Teaching a Pitbull Not to Bite?

I wanted to adopt a 18 month old Pit Lab mix from a rescue. The dog seems friendly towards people. I was informed by the owner of the rescue that the dog was more than mouthy. He bites and doesn't let go and he jumps all over. He has been in this shelter for a year and hasn't had much training. I certainly appreciated her honesty, but for some reason I really would like to give this dog a chance to live in a home.


However I also have 2 Labs at home, a 12 yr. old and a 10 yr old. I certainly don't want to jeopardize them. Do you think this rescue is a good idea? Do you think this dog could ever be a normal part of a family?

By Kathy L

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
July 24, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

At 18 months old with this behavior and pretty much alienated without enough affection and socializing in a shelter for a year I personally wouldn't risk taking him especially in knowing I have two children and two beloved non-agresssive pets. Most likely there is no way this poor animal will ever safely be able to be part of a normal family. I know it's sad but there are just some circumstances where it's best to walk away.

July 25, 20120 found this helpful
Best Answer

No dog should be allowed to bite on children, especially not one as strong as a pit bull! That is a recipe for disaster. He may only be playing but a pit is big and strong, and they don't let go. It would only take him getting excited and grabbing hold of a hand, ear, or face to do some serious harm to your children. You don't want him to associate play time with biting or pulling on people. That's not good manners for any dog.


I understand where you're coming from and I'd feel sorry for the pup too, but in your situation I would be reluctant to bring this dog into my home. If you do decide to take him in however make sure he has some proper training with people who know how to handle the breed. Even if he is a mix he will need some special training, for the dog and also for you to know how to handle him.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 102 Feedbacks
July 24, 20120 found this helpful

Get him out of jail. No doubt he will be overly excited and may be mouthy but with correction and understanding he will calm down. He is being expressive as i understand. There is no nasty. If he were aggressive, the shelter would have put him down immediately. He still has a puppy thing as he has not been in a family setting. Something I might try would be bitter apple sprayed on your arm shirt sleeve shoes, whatever. Make yourself not tasty. Cayenne pepper, hot sauce.


If your kids are willing, and the dog is in this playful mood of using you and the kids as a pull toy, supervise and let him get rid of some energy. He will need lots and lots of exercise. He has been locked in jail and is ecstatic to be out and have people company. Exercise, exercise, exercise at first until he is so tired he can calm down. Caesar's secret is exactly that. He will make a wonderful family pet. Pits seem to be basic mush-mellows. I cheer you on. You are doing a good thing.

July 24, 20120 found this helpful

I disagree with Muttmom. Do not ever let your kids be 'pull-toys' for a biting dog. If you are willing to take the dog to a trainer and pay to have training, that's one thing. I wouldn't adopt a puppy who bites if I had kids. And pitbulls have a specific bite: "A pit bull's jaw may not physically lock, but due to selective breeding for a specific bite style -- to hold on and to shake indefinitely." That means that pit bulls don't let go. There are a lot of dog-lovers out there who will say that pit bulls are wonderful, but pit bulls can be very dangerous, especially if their owners don't know what they're doing.


From 2005 to 2011, pit bulls killed 128 Americans, about one citizen every 20 days. Of these attacks, 51% (65) involved a family member and a household pit bull. Four In the first eight months of 2011, an nearly half of those killed by a pit bull was its owner.

For more information, check out and, which tells you what the ideal owner of a pit bull would be like.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 846 Posts
July 25, 20120 found this helpful

I would like to add a couple more comments. Another thing you will need to take into consideration is your homeowners insurance because insurance companies who give coverage for people who have pit bull type breeds are required to have higher coverage because of liability statistics. If you rent I highly suggest you ask permission of your landlord.


Also, some pit bulls have 'king of the hill' personalities and do not take kindly to other animals at all whether it's a cat, bunny, another dog, etc.

Here's a link from Pit Bull Rescue Central that specializes in edcuation about pit bulls. It has several sublinks for information other than the one I chose here regarding multiple dog education:

I still stick by my original comment because it worries me that this 18 month old (already about 20 years old in people years) pooch has not been socialized.


Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 162 Posts
July 29, 20120 found this helpful

I wouldn't risk it. The staff clearly thinks it is a bad idea for you to take this particular dog into your home since you have other pets and children - and after a year they know him well. You need to put your kids first. It may be that he's a sweet dog most the time, but he'd probably do best (and be happier) in a quieter home. If your kids are anything like mine, they get loud and rambunctious - then of course my dogs get wound up, and if this guy plays tough, you're asking for trouble...


If you feel really strongly about this particular dog, I would hire a trainer to come check the dog over with you and get their expert opinion. Then plan to spend a lot on training.

Personally, I've had the best luck adopting dogs through a rescue agency that fosters the dogs in a home environment. It's far less traumatic for the dog and you know exactly what you're getting - which is really important when you have kids. I would really recommend you go that route!

June 9, 20150 found this helpful

The way I understood the question was she has two other dogs who are 10 and 12. She said nothing about kids...

May 19, 20170 found this helpful

First of all never judge by its breed !!! Not fair !! I say you will never know intill you try!! Having had pit bulls my self and recuses !! He could be the best dog you ever had there very great full !!! I have never had a dog aggressive pit bull!!! Most pits like other dogs and make wonderful friends !! Have the dogs on neutral teriorty have someone help u and just walk them together so they trust each other !! You have to remember he's been in a shelter long time !!! He will calm down just have to give him some time !!! It takes couple
Months for some dogs to adjust and fully me their selfs !!!! I hope
You have him a chance


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