"All About Pitbulls"


All About Pitbulls: Page 28 of 28

Training your Pit Bull to 'down' and 'heel'

There will be many occasions when you will need your Pit Bull to stay
in one place for more than 30 seconds at a time.  It is easy for him
to get impatient after a while on a sit and stand position.  Teaching
him the 'down' command can come in really handy for this type of

Begin teaching 'down' by getting your dog in a sitting position.  Say
'down' while showing him a treat.  Move the treat below his nose and
toward the ground.  Give it to him as soon as he reaches down to get
it.  Go over the process again, this time requiring him to reach
farther down without lifting his rear from the ground, until he
eventually lowers his elbows to the ground.  Never try to force him
into the down position.  Doing so can scare a submissive dog and cause
a dominant dog to resist.  As soon as he is familiar with the 'down'
command, practice 'down-stay' the same way as 'sit-stay.'

Walking on-leash is probably the exercise that your Pit Bull does most
often.  In this case, teaching him to walk right beside you should be
fairly easy.  But if walking on-leash is new to him, he will more
likely resist the leash or freeze in his tracks once he realizes that
his freedom is being restricted.  If your dog is not used to walking
on leash, do not try to drag her along.  You have to coax your dog a
few steps at a time with food.  Reward and praise him as he follows
you.  This helps him realize that following you while walking on-leash
 is a good experience.  

When he gets used to walking alongside you, he is ready for his next
step.  Teaching your Pit Bull the command 'heel' creates for a more
enjoyable and relaxing walk with him by not having the pull the leash.
It is also a way of letting your dog know that it is your turn to
lead the walk.

Having your dog heel means making him walk on your left side with his
shoulder even with your knee.  Lining up your feet and your dog's
front paws is also ideal.  Say his name followed by 'heel,' then step
off with your left foot first and keep on walking.  During the few
practices, stay on a short lead, hold him in the heel position, and
continue with the praise.

If your dog still tries to walk ahead of you after showing him what he
is supposed to do, gently pull him back to position with a quick
light tug and then take the lead.  As you progress with the training,
try walking at different speeds and turning right and left to your
walks.  Practice in different locations and around different

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