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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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