Walking a Pitbull - All You Need to Know
Pitbulls tend to be rather strong, muscular dogs. Despite their short stature, you may have seen their incredible sprinting and jumping power. So how much exercise do they need? How do you provide it? And how do you handle the challenges of walking such an active breed?
How Much Walk-Time Does My Pitbull Need?
Pitbulls are an active breed prone to becoming overweight if they don't get the exercise they need. They have great stamina and can walk or run quite fast.
It's recommended that you walk an adult dog twice a day for around twenty to thirty minutes per walk. If you only have the opportunity to walk your pitbull once a day, then it's recommended that you walk him for about an hour.
Remember, age also plays a role. An elderly or sick dog may not require as much exercise as a young, healthy one. Usually, Puppies under four months can be exercised from home, and once they hit five months, you can start with short walks of about twenty minutes a day. You can slowly increase this until your puppy grows into an adult pitbull.
This may seem a little overwhelming, but don't worry. There are many ways to make this easier.
How To Make Dog Walks More Convenient
Though walking every day is just as healthy for you as it is for your pitbull, it can be difficult to stick to a schedule. Investing in a dog walker or a trusted Dog Daycare service might be a good idea. This may also help your pitbull with separation anxiety or frustration they may suffer when you're not home.
Otherwise, you can include alternate exercises. If your dog is well-trained, a good run around the dog park could substitute for a walk.
Pitbulls are very social animals, so they may enjoy exercising more if you do it together. Exercise time can include a number of activities that will entertain both you and your dog. These can include things like tug-of-war or running an obstacle course.
You can also mix things up a little by occasionally changing your routes or taking your well-trained dog with you when you go biking or skating. This will keep things fresh and fun for both of you. You can even take your pitbull with you on trails. However, remember your local laws and the fact that your pitbull may tire out if they're not used to long distances.
Preparing to Walk
Proper preparation can make a big difference to the fun and safety of a walk. There are a few things you should keep in mind.
Who Should Walk My Pitbull?
Ideally, you should walk your pitbull because they know and trust you the most. Taking the time to bond with them will help reduce their stress levels and improve their mental and physical health.
That's not always possible, though. As mentioned, there’s no shame in asking a day-care-service, a dog walker, or another family member to walk your dog for you.
Remember, both adult pitbull terriers tend to be powerful dogs. Therefore, it's recommended that you don't let a small child, elderly, or otherwise infirm person walk them, especially unattended. They may struggle to cope with leash-pulling or if your pitbull decides to run into traffic or towards another dog.
Before the Walk Starts…Get the Right Equipment
After establishing your pitbull’s personal needs and who will be walking them, it's good to get things in order.
First, you will need the correct equipment. While most dogs can be trained to walk off-leash, it's best to start on-leash and keep one on hand in case of leash laws or other dangerous situations. If you have a very reactive dog, then include a comfortable muzzle along with this list.
You should first decide whether you will use a collar or a harness. 
A harness may be easier on your dog and prevent strain-related injuries. However, they can be time-consuming to put on and offer less control for the walker. It's important to choose the best harness for your pitbull.
On the other hand, collars and leashes can give you more control and include a place to attach a dog tag in the event that your dog runs away during a walk. However, if they are too loose, they can be easy to escape from or cause injuries if they're too tight. Like harnesses, choosing the right leash and collar combo is important.
Sparkpaws' also offers a special no-pull harness. It is specially designed with large, strong dogs in mind and provides the comfort of a harness with the controllability of a leash. It can easily stand hundreds of pounds of pulling pressure.
It's also important to take your environment into consideration. If you live in a very hot or cold climate, invest in some dog shoes to prevent your pit bull from burning or freezing its feet. Big dogs are just as likely to get burned, and injured, from hot paving and sand, as little dogs.
You may also want to bring a doggy water bottle or a collapsible bowl to ensure your pitbull doesn't become dehydrated on a hot day.
One of the most important parts of safety on walks is ensuring that your dog has adequate training. A dog’s natural instinct is to pull on the leash or to run to where it wants to go, and it's our responsibility as owners to control this instinct.
Most puppies can start leash training at around ten weeks old, but even older dogs can be reconditioned to get used to leash training.
While your dog can be taught a wide range of commands, there are a few important ones to teach them early for their safety and yours. This would include commands such as ‘Sit’ and ‘Stay’ to prevent your dog from running off to a dangerous situation. Other commands like ‘Come Here’ or ‘No’ are also very important.
In Case It Goes Wrong…
Despite our best efforts, sometimes things will go wrong on our walks. We can minimize the risks with some preparation and knowledge of what to do when it happens.
A bit of preparation goes a long way.
It's always good to check the weather where you plan to walk your pitbull. Hot weather means you may need to plan a route with more shade or keep cool water on hand.
More dogs go missing in cold winter than in any other season, and you may want to keep a close eye on them. Do not let your pitbull eat snow, as it may contain traces of harmful chemicals.
Even if your dog is well-trained, keeping a leash nearby is best. A well-trained dog may still have a bad day or become spooked, especially in a crowded or unfamiliar area. If your pitbull is becoming stressed or if another dog is being aggressive, leave that area for a while.
Never try to break up a dog fight by yourself.
You could try to distract the fighting dogs by making a loud sound or throwing a blanket or jacket over them. If you can do it safely, you might be able to separate them by means of a large object like a plank or branch.
While distressing, it might be best to wait for an opening or for the fight to calm down before evacuating your dog.
A pitbull or pitbull terrier is a strong breed. If you are walking one that hasn't been adequately trained, it may begin pulling on the leash. This can normally be corrected with some leash training.
Pulling on the leash is normal behavior but can lead to bad habits. You can try to distract the dog with some treats, rewarding them when they walk in a calm ‘heeled’ position.
You may also teach them with some leash pressure - Holding the leash tighter when the dog pulls and giving them more slack when they are behaving. This way, the dog learns what is expected of it.
Consistency in this kind of training is crucial. It's best not to let your pitbull go to something while on a leash, including other dogs.
Getting to know your pitbull and what kind of triggers they have, whether excitable, aggressive, or fearful, can go a long way to preventing accidents.
An adult pitbull should be walked about twice a day for thirty minutes at a time, and this should keep them healthy and give them time to ‘get to business.’ However, a single hour-long walk will also suffice. Supplementing with other forms of exercise can also help keep things engaging. A younger or older dog may get by with less.
Be careful of letting someone frail walk your dog, and take proper safety precautions when walking. Accidents can happen quickly, even on well-known routes.
Keeping a leash or harness on hand is wise, especially one that suits your dog's needs. It's advised that you keep a tag on them and keep some water and other essentials nearby. Pulling on the leash is normal behavior, but it's best that you try to get rid of it with training. Having a good anti-pull harness and leash will also make things easier for you.
However, at the end of the day, good training and good owner-control will make the most difference.
Also important: Dog walking may seem like a chore, but try to make sure that both you and your pit bull are having fun!Article Resources: