Tips on Training a Pit Bull Labrador Mix Puppy
A mix of Labrador retriever and Pit Bull can make for a very interesting and very intelligent breed of dog. The Lab itself has been known to be a wonderful family dog, great with children, and sometimes with a mind of its own (remember Marley?) The Pit bull on the other hand, has gotten such a bad rap because of human error and those people who think that fighting dogs to their death is some sort of entertainment. The fact of the matter is that the pit bull is a wonderful and loving family dog, especially if raised as a young puppy and well socialized from day one. You put both of these breeds together in one dog; you will have a very loyal, affectionate and devoted family dog. However, as with any new puppy, training should begin the moment that new canine steps foot in the home.
As with any new puppy, the first training begins with housebreaking your dog. I have always found it best to crate train for this purpose and if you can get a crate that your puppy will grow into, this crate will be known as a safe haven and not a punishment. If you get a large enough crate for the puppy to grow into, do not give your pup access to the entire crate. You want to block it off so that there is just room enough for a comfy bed and a few toys – no extra space. Expand the space as your puppy grows. Most dogs will not potty where they sleep so if you give the dog too much space, it will take advantage of that space. Once the crate is set up, your puppy needs to be in there whenever you cannot pay attention to him, while you are gone from home and when you retire for the evening. As soon as you return, take your dog out to the designated potty spot and use some sort of command such as “go potty,” “go poo,” or whatever short command you choose. As soon as your pup does the command requested, make sure to lavish him with a lot of praise and possibly a small treat. Take the dog outside after each meal, every couple of hours or when you note your puppy getting restless during playtime. It will not take long for your puppy to get the message, “I must potty outside or I’ll get in trouble.” At that point you can just leave the crate open and you will note when puppy is tired, he will retreat to his little safe haven on his own.
Once housebroken, you can start teaching your Pit bull Lab mix to focus on you in order to be more successful in obedience training. With a young puppy, training sessions will have to be undisturbed and for short periods. As a child, a pup has a short attention span. Begin by getting a leash on the dog. That alone may take a while since most pups do not like them. Put the leash on and let him walk around the house with it to get used to it. Try taking him around with it on and keep doing so in small steps until the leash seems to be of no bother any longer. Now you can begin the focus training.
With the leash on, hold a treat in front of your face, up by your eyes, and keep saying “watch me” by calling your dog by name. This may take a lot of repetition but it will eventually sink in. Move back and forth, change positions and keep calling by name, saying “watch me” and whenever you get your dog to focus on you without jumping, hand the treat and try again and again.
Socializing your pit bull lab mix puppy is of utmost importance for a well-behaved, non-aggressive adult family dog. Go out of the way to bring your puppy around other people and animals as much as possible as well as bring others to your home often. If at any time your dog shows a teeny bit of aggressiveness towards a human or other animal, even in play, correct that behavior with a very stern “no” and small treat once your dog stops. Do not reinforce aggressive behavior in any way by petting your dog through the inappropriate action.
You will now want to start with some basic obedience. Again, choose a quiet area with the leash on and treats nearby. If the puppy is restless, get his attention with “watch me” and, holding the leash forward, ask him to sit. To start you may have to push the rear down, saying sit. Stay with one command before moving to another. Remember the little bit of treat accompanied by a lot of praise when your puppy sits. After all, dogs want more than anything to please their owners. Make sure he knows you are pleased when he obeys commands.
After you get the pup to sit you can move on to “down” when you want to train him to lay down. In the sit position, place the treat practically under the pup’s nose, without giving it to him. Move your hand down under the nose lower and lower and almost like pushing your dog down. The natural instinct will be for him to go down at which time you repeat the down command, give the treat and praise.
There are many more commands you can teach your pit bull lab mix once you get past the housebreaking and basic commands such as come, stay and especially, do not jump. You can find some extensive tips online so you can be successful in training your pit bull lab mix breed of dog. Just remember to be patient with your puppy and be consistent for good results. Use simple words and phrases with your dog and don’t give up. With repetition, treats and a whole lot of love and praise, you can train your Pit bull Lab puppy to be a well-mannered loving and loyal family dog.