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Training and Socializing Puppies

Patch O' Pits

Good Dog
Thought I would put this up for those thinking about or that have new puppies.

Training and Socializing Your APBT Puppy The Patch O' Pits Way
By Patch O' Pits
(Please do not copy and paste this to other forums without permission)

These are actually just some of the things I do with all my new pups. Owners of APBTs need to be more vigilant than any other dog owner in showing off the good in their pup at all times. This is a HUGE responsibility.
Hope you find this helpful

Persistence, Patience, Praise and over all Consistency will very important in working with your pup at any age.

I figured I'd put this up since several people just got new babies. Please add on more to help out the newbies

I think little kids really help with socializing pups the best, they make strange noises, often pet awkward, smell funny hehehe so I always borrow some from my family and neighbors since I don't have any of my own!

Touching-Touch them all over from mouths to toes. Put some dog toothpaste on your finger and rub it on their teeth and gums;
next start using a little toothbrush in their mouths

Nail cutting-I found was easiest when they were asleep LOL I used regular infant nail cutters on teeny ones then dog nail clippers as they grow and then later a dremel.

Ears Start touching and cleaning their ears. LOL people often don't think to do this for some reason

Using clickers I used clickers a lot when they were really little and you'd be surprised how fast they picked things up. If you want to do it:
-Just wait for them to complete the task click treat and praise
- Also get a clicker that has a little hole at the end so you can tie it around your wrist or your neck because they can be a pain in the neck to hold while you are training and you need it handy

Calling by nameI named all the pups in the litter so this was easy. One of the first things they learned was to respond to their names. This makes all other training 10x easier.
Call them click or praise and uses toys or treat when they are old enough for treats ... mashed up cheddar cheese or liver is nice and smelly and works wonders!!!!!! Use whatever works well for you!

Introduce the pups to a variety of sounds. Since I slept with them They got to hear my alarm clock every time it was time for a feeding LOL they learned what that meant quick. I was up for all of the feedings to begin with to make sure everyone was thriving and getting enough. They also had a TV and radio in that room.
After the first week or so I vacuumed around them usually when they were eating but not right near them. They heard normal every day noises I didn't try to keep anyone quiet.

SOME OTHER good noises/things to get used too:

opening and closing umbrella's by them when they get to be about 7 weeks and let them stiff and see the umbrella when it is both opened and closed

clanging dog dishes drop pans

When they start to walk and are not like weebles but them onto different surfaces
Counters, the tub, flooring, blankets, pillows, the grass if it is warm enough outside, sand, dirt, etc.

You want to take them to work on basic commands 1 at a time for not more than 2-3 minutes here and there throughout the day this does not apply to the potty command, do that as much as needed lol.

once they are ready to venture outside teach them the potty command and treat it as any other training lots of rewards. LOL I used the clicker w/ mine at first for this too. My neighbors think it is pretty funny!

Don't just let your pup out and expect them to go , go out with them make sure they go to the bathroom. Give them time they often go more than once

I find the easiest way to house train is to crate train. The crate will be a safe place for your puppy when you can't be with them.

Some signs that they have to go are, sniffing, circling, pacing, squatting

Crate training overview
Get a crate that they can stand turn around in a lay down , do not give them more room then that until they are trained or they will use it as a toilet.

Many crates come with divider panels so the crate grows with the puppy.

When you can supervise the pup keep them out with you.Take them to potty before and after eating, when they wake up, after they lay and many many times in between

Try to get them on a schedule

do not use the crate as punishment it needs to remain a happy , safe place for them.

The most important command in my book!!!! Knowing their names really helped w/ this one!
This starts as soon as they are wobbling around. kneel about a foot away extend your hand and say the dog's name and come with your hand with food as a lure right by their little nose and bring them into you then can say YEAAAAAAAA (heheh) make a big fuss
As they get bigger, you'll do less luring w/ food and you go up on your feet then you will eventually call them from a little farther away. This takes weeks!!!!!!! You can also call them to come and then run away from them a tiny bit to get their attention and motivate them to chase/come to you.

As soon as the pup plays tug w/ you teach the OUT command

you can also start teaching these below commands as well:

"SIT" use food right above the pups nose and your sit hand signal while saying sit and gentle hands to help get the pup in position then click treat and praise
ONLY SAY THE actual command ONE TIME

"DOWN" similar to the above just the hand signal and food positioning are different.
this time put the food by the dogs nose then down between his front legs and ease him into a down saying DOWN only 1X. When he is there the second he does it click treat and praise

I didn't go into a lot of detail so if you need more just let me know...

Some Appropriate chew toys
frozen carrots, nylabones and kongs make great chew toys.
never leave them unattended with toys they can break pieces off of and swallow such as stuffed animals and plastic chew toys

Bite inhibition:

All puppies do go through the biting stage as they are teething.

When the pup does play to rough or even nip a little say "NO" in a firm voice or yelp like a hurt pup or say ouch but then also redirect the behavior to a toy like a rope etc. You have to make the toy more interesting than you. You can't just throw it or give it to him and expect him to stop

If you are willing to put the time into training and working with the dog. This is not a major issue.

Humping This behavior can be exhibited by both males and females and sometimes to inanimate objects LOL. It is for the most part a dominance behavior unless a female in heat is around which should NOT be allowed at all. If your pup starts doing this to anyone or anything say 'NO" and redirect them every time it happens. Letting a pup do this to another dog can eventually cause fights and letting them do it to people is obviously just plain old bad manners.

leash training
Before a pup has been vaccinated they should NOT be going for walks. However you can start getting them used to a leash, but letting them where one and letting it just drag on the floor by them. Always monitor a pup that is leashed as it can get caught on things obviously. After that you can walk the pup on lead around your own yard and house to get used to the lead being held. It must be kept very positive and in short sessions.

The follow me game can also be played with the pup on or off lead were you pretty much just encourage them to follow you around giving praise and treats or using toys.

After vaccines are fully given you can start taking short walks with the pup on a flat collar. No choke type or prong collars should be used IMO until the pup is at least 6 months of age

When your pup is old enough and vaccinated you can start socializing with other dogs and get out in public to expose them more.

More about Socializing outside the home
Another thing is once they are vaccinated fully they can be socialized around other dogs outside the home as well and brought to a variety of places.This needs to be kept VERY positive as this is a very critical time in their development. They should not ever e allowed off lead in a public area no matter how well they are trained. Some great events to attend are parades, festivals, fairs,. Good ex of places to visit are ON LEAD parks, pet supply stores, shopping center parking lots

Off lead Dog Parks:
These are a big NO-NO with any bully breed as any incident whether it be your dogs fault or not will always be blamed on a bully breed thanks to the media's stereotype of them. Also many people who go to these places have no idea about dog behaviors and or training. One last factor is for health reasons.

Organized classes
Since pups should not be in classes until they are fully vaccinated and young pups are capable of learning so much I developed a free on-line puppy agility class you can do at you convenience at home. It has simple written out lessons w/ instructions to do with your pup. Take a peek
(Yahoo e-mails don't work well for some reason, so try to use a different account if you'd like to sign up)

Also after the pup has been vaccinated, Puppy kindergarten classes and basic obedience classes are not just good for first time owners, but great for socializing the dogs and getting them on their way to becoming a good citizen and great family member. Make sure to look for trainers with experience with working APBTs and ask people for references. Breed clubs often offer help in this area.

Happy vet visits
Taking them to the vet when they don't actually need anything just to say hi and get a treat makes for much easier vet visits when they are there for not so pleasant shots and exams.

Car rides Definitely get them used to car rides and make it a positive fun experience. Bring treats but not too many you don't want them throwing up. You can first just practice getting in and out of the car without taking them any place then move on to the actual short trips

****Most dogs that end up in shelters are great dogs that their owners didn't take the time and effort to work with properly

****WARNING if you do all this the pups and you both will develop a very strong bond much more than you'd even expect!!!!!!

Enjoy your pups they grow up way to fast


Big Dog
I hope you don't mind, I am posting the list I give all my puppy parents..it goes hand in hand with what you are saying...


Adults__ Babies__ Toddlers__
Children__ Teenagers__
Senior Citizens__
Both genders__
Different Ethnicities_
Vet staff__
Grooming staff__
Canes__ Umbrellas__ Crutches__
Limping, shuffling, odd gait__
Erratic Body Movement__
Legs/arms in a cast__ Walkers__
Wheel Chairs__ Wagons__
Baby Carriage/Carriers__
Facial hair__ Back Packs__
Shopping Carts__
Boxes or packages__

Boarding Kennels__ Bridges__
Grooming Salon__ Tunnels__
Intersections__ Car Wash__
Vet Office__ Drive Thru__
Crowds__ Automatic doors__
The Beach__ Hiking Trails__
Toll Booth__ School Grounds__
Shopping Malls__ Gas Station__
Practice cues/walking at night__
Healthy Puppy Friendly dogs__
Dogs: Large_ Med._ Small_
Healthy Puppies__ Cats__
Large Birds__ Small Birds__

Live stock
: Horse__ Pig__ Cow__​

Llama__ etc…

Stairs__ Wood__ SandTile
Carpet__ Gravel__ Cement__
Astroturf__ Mud/Ice__ Docks__
Manholes/grates__ Wood Chips__
Broken Concrete__
Uneven and slick surface__
Strong Perfume and cooking smells__
Swings__ Scooters__ Kite__
Skateboards__ Flags/Banners__
Tricycles__ Remote control toys__
Jump rope__ Hula Hoop__
Electric and Power tools__
Wheel Barrel__ Recycle Can/bins__
Lawn Mower__ Garden hose__




Raincoats___ Umbrellas__
Sunglasses__ Hats__ Beards__
Helmets__ Costumes__
Punk Hairdos__ Shaved Heads__
Holiday characters/Mascots__
Clown outfits/Face paint__


Postal Carrier__ Couriers__
Meter Reader__ Cops__ Firemen__

Street Vendors__ Dancing__
Loud music__ Parades__
Hot Air Balloon__
People singingLive Music__
People Yelling__ Snow__ Rain__
Wind__ Thunder/Lightening__
Sirens__ Fireworks__ Airport__
Mounted Patrol__
Cars__ Motorcycles__ Boats__
Back up alarm__ Airplane__
Street cleaner/Garbage Truck__
Screeching tires__ Car Backfire__

Phone ring_ Doorbell_
Loud TV_
Vacuum_ Washer/Dryer_
Electric Appliances__
Repair people_ Delivery people

Now Go Find More…..

If at anytime time your puppy is scared, tries to run away, tuck their tail, attempts to bite or barks:
Do not try to soothe and pet them or pick them up and say “it’s okay”. You will be rewarding the nervous/scared behavior.
Act happy and excited about the new thing, use treats and make it a game if possible.
If the situation is overwhelming, back away from the situation until the puppy feels and acts relaxed again.
Start from the new distance and build their confidence, stay calm and don‘t tense up, they feel that thru the leash.
Gradually get closer to the situation, only go as fast as the dog adjust.
Your goal is to get the puppy to feel comfortable and confident around the situations that they were scared about, it may take quite a bit of time to do this.
Every dog is different, depending on the situation, you may just need to sit and wait it out, let them become accustomed to the new “scary” thing, and they will become desensitized to it, and start to relax. Praise and reward the relaxed dog. Talk to your trainer.
Prepared by: Drgnrdr ©2004 (All views expressed are the Authors only)


Patch O' Pits

Good Dog
Drgnrdr Thanks for adding the more stuff listed the better for new owners IMO

Just wanted to add
Remember when doing early socialization you have to be careful where you go due to risk of parvo and other diseases when a pup has not been fully vaccinated.


Big Dog
Ask friends, family, church members, co-workers if they have "puppy friendly" dogs that are healthy and vaccinated, you can get your pup started with an assortment of dogs without risking catching something, I carried around a bottle of hand sanitizer when I took trips out with my dogs, people had to wash first, if I did not know them or knew if they brought something from home.. Dogs must be pup friendly, pup doesn't know their manners yet, and you don't want them scared senseless if an adult jumps on them at an early age, but they can learn alot from an adult who can teach them mouth inhibition and appropriate body linguistics, and how to play... period, they learn from adults the good things they need, but they can also be taught bad.


We have a 10 yr old male who lost his partner/friend 7 months ago. I have the opportunity to adopt a puppy and well I wanted to know if anyone has some tips for me on how to introduce a new puppy into our home. I will supervise no doubt about that and am looking for a crate at this time. He was 1 yr old when we brought our last puppy home and well I just want to feel confident on what to do.

This post is great and was a refresher course for me considering it's been a long time.


Krypto Super Dog

"DOWN" similar to the above just the hand signal and food positioning are different.
this time put the food by the dogs nose then down between his front legs and ease him into a down saying DOWN only 1X. When he is there the second he does it click treat and praise

I have tried again and again to get my pups not to jump up. The boys seem to get it, and don't do it as much, though from time to time they will and I'll correct them. My female, Locus, she is stubborn, and just doesn't listen. Any advice on how I can break her of jumping up? Ever have a stubborn pup?


Great post.

Oh and for the nail cutting part. a couple of people told me if you want to get your dog use to its nails being cut. touch its feet/paws/nails as a puppy. I am not sure if it works but i am trying it out.


I didn't read all the replys in this thread, so I'm not sure if all this was said before, but...

Lift your dog regulary, let other people do most of the work so if your dog ever gets lost and/or injured, some stranger may be able to pick him up...


If you'r walking with your dog and some other dog comes to you, don't tell your dog to be easy, or quiet or something before he starts barking, and hopefully he doesn't. Don't even tighten the leash too much, just
be ready in case something happens. This way you might prevent unwanted behavior."
Have any advise for visitors that reward the jumping up and bad puppy manners by petting and stuff like that. It seems like my kids behave better around Petey that people that come to visit.???


Big Dog
you are in control of your dog, if anything happens who do they come after (insurance wise), your guest or you?
Have your dog on leash when they come, tell them the dog is in training, let them get a treat you've set at the front door and let them give the pup a treat when they sit, then ignore the dog until they calm down. You must explain what is going on, it's best if you practice this with your friends and family that want to help you train your dog, that way the dog gets use to sitting to say hello.
If they don't want to do so they can not say hello, one person rewarding them for jumping up can cause the dog to think it's okay to jump on 95 yr old grandmother Ruth or 2 yr old Timmy...

Patch O' Pits

Good Dog
what is the out command?
A command you teach a pup when you want them to drop something. It does not have to be the actual word 'out'

In general 'out' is also sometimes used in some other obedience and agility sports to mean other things but that is not the case in this post:)