Exercises for Pit Bulls to Keep Them Fit and Healthy
If you own a Pit Bull, you’ll know that these dogs are incredible athletes. They have a very muscular upper body and seem to gravitate naturally towards physical exercise.
Letting all that untapped potential go to waste would be an injustice. So here’s a brief roundup of a few exercises you should be doing with your dog to keep them fit and healthy.
Why do Pit Bulls need regular exercise?
Well, it’s not just Pit Bulls that need regular exercise. All dogs need it.
Just like humans feel sluggish, lethargic and irritated when out of shape, dogs, too, feel the side effects of not eating a proper diet or not getting enough exercise.
This could lead to some behavioral issues.
They’ll often take their frustrations out on other objects, like your wife’s new pillowcases, that new leather couch standing in the living room, or - heaven forbid - your new set of golf clubs.
So think of inventive ways your Pitty can burn off that excess energy through mental stimulation and physical exercise and keep everyone in the family happy.
Exercises for your Pit Bull Puppy
You can feel comfortable starting exercises for your pit bull puppy from about 8 weeks old.
A 10 to 15-minute drill should be enough to introduce them to the basics while still holding their attention.
Anything more than that and they’ll probably get distracted by their surroundings and not really benefit from the exercise anyway.
If you’d like your puppy to grow into a fearless guard dog, ready and willing to protect his pack at any time, you want to start with guard dog training exercises from an early age.
But if you have a child at home and your puppy is meant to be their best friend forever, focus on obedience training from young.
And finally, if you simply want him to socialize and play well with others, start both his physical and social exercises from a pup.
Here are some exercises you can safely do with your pitbull puppy:
Know its name
Call your puppy by his name. The sooner he understands that you’re calling on him with a specific call, the better he’ll react to more intensive training later on when he’s older.
So don’t wait too long before choosing your puppy’s name, pick one and stick with it!
Sit - Lay down - Stay
Some of the most basic commands that all puppies can learn are the classic sit, lay down and stay commands.
These commands are imperative because Pit Bulls grow into powerful animals, and a dog that doesn’t obey these commands can be very dangerous.
Use positive reinforcement like a treat reward when engaging in training your puppy. That way, the command will be embedded in their minds and they’ll likely react to you without needing a treat as they age.
As your pup grows and its need for stimulation changes, you must mix things up and help them burn off more and more energy.
Here are a few different exercises for sub-adult and adult pit bulls, starting with physical training:
Exercises for your Adult Pit Bull
Some of the most recognizable and classic exercises you can introduce your dog to are also the easiest. You don’t need any specialized tools or add-ons, just your time and undivided attention:
Tug of war
Tug of war has been a firm favorite for dog owners and their pets for many years.
Pit Bulls instinctively want to pull on objects to show their dominance and strength. They show that they are the alpha or leader by subduing an object.
Capitalize on this instinct.
Invest in a strong - but canine friendly - rope and engage the game with your dog. This is a great way to blow off some adrenaline when it’s cold or rainy outside, as it can be played indoors.
Play tug with them from time to time as it helps build muscle in their jaws when clamping down and their front legs / upper body when pulling back.
Be sure that you’re always the one to engage the game, as this will prevent them from tugging on random objects in your hand and keep your hands clear from the end of the rope for your own safety.
A spring pole is a device that is used to help build muscle. Because of the Pit Bull's historical use in bull baiting, they have a natural instinct to jerk on things.
Get into the habit of teaching your dog to grab and let go on command, and the spring pole turns into an obedience training tool.
Simply attach a rope, toy or something durable to the end of a spring that has been attached to a solid object and allow your dog to pull on it.
Spring poles are certainly one of the best strength exercises for your Pit Bull, but they should not be used if your dog shows aggression.
Make sure the spring pole is stable to make the game safe for your dog and don’t raise it too high off the ground.
Dogs seem hesitant initially, but they'll love this exercise once they get used to it.
A weight-pulling harness is a great way to build a lot of strength and muscle.
Besides a basic pulling harness, you simply need an open area, preferably a grassy field like a soccer field.
Getting the correct size weighted vest is very important because pulling weight puts a real strain on your dog.
Start with a lower weight and work your way up.
You also need to do this exercise on a cool day and ensure he has enough water to keep hydrated.
Don’t let them pull on a full stomach as they’ll get sick. And make sure that they have the proper nutrition when engaging in weight pulling, as this will make the exercise healthy and sustainable without causing too much discomfort.
Pulling the weight should only be done over a short distance, as sustained pulling could cause your dog to overheat.
Dock jumping is a fun game where dogs see how far they can leap from a stationary dock into a body of water.
It’s a great way for dogs to get some exercise and keep cool simultaneously.
But it’s not just a straightforward jump into the water that you’re after with this sport. It’s commonly broken down into a few different divisions, namely.
Here the dogs chase a toy that their owner is throwing. Running down the dock as fast as they can, the dogs hurl themselves as far as they can into the water as they try to catch the toy before it hits the surface of the water.
The object of this game is in its name. A toy is suspended above the water, about two feet from the far edge of the pool. The dog needs to run, dive into the water and retrieve the toy as quickly as possible.
This exercise tests how high a dog can jump. An object or toy is suspended a couple of feet above the water, and once the owner releases the dog, he needs to jump as high as possible to retrieve the toy.
After each round, the toy is moved slightly higher and each time the dog gets to the toy, it advances to the next round.
Although dock jumping is a fun exercise for dog owners, spectators and dogs, it’s good to remember that not all dogs love to swim.
So if you own one of those dogs, try to find a different dog sport for them, one that won’t feel like they’re being forced to do something they dislike.
Having your Pit Bull compete in an obstacle course challenge is a unique way of improving your dog's agility while playing with them.
It’s really beneficial for your dog as it gives them mental and physical stimulation simultaneously- without them even realizing that they’re exercising.
Enhance their workout by timing them doing laps around a standard course layout. The better they get, the higher their reward.
An obstacle course is also one of the best exercises for an American Bully. It stimulates different muscle groups, from the upper body and back muscles to the front leg and hind quarters.
A flirt pole, or flirt stick, is a device many dog owners use to train their dogs on speed and agility.
High-energy dogs, like pit bulls, love flirt poles as they burn a lot of energy quickly. And best of all, they work for all breeds, from the tiny Pomeranian to the mighty Cane Corso.
They’re also easy to make. Simply attach a squeaky toy to the end of a string or rope and the other end to a pole.
Flirt poles help your dog focus on one object at a time as they try to catch the toy moving through the air.
Running and walking
Don’t underestimate the good old-fashioned dog walk.
Pit Bulls love walking or joining their owners for a morning run before work. Invest in a proper dog walk harness or leash, and take your pup for a daily walk.
Running is good exercise as it helps their lungs develop fully and also helps them with blood flow, which will benefit them when they get older.
If you’re one of those people with a busy work schedule and you’re worried that simple walks won’t give your dog enough exercise, play fetch in the yard for a few minutes each day or play tug of war for a few minutes in the evening.
Playing fetch is easy enough and your dog will love you for it.
Common mistakes Pit Bull owners make.
Pit Bull owners often think their dogs will entertain themselves and not become couch potatoes. But unfortunately, that just isn’t true.
This breed loves playing with its owners and forms strong bonds through different activities. So don’t leave it to them to entertain themselves, or you might start seeing behavioral issues.
Another mistake owners make is that they expect too much from their dogs. When engaging in training that requires high concentration levels, pitbulls often get distracted by cars or even other dogs.
So keep the environment calm and relaxed, away from the distractions of daily life.
A final thought
Start training your pitbull from a young age. They will react well to different training forms, especially those designed for building muscle.
How much exercise is enough for your dog depends on each dog. While some are ok with just a few minutes of physical training during the day, others will need proper exercise at least once every other day.
Read more about Pit Bulls:
- What is the Best Dog Food for Pit Bulls?
- The Best Collar for Your Pit Bull