How to Train a Pit Bull to Not Bite

How to Train a Pit Bull to Not Bite
Medium difficulty iconMedium
Time icon2-8 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

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.

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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.

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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!

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The Attitude Adjustment Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Variety Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Environment Method

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

By James Barra

Published: 04/03/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Apollo

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Blue Nose Pitbull

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8 Weeks

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Question

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He doesn’t stop bitting, no matter what I tried he continue to bit me. I have give him the chew toys and the rope to play tug war even do he love to play with all of that he still bite.

June 17, 2022

Apollo's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Amanda, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. 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 Bite Inhibition 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 I would also work on teaching the Out command, and then use the section from the article on How to Use Out to Deal with Pushiness, to enforce it when pup doesn't listen, especially around other animals or kids. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ 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. It takes most puppies about two months of practice to learn how to stop biting, so what you are experiencing still is normal. The main goal is going to be to stop it before pup is five months of age, when they go from puppy jaw strength to developing adult jaw strength. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

June 20, 2022

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ole

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Pit bull

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2 Months

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she bites me and it hurts i dont know how to deal with it. Everytime he bite me i said "NO ole, no biting" but he didn't lessen

June 11, 2022

ole's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Micha, Check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. 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 she attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if she makes a good choice. If she disobeys your leave it command, use the Out command from the second article linked below to make her leave the area as a consequence. The order or all of this is very important - the Bite Inhibition 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 Out 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 playing (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 Out - which means leave the area, is also a good command for you to use if pup bites the kids. Check out the section on Using Out to Deal with Pushy Behavior for how to calmly enforce that command once it's taught. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ 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. Right now, an outside class may be best in a fenced area, or letting friends' pups play in someone's fence outside. 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, she 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 her calm down and rest. Practicing regular obedience commands or having pup earn what they get by performing commands like Sit and Down before feeding, petting, tossing a toy, opening the door for a walk, ect... can also help stimulate pup mentally to increase calmness and wear them out. Commands that practice focus, self-control, and learning something a bit new or harder than before can all tire out puppies. 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

June 13, 2022


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