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How to Give Your Pit Enough Exercise

Physical fitness is an important factor in a dog’s overall health, so it’s necessary for you to help your pit bull get enough exercise. Not only will this help him maintain his target weight and prevent unnecessary health problems, it will give him an outlet for all of his energy (which might otherwise be used to destroy your home). Exercise helps dogs stimulate their minds, which is beneficial for you because a bored pit bull is often a destructive one.

Walks are one of the most important parts of a dog’s exercise routine. Dogs burn calories and energy when they walk, so this simple exercise is a great way to keep your dog in shape. Walks aren’t just for exercise either. When you put your pit bull on his leash, you are taking him away from his usual environment and giving him a chance to explore the larger world. The exposure to new smells, sounds, and sights will give him a chance to exercise his mind as well as his body. An energetic pit bull needs two walks per day. Aim for 20 to 30 minutes for each walk, or, if you prefer, you can take one extra long walk. Keep your pit bull safe on walks by keeping him on his leash at all times, taking your own water along in case he gets thirsty, and wearing reflective gear at night. If you encounter any new dogs on your walk, be sure to watch your dog’s body language for signs that he is getting tense or nervous. If he is, remove him from the situation before a fight starts.

Dogs make great exercise partners, especially if you enjoy running. Pit bulls have high energy and great stamina (if they are in good condition) and will enjoy a brisk jog. Running has the same health benefits for your dog as it does for you – it burns calories quickly and gives his heart a good workout. If you aren’t fond of jogging however, a long walk will do just as well for your pit bull.

You can also try taking your dog for a swim. Many pit bulls love water, though you may have to introduce him to swimming slowly. Take his favorite toy to a pond and toss it into the shallow water so that he only has to wade out to get it. He may pounce happily into the water, or he may be shy about it at first. Stick to shallow waters until your dog gets used to spending time in the water. Once he is comfortable, you can gradually throw the toy into deeper waters until he is forced to swim to retrieve it. It’s important to remember, however, that not all dogs know how to swim instinctively, so it’s a good idea to start out with life jacket on your dog just in case. If your dog enjoys swimming, it will be a great way to get him the exercise he needs! (He might even feel tired afterward. Did you think that was possible?)

Swimming can also count as play time. Play is just as important as walking. When you play games such as fetch and tug-of-war with your dog, he is getting physical exercise while fulfilling his need to engage in predatory behaviors. You’re giving him an outlet for the hunter within, and he will love every minute of it. Games allow your dog to use his instincts and his intelligence while spending time with his human best friend. When you play with your dog, you are helping to strengthen the bond between you while keeping him mentally and physically healthy.

A great option for getting your dog extra exercise is to train him to compete in one of the many available dog sports. These sports are mentally challenging and often physically demanding, and they will keep your dog in good shape and give him a challenge to overcome. They also allow you to reinforce and continue your dog’s training, so he will be the best-behaved dog in the neighborhood. There are a surprising number of sports available; agility, disc-dog Frisbee competitions, dock diving, weight pull, and flyball are all canine sports that your dog can participate in. Pit bulls, with their compact muscles, have been known to excell at weight pull competitions. Your strong pit bull might get extra satisfaction from that particular sport! Some pit bulls have also been known to do extremely well at disc dog, a game in which the handler and the dog perform a choreographed sequence of Frisbee tricks. In fact, if you want to see what your pit bull is capable of, you can check out this link for some great videos: http://www.pitbullunited.com/wallacethepitbull/wallacevids.html.

If you are diligent in making sure that your pit bull gets enough exercise, you will find that he is not only healthier, but that he is more balanced, obedient, and happier. Through walks, jogs, or play, you can enhance your dog’s training, keep him physically fit, and strengthen the ever-growing bond between you. On top of all of that, you might find that you get some exercise of your own along the way!

Pitbull Health Concerns

We’ve all heard the phrase before: “it’s genetic.” We use the term to describe traits, illnesses, or disorders that we have inherited from our parents, grandparents, great grandparents, etc… Unfortunately, genetics don’t just affect humans, and there are a number of conditions that your pit bull might develop as a result of his breeding. Though most responsible breeders try to avoid breeding dogs with these conditions and therefore reduce the chances of puppies inheriting them, your pit bull could still be susceptible. This article will discuss the ailments that you should watch out for.

Hip Dysplasia

This is a disorder which can strike any dog, but there are a handful of breeds that seem particularly likely to get it. The pit bull is one of these breeds, so you’ll have to watch for signs that he is developing hip dysplasia. Hip dysplasia is a condition in which a dog’s hips don’t fit properly in their sockets. This is because the sockets did not form correctly as the dog grew. It can be a very painful condition for the dog, and should be managed with a combination of pain medication, anti-inflammatories, and low-impact exercise. Your vet can help you create a plan to manage your pit bull’s hip dysplasia, should he develop it. Watch for signs such as limping, widely spaced hips, clicking sounds in the joints, hopping instead of running, pain in the rear legs, and difficulty going up and down stairs or taking walks.

Patellar Luxation

This complicated sounding condition is similar to hip dysplasia, but it involves the knees instead of the hips. The patella, the flat bone at the front of the knee, does not stay in place. This dislocation can be very painful, and surgery to realign the knee is usually the recommended treatment. It’s important that dogs with patellar luxation maintain a healthy weight, as overweight dogs can experience the problem more frequently and with more pain. The deformities are usually present when the dog is born, but the condition might not become a problem until later in his life. Unfortunately, patellar luxation is genetic and unpreventable if a dog has the deformities. Bow-leggedness, lameness, reluctance to walk, run, or jump, and abnormal gait can be signs of patellar luxation.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis is a skin condition which primarily results from allergies. Dogs can be allergic to pollen, dust, and mold – essentially any allergen that you might also be susceptible to. “Bully” breeds such as pit bulls can have severe allergies. In this case, the allergies cause itching, runny eyes, and itchy throat. More severe cases of atopic dermatitis can cause skin infections and lesions as well as ear infections. In many cases, dogs will make the problem worse by excessive scratching and biting, which can cause sores and hair loss. If your pit bull has atopic dermatits, your vet will try to determine what he is allergic to. Medication (including anti-histamines), frequent bathing with hypoallergenic shampoo, and a diet that includes healthy fatty acids (to help suppress the allergy) are the usual treatments for atopic dermatitis.

Deafness

Just like humans, dogs can be deaf and it is a common problem among pit bulls and other bully breeds. Dogs can be deaf in either one ear or both. Deafness presents its own unique challenges because training a dog that can’t hear can be very difficult. If you choose to adopt a deaf pit bull, make sure you are prepared to exercise great patience and caution as you try to train your dog. Unfortunately, deaf dogs are at higher risk of injury or death because they can’t hear sounds such as traffic or your frantic commands. They can also be more likely to show aggression. This is mostly due to the fact that without their hearing they are easily startled or have a hard time interpreting threatening situations. Hearing loss is, sadly, irreversible.

Tumors

Dogs can get any type of cancer, but pit bulls are particularly susceptible to a type of tumor known as a mast cell tumor. Mast cell tumors are essentially a form of skin cancer. They can grow very quickly and can have a variety of forms, so if you notice any growths or lumps on your pit bull, it’s best to take him to see a vet. Your vet can test the growth to see if it’s a malignant, cancerous tumor or if it is simply a fat deposit or another harmless growth.

Compulsive Tail-Chasing

Yes, this is a fun game to play with many dogs, and it’s always good for a laugh. But for some pit bulls, the desire to chase the tail becomes a compulsion. A pit bull that suffers from this psychological disorder will often spend the vast majority of his time chasing his tail. It can interfere with his ability to walk, sleep, eat, or play. Dogs that suffer from compulsive tail-chasing often develop the condition as a puppy, but severe or recurring stressors can also spark the compulsion. Treatment includes behavior modification in order to desensitize the dog to the cause of his stress. Anti-depressant medications have also been effective in treating compulsive tail-chasing. Fortunately, as long as the disorder is properly managed, most tail-chasers can live normal, balanced lives.

You don’t have to be paranoid about your pit bull developing a genetic disorder. Most dogs live perfectly healthy lives. As a responsible owner, however, you should keep an eye out for the signs and symptoms of these ailments so that you can get your dog the treatment he needs. Even if your dog does develop an inherited condition, proper care can help make sure his life is comfortable, happy, and long.

Socializing Your Pitbull

Proper socialization is important for all dogs, but in the case of pit bulls, with their genetic predisposition for dog aggression and the negative image placed on them by the media, it is an absolute necessity. While not all pit bulls are aggressive toward other animals, socialization can help reduce the risk that your dog might become aggressive due to fear or stress. It will also help your dog remain happy and confident, and help him live a life without fear.

Ideally, socialization should begin at a young age, when the pit bull is still just a puppy. Don’t worry if you have adopted an older dog, however. You can still help him become accustomed to the various circumstances he will find himself in. In fact, many people argue that adopting an adult pit bull from a shelter is a much more accurate way of determining if your dog will show any dog aggression. Shelters will not put aggressive animals up for adoption, but young puppies can develop such tendencies as they get older. Regardless of whether your dog is a puppy or an adult, it is important to begin introducing him into a variety of situations as soon as you possibly can.

The first thing you should remember about socializing your dog is to take it slow. Dogs of any breed can become nervous in new situations, so it’s important to take it easy and let your dog become comfortable at his own pace. Don’t just throw him into the deep end and expect him to swim! When you introduce your dog to a new situation, keep a close watch on his behavior. If he starts to appear tense or nervous, it’s time to take a break and move him away from the situation. Introduce him to it again later on.

Introduce your dog into as many different situations as you can think of. Pit bulls are actually bred to be very friendly with humans, and you can encourage this by showing your dog off to all of your friends. Let him meet a variety of people wearing a variety of things. Tall people, large people, redheads, brunettes, glasses, hats, mustaches – he needs exposure to all of these things. It would be a good idea to ask some of your friends to bring umbrellas along when they meet your dog, so that he can learn not to fear these as well. Be creative, and try to think of the types of people your dog might see on the street. It would be a good idea to introduce your dog to children as well, but make sure you supervise the dog and the children at all times. Young children especially like to pull ears and tails, so it’s important that you pay attention to your dog’s body language, and separate him from the children if he looks as if he’s reached his limit. You should keep all of your dog’s meetings with other people as positive as possible. Start out with quiet, low key encounters and gradually allow him to witness you and your friends at your rowdiest. Always reward your dog for not acting fearful. If he stays calm and relaxed, give him a treat and praise.

It is also a good idea to take your dog into as many different locations and around as many different modes of transportation as possible. Dogs can be spooked by cars, bikes, skateboards, or any other type of vehicle, and the more positive exposure they have to these things the less fearful they will be. Keep treats on hand to reward your dog for staying calm. Try not to reinforce negative behavior by consoling or comforting him when he acts afraid. Simply move on, or remove him from the situation. When he shows no signs of fear, reward and praise him. This will allow him to make a positive connection with the situation. Taking your dog to parks, cities, beaches, or any other place you can think of will help you expose him to a wide variety of situations, people, vehicles, and objects. But remember to keep him on a leash at all times. As you get to know the dog you will come to trust him, but other people may not feel the same, especially since people tend to get nervous around a pit bull. Be courteous and play it safe by keeping your dog on the leash. This will help you avoid trouble if any unexpected situations arise.

As mentioned (and contrary to popular belief), pit bulls are actually very friendly toward humans and strangers. They love being around people. The same is not always true about other dogs. It’s important to socialize your pit bull with other dogs, but you should do so carefully. Pit bulls were often bred for use in dog fights, so many of them have a genetic inclination to be aggressive toward other animals. Dog aggression can vary greatly between individual dogs, and can change throughout a pit bull’s lifetime. Your dog may not show any signs of dog aggression, or he may bristle, snarl, and lunge at every dog he sees. These are two extremes, of course, and your dog might show dog aggression only in certain circumstances or with certain other dogs. While he may be reluctant to attach another dog, he won’t necessarily back down from a challenge either. So it’s important to be careful when exposing your pit bull to other dogs. If you get your dog as a puppy, it would be a great idea to take him to puppy classes, where he will have a chance to play with other puppies in a controlled environment. This will help him get used to other dogs at an early age. You can also try introducing your pit bull to other dogs in a neutral area, and always on a leash. Never simply throw two dogs together or leave them alone. Pit bulls are capable of doing severe damage to other dogs and any unpleasant encounter can lead to more dog aggression in the future. It is also a good idea to avoid places such as dog parks, where large numbers of dogs are running free. Any breed of dog can become nervous or aggressive if it feels threatened, especially in the presence of multiple other dogs. Know your dog’s limits and what circumstances are likely to spark aggression, and you will be able to safely allow your pit bull to interact with other dogs.

Don’t be nervous about socializing your pit bull because of his breed. Remember that he is likely to be very friendly with strangers, unless he feels he has reason to fear them. Introducing him to a wide variety of people and circumstances will help build his confidence and reduce the chances of him developing aggression in the future.