An APBT and kids – the perfect combo
An American Pit Bull Terrier raised in a typical American family environment will grow up to be a wonderful companion animal because they are great with kids.
“A well-adjusted APBT is a great family dog because it has an exceptionally high pain tolerance,” says behaviorist and dog trainer Harrison Forbes of Savannah, TN. “I had an American Pit Bull Terrier growing up and he was a really great dog to have around. Neighborhood kids would come over to play and step on his toes and he just shook it all off and carried on joining in the fun and games.”
Teaching kids and dogs from Day One
Your APBT needs to be properly socialized around kids from the moment he becomes a beloved family member. And, at the same time, all kids in the household need to be taught to respect the dog and cautioned never to tease the dog with toys, or pull its ears or tail.
“Proper initial puppy training followed by more intense obedience training will teach a dog how to react to being body handled by children and not to respond aggressively to rough play that occurs in a typical household,” explains dog trainer Kathy Santo of Upper Saddle River, NJ who has taught numerous APBT ‘students’.
“An owner should ensure that any obedience training course will cover these bases or get another trainer.
Train State by Stage
“Because training an APBT is an on-going process, this includes any training schedule that involves children,” explains Santo. “Children as they grow through various stages need to be taught new things. For example there’s a stage when as babies they do nothing. Then they learn to crawl. Next they start to walk and touch and take things. Every new progress steps a child takes should be linked to additional training in the dog’s education so that he learns what to do and understands the new parameters.”
Watch their Weight
Because they are very athletic dogs and very powerfully built, it’s unadvisable to leave them alone unsupervised around small children. Like many of the larger breeds, these dogs are unaware of their own strength and a child cab easily be unintentionally knocked over during exuberant play.
Because they are very food driven and have a high prey drive, children should also be taught never to tease a family pet with either food or toys.
Getting kids involved in the dog’s routine
One of the best ways to teach children to respect their pet is to involve them in the dog’s routine. It can be done from a very young age. Even as toddlers, children should be shown how mommy puts down the food bowl and makes sure there is always fresh water. And as soon as they are old enough, they can take over these chores. The same applies to brushing and grooming the dog on a regular basis.
Teaching the Neighbors too
Neighborhood children and friends who visit regularly must also be taught to understand and respect your dog and treat him as a fun playmate. And the same way children need constant reminders, the dog will need the same nudges as part of his on-going training over the years.
“If properly trained and socialized, dogs have so much to offer a family in terms of love and affection and keeping a protective eye on younger family members,” says Santo. An emotionally sound APBT that’s been properly schooled will be a perfect match for a child that has also been properly educated in dog behavior.They can be destined to become best friends forever.”
This article is from American Pit Bull Terriers