How to Raise a Happy and Healthy Pit Bull

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The American Pit Bull Terrier is a dog that has a rich history as a farm dog. To raise a happy and healthy pit bull, an understanding of the breed's traits is necessary. Proper exercise, toys, training, and vet care are critical elements for having a well balanced pit bull.

History

As a farm dog, the American Pit Bull Terrier's job was to protect the livestock and crops from vermin and predators. This involved continual patrolling of the farm and its perimeter. Although the original pit bull differs from the shorter, stouter pit bull of today, proper exercise is critical.

Exercise

Exercise is a necessity for a happy and healthy dog of any breed, but especially for the Pit Bull. Without daily exercise, the pit bull terrier becomes bored and anxious. Walking or running two to five miles everyday should be enough keep both of you in shape.

Games and Activities

The American Pit Bull Terrier is a fun loving dog. Pit bulls will enjoy a game of catch or fetch. Dog parks and agility courses make fun and interesting outings. Agility courses challenge your pit bull on an intellectual and physical level.

Chewing

Chew toys are essential for a happy and healthy pit bull. Chewing is a healthy way for your pit bull to relieve tension and frustration. Pit Bulls are power chewers. They have powerful jaws and they love to chew.

Toys

Expect the average pit bull to demolish their toys in record time. Be very careful of toys with squeakers as these can be ingested resulting in intestinal blockage and other serious issues. Nylabone and Kong toys are good choices. Some chew toys offer a challenge; like a hidden treat. This type of toy is a pit bull favorite.

Training

Pit bulls are extremely smart and they respond very well to positive reinforcement. This can be in the form of a treat or just lots of love and praise. Basic commands such as sit, stay, down, and heel are easy to teach. These commands are important as they will make your American Pit Bull Terrier a good citizen.

Socialization

Socialization is an important part of raising a happy pit bull. Many pit bulls have aggressive tendencies and it is part of their territorial nature. As soon as your puppy has all of its vaccinations, bring them out into public settings as often as possible. Flea markets, parks, town squares, farmer's markets, and pet stores make wonderful outings for your pit bull.

Vet Care

Happy and healthy pit bulls require vet care. Keep your dog up to date on vaccinations and flea and heartworm preventatives. Hip dysplasia is a real problem for pit bulls. Discuss hip dysplasia with your vet and learn what the warning signs are.

Raising a happy and healthy pit bull is a rewarding experience. Meeting the needs of this breed is not difficult, but it requires effort. Happy and healthy American Pit Bull Terriers are wonderful canine citizens that are a joy to be around.

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7 comments

Comments

Roger Bergez's picture
Roger Bergez
Tue, 05/18/2010 - 4:44pm

Much of the information you provide is great; however, I take issue with some of it. On this page, I want to point out that socialization of puppies should begin LONG before the puppy receives its final series of vaccinations, as that is near the end of a dog's primary socialization period (12-16 weeks). Dr. Ian Dunbar taught us all long ago that socialization and training of puppies should begin as soon as possible, and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior (AVSAB) believed this topic was so important that they took the time in 2008 to issue a position statement about it (http://www.avsabonline.org/avsabonline/images/stories/Position_Statements/puppy%20socialization.pdf). So, no matter what YOUR veterinarian tells you, please don't wait until final puppy vaccinations to start socializing your dog. Follow the guidelines from the AVSAB; also, get Dr. Dunbar's book "Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog." I also strongly suggest readers get Jean Donaldson's "The Culture Clash."

matt's picture
matt
Sat, 06/19/2010 - 12:26am

Roger, thanks for your input.

GATORBABY23@YAHOO.COM's picture
GATORBABY23@YAH...
Fri, 06/18/2010 - 10:42pm

I LOVE PITBULLS AND I JUST BROUGHT A ANOTHER ONE TODAY.

saranata's picture
saranata
Mon, 06/21/2010 - 12:50pm

congrats hope you love you pitbulls

emilynjones's picture
emilynjones
Fri, 07/09/2010 - 11:46pm

I have a question about socialization of Pits. I had one and unfortunately had to get rid of her, but I started her out as soon as I got her socializing her with other people. Before that, from the day she was born, I saw her every weekend until I took her home. Then maybe 9 months later, she got in a fight with a lab, which she lived with from when she was a puppy, so they got along perfectly fine up until that point. I had to move her to another house after that and when I did, she began being very aggressive towards everyone but me and the three other people she lived with. Can anyone answer me to why she became that way? Id like to prevent it again from happening when I get my next one. She was the most amazing and the smartest dog I've ever seen. I love this breed, above all other.

amberc922's picture
amberc922
Thu, 07/22/2010 - 3:53pm

Emily,
I have a male pit I rescued from the local Humane Society where I live. He was a year old when I adopted him and he had been at the facility since he was a little puppy. He is a great loyal dog. However he has latched onto me like glue. He hasn't seemed aggressive to anyone really. But my Aunt is afraid of him and she went to try and pet him and he was pinned between the couch and coffee table and he bared teeth and went towards her. He is unique in that he knows when someone is afraid of him. So he tries to protect me from them and can get aggressive. He most definatly gets scolded for that cause it is not allowed by any means. Also he has played with different dogs (strange dogs) before. But the other day my neighors little terrier mix got loose and was standing at my front window tormenting my to pits and the door wasn't latched completely, he flew out the door and grabbed her around the throat. Totally freaked me out. The dumb dog deserved it beleive me but he did let go and she wasn't hurt but scared to death. He plays with my other pit she is a year old now. However both my pits are fixed. That could be your problem because my friend has several pit females that are not spaded and she are definatly mooded with other females.

Taana's picture
Taana
Sat, 07/10/2010 - 2:04am

Pit Bull's are not known to be human aggressive (HA)if socialized properly from a young age. A friend of mine had to put her pit bull down due to HA. Even after seeking out a behaviorist, it couldn't be resolved. Socialization is the key and good training will help them to know the rules. Pit's are known to be DA (dog aggressive), they can get along fine and then one day it's a whole different story. Proper training and never allowing your Pit to be unattended and properly supervised when around other animals/children. If you have other animals in your house read articles at www.PBRC.com and learn the crate n rotate method. It works wonders. Good Luck