"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

"Ask the Dog Guy" with John Wade

Puppy and Obedience Training Without Food or Fear

Pit Bull Won’t Come

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Pit Bull

Pit Bull Won’t Come Out of Fear or Habit?

Hi John,

I have a rescue pit bull. I am a male and his is also. When we first got him he was very timid around me and other males but just loved women. Over time with patience and positive reinforcement he no longer acts timid or threatened by me and even begs to lie in my lap. The problem is when he is in the yard (fenced in) and when I try to bring him in. Sometimes he gets to be scared and timid when I try to bring him in. My wife or daughter have no problem. With me he tends to stay just out of reach and barks and growls at me. I never raise my voice nor threaten him. Once he gets intimidated there is nothing that we can do to make him let me put him on the leash. I’ve even sit on the ground with his favourite treats and he won’t come to me. I’ve even laid one treat on the ground and walked away. He will come up to the treat and watch me, grab the treat and go away from me. My wife or daughter has to get him in the house. Once in the house he is completely back to normal and wants to lay in my lap if he can. Just as a side note when we first brought him home he would guard the bedroom door when my wife was in there and growl at me if I came down the hall. He no longer does this and when inside treats me like one of his best friends.

Chad in Hixson

Hi Chad,

Tough time of year to start this but the simplest way to deal with this is to attach a 30’ lunge line to your Pit Bull and let him drag it around and be out there to supervise him and do so for the next 3 months minimum. A year would be better. Pit Bulls are smart but if they can’t be caught you can’t be taught. Don’t say it if you can’t back it up. By now it’s probably just the routine as opposed to any direct connection to whatever prompted his reluctance but it’s real enough for the both of you in practical terms so worth working on.

Your Pit Bull will “get it” faster then 3 months but better to turn it into a conditioned response and that takes repetition. Also with the lead on there’s less reaching out at him and scaring or reinforcing whatever he’s scared of. Reach for the leash handle and give him a little wiggle room.

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