How to Discipline a Pitbull Puppy (The Right Way)

pitbull puppy destroyed a paper

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Pitbulls are generally considered to be aggressive dogs, but that’s not really true. With proper discipline, they could be cuddly pups just like any other dog breed. So, how do you discipline a pitbull puppy? 

The best way to discipline a pitbull puppy is through positive reinforcement. This involves rewarding your dog when they do something right, whether it’s with treats, attention, or something else they like. 

To start disciplining your pitbull puppy, you have to understand what they respond best to, why they get a bad reputation, and more. You also need to know how to use positive reinforcement on your pup. Read on to find out more. 

Establish Dominance

feeding a treat to a pitbull puppy

The first thing you need to do is establish dominance. Show them that they can get all of their favorite things from you, and they will show you respect.

Before giving them something they like, ask them to do something for you. 

A pressing question with pit bulls is whether they will become aggressive towards you, the owner, despite their training.

While there is no surefire way to know this, with positive training and a strong bond with them, you can reduce the risk of this happening. But, any dog might turn on their owner, for various reasons — usually, poor training. 

During training, you need to make sure that your pit bull is exposed to various people, animals, and situations.

If they learn to deal with all of this when they are young, they will have a much easier time dealing with it later on. Encourage appropriate responses by offering treats and stuff they like when they behave well towards others. 

Build a Bond Through Training

staffordshire terrier puppy training

Pitbulls were originally supposed to be fight dogs, which is why they have a bad reputation. But even though they are a bit harder to train than other dogs, they can be lovable pets, eager to please their owners. 

If they form a strong bond with you and train them well, they will be as cuddly as you want them to be. However, keep in mind that they are stubborn.

So, you need to build their behavior based on love, affection, and trust. Aggressive behavior from the owner can result in equally aggressive behavior from the dog. 

You should start early, while they are still young, but you can also train an older pitbull with enough patience. They have been known to respond well to affection and care after years of continuous fighting.

So, no yelling, screaming, or hitting will work.

Don’t Hit or Yell at Your Dog

First things first, a dog should never be hit. They learn aggressive behavior this way, and they learn to fear you instead of loving you. While they should understand that you are a dominant figure in their life, they shouldn’t fear you. This ruins the bond you have, they lose trust in you, and thus, aggression is created. 

Positive and negative reinforcement aren’t the polar opposites that you may think that they are. Positive reinforcement means that you are giving something to your dog — treats, attention, etc. — when they are good.

Negative reinforcement means taking something away when your dog is misbehaving. 

So, in a way, even hitting your dog or yelling counts as positive reinforcement, although you should stay as far away from these forms of discipline as you can. 

Take Breaks

Remember to take breaks when your dog just doesn’t have the patience to listen anymore. They are likely tired, and so are you, so it’s best to focus on that when you’re both up to it.

Do your training sessions in small bursts rather than stretching it out for hours. Dogs don’t have a very long attention span, and they will get antsy, so make sure that you aren’t dragging out your sessions.

Fifteen minutes when you are both rested, and comfortable will do. You can even repeat it several times a day, as long as the timing is right and both of you are up to it. 

Sessions that are too long or too straining will only get you both annoyed. Instead, try to make these sessions something fun that your dog — and you — look forward to.

Remember that training takes time, so your dog will not change overnight, but with an appropriate amount of training and correcting bad behavior as it happens, you’ll be able to discipline your pup. 

Socialize Your Puppy With People and Other Animals

As your puppy gets their vaccines and the doctor confirms that they can go out, the best you can do for your puppy’s behavior is to go outside and let them experience the world.

They will learn best that way. Take them to a dog park, to the beach, to doggy daycare, etc. Wherever they can meet other breeds, dogs, animals, and humans is the best place for them. 

Observe how they behave. Reward any good behavior you spot with a nice treat or some attention, and then don’t reward anything that you don’t like. They will understand after a few times. New situations, such as being near food carts and similar things, should also be observed.

The more they experience, the better they become at dealing with various things. 

Various tools can help you adjust their behavior.

For example, a dog whistle could be an excellent tool to distract your dog and turn their attention in a different direction, especially if they are doing something bad.

This Mumu Sugar Professional Dog Whistle could be just what you need on the go.

Reward Them for Being Good

Positive reinforcement is all about rewarding when your dog behaves well, so make sure you use it. Carry treats with you and give them plenty of love when they are at their best.

This will help you establish dominance over them, and they will love you even more because they realize that they can get what they need from you, but only under certain conditions. 

Rewards can be anything that your dog likes, treats and attention are just some examples.

If, at any point, you find that it’s hard to deal with your dog’s bad behavior, make sure that you leave the room instead of doing something that you’ll regret. 

Give Them Enough Exercise and Play Time

pitbull puppy with a harness

Pitbulls need exercise and a lot of it. They are very muscular and bred to achieve certain things. While you don’t have to take them hunting, you should provide some form of exercise that they find challenging.

For instance, you can create an obstacle course or take them to one, take them swimming, etc. 

The more exercise they get daily, the happier and calmer they will be. You can find more fun activities for your pitbull as well as more information on these dogs in general in The Pit Bull Guide: Learn Training, Behavior, Nutrition, Care, and Fun Activities.


With a bit of training and love, your pitbull will become the perfect dog for your family. Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to achieve this, and it’s quite simple.

Puppies tend to be easier to train since they still don’t have any experiences that can affect their behavior.

However, if you have a fully grown dog on your hands or a rescue, consider hiring professional help. 

Still, the training phase could bring you and your dog closer and make your relationship stronger, so you might want to do it yourself. In either case, remember that a violent owner will create a violent dog, so you want to do your best to avoid that. 

21 thoughts on “How to Discipline a Pitbull Puppy (The Right Way)”

  1. Thank you for the information I have two 9 month old pitbull/bulldog mix and yes it’s been hard getting them to calm down when someone enters the house. The boy dog gets the girl dog going but she is much easier to handle. I have backed away from giving shocks all the time and giving more praise.

    1. Kimberly Grimes

      What? Shocks!!!! Are you for real right now!!!
      They gotta have luv dude! No time?
      Then hire dog walker let me tell you I had a border collie smooth Fox terrier mix and this dog was a Non-Stop energy I was taking care of my grandmother I was paying a lot of attention to the dog but I still had to hire a dog walker and like my dog was so excited and so happy that this outside person was coming just for him and it like took a lot of pressure off of me and any kind of like exercise that I may have missed so you got to do it it’s so cheap and so beneficial like you won’t have to use any shocker s*** for real

      1. Michelle Duryea


        1. A shock collar doesn’t have to be used on the shock setting EVER! I have had one for years and the ‘ONLY SETTING’ that I’ve EVER used is the ‘vibrate setting’, which does work in getting a dog’s attention, and DOESN’T hurt them at all! Shock collars are extremely useful for training, when the right people use them! When BAD people use them, you’re right, they’re extremely cruel!!

  2. hi, i’m having a hard time train my pit bull he’s 7 months old. He goes outside but comes right back in and use the bathroom in his cage. Every now than he will use it outside but always come back in and use the bathroom in the cage. help please

    1. Kimberly Grimes

      Same lol omg spent at least 20 minutes a few times a day with my dog outside then she comes back in and peace inside on the potty pad I get so pissed I really literally have to take the dog in my arms take his paw scratch it on the door and then take his poop outside and then make sure he smells it and then take him to the same spot like every time I think it finally she’s getting it but it actually took another dog s***** in front of her outside to realize that she was part of a dog pack that’s supposed to potty outside and not part of our pack that’s supposed to putty inside the house if that makes any sense

    2. Hi, I have a 5mo blue nose Bully at 45lbs. Lu’Mai, she’s really smart…knows her basic commands plus a few more. My issue I’m having is she’s starting to play too rough with my 9yr old Jack Russell. Trying to get her to stop has been a chore. When I go to take her inside n she’ll throw herself to the ground n won’t get up. Forcing her to she’ll start snipping at me. I do get her inside n put her in her crate. She can be really stubborn, which I know pits can be. She wants to do what she wants…I don’t allow her to. She gets really unruly around the sometime every afternoon for about 3hrs. I try to keep her an a schedule ( feedings, naps as well as a bedtime) Uurrgghh…it’s gets so frustrating.

      1. I have a 3 month old and he is the same. I take him to a local park and for a walk every day around 6 or 7. Lately it has been raining every afternoon and I could not take him He was a handful. I just bought him a rain coat so I can take him out even when it rains a bit . They for sure need the exercise. Too much energy

      2. Dear Melissa I am so glad I read yours I thought I was the only one I have been going up and down on this internet trying to find out what is wrong with my dog she’s now 5 months old she doesn’t use the bathroom correctly and she’s just being very stubborn it’s like when and then she does the same thing you would you’re saying when when you tell her to either sit down she flopped down on her stomach and if she don’t want to move she won’t move so what I thought maybe it’s because of my buddy who gave me her he has the mother on the Father the brothers all so I thought maybe it’s the bloodline because of it’s so many of them he has about $10 and they all have been from the family to the family to the family and that’s how he’s making them so that’s what I thought maybe something is wrong with her but it seems like pit bulls just want to be stuck or not I’m hearing thank you so much if you get a chance hit me back LaBron Jones on Facebook

    1. Hi I have a 9 month old pitbull he is so loving at home but when he goes for a walk sometimes he jumps up and bites nothing we do stops him its like 1 out of 4 times but he has drawn blood and bruised arms I realy don’t no what to do

    2. I’m about to get a 3 weeks pitbull puppy I’m so excited however need to know eating habits and training to ensure I build a rapport. Pls assist

  3. Someone Withcommonsense

    Hitting is never positive reinforcement. Negative doesn’t mean “taking away” when referring to dog training, it’s about the inherent moral/ethical ramifications of the action, in which hitting a dog is negative.

  4. Please change that pitbulls were originally used for fighting. They were actually originally used as nanny dogs for children, and used for rat control which resulted in fighting. Their high pain tolerance and strength put them into army’s, their loyalty made them protect, and people started fighting them for sport after seeing this. As a pitbull supporter we have to change the way people see pits.

    1. I agree I’ve had a variety of pits my whole life and of course they all have different attitudes but so does humans but they all were loving loyal and tender to my babies and very smart, so to the people that read this pits are not a bred aggressive dog unless it is taught to do so just like a human so from a baby to adult they can be raised with love pride morals or unloved violence and rude, so you tell me.

  5. I have a 3 month old almost 4 month old blue nose pit female. I also have 2 cats and 1 older dog. My pit is very aggressive towards me she bites my hand alot and puppy biting i get, But she is getting more aggressive she rolls over and jumps up at my face. I have her in PetSmart training which isn’t helping she does like other dogs and people but when she comes home she is mean and aggressive. She gets praised alot and still snaps on us. I love her but i need help. She chases the cats everywhere they do bat her all the time but that doesn’t stop her. Any suggestions. I

    1. My pit loves my cats, she never bites them she just wants to lay on them. My problem is two chihuahuas that I think want to eat her and she just wants to play.

  6. I have a 11 month old (63 pounds) Pitbull and need advise! We got him when he was 6 months. He is VERY reactive and goes from 0 to 20 in a split second (this seems to be getting worse as he’s getting older). He is very nervous also. He plays with my daughter’s female Golden Retriever but he sometimes gets rough with her (no aggression though). We don’t know much about his background but was told that he spent a lot of time in a crate (So he wasn’t socialized). Walks are a nightmare because of his strength and even my husband has a hard time while walking him. We tried a Haltie but forget that, he freaks out when we put something on his nose. So the trainer said to buy a harness and this seems to want to make him pull more. Someone else suggested a training leash that goes right behind his ears which is better but still not 100%. We did the obedience 1 with him and he learned all the basics really well. We even had private sessions at our home but the reactivity is getting really hard to deal with. We give him lots of treats while training and praise him but as soon as he sees another dog, cat…that’s it! Or if someone comes over to our house he wants to jump up on them and it’s almost impossible to get him to calm down. So we can’t have our nieces and nephews come over with their young children anymore. We love our dog and don’t want to give up on him but i’m worried that he might hurt us or someone else because of his strength and the reactivity issues.

  7. I have a 10 month old Bullypit who is constantly biting our hands and jumps up on myself and my kids who are 16 and 18.. we had him since he was 6 weeks old .. he was always biting and destroying stuff my fault mainly bc I never crate trained him I always had him in a pen until recently I bought him a crate he was getting out of the pen… My main issue is the constant biting he has tons of toys he destroys pretty much everything except his kong that keeps him busy for a short while I give him bully sticks that also lasts a short time… I am at my WHITS end with his biting and jumping .. I’m not sure why he still biting on hands and wrists but I seriously can’t take it anymore .. any advice would help has anyone else’s pit do this???

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