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Teaching a Puppy Not to Bite

It's part of a puppy's nature to nibble on things and bite, but as they get bigger, this type of behavior can be dangerous. This guide is about responsibly teaching your puppy not bite.


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April 9, 2012

I have noticed a lot of questions on here about puppy biting... that is not dominance. That is just continuation of litter behavior.

As far as puppies go, when they are biting ankles and drawing blood on hands and such, (especially Pits, I have so many puppy scars from excellent Pit puppies that went through their puppy stage and were not taught by mom about biting too hard), they are just doing what they did with their brothers and sisters in the litter.


Mom, as in the actual dog mom, should have bitten them and scolded them herself and hollered out loud when they bit her. But since most pups go home to their new mom, the human one, at around six weeks, they usually don't get the chance to learn this necessary skill. Always holler out when you are bitten by a puppy too hard.

When pups bite, they are not attacking even though their sharp puppy teeth draw blood often times. They need to never be played with in a hyper way, and when they get hyper, they need to be softly lifted off the floor, by their scruff or both of their fat cheeks, back legs on the floor only, and told quietly to STOP. Keep the position until they make an attempt to break eye contact and then pet them SOFTLY.

Puppies should not be left alone with young children for this reason, they can hurt them by playing too rough, and the child would not know how to deal with this hyper play. In a moment a pup's teeth can bite or scratch a child who cannot get out of the way fast enough.

One of the best things you can do for your puppy, is not to let it determine when it gets petted, but to teach it to sit, or lie down before you pet it. This helps to establish the correct relationship. It also gives the sweet dog or puppy something to think about and to be praised for.

Petting is fine but on your terms. If the pup or dog does not show dominance problems I would pet it anytime, but if it does have dominance problems, this link has a"no free lunch" approach that will work wonders, meaning the dog has to sit before he eats and back up from the door before he goes out.

Remember that too harsh of a correction can ruin a dog or puppy's spirit and drive.

By Robyn Fed from Tri-Cities, TN

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2 found this helpful
July 14, 2011

When your pup decides to chew on you, pull his/her cheek or lip over your finger, between you and those needle-sharp little teeth. Pup will bite his/her own mouth and figure out REALLY fast that that is NOT fun at all.

By Eileen M. from Elk Grove, CA

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Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

June 1, 20111 found this helpful

I have a 7 week old blue Pit Bull female. I have had her since she was 5 weeks old. When I let her out to play, she likes to bite, snap, and growl sometimes when I pet her, and she's even like that with kids. I'm trying to break her out of that, but she is very hard headed.


I tried popping her on her nose with a newspaper. I tried holding her mouth and saying "no bite". Is it common for them to be so aggressive that young? So I want to know different methods to use to break her from biting and snapping rather me popping her on her nose.

By Wallace from Houston, TX

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June 2, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

I don't know if you are aware, but the blue pits are known to be the most aggressive and normally are quite hard to deal with. I am not a pit bull hater, my son having had a beautiful female, and raised a male pup from the only litter he let her have, (12 pups). He said all the people he knows who have children will not keep a blue nose in their family, as they just don't trust them. All pups nip and chew when they are teething, but the snarling and snapping are not the normal "need to cut teeth". It might be better to change horses mid stream than to have lots of problems later.

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July 7, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Definitely do not hit the dog. That is teaching them to be aggressive. Instead try buying puppy teething rings. When the pup growls at you, in a low tone voice say "no" and do not give any attention to the pup after that because any attention is positive attention to the pup right now. You can also try a water bottle, it's not abusive and it's effective. When the pup does something wrong, spray them with the water bottle and say no in a deep voice. It's been very effective for many people. If nothing works, I hate to say but you may need to get rid of the dog for the safety of your kids. Good luck!

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June 3, 20110 found this helpful


Please call a trainer and take your fur baby to puppy class. In this class he/she will learn all the obedience he/she needs. Also, Hitting your dog, ie: even a small tap is animal abuse and you are teaching your dog to be aggressive. When you hit him he will react in a negative way because he will start to protect himself from you, thinking you are trying to hurt him. Good luck.

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January 25, 2011

Any suggestions on how to keep a 5 month old Boxer puppy from biting and nipping?

By Cammi from DE

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March 1, 20111 found this helpful
Best Answer

Here's my two cents:

I've raised several puppies of all breeds, including pits, over the years and I have always been persistent and consistent with my discipline when it comes to puppies and biting (this will also help when training not to chew certain things in the near future).

I grab either top or bottom jaw and squeeze firmly with a voice command. If this hasn't helped within a week or so I will add to that grab by taking the lip and press it on their very sharp teeth. Yes, it does hurt a bit, but you don't need to pinch so hard she bleeds! Also, if we're playing and puppy bites too hard, I yelp. I yelp louder than it actually hurt. The pup understands that communication because that's exactly what another dog would do.

It is imperative that you learn about dog psychology. YOU, not the dog, are the ALPHA. You and any other members of the family (including children) need to know how to treat him like the Omega. It is imperative to do this from as early an age as possible. (this is a whole subject in itself) Here's an example of what many people do that is in direct conflict with keeping the dog in the Omega position:

1. playing tug of war and losing - you must not let go, aka losing, you can train them at the same time to 'drop it' and when you're done playing then have him 'drop it' and throw and you're done but did not lose!

2. letting a dog lean on you or lay on the couch or stare at you while you are eating - all of these things are behaviors of dominance (unless they are commanded to do such things)

3. letting the dog walk through a doorway in front of you or letting dog walk in front of you while walking the dog - walking properly is utterly imperative (the list goes on.) I recommend if you either do not believe these things or have never heard of them before, please do research online and see for yourself.

EXERCISE then DISCIPLINE and then and only then AFFECTION. We need to remember one very simple truth: Dogs are not humans. Now matter how much we want them to be they do not see the world and express themselves in the same way that we do. Not understanding how a dog thinks is detrimental to the dog.

Make sure he has plenty of safe, chewable things (I buy rawhide from Sam's Club - all natural, no flavoring and long lasting).

Lastly, I would definitely invest in a large kennel (wire or plastic). For now, he needs to be kept in a place where he cannot chew anything he's not supposed to. It's not fair to get angry w/ a puppy who does not know yet what is ok and not ok in the household... and it is definitely not fair to get angry when the human doesn't put the puppy in a kennel to prevent any accidents. Eventually you will be able to let him in the house alone, but the ONLY way to train him whats ok and not ok is to catch him doing it. So, when you are home make sure you keep a close eye on the little guy so you can 'catch him in the act'.

If you dedicate yourself crate training him, and to walking him properly every day and taking him to the dog park to run, play and socialize, then you will end up with a beautiful pit that will make you proud!

Good luck and I recommend to watch the Dog Whisperer on The National Geographic Channel!


**Kudos to all of the ppl out there that have a shelter pet!!

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January 26, 20110 found this helpful

A trainer of huskies which like to nip told me to immediately get over the dog wrap your arms around his chest and yank him into an upright position high enough that his back feet are off the ground. This must be done each time. The dog I did it with needed it only two times and she quit. It didn't hurt her but she sure didn't like it.

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January 27, 20110 found this helpful

My suggestion does take a little longer but it also works. I used this in the past. Say STOP! No bite every time they nip or bite and say it with a a growl and a mean look . It does get boring repeating it over and over but it does work. It takes a week. Also no aggressive playing or teasing. This makes them nip and bite more and they think it is acceptable behavior. This worked with my Rottie.

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April 3, 20120 found this helpful

I just got an adorable Pit Lab mix! I got him two days ago and he bites and it hurts. Whenever he is in play mode he bites anything, carpet, shoe laces, clothes, and if he can, your face. I love him and I know he gets happy to see me, but sometimes (when he is tired I'm guessing) if I pick him up he growls and snaps and gets aggressive. I have told him "no", but sometimes he just goes crazy. Please help. I also tell him "no" when he chews on things he shouldn't be chewing on, but he just hears no so much that it doesn't faze him anymore.

By Nat B.

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April 5, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

With pitties, they have such a happy nature, and most of them were taken away really early from their mom before she taught them how to behave.

Pits are such happy souls, they go on and on and rarely stop to listen... lol I have a weenie dog, feist mix, that was the same.

If the pup is really rough, then holler out as if you are in terrible pain, and then look at him. If he doesn't stop, carefully scruff him and lift him off the floor a little bit. If he is still acting careless, then softly lift him off the floor for a few seconds until he stops.

Don't talk in excited voices around him when he is this young and excitable.

Also, make sure that you are giving him plenty of toys to play with. Once he learns you will put a toy in his mouth when he comes mouthing to you, he will eventually learn.

Blessings, Robyn

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April 4, 20120 found this helpful

Here are some tips I found on the internet: http://www.clev  uppy-biting.html

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April 5, 20120 found this helpful

Here are some monre resources for you...

http://leerburg  itingpuppies.htm

http://leerburg  %20to%20Bite.pdf

Free streaming videos on

http://leerburg  hp?categoryid=30

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1 found this helpful
April 6, 2010

This is my new puppy Siddhartha (Shepherd/Husky mix). I am looking for some training suggestions to stop playful biting?

By Scott from Chicago, IL

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April 8, 20100 found this helpful

I find the best thing to do is keep a dog on the leash at all times and correct it when it starts this unwanted biting. I work at my local humane society and I am the owner of 8 rescued dogs. I find that most people give their puppies too much freedom. Keeping a leash on them at all times allows for easy correcting. Once you correct them with a pop of the collar and a loud NO have them sit then praise the good behavior. Just redirect the unwanted into something more productive.

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April 9, 20100 found this helpful

When he bites let out a high pitched squeal. He will get the message.

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April 28, 20100 found this helpful

Yes, you can use a spray bottle. when he starts to go and nip them make him sit down and hold his mouth and say a firm no. The #1 bad choice is to hit them. They think they stop but all it does is make them scared of you.

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April 29, 2016

So I have a 5 month old Pit Bull and I'm trying to figure out some other ways to get her to stop chewing on hands and jumping on people when she greets them. After she has greeted someone she doesn't seem to jump on them anymore. I've tried few things when she tries to chew on hands that my trainer told me to do (i.e. if she's chewing on a hand to push it into her mouth more and saying ouch (which will work for few minutes and then she's right back at it). I did learn that she doesn't like hot sauce, but who really wants to have that on their hands all the time.

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May 5, 20160 found this helpful

LOL, yeah, hot sauce on your hands 24/7. Basically, when a dog bites, you've probably been told this: never pull back your hand. That makes it a game of "keepaway hand" and the dog will only want to bite more or worse, clamp down and hang on.

Here's something you can try. Grab her butt or thigh with your other hand just hard enough to distract her attention. Then say "HEY!" or something like that. You want her looking at you. She has to pay attention to you to be trained. As soon as she looks at you, stick a chew toy in her mouth in place of the hand. You'll pretty much have to have these with you or within arm's reach.

You'll have to teach her "down" as well. Grab her butt to get her attention to you, then say "DOWN!" and point down. Make sure you're using a very firm voice and standing straight upright. If you really mean it she should sense what you mean and do it.

Dogs are domesticated animals and used to taking cues from humans that are much subtler than this. But your dog is a puppy and just needs to be trained to look at you to see how you're reacting to what she's doing and respond to you.

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1 found this helpful
October 3, 2010

How do I get my 3 month old Pitbull to stop biting at my finger?

By Brandon from Charlotte, NC

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October 5, 20100 found this helpful
Best Answer

He's still a baby, he's probably just teething-please don't swat him! It hurts puppies to get their teeth just like it hurts babies & they all want to chew or bite to relieve the pain/irritation.

Make sure he has plenty of chew toys & a variety of them to see what he likes. Our puppy liked her hard rubber "binky"(pacifier), a hard rubber toy tire with bumps(good for her gums) & those rope toys. Also chew bones, ice cubes, stuff he can chew on.

When he tries to bite your fingers, gently but firmly push him away & tell him no, then offer him a chew toy he can chew on. He should eventually learn that fingers are a no-no, but his "chewies" are ok. Our dog was bad about chewing up anything she could get hold of & we had to crate her whenever we weren't home to stop her. She did much better when I made sure she had plenty of stuff to chew on, but she still forgot occasionally. She eventually stopped when she was done teething-but it seemed to take forever.

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October 3, 20100 found this helpful

Whenever he bites, swap his little butt with a rolled up newspaper, but remember to reward him with a little treat when he obeys your commands.

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May 13, 20131 found this helpful

I have an American Bulldog. He is now 14 weeks old and I love him like no other, but I really can't deal with his biting (to the point of drawing blood on me on a daily basis). Can some body please help me out? I have tried everything, including hand in mouth, pinned him down, yelp and turn away, time out in crate, chew toys, everything. And there has been no change. He is a great dog when being good, but terrible when being bad. He comes at me for 20 minutes at a time then he's done and back to a normal great dog. He is now in school 3 classes so far.

By Keith

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May 14, 20130 found this helpful

Get him, gently by the scruff of the neck and lift his front feet off the ground, and hold him that way until he protests. You are not choking him but you are showing him that you are not amused by the behavior. While you are doing this, say "No Bite!" in a mommy dog growly like voice. Then give a little shake and then put him down.

Also I would keep a little fleece leash like extension on him and that will help you to calm him down. At the same time as you are correcting him, make sure there are plenty of other ways for him to get his teeth into things, he needs to teeth, just not on you. Watch him with all toys and give him coke plastic bottles that are deflated, and milk jugs, knotted ropes, and anything to chew on, lots of rawhides or nylabones if you object to rawhides.

Hope this helps....You also need to scream out in pain when he bites and holler no right away.

At the same time increase his time wtih outdoors playing. He is just being mouthy. Playing in an innappropriate manner which mama dog would never allow.

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December 10, 20121 found this helpful

My three month old Pit puppy bites. I've had her since she was 3 weeks old. She has a bad habit of snapping at people when they are playing with her. I've tried everything from walking away, to saying no in a firm voice, and yelping when she bites. Nothing works. She's biting my nephew and my little sister. I don't know what else to do.

By Clarissa C

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December 12, 20120 found this helpful

It appears to be Pit Bull or Mix. Talk to your Veterinarian.

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February 13, 20090 found this helpful

I have a Shih Tzu dog who is 15 months old and he bites. You can not take anything from him as he growls and then bites. I have little grandchildren and I am afraid he will bite one of them. He is loved by everyone, and has no reason to bite. Please help me to stop this, as I am in a state right now that I want to give him away.


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February 20, 20090 found this helpful

Put a muzzle on him when he's around the grandchildren. Their welfare comes before whether he likes it or not.

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March 6, 20090 found this helpful

Tap his/her nose at the second you see it, and then let it be. I saw this on a show once if you do this 3 times in a row if dog tries to bite again, by the 3'd time they learn to stop.

My little poo mix quit after 3 taps to the nose, not to hard just enough to get attention, and say NO in firm voice not yelling.

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January 7, 20100 found this helpful

I was bitten by a really nice shit Tzu and had to have 5 stitches. They are funny dogs and can turn on your grandkids in a heartbeat, give him away and talk to your vet about what kind of a dog is good around children. There are many.

The dog that bit me, had bitten a dozen others but was never reported, it is now in doggy heaven

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May 7, 2016

My three month old Pit Bull puppy won't quit biting. I want to teach him not to nibble or bite. Also what is the best way to potty train?

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October 3, 20100 found this helpful

My male German Shepherd puppy, 10 weeks old, is driving me literally crazy with his nipping and pulling on my pants. I am hesitant to walk anywhere around him. I've been using a spray bottle filled with water to squirt him in the face.

It's helped, but now he is starting to play with the spray of water coming at him. I have spent at least $60 on chew toys that he doesn't like near as much as moving pant legs. I know he'll outgrow the biting, but in the meantime I'm going nuts.

By Judy from Memphis


Grab his cheeks on his face, and look him in the eyes. Hold his head still and tell him "No, settle down." in a different, but firm voice rather than a play voice.

This is a matter of playing with littermates and is very normal. Also, I have had to flip really snotty pups on the nose. If they are small enough, I would grab their scruff, pick them a small amount off the ground and look them in the eyes and then say "no" with a little shake. It sounds mean, but it is what mom would do if she had them. If it is too big a dog, and you scruff him, then you would probably get bit. Grab his cheeks just enough to hold his head still, look at him, he will struggle to get away, stare into his eyes, and say "no" and hold him there until he gets the point, a couple of seconds to a half minute. If there is any chance that this dog will attack you get professional help for the dog. I will send this to "wildfire" who used to raise these dogs and train them also.

Get a clicker and get to training with hot dogs, click and then drop a little tiny piece of hot dog, click and drop. Later you can get the dog to come to your hand and when he does put his nose on your hand, click and reward with a small piece of hot dogs. By small piece I mean a little hot dog slice about 1/2 inch cut into four different pieces. These treats should be able to be snarfed in a second or they interfere with training. Also, it is a good idea to have a toy all the time when they do this put the toy in their mouth. One of these and all the leerburg should help, plus giving him lots to use him mind on. Should help, also. Have fun!

By Robyn Fed


This is a great remedy that will stop pets form doing anything. Just fill a spray bottle with water and lightly spay the dog. This will not harm the dog, but will stop the dog. Remember to "only" do this when the dog bites you, or your dog will think it is a game.

By Cuddles332


Sit him down and say a firm, "NO".

By lishey922

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February 15, 20100 found this helpful

What do you do about a mouthy 9 month old Husky German Shepard mix, around kids?

By Red from Cumming, GA

My Training Method

This is how I have taught every dog I've ever had not to bite. Dogs of all sizes and breeds.
Whenever the dog bites, first things first you and the kids. Do not panic or get upset at all.
Stay calm and in a very firm voice, and pointing your finger at the dog at the same time, say "don't bite". You don't have to yell, just say it in a very firm voice.

If you panic there's no telling what reaction the dog will take. So don't panic or get upset.

If the dog doesn't let go immediately, tap it's nose, just enough to get it's attention, and keep saying "don't bite". Do not allow anyone to be laughing at the time or the dog may think it's a game. He has to know you are serious. This is why the play has to stop immediately when the dog bites. So that it learns that that action is not a play action.

As soon as it lets go, tell the dog "good dog!" and give it lots and lots of praise. Then continue with the praise as if the bite had not happened.

This is the easiest and most effective way to teach the dog. It takes consistency. But you and the kids have to realize that the dog is not biting to be mean. That's how dogs play. You are trying to teach them that biting is not acceptable when they are playing with people of any age. Just be persistent and still be loving and your dog will turn out to be a great family dog. (01/11/2010)

It's important to teach your kids the same method. You didn't mention how old they are. But even very young kids, 3-4 yrs old can be taught this. The biggest thing to remember is that this is a natural behavior for dogs, and you are training it not to use this natural behavior.

Another thing though, don't forget that there is a difference between biting and grabbing. Many dogs will grab hold with their mouths, but not intend to bite. In this case, if it grabs too tightly, I always stop and say "Ow" and they learn to let go or ease up. Make sure your kids understand the difference, too.

And whether the dog is biting or grabbing, make sure the kids know that the dog is not being mean, it's just playing and that it has to learn what's right and what's wrong in play. Just like the kids themselves have to learn.

By Cricketnc

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January 8, 20100 found this helpful

I have a 12 week old boxer and 20 month old twins. I need my puppy to stop biting and I'm not sure on how to do it.

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April 20, 20090 found this helpful

My 12-week-old Miniature Pinscher puppy is bite-crazy! Now, I realize that in addition to being a member of a "confident", overexcited breed, my dog is probably also teething at the moment, so I'm working hard to be patient with Bogus.

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