All dogs are pack animals and want to either lead or follow. It is vital that the human owner assume the role of pack leader. Dogs are comfortable in a subordinate role as long as the leader is strong and firm and through his actions is seen as “boss”. A Pit that challenges the authority of his owner usually means that the owner is not displaying strong leadership. A weak human leader will have little success in training a strong willed Pit.
The best way for owners to assume a strong leadership position is through daily structured activities. Pits love structure and like children enjoy the same routine day after day. There is comfort in knowing that each day is predictable. Sudden changes in the daily routine can be unsettling.
A pup that is fed and cared for by the same person each day and at the same time will view that person in a different light. He becomes dependant rather than independent. The same person who takes the pup outside in the morning or walks him is fostering more dependence. Any action that makes the pup dependant on his owner can increase the owner’s authority. A pup is also more attentive and focuses on the pack leader who is meeting his needs. When this stage of the relationship is reached it is time for training to begin in earnest.
From the time a puppy is introduced to his new home his owner should become his number one master. There may be other lesser masters in the household, but only one will become leader one. The pup will generally favor this person above all others. Once the pup has bonded and understands who is boss, he will listen and become more trainable.
The most important command for your Pit to learn is “come”. More often than not his attention is focused on something in the yard or house that is more interesting than following your request. Training should begin in the house or fenced yard with a regular length lead.
Walk forward for a few steps then walk backwards and call the pup. When the pup moves in your direction start praising him. The closer he gets the more praise he’s given. If the pup walks past, stop him by grabbing him under the neck while holding the lead near his collar.
Games can be introduced by having one person hold the pup while the trainer distances himself. The pup is released just as the trainer says in a firm voice “Fido, come”.
Outside, learning to “come” can be accomplished with extra long leads in the same manner. Food should never be given as an incentive to come nor should it be given as a reward. Praise from the pack leader is reward enough.