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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 situation.

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 distractions.

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