How to Train Your Bull Terrier Dog to Not Bite

Medium
2-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

To you he’s the cuddliest and cutest thing you’ve ever seen. He doesn’t argue back and he loves you unconditionally. He’d also never cause you any harm intentionally. However, your Bull Terrier's nature he can be extremely protective. Recently, he’s tried to bite at your new partner when he’s come too close. He also occasionally displays signs of aggression and biting behavior at other dogs when they get too close to you. This behavior could be seriously problematic. If he gets into a habit of being he could cause someone serious harm. Not only could this result in expensive medical bills, but worst case scenario he could have to be put down.

Getting a handle on this behavior is essential. Fortunately, Bull Terrier dogs are, on the whole, well-tempered and easy to train. So, all is not lost. Getting this training right could even save him from serious injury if he gets into a fight with another dog.

Defining Tasks

Because Bull Terriers are so receptive you can definitely train this biting behavior out of him. To do so though, you’ll need to take a number of steps to deter him from biting altogether. You’ll also have to react quickly and firmly when you do see any worrying signs. Part of training will also require you to direct his energy elsewhere. With the right incentive, you’ll soon see results.

Bull Terrier puppies are particularly energetic and responsive. This means you could see results in just a couple of weeks. If he’s older and this habit has developed over many years then you may need a couple of months to fully break the habit. Succeed with this training though and you won’t have to be on edge when you meet new people and pets. You also won’t have to worry about leaving him with the kids.

Getting Started

Before you start training you’ll need to get your hands on a few things. A water spray bottle and a deterrence collar will be needed for one of the methods. You’ll also need some treats or his favorite food broken into small pieces. 

Some toys and food puzzles will also be needed for one of the methods. A muzzle may also be a smart move until training is complete. The main component though will be time. You need to be on hand to monitor and react to his behavior as much as possible. 

Once you have all of those things, you just need patience and an optimistic attitude. Then work can begin!

The Deterrence Method

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Step
1
‘NO’
Bull Terriers want to please by nature. This means strong disapproval from their owner should have a significant effect. Whenever you see him bite or look like he’s about to, give a firm ‘NO’ command. Look him in the eye as you do this and calmly remove him from the situation.
Step
2
Water spray bottle
Carry a water bottle with you at all times. If the ‘NO’ doesn’t work you can use the bottle to deter him. Give a quick spray close to his face. This will make him think twice before biting next time.
Step
3
Deterrence collar
These can be bought from a range of online and local pet stores. They are remote controlled and you simply hit the button when you see him bite. The collar will emit an unpleasant spray of citronella. He’ll soon start associating biting with negative consequences.
Step
4
Remain calm
It’s important you don’t terrify him when using any of the above steps. If he becomes scared he may become more aggressive. This will only lengthen the time it will take to yield results. So, stay calm at all times.
Step
5
Patience
The steps above can be used in conjunction with each other. However, don’t lose faith if they take a little while to work. It’s about showing him there will always be a negative consequence. That can take a little while to hammer home.
Recommend training method?

The Positive Encouragement Method

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Step
1
Exercise
Bull Terriers need lots of exercise. Those that don’t get enough can act out in any number of ways, such as biting. So, make sure he gets a good, long walk each day. You can also throw a tennis ball as you go. The short sprinting will tire him out. This could help release that pent up energy.
Step
2
Tug of war
Spend a few minutes each day playing tug of war with him. This is an effective, controlled environment for him to release any aggression. Make sure he always wins the game, otherwise he’ll soon give up playing.
Step
3
Give him space
Make sure he has his own space he can escape to. Bull Terrier puppies can often feel overwhelmed, especially if kids are always trying to play with them. So, if he retreats to his crate or bed, let him have some alone time.
Step
4
Reward
Make sure you reward gentle play. That means giving him the odd treat when you're stroking him and he remains calm. If he associates gentle play with food he’ll have a serious motivation to remain relaxed.
Step
5
Attention
Make sure he gets enough attention each day. If he spends long periods of time on his own then he may get agitated and frustrated. The biting could be attention-seeking behavior. So, dedicate a few minutes each day to giving him the love he needs.
Recommend training method?

The Time Out Method

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Step
1
React
When he bites or displays any signs of aggression you need to react quickly. Take him by the collar and lead him out of the room. Shut him in a room for 30 seconds. Make sure there are no toys in there for him to play with. Say nothing as you take him out.
Step
2
Release him
Once the 30 seconds is up you can release him from the room and allow him to rejoin you. Try not to get him worked up and keep him calm when he’s back with you. Just make sure you keep a close eye on him in case the behavior resurfaces.
Step
3
Increase the sentence
If he bites again then repeat exactly the some procedure. However, this time leave him in his time out room for an extra 30 seconds. Once the time is up you can bring him back in again. Add 30 seconds onto his sentence each time he bites until he gets the message. He’ll soon catch on.
Step
4
Boundaries
If the biting usually happens around certain individuals or kids then you need to address how they’re behaving around him. Don’t let them play around his mouth, for example, and make sure they’re giving him enough space.
Step
5
Encouragement
Make sure you show him how happy you are when he plays calmly. You can talk in an upbeat voice and give him the occasional treat. This combination of positive and negative reinforcement will swiftly show him what is and isn’t acceptable.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Ivory
Bull Terrier
5 Weeks
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Question
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Ivory
Bull Terrier
5 Weeks

Ik shes still small but around what age do they start listening to no biting?Is it cause she's teething?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
463 Dog owners recommended

Hello Bonine, The biting is partially related to teething, it is also how puppies learn to control the pressure of their mouths so that they are safer during play or a fight. It is also a way they communicate with other dogs. It varies how soon it improves, some puppies aren't very mouthy, some stop around 4-5 months of age when they are finished teething, some get worse again for a while around 7-9 months when their jaws start to develop and are sore (this is also a heavy destructive chewing age). Puppies need help learning how to use their mouths appropriately. I usually aim to have puppies stop by the time they reach 5 months - because their jaws get stronger then. Check out the article linked below and the Bite Inhibition method and leave It method. I typically recommend the Bite Inhibition method for puppies younger than three months and the Leave It method for puppies 3 months and up or in general. You can use both also. Bite Inhibition method and Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Noser
Mini bull terrier
10 Weeks
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Question
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Noser
Mini bull terrier
10 Weeks

We had him for two days, we can't play with him due to his biting us hand arms legs ankle. It's not nibble or chewing but bites. He also bites his cage. He isn't interest in chew toys etc. I've tried holding him done until he relaxes but as soon as I let go he kninda goes into a biting frenzy lunging out at any part of my body and clothes. His health history, he was born with Clif palent and has 2 surgeries that weren't successful. He has been by his self since he stopped nursing.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
463 Dog owners recommended

Hi, It sounds like the behavior might be meant as puppy mouthing but because of his oral stuff and lack of interaction with other puppies he doesn't have bite inhibition - which is where a puppy learns to control the pressure of his bite to make it gentler during play. If he seems aggressive - intending to harm on purpose, and not just wound up and too rough, then I would definitely hire a trainer because aggression at that age is very unusual and needs to be addressed ASAP by someone who has a ton of experience with aggression, great client reviews from those who have had that issue, and uses both positive reinforcement and fair correction - with a lot of emphasis on addressing underlying issues too. Puppy biting that looks more like tantrums, overly excited play, rough housing, and curiosity is 100% normal even if it hurts and still needs to be addressed. A dog that is lunging for your face, coming at you with a definite intent to harm you, and acting out of rage is not normal at this age. Some dogs have a strong defense drive and part of what that means is that when you apply physical pressure, like penning down, their natural response is to fight back and resist the pressure, instead of run away, give into it, or calm down. Dogs with strong defense drives do better with gaining their respect through consistency and things that stimulate their minds to think. There are certain commands you can teach to help earn a dog's respect through mental stimulation instead of a lot of physical stimulation - these methods still may involve correction but the correction is less physical and also combined with positive reinforcement once the dog does a correct behavior instead. Check out the articles linked below for some good commands to teach him to help with the rowdiness and lack of impulse control: Out - which means leave the area - great for biting. Be sure to read the entire article for different ways to use it in certain scenarios, and how to teach it: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Leave It command - Leave It method to build impulse control: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Place command - work up to him being able to stay on place for an hour: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Crate manners - staying in an open crate to build impulse control and calmness while you are home: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds - building his respect for your space: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method - also helps build spacial awareness, respect and calmness: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Try placing his dog food into a container and covering it with water, letting it sit out until the food turns into mush, mixing a little peanut butter, cheese or liver paste into it (avoid Xylitol in peanut butter - it's toxic to dogs), then loosely stuffing a hollow chew toy with it. You can also freeze the toy if it's too easy for him to get the food out, and make several ahead of time if you plan to freeze. Many puppies need to be taught to chew on chew toys - this is done by using hollow chew toys and feeding your pup his meals in them, making them extra enticing with a bit of liver, cheese, or peanut butter if extra incentive is needed. It takes time to chew toy train. A good time to do it is in the crate or while he is on Place and can't leave - while he is bored and that's his only entertainment option. If he still won't take interest in chew toys, then check out something like Pet Tutor or Auto Trainer - a treat dispensing device that rewards certain calm behaviors by occasionally dispensing a piece of dog food. Puzzle toys are also good. If he isn't already, crate train him! This is extremely important for him especially. It sounds like he needs to practice things that give him an opportunity to learn to self-sooth, self-entertain, be calm, and relax. Place, crate training, and staying in the crate with the door open too are good ways to help him learn those skills. When many puppies get really tired they will actually bite a lot more - when he has an especially hard time listening, then he may need some rest-time in a crate or exercise pen. Check out the Surprise method linked below for introducing a crate. Expect a couple weeks of protesting. Many dogs adjust in 3 days, but up to 2 weeks of adjusting it normal - STAY CONSISTENT. Don't let him out unless he needs to go potty or is quiet for just a second (doesn't have to be long but catch him when he's quiet so that he is being rewarded with freedom for quietness and not noise). Surprise method: https://wagwalking.com/training/like-a-crate Finally, because of his past there is a chance that he has a really bad association with being touched or handled. If you find this is the case, then work on desensitizing him to touch and handling - it's a great thing for all dogs to practice as an aggression preventative too. Use his daily meal kibble for this. For example, touch an ear- give a treat. Touch a paw - give a treat. Touch a tail - give a treat. Touch his shoulder - give a treat. Hold his collar and give a treat. Start by giving the treat at the same time you touch him, then as he improves touch first, then give the treat. Start by touching areas he is most comfortable with first, like his shoulder, and gradually work toward areas that he is less comfortable with - like his tail, being especially gentle and focusing a lot of your efforts on touching those areas he struggles with to help him relax. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Oakley
Bull Terrier
9 Weeks
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Question
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Oakley
Bull Terrier
9 Weeks

my Bull terrier is 9 weeks old and his biting is out of control he latches on and tugs as hard as possible I have tried no getting up walking away yelping and even time out but nothing seems to be working help!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
463 Dog owners recommended

Hello Angela, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Yelp" method (which you are already essentially doing). BUT at the same time, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. The order or all of this is very important - the yelp method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Another important part of this is puppy learning bite inhibition. Puppies have to learn while young how to control the pressure of their mouths - this is typically done through play with other puppies. See if there is a puppy class in your area that comes well recommended and has time for moderated off-leash puppy play. If you can't join a class, look for a free puppy play group, or recruit some friends with puppies to come over if you can and create your own group. You are looking for puppies under 6 months of age - since young puppies play differently than adult dogs. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Finding a good puppy class - no class will be ideal but here's what to shoot for: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/puppy-classes-when-to-start/ When pup gets especially wound up, he probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help him calm down and rest. Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep working at it. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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