How to Train a Pit Bull to Not Chew Things

How to Train a Pit Bull to Not Chew Things
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon1-4 Weeks
Behavior training category iconBehavior

Introduction

It’s difficult not to give Fido exactly what they want. I mean he's always the center of attention and it isn’t hard to see why. Pit Bulls are larger than life and full of energy. You take them out for a walk and they still look like they could run a marathon. Now that’s fine most of the time and keeps you fit. 

However, Fido’s energy also spills out into problematic behaviors, such as chewing things. You often come home from work to see he has chewed something to pieces. Now you can live with it when it’s an old pair of your partner’s shoes that they have been refusing to throw out. But when it’s your expensive new rug, well then something needs to be done. Training your Pit Bull not to chew things means no more unnecessary destruction.

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Defining Tasks

Thankfully, training a Pit Bull not to chew things isn’t as complicated as many owners think. The first thing you need to do is introduce a number of deterrence measures. You will also need to divert their attention to something more productive. You will also need to identify and address the underlying cause of the chewing behavior.

If Fido is just a puppy then training could take just a week or two. This is because Pit Bulls are most receptive and keen to please when they are young. However, if they are older and they have been chewing for many years then you may need several weeks to break the habit. Persevere with training and you will find it far easier to stamp out a range of other bad habits too. Finally, this type of training will help you discover new ways to mentally stimulate and challenge the pooch.

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Getting Started

Before training can start, you will need to gather a few bits. A few toys your dog is allowed to chew will be needed. Stock up on tasty treats or small pieces of their favorite foods. You will also need a water bottle and a deterrence collar for one of the methods below. 

Set aside just a few minutes a day for training. However, try to be as present and vigilant as possible to address any chewing behavior.

Once you have all that, just bring enthusiasm and patience, then you can get to work!

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The Deterrence Method

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1

Remove the temptation

If Fido chews one or two items or materials in particular or, then try removing them. Simply swapping the rug for a new material, for example, may be enough to stop the problem in its tracks.

2

Access limitation

If they go to certain rooms to chew particular objects, consider isolating that room. You can use baby gates or simply keep the door shut if you are not there to supervise them.

3

‘NO’

You can also go over and give a stern ‘NO’ whenever you catch them chewing. Don’t terrify them, but make sure you get the message across. Also, make sure you react within a few seconds otherwise they may not associate the scolding with the problem behavior.

4

Water spray bottle

Carry a water bottle with you at all times. Then whenever you catch your Pit Bull chewing, give a quick spray of water near their face. This will quickly get them associating chewing with negative consequences.

5

Deterrence collar

If the stern ‘NO’ and water bottle don’t do the trick, upgrade to a deterrence collar. They are available from online and local pet stores. Simply hit the remote button whenever you catch them chewing and an unpleasant spray of citronella will be emitted.

The Stimulation Method

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Exercise

Your Pit Bull may be chewing because they are full of energy. So, try taking Fido for a longer walk each day. Alternatively, spend a few minutes throwing a ball. If they are tired when they are at home they won’t have the energy to chew through your furniture.

2

Chew toys

These are particularly effective if Fido is a puppy. Their teething can cause them to want to chew, just like in babies. So, give them some chew treats or toys to sink their teeth into instead.

3

Food puzzles

Leaving food puzzles out when you go out to work may prevent chewing. This is because not only will it distract Fido all day, but they will be able to alleviate that chewing temptation through the actual toy.

4

Swap

Whenever you do catch them chewing something they shouldn't, remove the item from their mouth and encourage the dog to chew a specific toy instead. Then give them a treat and some verbal praise. The positive reinforcement will soon get them associating chewing with happy consequences.

5

See a vet

If none of the above steps work, you may want to consider taking your dog to a vet. It may be that they have a medical problem that is causing considerable pain that the chewing behavior is an attempt to relieve.

The Time Out Method

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Preparation

Choose an easily accessible room in the house and then clear it of toys or items Fido would normally chew. This is going to be their time-out space where they are taken if they chew.

2

Take them away

As soon as you see your Pit Bull chewing, go over and take them by the collar into the time-out room. Don’t say anything or get aggressive, you don’t want to scare them. Instead remain calm at all times.

3

30 seconds

Leave Fido in the time-out space for 30 seconds. Don’t talk or communicate, just ignore the pup. When the time is up you can then release them back into the house.

4

Increase the sentence

If you catch your Pit Bull chewing again, calmly take them by the collar and lead them back into the time-out space. However, this time leave them there for an additional 30 seconds. Now all you need to do is keep increasing the time you leave them there for by 30 seconds each time, until they get message.

5

Consistency

Sit everyone in the house down and make sure you all respond the same way. If one of you giggles or doesn’t react, then you will confuse Fido and push back the end result. So consistency is key.

By James Barra

Published: 03/23/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Cindy

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American Pit Bull Terrier

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1 Year

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Question

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She growls and snaps at the air when I take my shoes away from her. How do I solve a potential aggressive situation?

May 4, 2022

Cindy's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Sarah, With resource guarding I recommend hiring a professional trainer who has a lot of experience with behavior issues like aggression to work with you in person and oversee at least the initial training. Sometimes safety measures like a back tie leash or basket muzzle are also needed. Resource guarding is often both a trust and a respect issue. Start by keeping all shoes out of pup's reach. Picking shoes pup has already destroyed that you will intentionally use for training when you are ready to train, without pup having access to other shoes during this time. In your situation I would practice the Obedience and Working method a bit just to address respect in a gentle way overall, in case that's a need. Obedience method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-doberman-to-listen-to-you Practice the Leave It and Drop It command with other items first, then around the old shoes also, so pup is rewarded for leaving and giving you items upon request, to build trust with you. This process can sometimes involve remote collar training too, so pup learns to leave the shoes alone in the first place, but I would only do that with a professional's oversight, since you don't want pup associating that correction with you being near them while they have the shoe but with touching the shoe and the shoe causing the correction, instead, so you aren't the source of pup's dislike but the shoe becomes unpleasant. For pup to make that association Leave It needs to be practiced first, so pup understands what the house rules are, is able to obey, and has a good association with obeying that command and leaving them alone, then the correction with the remote collar associated with the shoe instead of you, just reinforces that shoes aren't worth chewing anymore. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

May 4, 2022

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Zara

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Pit bull

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1 Year

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Question

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She chews a lot and she's destroying things in the house

Dec. 29, 2021

Zara's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Fashola, Check out the article I have linked below also. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ I would start working on commands like Leave It, crate pup while away to stop the habit from occurring when you can't train when not there, and provide dog food stuffed chew toys to help train pup to chew their own toys by making those toys more enticing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Dec. 30, 2021


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