Congrats! You’ve brought your first Pit Bull home. But after a few days, you realized you didn’t know anything about raising and taking care of Pit Bull and by now you’re looking for a book or a guideline that can show you how. Don’t worry, in this article, I’ll share with you the 20 most important tips that every first time Pit Bull owner should know.
As a first time Pit Bull owner, there are several things that you might not have known yet about your Pit Bull. Below is the list of 20 things that every first time Pit Bull owner must know to help you get started:
1. American Pit Bull Terrier
When I talk about Pit Bull in this article, I refer to the American Pit Bull Terrier which is a formal breed considered to be a Pit Bull type and recognized by United Kennel Club and American Dog Breeders Association.
If you live in the United States and you get your Pit Bull from the US-based kennel, your Pit Bull is most likely American Pit Bull Terrier. There are so many other interesting and important facts that we can derive just from knowing your Pit Bull is American Pit Bull Terrier type.
2. How Much Does the American Pit Bull Terrier Weigh
The males are normally around 18-21 inches in height and around 35 – 60 pounds in weight. Females are normally around 17-20 inches in height and 30-50 pounds in weight. This is the ideal height and weight of an adult American Pit Bull Terrier. Based on this information we can then determine if your Pit Bull is underweight or overweight.
In spite of all the commotion and stigma about Pit Bulls that are famous for being a vicious and ruthless dog, the fact is Pit Bulls are a well-tempered dog and an ideal family companion — known for their love to children. According to the tests conducted by the American Temperament Testing Society (ATTS), American Pit Bull Terrier has an average grade of 87.4%.
However, it should also be noted that Pit Bull is one of the strongest dog breeds that have a powerful physique. Being one of the strongest dog brees, it’s just a normal thing if the dog exhibits some level of aggression. Therefore, it’s your task as the owner to socialize and obedience train the dog to make sure he will grow up into a well-tempered dog.
4. They Don’t Get Along with Other Dogs (or Cats) Well
Notorious for generations as fighting dogs, this trait is keep passed by from generation to generation. It’s not uncommon even the most easy-going Pit Bull to get involved in a fighting with other dogs or cats.
A well-socialized Pit Bull usually won’t start a fight but he won’t retreat when other dogs are targetting him. I would always recommend carrying break stick whenever you go outside with your dog to help you break up any dogfights that occur.
5. Pit Bulls are not a Guard Dog
“Pit Bulls are a terrible guard dog!”. I will repeat that sentence again, “Pit Bulls are a terrible guard dog!”. Contrary to their aggression toward other animals, Pit Bulls are actually fond of people unless they feel threatened or they were poorly socialized. Being said, they are more likely to lick an intruder than attack them. And it’s pointless to train this dog for weeks to become a guard dog, the training doesn’t help at all! If you need a guard dog, it would be better to get other breeds such as German Shepherd.
6. Don’t Just Feed Them Any Dog Food
You can just feed your dog any dog food. To make him bigger and getting that ripped shredded physique you need to feed your dog a proper diet consisting of 45% protein, 35% carb, and 20% fat. Protein should make up the largest part of your dog’s diet since your dog needs this nutrient a lot to build and repair muscles. Check out my previous article here, “How to Make my Pit Bull Bigger“, for more information.
7. Pit Bull Health Concerns
Pit Bulls breed is prone to several health problems. One of the most notable is hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a common skeletal problem in large or giant breed dogs such as Pit Bulls. For most large or giant breed dogs, hip dysplasia is genetically transmitted. This disease is caused by the failure of hip joints to develop properly leading to hind joint pain and lameness ranging from mild to severely crippling.
To reduce or lower the effect of hip dysplasia, it’s recommended to include a glucosamine supplement in your dog’s diet such as Doggie Dailies Glucosamine for Dogs. Glucosamine is a natural substance found in your dog’s body which is used to help form and repair body tissues, and relieve joint pain, restore joint health naturally, and improve lubrication in your dog’s joints.
Demodex mange is another health problem that Pit Bull is prone to. Demodex mange is a red, itchy, skin infection that is caused by mites. In normal condition, these mites wouldn’t cause any problem but in certain situations such as an underdeveloped or impaired immune system, intense stress, or malnutrition the mites can reproduce rapidly, causing symptoms that range from mild irritation and hair loss to severe and widespread inflammation. The inflammation could also lead to, in rare cases, to a life-threatening condition.
Therefore, it’s important to always feed your dog with a proper diet and the best dog supplement to keep him stay healthy.
8. Get Your Dog Vaccinated
Pit Bull breed is more susceptible to parvovirus than other breeds. Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks cells in a dog’s body producing a life-threatening condition. It can be transmitted easily by any person, animal, or object that comes in contact with an infected dog’s feces.
At a time of writing, there’s no drug available that can kill the virus yet, but you can prevent it by making sure your dog is up to date on his vaccinations. The vaccinations should start at 39 days old and continuing every 2 weeks until 4 months old. Then continue again at 8 months old and once a year after that to keep the virus away.
9. Potty Training
Since Pit Bull is known to be more stubborn than other breeds you should do potty training as early as possible – preferably within a week of bringing Pit Bull puppy home. The older he gets the harder for you to train him.
Whenever you see excessive sniffing, you should bring the pup outside to do his business. Excessive sniffing usually is a way for your pup to tell that he needs a place to go. Even if your pup doesn’t do excessive sniffing, it’s still a good idea to bring him outside at least 5 times a day or every 20 minutes after he eats or drinks during the potty training period.
When you bring him outside, you should always take him to the same spot. This way your pup will learn not to “piles” around your home. Every time you bring him outside, don’t let him play around until he has finished his business. Be patient, and don’t punish your pup by rubbing his face in it, yelling or hitting the pup after it has an accident. This is only going to reinforce bad behavior and making things difficult for you.
10. Socialize Your Pit Bull Pup Early
Pit Bull is a stubborn dog, therefore, it’s important to socialize your pup as early as possible to be good around people, crowd, and other animals. This is not to say a full-grown Pit Bull cannot be trained, but it’s going to take a lot more time and effort. The sooner your dog is socialized the better.
The first thing that you need to do is to teach your dog to react when you call his name. This way when something bad happens you can snap his attention back to you. After your dog has learned to respond to his name, you can then slowly introduce your pup to new friends or take him to visit a family member. This way your dog will learn about socialization directly from a real-life experience.
At this stage, you need to make sure every encounter is the positive one. Don’t forget to have your dog always on a leash and close to you all the time. This way you can intervene immediately if something goes wrong.
11. Your Dog Needs Regular Exercise
Regular exercise is more important for Pit Bull than any other dog breeds as you don’t want your Pit Bull sitting around the house and becomes the fatty one. Weight-pulling exercise, or other type exercises such as a flirt pole, and spring pole are great to build strong muscles. Daily walks (or runs) are also good to build his stamina.
12. Never Hit Your Pit Bull
No matter how many mistakes that your dog makes, you must never hit him. Hitting your dog will only make him thinks how nuts you are without learning about his mistakes.
13. Take Your Dog to The Vet Regularly
Pit Bulls are prone to a number of diseases such as Parvovirus. The only way to prevent your dog from getting infected is by getting him checked up regularly. So make sure you make a schedule to visit your vet regularly. Your vet will help you point out signs of things going on in your dog before it’s too late.
14. No Unsupervised Play
No matter how socialized your Pit Bull is, you need to supervise him all the time especially whenever you bring him outside. You never know what happens if he meets another aggressive dog. The fight will break out and with his incredible jaws, sharp teeth, and stubborn characteristic, it will be the nasty one. Always walk your dog on a leash and carry a break stick with you if necessary.
15. Excell in Many Dog Sports
American Pit Bull Terriers are known to excel in many dog sports, including weight pulling, dog agility, flyball, lure coursing, and obedience competition. So it’s a good idea to get your dog involved in one of those dog sports to maximize his potential.
16. Be Prepared with The Legal Paperwork
Many countries have enacted some form of breed specific legislation, ranging from conditions on ownership to mandatory sterilization. Be prepared with the legal paperwork and condition when you own a Pit Bull.
17. Spray or Neuter Him If Necessary
Both females and males Pit Bull are getting aggressive and could cause a damage at a matting time (around 6 months old). You might don’t like this idea but when it’s necessary you should spray or neuter your dog before he causes any damage. You may want to ask a vet first before doing any action.
18. Secure Your Dog
Whether you’re fencing your dog in the backyard, basement, or another room, you need to ensure he’s safely and securely confined. Pit Bulls are quite intelligent and powerful, they could knock over a shallow fence or dig under fence easily.
19. Be Careful When He is Too Excited
The more excited your Pit Bull is, the more likely a fight is to break out. Be careful and steer clear of stranger dogs wagging their tails when you’re out on a walk with your Pit Bull.
20. Pit Bulls are Heat-Sensitive
Pit Bulls are the breed that is prone to overheating and hypothermia therefore if you keep your dog outside, make sure you provide him with plenty of water.