Best resources for puppy training?

We’ve done some reading and gotten advice from the vet, but we’ll take all the help we can get with our (technically Jon’s) 14-week-old pit bull. She is generally a sweet dog, but we have so many questions! What resources and training have you used for your puppy?

Isis @ about 13 weeks (Zepfanman.com, CC BY)

We’re very curious about her specific breed and if it affects her temperament significantly. There’s a lot of controversy about pit bull breeds (Pit vs. Staffordshire types). We think she’s an American Pit Bull Terrier but not sure if we should seek out her papers or not. She was about 8 weeks old when we got her from a couple on Craigslist who had a litter with several girl and boy pups.

She will mainly be an outdoor dog when she gets old enough and it warms up. For now, crate training is going okay, but we don’t have a “safe home” area where she can go on her own. To add to our stress, Nathan brought three of his cats from Tennessee to our house this week. They stay in the basement but we let them play with the dogs for about an hour at a time. They’re generally good together, but the cats will get defensive with their claws.

I should ask my parents what they had to go through with the mutt that our family got when I was a kid! I only remember Rufus getting sick in the car whenever we went on trips.

Dogster.com and DogForums.com seem to be decent websites. We also found the American Pit Bull Terrier Handbook and The Owner’s Guide to the American Pit Bull Terrier on Amazon. Will probably purchase a book ASAP if you have any other recommendations.

Call me. Let’s talk dogs.

To tell the truth, we actually ended up going the collar “correction” route.  I hate infomercials, but we were convinced after watching and reading about Don Sullivan’s Perfect Dog Training System. There’s a special Command Collar (like a prong collar) and training lines that come with his 5 hour, 2 DVD set for $60. It’s truly an all-inclusive training system, but we’re considering moving to a more balanced treat system (his uses no treats). The Command Collar broke this weekend after just a month’s use. To make a long story short, there really is no “Perfect” training system, but Isis is definitely coming along. We do need to get her more socialized in a doggy class so she doesn’t get so giddy excited when she sees new people; it’s extremely difficult to prevent her from jumping on people and it will only get worse as she gets bigger if we don’t find a solution. Headcollars seem humane and effective. Slowly but surely! P.S. There are some tips on the Through a Dog’s Eyes PBS website; great new 1-hour special about service dogs.

  • pattybarnes

    The Kentucky Humane Society offers a FREE “New Parents Seminar” every first Saturday of the month at our Steedly drive, main campus location. We also have all kinds of helpful tip sheets for various training issues.
    To sign up for the FREE seminar and/or view our training tip sheets go to kyhumane.org and if you have any further questions, please feel free to either call our behavior department at 502-253-2883 or email me at customersupport@kyhumane.org

    Hope this helps!! Patty Barnes/Kentucky Humane Society

  • Valerie
  • Fantastic! Thanks to both of you.

  • Amber

    I know every person thinks their dog is the greatest, but I promise anyone who meets my dog thinks he's the best dog ever. He is part German Shepherd and part Lab. I have always showered him with love, but have also been firm and “in charge” when giving him commands. I think he is SO obedient because he is loyal to my endless love for him, but also knows I'm the alpha dog. 😉 I would never hit him, either. That is ridiculous. Dogs are inclined to “packs” and if you position yourself as the alpha male, he will fall into line by instinct. No hitting needed. The potty training stuff, your on your own. I think I just lucked out or he really loved all the praise when he'd go outside!

  • Sounds like a great mix of breeds! Lots of rules on raising dogs properly. The main thing is the socialization and teaching her commands, which we're getting good at with rewards and stern commands. Just noticed there's an Animal Planet show called Pit Boss, but it looks more entertaining than informative.

  • I don’t know too much about pit bulls but I lived with a friend for a while who had one. The dog was one of the sweetest I’ve ever met. She would lay with my bf and I all the time, and walked around with her “baby” 24/7. (It was whatever her favorite toy was at the time) She was insanely smart.. it was adorable! I am not a fan of crate training, but I'm a bit biased because I think of pets as my kids rather than animals :p

  • I am sure that many dog owners will be here. This will be
    for their benefit as well as for their dogs. Trainer will enjoy training these
    dogs. This will be a lot of fun and excitement.