How To Discipline A Pitbull Terrier [Best Methods&Tips]


Adopting a Pitbull Terrier is exciting, but it does not come without challenges, and one of those is understanding the best methods and practices for disciplining your Pitbull Terrier after adoption.

Disciplining your Pitbull will be one of the most essential parts of the process for growing and maturing your Pitbull Terrier into the dog you desire.

Not to mention, discipline helps mold your Pitbull Terriers behaviors and social skills.

The rest of this brief discussion will be geared towards providing you with my recommended practices and methods for disciplining your Pitbull effectively, ethically, and efficiently.



Understanding How To Discipline Your Pitbull Terrier

Before you even begin diving into the specifics about disciplining a Pitbull Terrier, you need to understand what they crave and need from you as the owner or the “alpha.”

Terriers in general, including the Pitbull, crave attention and love.

They are highly affectionate dogs.

They also respond best when they can understand clear instructions.

Most importantly, to discipline a negative behavior, it needs to be 100% clear what the incorrect or negative behavior was.

Otherwise, you are doing nothing more than confusing your Pitbull and making it more difficult for them to understand right from wrong.

Keeping all of this in mind, here are a few of my top tips for disciplining your Pitbull Terrier the correct way and without confusion.


1.) Start With Socialization First

Socialization is a significant first step with any new dog.

With your Pitbull Terrier, socialization will allow your dog the chance to get to know the people in the home and their new environment.

Socialization can also be great for a new Pitbull when exercising, going for walks, or being introduced to other friends and family.

Socialization makes your Pitbull Terrier comfortable and allows them to begin acclimating to the new home and should be the first step you take before getting too involved with training and discipline.

Assuming this is taking place and in progress, discipline does become necessary, so I want to begin diving into those details next.


2.) Praise and Reward The Good and Desired Behaviors

I am a big believer in praise and rewards instead of using other methods of discipline.

While my terrier is not a Pitbull Terrier, I can assure you that she responds much better and faster to rewards and praise.

Terriers and all dogs, for that matter, seek this approval.

When your Pitbull Terrier does something correctly or displays a behavior you want to see, have plenty of treats and ways to give praise.

You can mix up your methods however you choose.

Even verbal praise such as good boy or good girl and some love being showered towards your Pitbull is enough to get the message across.

Use this for everything.

Calm behaviors and demeanors, chewing the appropriate items and toys (more on this later), and even potty outside.

The more you do this and the more consistent you can be, the faster your Pitbull will learn.

Trust me, with rewards and praise, it does not take long.


3.) Catch and Discipline Negative Behaviors During The Act

This is a significant factor to discuss that I believe strongly.

When disciplining a Pitbull Terrier, make sure you are catching the bad act in progress.

We will discuss the specific negative behaviors shortly, but a quick idea of them can include:

  • Chewing
  • Potty Inside
  • Digging
  • Barking

If you can interrupt the behavior and replace it with the desired behavior, it will be a much more effective form of discipline and training.

Otherwise, you are more likely to confuse the Pitbull.

For example, if you come home from work and notice your Pitbull has pooped inside the house, and then discipline at this time, using any methods will likely be confusing.

They do not necessarily remember or intentionally do things wrong.

Make sure not to postdate your discipline and catch negative behaviors while they are taking place.


4.) Remain Consistent, Diligent, and Patient

Consistency is perhaps the most essential part of this process.

If you change the discipline style, how and when you discipline, or even use different phrases for praise frequently, it will take longer for your Pitbull Terrier to catch on to your training and disciplining methods.

Remain consistent, and do not lose your patience.

All new dogs test dog owners in the first weeks.

Remain patient and diligent with your training and discipline, and your results will come faster and more efficiently.


5.) Don’t Get Lazy With Disciplining Your Pitbull Later In The Process

This is likely the most significant mistake all dog owners make and a mistake you need to avoid with your Pitbull.

Many new dog owners start getting comfortable that the dog is getting the hang of things and beginning to understand and then start to get lazy with the process or less consistent and diligent.

This is a big mistake and opens the doors for mistakes.

Stay diligent.

It took me over 2 years to be super comfortable with my Terrier with my efforts and the discipline put in place.

Even to this day, mistakes are still made.

Find a way to keep the mentality and patience to effectively discipline and train your dog.

Program yourself to always be in “new puppy mode” for the first several years and not to relax.

It will make your training and discipline are going to be much more effective.


Disciplining A Pitbull Terrier Puppy

This far into this discussion, we have discussed the best methods to discipline a Pitbull Terrier.

Now we need to shift the discussion specifically towards Pitbull Terrier puppies.

Here is the good news when it comes to disciplining a Pitbull Terrier puppy.

Nothing changes.

In my opinion, consistency, praise and rewards, and patience are still the most effective methods with a Pitbull puppy.

The only actual difference between disciplining a puppy compared to a full-grown Pitbull is the patience aspect.

More patience is required, and you also need to understand that a puppy is still learning the world around them.

I stressed the importance of beginning the socialization process right away.

This is key.

Get started with the socialization process right away and begin training right away.

Just remember, a puppy is learning, and your patience will be tested, and mishaps will happen.

This should be expected and not blamed on the dog.

Choose your methods and stick to them.

Pitbull Terriers are intelligent dogs, and they will learn faster than you think if you do your part in the disciplining and training process.


Controlling Your Pitbull Terrier and Correcting Behaviors

We have touched on this briefly throughout our discussion, but I want to point this out at least one more time.

You need to be aware and watch for negative behaviors such as potty inside, barking, biting, and even digging.

For effective discipline, you want to catch these actions in progress.

Interrupt the behavior and replace it.


Example Of Disciplining and Catching A Negative Behavior In Progress

Here is an excellent example of effective discipline and training with your Pitbull Terrier.

Your Pitbull Terrier puppy is consistently nipping at your fingers and hands.

Remove your hand and say no firmly.

Following this, replace your hand with a chew toy and make it exciting and fun for your Pitbull to enjoy the toy.

Once your Pitbull begins chewing, nipping, and biting the toy, praise and reward them.

Following this “caught in action” moment, continue rewarding this behavior in the future when your Pitbull chooses to bite and nip at toys designed for the behavior as opposed to your arm and fingers.

This gets the “NO” signal across to your Pitbull during the negative behavior, replaces it, and praises and rewards the behavior consistently and indefinitely.

Your Pitbull will seek these treats, love and affection from you going forward and have a clear understanding.

This is my favorite method for discipline and training and a technique I can feel good recommending to all of you.


Can Discipline Train Your Pitbull Terrier To Be Less Aggressive?

If you ask me, discipline is NOT the primary concern for aggression with any dog, including the Pitbull Terrier.

Socialization is much more critical to reduce aggressive behaviors.

Getting your Pitbull Terrier comfortable with humans, other animals, and social situations will go much further in preventing any aggressive behaviors.

Aggressive behaviors can be stemmed from fear of the unknown or anxiety with a dog such as the Pitbull.

If your Pitbull Terrier has frequently been exposed to social situations, other animals, and people, they will be very comfortable in these situations as they grow and mature.

If you want to ensure aggressive behaviors are never a concern with your Pitbull, begin exposing them to your life, social circle, and daily routines right away to get them comfortable and enjoying the same lifestyle as you.

That is probably the best advice I can give you in this entire discussion and will make a considerable difference towards reducing aggressive behaviors in the future.


Discipline Is Essential For A Pitbull Terrier, Begin Right Away

I am sure most of you are aware by now, but discipline is a huge part of raising a Pitbull to become a great family dog.

Without it, you risk your Pitbull never truly understanding what is right and wrong.

Discipline and consistency from you as the owner will make the bond and dog ownership much more enjoyable and more manageable.

Start with disciplining your Pitbull Terrier right out of the gates and remain ethical and patient.

They will learn, and the rest will be a walk in the park.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your Pitbull Terriers, and we hope you have a smooth journey through the training and discipline process.


What Discipline Tips Can You Share With The Community?

Do you have any further recommendations you can share with the community and readers?

Do you or did you use any other tactics or methods to discipline your Pitbull Terrier?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today, and we will see you again next time.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

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