Can a pitbull puppy be clicker trained? Of course it can, and this training method will leave you with a happy pitbull puppy. Read on to learn why a little pitbull and clicker training are a perfect match.
How to Train a Pitbull Puppy: Using a Clicker
Are you bringing home a new terrier puppy and looking for the best way to train it? Maybe you already have the chunky little angel at home and feel a bit out of your depth. If so, read on to learn more about a fantastic tool for pitbull puppy training—the clicker.
Pitbull puppy training needs to be kind and consistent. This type of dog should never be handled roughly at puppyhood—or at any age, but during that vital first few months, it is learning what it needs to be scared of. Many people seem willing, even eager, to share their pitbull puppies’ training experiences. They may tell you that they know exactly how to train a pitbull puppy and try to force advice on you. Be careful, though, because a lot of advice is shockingly inaccurate.
Training Pitbull Puppies with Kindness
When a dog is treated badly throughout its early learning experiences, it will learn that to be scared of people. When a puppy learned this, the fear becomes hardwired into its brain. There is no going back from such fear, regardless how much kindness the dog is shown later in life.
This is exactly why training a pitbull puppy must be accomplished with kindness, not with rough handling. The pitbull will grow up to be a big, strong dog, and a scared dog is the one most likely to bite. Thus, when you hear that a pitbull has bitten someone, you can be fairly certain that its puppy training, however long ago, was unpleasant.
Training a Pitbull Puppy with Positive Reinforcement
Positive reinforcement is the only advisable method for pitbull puppy training. Along with allowing the young dog to use its brain and learn to work things out, positive training also strengthens the bond of trust between the puppy and its owner. Kind, careful training will ensure that a puppy grows up trusting humans.
The clicker is a fantastic tool for training pitbull puppies based on positive reinforcement.
Training a Pitbull Puppy with a Clicker
The idea behind clicker training is that it facilitates the act of pinpointing and reinforcing particular dog behaviors. First of all, the dog is attuned to the clicker by a process of equating the clicking sound to a reward. If you are clicker training pitbull puppies in multiple, they will be better off being separated at this point to avoid confusion about clicks.
The first part of clicker training a pitbull puppy is to teach it that every click means it will get a treat. It is important that the treats are tiny and just enough to taste because, this way, the treats will hold its interest. Practice over a few ten-minute periods. When your puppy looks directly to you every time it hears a click, regardless of what it is doing at the time, your task of training a pitbull puppy to recognize a clicker as its reward is completed.
Training a Pitbull Puppy to Repeat a Specific Behavior
When the clicker recognition is complete, you can train pitbull puppies to do almost anything through a well-timed click. This means, however, that if your puppy barks at you, and you click during or immediately after the bark, then you have taught it to bark for a reward. A dog remembers and repeats anything that brings a reward.
Interestingly, you can also train your puppy to stop a particular behavior by training it to offer an alternative behavior instead. So, if your puppy is developing a habit of jumping up, you can change the habit by ignoring the jumping up but clicking when it keeps all four paws firmly on the ground.
Training Pitbull Puppies with a Clicker: The Rules
There are only two rules to clicker training:
- The click must never be used in place of training a pitbull puppy to return to you. Each time you click when the puppy is walking away, you are reinforcing the behavior.
- The dog must always get a treat when it hears a click; otherwise, the click will lose its effect.
Other than that, clicker training is simply a matter of using the clicker to reinforce and reward behaviors that you would like the dog to repeat. Any behavior is fair game: you can train your pitbull puppy to shake hands, play dead, or even bring you an object simply by clicking. If you use the clicker whenever the puppy takes action toward a positive behavioral goal, you will guide and shape the dog’s behavior.
Remember the importance of timing. By timing a click poorly, you could be reinforcing a completely different behavior than the one that you want. For instance, if your dog sits and howls at the same time, you may be clicking his sit position while, in its mind, you are reinforcing the howl.
House Training a Pitbull Puppy Using a Clicker
House training is simple when training pitbull puppies. Puppies are so eager to please that your only job is to show them what behavior you would like them to repeat.
Take your puppy outside every hour at the beginning of house training, and simply wait for it to toilet—that is, to do its business. At the exact moment when the puppy toilets, quickly click and give the dog a reward. It is important to take the puppy back to the same spot every time because the odor will stimulate it to toilet again. When your puppy gets the idea that toileting outside brings a click and reward but toileting indoors is not so rewarding, it will start asking to be taken outside when it feels the urge to go.
If the puppy is not asking to go outside to toilet, then lay a puppy pad on the floor by the external door. When it heads to the puppy pad, you can begin clicking and moving the dog outside quickly before it uses the pad. Don’t be overly enthusiastic, though, or you may scare the puppy.
Remember that training a pitbull puppy requires gentleness, kindness, and consistency, so never blame the puppy if it accidently does its business inside your home. Punishment is fruitless and will only damage your relationship.
Most of all, have fun!