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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Written by James Barra
Veterinary reviewed by:
Published: 03/23/2018, edited: 01/08/2021