The American Pit Bull Terrier has gained such a fearsome reputation that it is banned in some counties or housing areas and some insurance companies won't insure homeowners that have the breed. This fear of pit bulls comes from its past as a fighting dog. Because of this history, some pit bulls can be aggressive toward other dogs. What many people may not realize is that even fighting dogs were bred specifically to be tolerant and patient with humans. While the image of a pit bull babysitting your child may seem odd to you, pit bulls are renowned for their patience with children. They are affectionate dogs that crave love and attention from humans. Pit bulls often show their affection by licking, a habit which you may not like.
Move away from your pit bull when he tries to lick you. Don't try to push him away or even talk to him. Licking is a cry for attention, and even negative attention is better than no attention. Simply move away and ignore your pit bull for as long as it takes for the dog to stop trying to lick you.2
Give your pit bull the attention she wants when she finally does stop licking. Praise her, pet her and give her a dog treat if you have one available. This will teach your pit bull that she does not get attention when she licks, but that being patient will earn her the love she craves.3
Teach your pit bull basic obedience commands such as "Sit" and "Lie Down." Use these commands when your pit bull is persistent in his efforts to lick you and ignoring him isn't working. Turn away from him, but ask him to sit as well. This will give your pit bull an alternative course of action. When he stops licking you and obeys your command, reward him with affection.4
Practice steps one through three consistently until your pit bull learns the lesson. Depending on your dog's individual personality, it can take days, weeks or even months to change the licking habit into a more appropriate behavior. Be patient, and give your pit bull attention only when she isn't licking you.
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