, originating as an offshoot or extended variation of the original Pit Bull Terrier.
Bully Breeds, like the American bully, are renowned for having many size and weight variations and generally appear with a wide and stocky, yet muscular build with a heavy bone structure, larger blocky heads with shorter muzzles and legs, giving them a disproportionate appearance.
Pit Bulls, on the other hand, are generally a medium-sized dog, with a balanced, athletic, muscular appearance. They generally have a much longer muzzle and are not as wide or as stocky as the Bully Breeds, giving them a much more proportional build.
Renowned for their exceptionally friendly and amiable behaviour, these Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds are often favoured as beloved family dogs that enjoy a dedicated following.
Pit Bull Awareness Month Spotlight: Busting Myths and Dispelling Misconceptions About Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds
The myth that Pit Bulls and Bully breeds are inherently aggressive and more dangerous than other dog breeds is entirely false. Aggression in dogs is most commonly caused by environmental factors and by how they are raised and trained, not by a particular breed.
It is also a misconception that Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds have unpredictable temperaments, are not friendly dogs and make good guard dogs.
In reality, Pit Bulls and Bully breeds regularly achieve excellent temperament scores and are not natural guard dogs. In fact, they are generally very affectionate, gentle and loyal dogs who make wonderful family pets, service dogs, therapy dogs and even K9 police dogs.
If you want to give your Pit Bull or Bully Breed an amazing set of skills that allows them to be a wonderful, well-rounded canine companion, then look no further than our Absolute Terrier course!
As descendants of a terrier breed, Pit Bulls – and other Bully Breeds – have brave, fun, loyal personalities with a gritty and tenacious nature and a natural drive to work.
They are incredibly intelligent and super dedicated to their job – their engagement skills are STRONG! On the flip side, Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds can also be extremely pessimistic and very sensitive to pressure.
Combine this with a lack of disengagement, confidence and tolerance of frustration, as well as an inability to think in arousal or to regulate their own arousal levels, and this leads Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds to struggle with some of the most common dog behaviour problems, including reactivity, pulling on lead, separation anxiety, chasing critters and other animals and so much more.
At AbsoluteDogs, we know that every dog, no matter their breed, size, age or training history can overcome their behaviour struggles through the power of games-based concept training. If you want the ultimate in positive and fun training for your dog, check out the AbsoluteDogs Games Club – it’s dog training gamified!
The Right Way to Train Your Pit Bull or Bully Breed Dog
Here at AbsoluteDogs, we know there are a few absolutely vital strategies and concepts that are the keys to success when it comes to training Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds.
First and foremost, a gentle, positive and rewarding approach must be chosen over punishing, scolding, intimidating or depriving a Pit Bull or Bully Breed to change their behaviour or teach them lessons.
So let’s dive into the top 5 ways to train Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds!
HOW TO TRAIN PIT BULLS AND BULLY BREEDS #1:
TEACH CONFIDENCE AND OPTIMISM
The concepts of confidence and optimism are paramount for all Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds when encountering novelty in their environment.
These are more than just skills; developing your Pit Bull or Bully Breed’s skills to approach new sights, sounds, and smells with resilience and positivity ensures that your dog can navigate life’s novelty and unfamiliar situations with confidence and ease, reducing anxiety, and preventing reactivity.
- Noise Box or Cardboard Chaos
- DMT (Distraction. Mark. Treat)
- A to B
- Two Paws On
- The Cone Game (a foundation for Muzzle Training)
Grow your Pit Bull or Bully Breed’s confidence and optimism in the face of novelty with all these games and more from the FREE AbsoluteDogs Optimism Rocks eBook and dive even deeper into easy, fun results training that gets real-life results with the Absolute Confidence course.
HOW TO TRAIN PIT BULLS AND BULLY BREEDS #2:
Introducing the concept of calmness is crucial for your Pit Bull or Bully Breed. This essential skill gives your dog an ‘off switch’ and grows a great decision-maker who can choose relaxation over high arousal and maintain their composure in any situation.
With this ability, they can opt for peaceful, relaxing activities over disruptive behaviours, ensuring a harmonious home environment and appropriate behaviour when out and about.
Calmness equips Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds with the skills to be a well-behaved and content canine companion, free from frustration or fear.
HOW TO TRAIN PIT BULLS AND BULLY BREEDS #3:
TEACH A ROCK-SOLID RECALL
A Recall is such an important skill for any dog to have. For Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds, a rock-solid recall is not just a convenience; it’s a vital safety measure, with many places all over the world placing these dogs under tight restrictions.
A reliable recall ensures that your dog can return to your side promptly in any situation, keeping them safe, preventing potential conflicts, and allowing them to explore the world with confidence and security – even when they are required to be on lead or on a long line.
Your dog’s recall should be instant! If it isn’t, how can you enhance the experience so that your Pit Bull or Bully Breed chooses you every single time? Find out How to Fix a Broken Recall in this podcast episode and discover how to rescue or train your recall with the AbsoluteDogs 30 Day Recall Rescue course.
HOW TO TRAIN PIT BULLS AND BULLY BREEDS #4:
TEACH ENGAGEMENT AND LEASH SKILLS
The skills of engagement and loose leash walking are absolutely vital for your Pit Bull or Bully Breed. They ensure your dog can walk comfortably and safely, while also focusing on you, rather than getting distracted by their surroundings and pulling, barking, or lunging.
Immense value in proximity to you is also a critical skill for your dog to understand – and love! It encourages your Pit Bull or Bully Breed to choose to stick close, come when called, and check in with you often.
In essence, these vital skills strengthen your bond and provide a safe, secure and enjoyable walking experience for both you and your Pit Bull or Bully Breed.
Many other training methods would have you achieve loose leash walking or prevent unwanted behaviours using aversive tools, but at AbsoluteDogs we know this is never the way. Find out What To Do With A Prong Collar in this podcast episode.
Grow loose leash walking, engagement and proximity skills with the FREE AbsoluteDogs Pull No More playbook and achieve that loose-leash walking dream with your Pit Bull or Bully Breed through our 21 Days to Stress Free Walks course!
HOW TO TRAIN PIT BULLS AND BULLY BREEDS #5:
The crucial concept of disengagement – or your dog’s ability to see value in diverting their attention and moving away from things in the world that are interesting, exciting, or scary – is one of the keys to successfully building a socially appropriate Pit Bull or Bully Breed who can handle themselves when out and about and know that YOU are where the value is and the rest of the world is none of their business.
Disengagement helps create a dog that keeps their focus on you, while ignoring the distractions of the environment around them and grows a super decision-maker in all situations.
Disengagement helps to build super loose-leash walking, a rock solid recall and a dog that can interact with other humans, dogs or animals appropriately whilst also being able to disengage from them and the environment.
Teach your Pit Bull or Bully Breed the vital skill of disengagement (and its equal partner, engagement) with the AbsoluteDogs Engage Disengage course!
HOW TO TEACH PIT BULLS AND BULLY BREEDS TO HAVE BOUNDARIES!
Understanding the skill of boundaries is paramount for any Pit Bull or Bully Breed dog. At AbsoluteDogs, we love to help our dogs learn about boundaries through games!
Boundary Games teach dogs the crucial responsibility of staying within defined areas until given permission to move, as well as basic manners in a variety of settings. They also grow impulse control and balance arousal, plus they can enhance motivation too, ultimately strengthening that valuable bond between you and your Pit Bull or Bully Breed.
Let’s Celebrate National Pitbull Awareness Month in Style with Some Pitbull Love!
As National Pit Bull Awareness Month draws to an end, let’s come together to celebrate love, loyalty, and the many positive qualities these dogs possess.
We’ve debunked common myths and misconceptions about Pit Bulls – and Bully Breeds – and we’ve shared just some of the rich history and exceptional traits of these amazing dogs and we’re helping to spread the word about these incredible animals.
Pit Bulls and Bully Breeds have an immense capacity for love and joy; it’s time to share that love with the world.
If you’re struggling with your Pit Bull or Bully Breed right now, or know someone who is, share this blog and its information, strategies and training tips with them.
Plus, find out what to do if your dog doesn’t like other dogs, and discover 5 common dog behaviour problems (and how to fix them!) on the AbsoluteDogs Blog!
And for all the training you could ever need for your Pit Bull or Bully breed, check out the AbsoluteDogs Games Club! We’ve got confidence, calmness, recall and leash skills galore, plus so much more!