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The goal of every dog owner should be to help their dogs reach their maximum potential.  To quote Captain Max von Stephanitz, “The breeder can indeed lay the foundations of a good and serviceable dog but the trainer must see to it that he brings to their highest possible development, the physical and mental foundations already laid and thus his is the more grateful task.”  Too many times I see dog owners who seem to do everything possible to put their dogs at a disadvantage.  One of the things that amaze me about the American Pit Bull Terrier is their ability to overcome all odds.  Yet, just because this breed is extremely tough and resilient, it does not give us the right to be lazy and expect our dogs to overcome our failures as dog owners.

            Conflicting advice is everywhere.  Everyone you ask has their own ways of doing things, so much so you wonder if anyone knows what they are talking about.  Why does one expert suggest one thing while another tries to debunk it?  Thanks to the internet we have more information at our fingertips than at any other time in history, yet it seems like we are more confused than ever.  It’s not a lack of information that we are missing, it’s getting this information to the people who need it and getting the people that need it to apply it.

            My take on successfully raising dogs is not rocket science.  They are simple, time-tested, no nonsense habits that when implemented will help put you on your way to developing the ultimate American Pit Bull Terrier.

  • Socialization- Properly socializing your dogs is critical to their development. A socialized dog will be confident at all times. Nothing fazes them.  The earlier you begin socializing your dog the better.  Socialization shouldn’t stop once a dog reaches a certain age.  It should be a lifelong endeavor.
  • House your dogs like Olympic Athletes– If you expect Olympic performance out of your dogs, then treat them like Olympic athletes. They should have clean living quarters at all times. Plenty of living space; not stuffed in a crate for most of the day; not tied to a 4 ft chain or stuck in a tiny kennel all day. These are athletic dogs that need long chains, large kennels or cable runs to be at their best.
  • Pay Attention to your dog- Don’t just throw feed down once a day and forget about your dogs until the next day. Pay attention to how each dog acts. How they move, their habits, etc.  Dogs can’t speak, but their actions will tell you all you need to know if you pay attention.
  • Feed a Complete Raw Diet- The best thing I’ve ever done for my dogs has been to feed them a Natural Raw diet. The results are astounding.  I now know EXACTLY what my dogs are eating.  I do not have to trust a label on a bag of heavily processed dog food that is full of additives and preservatives.  Feeding kibble dog food is the human equivalent of eating fast food.  Yes it takes more time to feed raw, but my dogs are worth it.  Are yours? 
  • Exercise- Dogs thrive on exercise. Not only is exercise vital to a dog’s physical health, it’s also essential to their mental and emotional well being.  A dog that is properly exercised is happier, has less anxiety and gets better rest than a dog that is not exercised.
  • Proper Rest- In order to reach their genetic potential, a dog needs sufficient sleep. Sleep helps the dogs’ body recuperate and replenish.  This results in a fresh dog that is mentally and physically prepared to give their all in training.  A stress free environment that they feel safe and secure in is vital to obtaining proper rest.  Be sure your dogs are provided with this at all times.

If you make habits out of the above mentioned list, you and your dogs will be poised for success.  Don’t complicate things.  Worry less about which supplement powder to feed your dogs and more about the basics.  The basics are more important!

            If you’re interested in continually expanding your knowledge of breeding, raising, feeding and conditioning Canine Athletes, become a fan of the Canine Athletes Facebook Page.  www.facebook.com/CanineAthletes

Andrew Seguss
Andrew Seguss


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