Rough-housing with your pit

by john bockholt
(ripley tn)

OK, i just got my very first pit his name is Glock. He's a razors edge.

I'v been reading on pits for some time now--on training, health, being a good owner, etc. My question is this: Is it ok to rough-house a little?

I know my lab used to love it but she got cancer last year and we had to put her down so that she did not suffer. But this is my first pit and I don't want Glock being labeled a bad dog due to my mistake.

Gale's Reply:

Hi John:

First, I want to commend you on taking the responsible approach and reading up on care and training before getting your pit. These dogs would have a much easier time of it, if only more people would do what you have done.

As far as rough-housing, my philosophy is that as long as your dog enjoys it and you have the siutation under control, it's not a problem.

I can remember a time when the "experts" (so-called) were saying that you should never play tug of war with a pit bull. The concern being that pits like to grab on and not let go of things. And, playing tug encourages that behavior which looks scary to the uninformed.

Also, there was the concern that if you let your pit win the tug game, he/she might view that as a sign of weakness in you.

Then a sensible trainer came along and said, "Wait a minute!" Why not just train your dog to "drop it" or "let go" on command? Problem solved.

I see rough-housing as being in the same category. Train your pit that the game is over when you say it is. Put "game over" on cue and there shouldn't be a problem.

If you have more questions, or would like to let us know how things are going, please feel free to post back here.

For more information on obedience training, visit our Pit Bull Training page.

For help with behavioral problems, check out our Dog Behavior Training page.

Comments for Rough-housing with your pit

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Jan 17, 2011
ruff housein
by: Anonymous

i have had pits since i was 16 my latest is and 11 month old red nose Zoey sh e is wonderfull we ruff house but i also trained her to know when its ok and whome its ok to play ruff with as long as you train them all is well and make sure you let them know when enuff is enuff

Jan 17, 2011
Rough-housing with your pit
by: Jessica

I will rough house with both of my pits, but I include commands like "sit, stay, down" during the play. If they stop listening because they are too excitied, then we take a break and calm down. Once they are attentive and listening, we will continue. That way I am always in control and everyone has fun without getting too crazy.

Jan 17, 2011
Rough Housing...
by: Michelle

I absolutely "rough house" with my 2 rescued pit bulls without incident. My males' fav game is tug of war BUT my dogs know their place in the pack and do not challenge me. When I say its game over - its game over...and I agree, teaching "leave it" early on is way beneficial...when you are very sure of you and your dogs relationship...and its in his head that you are indeed the "pack leader" - rough house away! Pit bulls are such people pleasers and love to play with their human! ;)

Jan 17, 2011
Burning Off Energy
by: Gremlin

My son has always wrestled around with our pit bull. She knows I don't like to play rough. She will stand in front of him to let him know she wants to play. It sounds like they are tearing the house down, but she loves it. She knows when he says, "That's enough, go get you a drink of water", that it's time to settle down. He usually wears out before she does.

We've never seen any aggression or anger caused by the rough-housing. I'd say if your dog seems like he's taking it a little too seriously, it would be the time to stop and correct the behavior. We've had our pit bull long enough to recognize her play bark or growl, which would also be an indicator that things had gone past play.

Enjoy your bully!

Jan 17, 2011
rough housing
by: john

thank you all for your input ,i think i'm gonna try rough housing with him a little and see he's already
use to my tone and does listen for the most part there has been a few time he did not but he was being very hyper at the time but by the time i said no the second time and he knew daddy meant no
you know i been around pits and their owners and heard and seen them say how smart pits are well being a new owner i will say this these dogs are smart and omg they are so loving almost to loving at times but when all said and done they are just like a kid its up to use to mold them for adult
thank you all so much
john &glock

Jan 17, 2011
More Comments
by: Gale

Hey John, FYI, you also received quite a few responses on our Facebook page. Good luck to you and Glock.

Jan 17, 2011
You bet!
by: Jeannie

I have 3 female pits, 2 chihuahuas, and a terrier mix... all rescues. One of the chuis plays with all 3 pits, but loves playing tug with one of his pit bulls. She always lets him win! I rough house with all of them, and they all know when I say "that's enough!" that playtime is over. One of my girls was about 5 years old when she came to live with me. She didn't know how to play and when she figured out it's fun she'd bite a little too hard. I tell her "easy!" and she immediatley lightens up. Two of my girls play well together but I referee and when (not if) it gets to rough I put a stop to it immediately.

Good luck with Glock... you'll find so much pleasure and love with him.

Jan 17, 2011
Pitties love playing - just keep it on YOUR terms!
by: SunnySouthTexas

You have the right idea ... playing is wonderful for dogs and the bonding that you get by doing enjoyable things with your dog will be priceless. Keeping an eye on the play and an ear out for signs that things are getting too wound up, is the key.

We have two rescue Pits, one rescue Boxer, and an Akita-Boxer-Pit... things can get pretty loud and boisterous at times, but everyone (doggies) keeps an eye out for if Momma is OK with the wrestling... its funny that they gauge me even more than Dear Hubby on the rough=housing! I guess I put up with less shenanigans than he does?

As soon as I see/hear someone getting their panties wadded up - we have to quit the goofing off. They have actually learned that making the Real Growling Noises makes the game end. When someone growls, the whole pack disperses before I can even get the command out!! LOL!

Enjoy your new flesh-eating Pit! I adore mine!!

Jan 23, 2011
Rough Housing
by: Anonymous

When we first got our pit, I was very concerned about rough housing because we wanted to establish that biting wasn't ok (he was a puppy so he mouthed on everything). I understand this is how dogs play, but when dogs get worked up you have to be careful.

We taught our dog that if he started to play too rough, the game was over. We also taught him "drop" which is an excellent thing to teach! I highly recommend it. If you haven't learned how, the way we taught our dog is by getting him interested in a tug toy, and then offering him a treat. When he dropped the toy for the treat, we gave lots of praise and added the command.

He's still a puppy so he's still learning, but pits always aim to please! He knows when no means no and he always listens to drop. It's great!

I argued with my boyfriend about rough housing thinking it would teach my dog bad manners, but I lost that fight and I'm glad I did. They can rough house and have no problem since there are rules(and they both have so much fun doing it!).

I hope this helps. :)

Mar 01, 2011
rough housing
by: Jettas Mom

We have a four year old pit, that my husband rough houses with. He is the only one who does this and she knows when he says that's enough that it's game over. She has never even attempted to rough play with me or my 9 year old daughter. But she will let my 9 year old daughter dress her up hehehe. They have to know their are limits, and be trained as such. I honestly think that Jetta would not even rough-house with us because she would be afraid of hurting one of us.

Apr 21, 2015
People Rough Housing in front of pit NEW
by: Marilyn

When my husband & I got together. He already had a 4 yr old pit named Ike. Ike is truly a big baby.
A loving pit but never had to share his owner before. The problem is not that he's jealous of he's owner. The problem is that Ike has gotten attached to me and wants to react to his owner rough housing with me. I tried explaining to my husband that we can't really blame Ike, because he's never been exposed to this situation. I'm at a loss. Help Ike get off punishment.

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