Let’s talk agility dog training and Pit Bull terriers!
If you’re thinking about training your pit in coursework, you’ll love our tips for success.
We’ll go over everything you need to know, including basic obedience training tips, when to start agility training, and more.
Take a look!
Agility Dog Training And Pit Bull Terriers
Training your pit bull isn’t just essential for teaching him good manners, it’s also an excellent bonding opportunity.
While all dogs need training to some degree, pits have an (unearned) bad reputation, so it’s even more important.
A well-trained pit shows the world, “Look at how well I behave! See, I’m a good dog!”
Think about it this way, when your chihuahua gets a little rowdy and jumps on someone, no one freaks out.
When they see a grinning pit coming at them for hugs and kisses, it’s a different story.
So, it’s definitely worth it to spend a bit more time and energy training your pit bull.
Once he’s mastered the basic commands, you’ll want to continue to build and foster that strong bond. This is where agility training comes into play!
What is agility training?
Agility training is all about teaching your dog to navigate an obstacle course.
If you’ve ever watched a dog show and marveled at how the pups fly over hurdles and through tunnels, you’ve seen agility training in action.
Never seen a competition? Check out this video for a quick peek!
With successful training, your pit should be able to run the course just by listening to your commands.
During competition, dogs are timed and have to run the course the fastest and with the fewest mistakes in order to win.
However, you don’t have to plan on competing to reap the rewards of agility training.
It’s a great activity for active dogs like pit bulls because it gives them a good outlet for all that excess energy.
When can I start agility training my pit bull?
Most experts recommend waiting until your dog is at least a year old to enter competitions, but you can start some aspects of agility training right away.
For example, even young puppies can learn how to weave through poles and run through tunnels.
Just leave the hurdle jumping for later, as young pups shouldn’t participate in jumping activities until their bones are done growing.
What will I need to get started?
What do you need to start agility training your pit bull terrier? That depends!
If you’re not even sure you or your dog will like agility training, I recommend holding off on buying equipment and just renting time on a local course.
Many dog training schools have at least a small agility course that you can use, and the fee is fairly reasonable. Our local course gives you 30 minutes for about $15.
While I wouldn’t recommend it for the long term (by the 10th session you could have paid for even some of the most expensive agility equipment kits), it’s good for those just dipping their toes into coursework training).
Most dog owners who compete in events buy or build their own equipment, though.
If you want to try your hand at building your obstacle course, YouTube has plenty of great tutorials, including this one:
Along with the equipment, you’ll also need a dog that understands basic commands!
In other words, you can’t start agility training until your pit has mastered obedience training.
A lot of the same tips for basic pit bull dog obedience training will carry over into your coursework training, so let’s go over them quickly.
Basic Pit Bull Dog Obedience Training Tips
Pits are incredibly energetic and enthusiastic, which makes them naturals at coursework. However, it also means they can be quite a handful at times!
They’re also incredibly smart dogs AND people pleasers, which can definitely work to your advantage both during basic obedience training and agility training.
Whether you’re working on basic obedience commands or advanced trick training (like coursework), you’ll want to get an early start.
As soon as you bring your pup home, begin basic training and socialization. Let’s start with socialization, since it’s so important to every aspect of training.
Pits can be extremely friendly and affectionate animals but they can be dog aggressive if not properly socialized, and you can’t have that if you’re planning on competing with them.
The best way to socialize your pup is to enroll in training classes. Training classes allow your Pit to be trained side by side with other dogs.
If you can’t swing classes, that’s fine. Many clinics and training schools offer free or cheap puppy play date sessions, or you can connect with other local pit owners and set up your own get-together.
Keep it fun & rewarding
When your Pit Bull puppy reaches the age of 13-16 weeks, you can begin a more serious training routine.
Whether you’re working on obedience training or coursework, just remember to keep it fun and rewarding. NEVER ever ever punish your dog.
Numerous studies have shown that reward training works better than negative punishment-based training, anyway.
Don’t use force!
I’m not just talking about choosing a force-free training method, I literally mean do not force your dog to do any aspect of agility training.
Obstacle courses are strange territory, so it’s perfectly normal for your dog to be a little nervous at first.
My dog is terrified of hoops. I thought it would be so fun to train her to go through them, but she quaked in fear the first time I brought it out.
Rather than putting it around her or trying to force her through it, I set it on the ground and sat in the middle with high-value treats.
Once she took them, I put them alone in the hoop, then just on the other side, and so on.
Now, she’ll walk through it, but she’s still nervous. We have a ways to go, but she’s making a lot of progress. Patience is key!
Putting it all together: Agility training your pit bull terrier
Look, I can’t teach you how to teach your pit to run a course in a single post.
Dozens of books totally thousands of collective pages have been written on the subject!
Plus, beyond basic tips, the “how” really depends on your dog, your intentions, your budget, your…you get the point.
We’ll eventually cover pretty much every aspect of coursing in depth, but for now check out a few of my favorite videos to get you started.
Introduction to Dog Agility
Zak George is one of my favorite dog trainers. He’s all about positive reinforcement, and he keeps things fun for both you and your dog.
The video above gives you a quick overview on introducing your dog to agility training.
Teach Your Dog the Weave Poles
Weave poles are a great introduction to agility work because even young pit bull puppies can safely do it.
They’re also the least foreign aspect of obstacle course, so they’re least likely to freak out your dog.
Teach Your Pit to Go Through Tunnels
Once he’s mastered the weave poles, it’s time to move on to tunnels! Again, this activity is safe for pit bull puppies because he doesn’t have to jump.
However, don’t be surprised if he’s really apprehensive at first. Tunnels aren’t exactly everyday object the way poles are.
Teach Your Dog to Jump Hurdles
We actually talked about how to teach your dog to jump hurdles in more depth, so check that out.
Just remember to wait until your dog finishes growing to start this part of the coursework.
The most important thing to remember is no matter what type of training you do with your Pit Bull, you both should enjoy it.
Spending time together will help build a better bond, leading to a lasting relationship.
Whether you want your dog to compete or not, the benefits for both you and the dog are many.