How to Train a Pit Bull to Not Bite

Medium
2-8 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Fido is cute and full of life. You know as soon as you open the door your Pit Bull is going to be jumping up and down excited to see you. His excitement is almost uncontrollable, which has led to some rather unpleasant incidents. Fido has ended up biting you and other members of the family. Now it may seem harmless because it is when you are playing, but this type of behavior needs to be tackled swiftly.

In fact, training your Pit Bull to not bite is extremely important for both you and them. Pit Bulls are big and strong so you don’t want this behavior becoming a habit and causing someone serious harm one day. If this does happen, then they may also be at risk of being court-ordered to be put down. Stopping their biting also means you can relax when they are around other pets and children.

Defining Tasks

Training your Pit Bull to not bite can prove fairly challenging. It depends partly on how long the behavior has been going on. The more of a habit it is, the harder it is to break. The first thing you will need to do is introduce a number of deterrence measures to remove the temptation. You will then need to start channeling the dog's energy into something safe and more productive. You will mainly use positive reinforcements to bring their biting under control.

If Fido is just a puppy, then the biting could be for any number of reasons and you may get results in just a couple of weeks. However, if your Pit Bull is older and been biting for many years, then you may need several weeks--and possibly the help of a professional trainer--to get a handle on it.

Getting Started

Before you can start training your Pit Bull to not bite, you will need to make sure you have a few essentials. A water spray bottle will be needed. You will also need to stock up on treats or break the dog's favorite food into small chunks. 

Toys, food puzzles and a clicker will be required for one of the methods below. Set aside 10 minutes or so each day. However, the more you can be around them to react to biting, the sooner you will see results.

Once you have all that, just bring patience and a positive attitude, then work can begin!

The Attitude Adjustment Method

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Step
1
Obedience classes
Fido’s biting may demonstrate that the dog does not respect you. So start taking him to obedience classes. This will socialize him while increasing your control by teaching a number of basic commands.
Step
2
Set the tone
Sit everyone in the house down. You need to ensure none of you giggle or laugh when the dog tries to bite. This will only confuse Fido. Instead make sure you are all firm and react in the same manner.
Step
3
Food puzzles
Your Pit Bull may be biting because they are simply bored. To remedy that, give them food puzzles and toys to play with when you aren’t around. Both will keep them distracted and content for hours.
Step
4
Cold shoulder
It’s important Fido knows biting will not get him what he wants. So turn your back to the dog whenever he bites. Don’t talk to him or stroke him until he has calmed down.
Step
5
Don’t scare them
Although being bitten can hurt and may make you angry, it’s important you don’t shout or scare Fido. This may only make your Pit Bull more aggressive and the problem worse. So while it can be difficult, stay calm and take control of the situation.
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The Variety Method

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Step
1
Vet checkup
Always remember the possibility of pain as a cause for biting. Arthritis, an injury, or undiagnosed dental pain can all be a reason for biting. Have the vet rule out any medical issues.
Step
2
Safe space
The next thing to do is to make sure the dog has their own private space they can escape to, such as a bed or crate. Their biting may be because they are getting wound up and over excited. So a safe space they can escape to can prove invaluable, especially if you have young children who may pester the pup.
Step
3
Learn body language
Dogs often display a certain stance when about to bite. Your Pit Bull may pin back his ears, narrow his eyes and keep his head straight forward. Once he bares his teeth and growls or snaps, a bite is likely to occur.
Step
4
Water spray
If you do catch your Pit Bull biting, rush over, give a firm ‘NO’ and a quick spray of water near their face. This will get them associating biting with negative consequences.
Step
5
Remove the dog
You can also take your dog by the collar and calmly remove them from the room until they have settled. You don’t want the biting to escalate. Just make sure you remain calm and don’t get angry.
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The Environment Method

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Step
1
Exercise
Pit Bull are large dogs with plenty of energy. Their biting may be because they are simply brimming over with energy and excitement. So take them for an extra or longer walk each day. If they spend their evenings napping, they won’t be biting anyone.
Step
2
Gentle play
Spend a few minutes each day playing calmly with Fido. Stroke them, lie there and whisper. You want to show them that you can spend time together without getting too worked up.
Step
3
Reward
Whenever the dog remains calm and lets you stroke them gently, hand over tasty rewards. This will get them associating calm play with positive consequences. Nothing motivates a Pit Bull more than food.
Step
4
Tug of war
Spend a few minutes each day playing tug of war. This can prove effective for a couple of reasons. Firstly, if your Pit Bull is a puppy, then they may be teething, which could lead to them biting, and an appropriate chewing outlet can offer some relief. Secondly, tug of war shows them when and where it is and isn’t acceptable to bite.
Step
5
Chew toy
As soon as the dog bites, get out a chew toy and encourage them to play around with that instead. Like the step above, this will help channel any aggression into a safe and secure toy instead of your hand or ankle.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Harley
AnimalBreed object
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Harley
AnimalBreed object
1 Year

The other night he tried to attack my cat. My husband popped him on the hip. He came and laid beside me. My husband came in to move him and the dog started growling and acted like he was going to bite him. We love this dog but a little scared of him

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
674 Dog owners recommended

Hello Patti, I suggest hiring a professional trainer who specializes in aggression and behavior issues and comes well recommended by previous clients. It sounds like there is probably a combination of fear-aggression as a response to the pop on the hip, but there could also be some other types of aggression going on too. You would need someone to evaluate pup's body language and general demeanor around you and your husband to get an idea of how to proceed. I wouldn't wait to get help. When a dog displays aggression and it gets the dog what they want, they can quickly learn to continue acting aggressive to get what they want in the future. Getting into a direct confrontation with pup isn't a good route to go either though because it will likely lead to a bit. You need someone to help your husband desensitize pup to touch again, reestablish respect through the use of obedience commands, structure, boundaries, and having pup work for what he gets in life by having to preform a command first - like telling pup to Sit before petting him or Down before tossing a ball for example, opposed to physically using force. Some breeds have a strong defense drive, which will lead to them fight back instead of retreating when physically pressure is applied. It better to gain respect from these dogs through the use of intellect and structure. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Yes, I had a beagle that was never used for hunting, and was an inside dog. Every chance she got to escape to the great outdoors she would take it, and make the classic beagle hunting sounds when "on the trail" of something she smelled. Dogs are not individuals as stand alone beings, they are products of genetic engineering over hundreds of years by humans. Breeds demonstrate traits they were bred for, not a difficult concept to understand, but difficult to accept for those ruled by "emotions" and having been subjected to pit bull propaganda and save them all. Are trainers who suggest one can manage aggressive behavior or even eliminate it willing to accept the consequences and liabilities of these recommendations should the outcome end badly? I think they should be held ACCOUNTABLE, along with the owners should all the "train the meanness" out of them not work out. Most trainers are no more than self proclaimed dog experts and Cesar Milan wannabes who would gladly put dogs before humans, let them suffer the consequences of their recommendations.

Collies have been bred for hundreds of years to herd sheep. If you kick a soccer ball in front of a collie that’s never seen a sheep in its life, it will nonetheless less herd the soccer ball. Pitbulls have been bred for hundreds of years to be catch dogs. This means they were bred to chase down large animals and bite down on them until the hunter arrives to dispatch the poor victim. When a pitbull encounters another living thing, it’s instinct is to bite and kill it with its powerful jaws. Sure, you can train a collie not to herd and a pitbull not to bite and kill, but you always run the risk of the animal reverting back to its breeding-created instincts.

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Question
Prince
AnimalBreed object
1 Year
0 found helpful
Question
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Prince
AnimalBreed object
1 Year

He just started trying to bite me & go at me when I try to remove his collar

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unknown
AnimalBreed object
8 Weeks
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Question
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unknown
AnimalBreed object
8 Weeks

she is very aggressive but sweet as well. When she is still teething so she likes to bite anything in site. Sometimes she gets confused with hands and fingers. She doesn’t like to be disciplined, if so she barks back and growls. Doesn’t listen to verbal direction ether. She can pee on the puppy pad but does not poop on it unless its where she’s at. Me and my mom are doing everything we can but it just doesn’t work. We also have a 1yr female cat. They do not like each other at all. Sometimes the dog is chasing the cat and then other times the cat is chasing the dog.

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Bud
AnimalBreed object
3 Years
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Bud
AnimalBreed object
3 Years

Bud is weird dog who is only aggressive to other that he hasn't know a lot in his young live I'm guessing he has bite family not breaking skin yet so I wanna know how to stop him before he goes to far he is nice to everybody at the house and 1 friend we do play with him but he only nibbles us he has never but us hard he just really aggressive with other dogs and people

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
674 Dog owners recommended

Hello Brandon, The answer to your question depends a lot on pup's overall behavior around family and the specifics of pup's aggression toward strangers. The aggression could be due to a lack of socialization and thus fearfulness or suspicion. It could be that pup is resource guarding people - like his family, around strangers - which it a respect issue more so. There could also be something genetic or a past trauma that's resulted in the aggression. Without being able to evaluate pup and their history more, I cannot offer a lot of insight. Check out Thomas from the Canine Educator to learn more about aggression in general. I suggest hiring a trainer to work with you in person to address the aggression. Look for someone who comes well recommended by previous clients and specializes in behavior issues and aggression - not all trainers do. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Benji
AnimalBreed object
2 Years
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Benji
AnimalBreed object
2 Years

We love Benji,we adopted him from a foster family. He was a stray. Now that he is comfortable in the house, he has taken to eating clothing. We try to not leave clothes on floor. What is most concerning is that we cannot have company over. He growls and barks at our nieces. He has even nipped at 2 young kids in our family. We have immediately corrected and caged him. Not sure what else to do. But we are worried he may hurt someone.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. I'm not sure how long you have had Benji, but I am assuming it is not that long. I agree that this issue has to be dealt with as it may only become worse the more comfortable that Benji becomes. Perhaps the foster family did not have him around young children and therefore, the behavior was not evident. I can point you toward an excellent guide that may help, all of the methods are good: https://wagwalking.com/training/not-attack-strangers. Please read the guide in its entirety. You can try these training methods in the interim but I really think that one on one training with a trainer who has experience working with aggressive dogs is essential. The safety of anyone who comes over is the most important. I suggest you look for a trainer in your area - it is best for you and for Benji. This site also has helpful videos and possible online support. https://robertcabral.com/. Good luck!

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