How to Train a Pit Bull to Not Chew Things

Easy
1-4 Weeks
Behavior

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.

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.

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!

The Deterrence Method

Effective
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Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Stimulation Method

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Step
1
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

The Time Out Method

Effective
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Step
1
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Step
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.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Nove
Pit bull
9 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Nove
Pit bull
9 Months

When everyone goes to sleep she chews on shoes, pbowls, foam piece of any form, her toys, my childrens toys, paper, plastic anything. It is getting very exhausting.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
131 Dog owners recommended

Hello! Aside from getting plenty of exercise, your best bet is to teach her the command "leave it" and use these items to practice leave it once she learns it. Teaching “leave it” is not difficult. Begin the lessons inside your home or in an area with very few distractions. Here are the steps for teaching “leave it”: Make sure you have two different types of treats. One type can be fairly boring to the dog, but the other type should be a high-value treat that he finds pretty delicious. You will also want to make sure that the treats are broken up into pea-sized pieces so it won’t take him too long to eat them. Put one type of treat in each hand. If you like to train with a clicker as your marker, you can also hold a clicker in the same hand that holds the high-value treat. Then, place both of your hands behind your back. Make a fist with the hand that is holding the treat of lower value and present your fist to your dog, letting him sniff. Say “leave it” and wait until he finishes sniffing your fist. As soon as your dog is done sniffing, you can either click with the clicker or say “yes.” Then offer him the higher-value treat in your other hand. Repeat until your dog immediately stops sniffing your hand when you say “leave it.” When you say “leave it” and he stops sniffing right away, leash your dog and then toss a low-value treat outside of his reach. Wait until he stops sniffing and pulling toward the treat. As soon as he does, either say “yes” or click and then give him a high-value treat from your hand. Practice this exercise a number of times. Over time, by practicing “leave it,” your dog should stop pulling as soon as you give the cue. When rewarding him with a treat, make sure that it is something good, not plain old kibble. By doing so, you are teaching him that asking him to leave some food doesn’t mean he won’t get anything, but that in fact he might get something even more delicious. When your dog is reliably responding to the cue, you can teach him that “leave it” can apply to other things as well, not just food on the floor. Repeat the exercise with five different items that are fairly boring to your dog. After using five different “boring” items, start using slightly more exciting items. You know your dog, so you alone know what items he would consider more interesting, but don’t jump to high-value items right away. To increase his chances of success at learning the cue, you want to work up to high-value items gradually. If Kleenex or a piece of plastic, for instance, would attract your dog on a walk, don’t start with those. Choose the items based on your ultimate goal: Anytime you say “leave it,” you want to be confident that your dog will indeed leave whatever you are asking him to leave. . The reward he receives when he leaves an item can change as well. If your dog has a favorite toy, squeak it and play for a moment when he comes running to you after leaving the other item of interest. Most dogs love interacting with us, so a moment of praise or play with a toy can be just as effective as a treat. Keep it fun Even though you’re practicing “leave it” as a way to keep your dog safe, you want him to see it as a fun game you play. When your dog is proficient at the game in your home, start practicing in a variety of locations with more distractions.

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Question
Jake
Pit bull
16 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Jake
Pit bull
16 Months

He has chewed up some pretty expensive things, such as shoes and new blankets four to be exact. I’ve bought him pretty expensive toys for him to chew on and within an hour or two there is nothing left of the toy. Do you recommend or can you recommend a toy that’s almost impossible for him to destroy so quickly? He is a very smart and loving dog. I just want him to be good lol. I do the crate for at night and when I’m not home. But if I turn my back long enough to even change the laundry from the washer to the dryer, and when I walk back in the room he has found something to chew that he is not supposed too. Even my plants. HELP please. 😊

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
131 Dog owners recommended

Hi! Because there are so many areas to cover with excessive chewing, I am going to send you a great article with tons of solutions. There just isn't enough room in this box! https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/common-dog-behavior-issues/destructive-chewing

Nylabone Power Chew Textured Dog Chew Ring Toy On amazon is cheap and the only toy to survive my aggressive chewer pit.

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