Corona del Mar Pit Bull Shows Breed’s Gentle Side

Blamed for more attacks than any other breed in the country, the pit bull has a bad reputation as a dangerous breed, but two little girls in Corona del Mar consider their pit bull Kissi, just one of the girls.

Kissi, an 11-month-old American Staffordshire terrier, is arguably one of the daintiest pit bulls one will ever meet, but her owner Tonya Nicholson is committed to training her to be well-behaved. Kissi spends her days running in and out of her Poinsettia Avenue home alongside Nicholson’s girls, 7-year-old Tess and 4-year-old Tate, with a pink, bedazzled collar and painted red nails, but that doesn’t stop some people from being afraid of her.

According to Pit Bull Attacks.org, the breed was responsible for 726 attacks reported in news articles in 2009. Much of the bad rep pit bulls have, stems from incidents like one in Newport Beach when police shot two pit bulls after they attacked a woman and her son at the Marriott Newport Coast Villas in June.

“Contrary to what people think, Kissi is really calm and well-behaved,” Tonya Nicholson, Kissi’s owner, told Patch. “But she’s really had to overcome the stigma of pit bulls. She has to be twice as well-behaved as any other dog because she is a ‘pit bull’.”

In an attempt to make sure her pit bull Kissi gets a fair chance to make a good first impression, Tonya Nicholson has enlisted the help of Newport Beach dog trainer Vladislav Roytapel.

“We are training her to respect human authority, to stay down near the floor unless she is called up for a pat or a treat and things of that nature,” Roytapel said. “I believe in training dogs properly to prevent any problems from arising.”

Roytapel has his work cut out for him with Kissi, not because she is aggressive but more so because Kissi has a special bond with Nicholson’s little girls.

“I love when she jumps on our bed and snuggles with us,” Tess said.

Roytapel says although Kissi has proven to be one of the girls’ favorite playmates, she needs to be taught her place in the family.

“She is low on the totem poll in the family and that’s what we need to make sure she always understands,” Roytapel said.

And although Kissi isn’t known to be a troublemaker in the neighborhood, she does have to follow stricter rules when the Nicholson girls have company.

“When people come over, I will put a muzzle on her to help them feel more comfortable,” Tonya Nicholson explained. “But its not because of her behavior. She doesn’t chew things up or snap at people. It’s for their piece of mind.”

Nicholson says she hopes introducing the community to Kissi one neighbor at a time will help people understand the pit bulls themselves shouldn’t be typecast.

“Be afraid of how the owners’ train these dogs, not of the breed as a whole,” Nicholson said.

Training Your Pit Bull Terrier With Dog Treats

Every responsible Pit Bull owner wants a well trained pet. There are several training options which may be used to achieve the desired results. One of the most popular methods used by owners is treat training. Treat training is a reward system using either the dog’s favorite snack food such as cheese, bits of hotdog or by using store bought treats.

Treat training allows the owner to use these small bribes as a form of positive reinforcement for good behavior. Proper use of treat training will enable you to teach your Pit Bull to follow the sit, come and lie down commands, as well as teach him almost any trick you can imagine. If used with friendly rubs and praises, it can also assist you to housebreak your Pit Bull.

To teach your Pit Bull to sit, you’ll need to prepare a treat bag just before you begin. A plastic zip top baggy comes highly recommended by me for use as a treat container. It allows you to put the treats in your pocket while allowing you to keep your pockets from getting soiled and soggy. Believe me, try it without the baggy and you’ll not try it that way again. This is especially true if you opt to use bits of table food such as the cheese and hotdog slices.

Decide upon what you will use as the treat. Think of what your Pit Bull likes to eat, but you don’t give him very often. This makes an irresistible bribe, and you will see faster results than if you’d used an every day treat. Once you’ve chosen your bribe, put the baggy in your pocket so you can reach it easily. Don’t try to hold the bag in your hand, as this will distract your Pit Bull, and may even get him to jumping up in an attempt to try and grab the entire bag.

If you have more than one Pit Bull, or other dog for that matter, take the time to put the other dog away so you can do one on one training. Other animals in the vicinity will only hamper your training as your Pit Bull will think the session is a competition for which dog can get the treat fastest, rather obedience training.

Now that you’ve prepped your treat bag and have your Pit Bull alone with you, it’s time to begin.

Take a bit of your chosen treat and hold it above your Pit Bull’s head while giving the command to “sit.” If you hold the treat high, the dog will have to sit to see the treat. Once he sits, give him the treat and be sure to praise him as a “good boy” for the sit. You can repeat this four or five more times, but after that give it a rest until the next day. I know it doesn’t sound like rigorous training, but it is considered a full session.

Once your Pit Bull has mastered the “sit” command, start to gradually offer gentle rubs and praises rather than treats. You’ll eventually phase out the food treats, and your Pit Bull will continue to sit on command.

Using treat training is an effective and gentle way to train your Pit Bull. It also allows you to be close to your pet for a session of giving treats and praises. Imagine how much your Pit Bull will enjoy that!

Train Your Pit Bull Terrier: Whistle Dog Training

Pit Bulls are an intelligent breed that can be taught nearly anything, as long as they have a good trainer. Having a good trainer doesn’t necessarily mean a trainer that you hired. Many Pit Bull owners are finding that their pets not only are eager to learn, but they also gain much when they opt to train their Pit Bull themselves. Owners who opt to be their dog’s trainer will find that they enjoy spending the extra time with their beloved pet.

Many methods of training exist, and just which type you wish to pursue is totally up to you. Depending on what you wish to accomplish as well as how much time you can devote to the task is just a couple of things you’ll need to factor in when picking a type of training for your pet.

Over the years, one of the training methods which has began to rise in popularity is whistle training. This type of training uses a whistle to give the dog commands rather than using the spoken word. Each task is allotted a certain amount of blows, or pips, on the whistle.

If you’d like to attempt whistle training for your Pit Bull, then the first thing to do is to pick out a good quality whistle with which to give out the commands. Using your own mouth to do the whistling isn’t a good idea. Your pitch would vary, and if you needed to give your Pit Bull a command from a distance, he may not hear you. For these reasons, it’s best to go with a good quality metal whistle.

One whistle command you can teach your dog is to come when called. A good way to do this is to use his feeding time as the starting ground. At mealtime, as you put his food down give two short bursts on the whistle. Continue to do this at every mealtime for about three weeks. Always remember to use the exact number of bursts on the whistle.

Once you have made it for about three weeks with the mealtime whistling, try blowing the same command when your Pit Bull is not expecting a meal. Be sure to have a nice treat for him at the ready, for when he does come you’ll want to reward him with a nice snack and a reassuring rub.

This type of training is useful if take your dog to the park or anywhere in the outdoors. By whistle training your Pit Bull, you’ll know that wherever he is, he can hear you and come at your beck and call.

Breaking Your Pit Bull Terrier’s Jumping Habit: Dog Training Help

As you have probably already learned, Pit Bulls are highly energetic animals. They love to run and play, and get excited easily. One of the more annoying habits they develop at a young age is jumping. Jumping can be particularly annoying when they do it as a way of greeting, especially if it is young child or someone who is afraid of dogs. Teaching your Pit Bull to curb this behavior is not an easy task, but is your responsibility as a Pit Bull owner.

Many people have stopped their Pit Bulls from jumping on them by using treats. When they come inside, they throw some treats on the floor, and then greet their dog while his attention is fixed on the treats. The treats usually work as a good distraction to pull your Pit Bull’s attention away from jumping on you. If you don’t like using treats to train your Pit Bull, or if the method just doesn’t work well for you, then you have to try other ideas to train your Pit Bull not to jump.

One thing you can try is teaching your Pit Bull that it is nicer to sit than jump. Go outside, leaving your Pit Bull inside, then come back in and calmly greet him. If your Pit Bull starts to jump on you, turn your back to him, and ignore him. When your Pit Bull puts all four feet back on the floor, turn back around and pet him. If he starts to jump on you again, turn back around and ignore him. This will teach your Pit Bull that when he jumps, he doesn’t get any attention, but that if he sits nicely you will pet him. This technique may take quite a while for your Pit Bull to learn, especially if he is a very excitable dog. But, if you stick with it long enough, he should learn that jumping is not going to gain him anything other than losing your attention. Once you get your Pit Bull thru this step, try to teach him to sit still for a few moments before you acknowledge him. If he gets up, use the same routine of ignoring him, and then when he sits down, pet him again. This would also be a good time to try to teach him to shake hands when he greets people, rather than jumping on them.

You can also further entice your Pit Bull to not jump by tempting him and then rewarding and praising him for his good behavior. Hold treats up in the air so that your Pit Bull will have to jump to get them. If he jumps, ignore him, and when he is calm try again. When he is able to remain seated, praise him, give him the treats, and some extra attention. He will soon learn that by behaving the way you want him to, he will not only get extra attention, but some extra treats as well, which is double incentive for him to obey.

Another method that tends to work well in teaching your Pit Bull not to jump is to have a designated place for your Pit Bull, and teach him to go there when you need him to, for example, when someone is at the door. To start this training, you will need to pick the spot, and put maybe a bed or blanket and some of his favorite toys there. When the spot is ready, spend some time with him while he is there. Giving him special attention and treats will help him attribute the spot as a good place that he wants to spend time at. As your Pit Bull becomes accustomed to his place, start sending him there occasionally. At first, you will want to be close to the spot, and eventually move farther and farther away from it as your dog learns. Make it a point to give him special attention and treats each time he goes to his spot when you ask him to. Eventually, your Pit Bull will learn that by going to his spot when you ask him to, that you will reward him for it.

The biggest thing you can do to help your Pit Bull learn not to jump is to keep your own greetings calm. I know it is hard when you have been away from him all day not to come in and play and wrestle with him, but this will only get him more excited, and he will expect this same attention from everyone that enters the house. Until you can completely break the jumping habit, it may be best to ignore him for the first few minutes you come home, and then play with him once he settles down. It may take a little time, but your Pit Bull will soon learn how to tone down his excitement.

The Bull(y) and Strong Dog: Staffordshire Terrier

The Staffordshire bulls are known for their great strength because of their sizes. Their variety is muscular and stocky but is also known for their agility. Surprisingly, this breed is one of the two breeds recognized by the UK Kennel Club as very suitable for children. Furthermore, their types ranked 5th when it comes to dog popularity in the UK, where the breed originated. Interestingly, Staffies are the only breed of dog that are “totally reliable” when it comes to standard of breed. The following are some of the basic facts breeders would really love to know about Staffies:

Category: Terrier

Living Environment: either indoors or outdoors

Coat: smooth (or silky like most terriers), dense, and short

Colors: black, brindle, red, blue, fawn; or any of these colors mixed with white

Height: between 14 and 16 inches

Weight: between 24 and 38 pounds

Colors: brindle, blue, black, red, fawn, white; or any of these with white

Temperament: aggressive towards other animals but very friendly with children

Health Issues: heat stroke, cataracts, and breathing problems

Care and Exercise Tips:

• Bathe when necessary. • Brush their coat only occasionally using a brush with firm bristles. • Rub down their coat with a chamois or towel to remove hairs that are loose. • Their physique requires a regular exercise routine which includes a daily play time while on a leash. • They should be on leash while walking in public places. Origin/History:

The Staffordshire bull terriers, also known as the Staffies, are known to have existed around the 17th century. Since dog fighting gained a surge of popularity over bull baiting, it became a must to develop a breed of dog that is agile, strong, and has a more punishing head than the Bulldog.

In this light, fighting Bulldogs of that time were crossed with some terrier blood. The hybrid was known as the Pit Dog or the Bull and Terrier. The new cross breed became well known for their tenacity and courage, and despite their reputation of being furious with other animals they were excellent companions especially with children.

The Staffie pit dog became a favorite of steelworkers and miners alike. The breed also provided chain makers of the “Black Country” with extra income when worked against ratters or badgers.

The enforcement of the Humane Act in 1835 completely prohibited sports like dog fighting and bull baiting. However, a group of men in the Staffordshire chose to maintain their breed of dogs by introducing them to the show business.

Through the years, the breeders themselves changed the name of the dog into Staffordshire bull terrier to differentiate its physique from the English bull terrier. However, the name of the dog was officially registered only in 1935 by the American Kennel Club.

In 1938, a couple of Staffies gained popularity as Champions at the Birmingham National. The popularity of Ch. Lady Eve and were Ch. Gentleman Jim reached many established countries including France, Australia, Germany, Spain, Holland and even the USA. Since then, Staffies became successful as show dogs and were very popular as compared to other terriers.

The Stafford bull terrier, yes, has become a popular pet while still retaining reputations gained through generations of fighting dogs bred for tenacity, courage, agility, and most importantly, its reliability and great affinity with people especially with children.

And today you can say that the bull is not so bully after all! In fact, the bull is totally reliable as children’s pets.