On January 29, 2011 we had our first "official" meet-up at a park in Highland Park. We had a good friend of ours, Robert Sotello, come out and talk with the group. He is a certified dog trainer. It was great to have him come out and give us a chat about training tips and dog behaviour. There were just 3 of us with the kids and pups that first meet up. Since then we've meet a few times for doggy play dates and the like. That's the point of the club: To Promote Not Demote The Breed. Here are a bunch of photos from that day.



The American Kennel Club’s Canine Good Citizen (CGC) Program was designed to recoginize dogs who have good manners and are thus great representations in their home, family and community. It's a series of 10 temperament tests each dog must pass in order to be certified as a CGC dog. The program stresses responsible pet ownership for owners and basic good manners for dogs.

As loving responsible pack leaders we highly encourage everyone to take part in this program. The tests are simple basic rules every pack member should know and it's one more step in showing the world at large how amazing each and everyone of these dogs are.

Training/Testing: CGC Test Items

http://www.akc.org/events/cgc/program.cfm Before taking the Canine Good Citizen test, owners will sign the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge. We believe that responsible dog ownership is a key part of the CGC concept and by signing the pledge, owners agree to take care of their dog's health needs, safety, exercise, training and quality of life. Owners also agree to show responsibility by doing things such as cleaning up after their dogs in public places and never letting dogs infringe on the rights of others.

After signing the Responsible Dog Owners Pledge, owners and their dogs are ready to take the CGC Test. Items on the Canine Good Citizen Test include:

Test 1: Accepting a friendly stranger

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to approach it and speak to the handler in a natural, everyday situation. The evaluator walks up to the dog and handler and greets the handler in a friendly manner, ignoring the dog. The evaluator and handler shake hands and exchange pleasantries. The dog must show no sign of resentment or shyness.

Test 2: Sitting politely for petting

This test demonstrates that the dog will allow a friendly stranger to touch it while it is out with its handler. With the dog sitting at the handler's side, to begin the exercise, the evaluator pets the dog on the head and body. The handler may talk to his or her dog throughout the exercise. The dog may stand in place as it is petted. The dog must not show shyness or resentment.

Test 3: Appearance and grooming

This practical test demonstrates that the dog will welcome being groomed and examined and will permit someone, such as a veterinarian, groomer or friend of the owner, to do so. It also demonstrates the owner's care, concern and sense of responsibility. The evaluator inspects the dog to determine if it is clean and groomed. The dog must appear to be in healthy condition (i.e., proper weight, clean, healthy and alert). The handler should supply the comb or brush commonly used on the dog. The evaluator then softly combs or brushes the dog, and in a natural manner, lightly examines the ears and gently picks up each front foot. It is not necessary for the dog to hold a specific position during the examination, and the handler may talk to the dog, praise it and give encouragement throughout.

Test 4: Out for a walk (walking on a loose lead)

This test demonstrates that the handler is in control of the dog. The dog may be on either side of the handler. The dog's position should leave no doubt that the dog is attentive to the handler and is responding to the handler's movements and changes of direction. The dog need not be perfectly aligned with the handler and need not sit when the handler stops. The evaluator may use a pre-plotted course or may direct the handler/dog team by issuing instructions or commands. In either case, there should be a right turn, left turn, and an about turn with at least one stop in between and another at the end. The handler may talk to the dog along the way, praise the dog, or give commands in a normal tone of voice. The handler may sit the dog at the halts if desired.

Test 5: Walking through a crowd

This test demonstrates that the dog can move about politely in pedestrian traffic and is under control in public places. The dog and handler walk around and pass close to several people (at least three). The dog may show some interest in the strangers but should continue to walk with the handler, without evidence of over-exuberance, shyness or resentment. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise the dog throughout the test. The dog should not jump on people in the crowd or strain on the leash.

Test 6: Sit and down on command and Staying in place

This test demonstrates that the dog has training, will respond to the handler's commands to sit and down and will remain in the place commanded by the handler (sit or down position, whichever the handler prefers). The dog must do sit AND down on command, then the owner chooses the position for leaving the dog in the stay. Prior to this test, the dog's leash is replaced with a line 20 feet long. The handler may take a reasonable amount of time and use more than one command to get the dog to sit and then down. The evaluator must determine if the dog has responded to the handler's commands. The handler may not force the dog into position but may touch the dog to offer gentle guidance. When instructed by the evaluator, the handler tells the dog to stay and walks forward the length of the line, turns and returns to the dog at a natural pace. The dog must remain in the place in which it was left (it may change position) until the evaluator instructs the handler to release the dog. The dog may be released from the front or the side.

Test 7: Coming when called

This test demonstrates that the dog will come when called by the handler. The handler will walk 10 feet from the dog, turn to face the dog, and call the dog. The handler may use encouragement to get the dog to come. Handlers may choose to tell dogs to "stay" or "wait" or they may simply walk away, giving no instructions to the dog.

Test 8: Reaction to another dog

This test demonstrates that the dog can behave politely around other dogs. Two handlers and their dogs approach each other from a distance of about 20 feet, stop, shake hands and exchange pleasantries, and continue on for about 10 feet. The dogs should show no more than casual interest in each other. Neither dog should go to the other dog or its handler.

Test 9: Reaction to distraction

This test demonstrates that the dog is confident at all times when faced with common distracting situations. The evaluator will select and present two distractions. Examples of distractions include dropping a chair, rolling a crate dolly past the dog, having a jogger run in front of the dog, or dropping a crutch or cane. The dog may express natural interest and curiosity and/or may appear slightly startled but should not panic, try to run away, show aggressiveness, or bark. The handler may talk to the dog and encourage or praise it throughout the exercise.

Test 10: Supervised separation

This test demonstrates that a dog can be left with a trusted person, if necessary, and will maintain training and good manners. Evaluators are encouraged to say something like, "Would you like me to watch your dog?" and then take hold of the dog's leash. The owner will go out of sight for three minutes. The dog does not have to stay in position but should not continually bark, whine, or pace unnecessarily, or show anything stronger than mild agitation or nervousness. Evaluators may talk to the dog but should not engage in excessive talking, petting, or management attempts (e.g, "there, there, it's alright").

Equipment

All tests must be performed on leash. For collars, dogs should wear well-fitting buckle or slip collars made of leather, fabric, or chain. Special training collars such as pinch collars, head halters, and electronic collars are not permitted in the CGC test.

As of November 4, 2010, body harnesses may be used in the CGC test. The evaluator should check to make sure the harness is not of a type that completely restricts the dog's movement such that it could not pull or jump up if it tried.

We recognize that special training collars such as head collars and no-jump harnesses may be very useful tools for beginning dog trainers, however, we feel that dogs are ready to take the CGC test at the point at which they are transitioned to equipment that allows the evaluator to see that the dog has been trained.

The evaluator supplies a 20-foot lead for the test. The owner/handler should bring the dog's brush or comb to the test.

Encouragement

Owners/handlers may use praise and encouragement throughout the test. The owner may pet the dog between exercises. Food and treats are not permitted during testing, nor is the use of toys, squeaky toys, etc. to get the dog to do something. We recognize that food and toys may provide valuable reinforcement or encouragement during the training process but these items should not be used during the test.

Failures – Dismissals

Any dog that eliminates during testing must be marked failed. The only exception to this rule is that elimination is allowable in test Item 10, but only when test Item 10 is held outdoors.

Any dog that growls, snaps, bites, attacks, or attempts to attack a person or another dog is not a good citizen and must be dismissed from the test.

SOURCE: AKC CGC



Here are our top 10  pitbull training tips that you can follow straight away to improve the responsiveness of your pitbull, how obedient it is, and improve your relationship straight away.

(The following tips have been taken from the following full guides to pitbull training: Pitbulls Revealed and The Pitbull Guide)

1. Praise Must Be Earned Constantly praising a dog is a bad idea - too much praise means that when you really should praise a dog it has less value - your dog is used to it already. Once your dog learns a new command / trick then stop constantly praising it. For example if it already sits on command then don't praise it for doing so, only praise it when it learns something new.

2. Ignore Attention Seeking Behavior Don't give your dog too much attention, otherwise it will keep acting up and may even get out of control to seek the attention it knows it will receive. For example; if you are sitting watching TV and your dog constantly jumps up onto your lap then this behavior can't be acknowledged or it will never stop. Take it off your lap and ask it to sit. This way you keep control of the situation.

3. Avoid Aggression / Confrontation If you have a naturally aggressive pitbull then you need to avoid confrontation at all costs. Show your dog that aggression is not an option and won't be tolerated. If your dog learns that all it has to do is bark and you back down then it will apply this behavior in all situations and it will be controlling you. Don't accept this, show your dog who is boss in all situations and it will lose the power of aggression.

4. Never Accept Demanding Behavior Sometimes your dog might be pretty persistent, but again you must show it who is the boss and if, for example it keeps barking at you then don't give it your attention. Ignore it and show it that demanding behavior won't be accepted. After being ignored it will soon learn that this will not work. Once it has calmed down you can ask it to come to you and sit and give it a little praise / attention for calming down and reinforce this positive behavior instead

5. Toys Must Be Earned To an untrained or young dog too many toys, or access to toys all of the time can lead to excitement and a loss of control. It is recommended to use toys as a reward and only let your dog use one toy at a time. Again, this shows the dog that you are in control.The dog has access to only one toy at a time. You control the use of toys and the time spent playing with them.

6. Keep To Set Feeding Times Sticking to strict and regular feeding times is so important. Food is the whole world to a dog, and when you are the one that provides it (at set times, rather than it constantly having access to food) you really show you are the master.

7. Don't Allow High Places Not allowing your dog access to areas such as chairs, tables, couches, beds etc shows the dog it is different, it is on a "social level" below you and other humans, and has a different set of rules. Dogs naturally feel more dominant and aggressive when on "higher ground" so keeping it on a lower level not only keeps your house tidy but keeps your dog obedient too.The dog should not be allowed to get on the bed or couch unless you ask. High places are a way dominant dogs gain control. Dogs (like people and other mammals) feel more authoritative when on a higher level

8. Make Your Dog EARN Freedom Another way to keep control and keep a higher level of obedience is to use "freedom" as a reward. If it has been disobedient then even when you take it out keep it on a leash. Don't even let it releive itself without a leash. It will soon learn that good behavior in general leads to a larger amount of freedom.

9. Praise! The dog training tips mentioned here can seem quite strict, but remember that fair is fair and your dog needs a little praise from time to time - as much as you should show it you are the boss praising behavior can be a great way to reinforce good behavior and lead to more of it.

10. Don't Expect Too Much No matter how trained your dog is or isn't it is still an animal and no dog is perfect - expect a little bad behavior from time to time when it's natural instincts kick in. SOURCEDeciding to adopt a new family member into their pack is a big step for anyone. Add to that a dog vilified everyday in the media for reasons unjustified you have potential for big failure on many levels. So when deciding to adopt, and you should (just take a look at any animal shelter) care needs to be taken to pick the right one for your life style, level of interaction, and temperament. The following list of 10 tips direct from the ASCPCA is a good foundation for successfully choosing and integrating your new bundle of joy into your life.

1. Socialization is the key to a happy and confident Pit Bull. All Pit puppies should be enrolled in a puppy class where part of the time is devoted to off-leash play with other dogs.

2. Pit Bulls are enthusiastic learners. They enjoy trick training and many graduate at the head of their obedience classes. There are many Pit Bull rescue groups that can recommend training classes.

3. It’s play time! Pits are moderately active indoors and extremely active outdoors—be prepared to spend a minimum of 20 to 30 minutes twice a day engaged in aerobic-level activities with your dog.

4. You may experience breed discrimination. Legislation may prohibit you from living in certain communities, and homeowners insurance may be harder to find. Before you adopt, call your local city hall or animal shelter to find out about your local laws.

5. Do your research. Are your neighbors the kind who might get concerned about a Pit Bull in the community? Bringing home a Pit Bull may be tough because many people wrongly associate them as being aggressive. Be prepared with breed facts and history to let people know that it’s bad ownership that causes Pit Bulls to be aggressive.

6. Adoption is the best option. By rescuing a Pit Bull, you are saving a dog that needs a home and family. Adopting a Pit from a shelter means that the dog will have had an initial health evaluation and should also have already been vaccinated and spayed or neutered for you. More and more shelters use a standardized evaluation to assess the behavior of their dogs. If the dog you’re interested in has been evaluated, ask to see the results so you can get a more complete picture of the dog’s typical reactions to things.

7. Consider adopting an older Pit Bull. With an adult dog, what you see is what you get. Their personality is already developed, and you'll be able to spot the characteristics you're looking for much more easily than with a puppy.

8. Establish house rules for your new Pit that everyone will stick to. Consistency is the key to training Pit Bulls. Decide on the behaviors you find acceptable and those that you wish to discourage, such as:
  • Is she allowed on the furniture?
  • Is it okay for her to bark in the backyard?
  • Can she play with toys in the house?
  • How do you want her to behave when guests come into the home?


9. Set a good example for others. Become a proud parent—be sure to show your Pit Bull the love and care she deserves. And always let others know what great companions they make!

10. Understand that Pit Bulls are large and strong dogs. If they aren’t used to being around small children, they may unwittingly knock them over while playing. Some Pit Bulls do best in a home with children 12 and older.



Bella was found wandering behind the apartment where I live next to the park. She seemed scared yet determined to get away from wherever she was. Her tail was between her legs, her head was down and she was just motoring forward trying to escape whomever was to blame for her bad state.

She was obviously used as a breeder. You can see that right away. Her back was bowed slightly and she had a bad skin irritation from fleas which caused her to lose all the hair on her backside. Well I was not going to just let her keep walking down the street. I live right off a freeway offramp and cars scream down the street all the time!

I called to her and tried to get close to her. She didn't start to growl or anything either. She simply stopped and I could hear her say "Can you help me?". I of course answered "I wouldn't think of anything else momma. Come with me."

So I took her to my place and got her a nice warm bath right away. On further inspection I found out that she was missing her front teeth either from neglect or actually removed so she would not bite the males that were trying to impregnate her. Otherwise she looked in good health and she was not at all fighting me, barking or acting out in a negative way. Just super calm.

After getting her cleaned up and dried off I took her to the balcony and set her up outside with a makeshift den made out of boxes and a piece of board I had to create a shelter. I added some blankets, food and water (boy did both of those disappear quickly!) and let her rest. After just a few hours she was already looking at me and wagging her tail! Now to just get her to the vet, get her checked out and prepare her to have her pups!

A week later on Monday October 7 she gave birth. So far with the help of some of the Little Rascals crew and other friends she and the pups have had enough food and are doing well. Could use some more help though with any donations for her vet bill and more food, toys, cleaning stuff, and treats! Even a couple of bucks will help greatly.

Will be looking for furever homes for all the pups and Bella herself.





Don't Judge Me - I Don't Judge You Human

Stand Up for Pits was started by Comedian/Actress Rebecca Corry after hearing about the horrible story of Angel way back in 2007. Since then she and so many others have contributed to making the event not only a yearly fundraiser but a national one with events happening in various other cities. The goal is to use laughter and friendships to share stories about the breed raising money and awareness to help support different rescues.
This year's event goes down on Sunday Nov. 3 at The Largo in Hollywood with special guests Bill Burr, Whitney Cummings among plenty of other surprises. The night will be hosted by Kaley Cuoco of Big Bang Theory fame!
Tickets are available online for $30. Largo at the Coronet is located at 366 N La Cienega Blvd Los Angeles, CA 90048. Doors open at 8pm. Visit standupforpits.us for more info.
Stand Up for Pits 2013
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