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Teaching a Puppy Not to Bite

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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15 Questions

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June 1, 2011

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.

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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.

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By Wallace from Houston, TX

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June 2, 20110 found this helpful
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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
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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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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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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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Anonymous
March 1, 20111 found this helpful
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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!

EXERCISE - DISCIPLINE - AFFECTION (in that order!)

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

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April 3, 2012

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.

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By Nat B.

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April 5, 20120 found this helpful
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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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October 3, 2010

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

By brandon roberts from Charlotte, NC

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October 5, 20100 found this helpful
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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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February 13, 2009

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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Kathleen

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February 13, 20090 found this helpful

You need to tell him No and flip his nose, not enough to hurt but enough to startle him...if he is biting out of nervousness, the flipping will not work.

Look up "How stop biting in a dog" on the internet....
Hope this helps!

Racer

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By Jennifer (Guest Post)
February 14, 20090 found this helpful

Puppies just naturally bite when playing. If you watch several litter mates together, you see them biting one another. He will have to be taught not to bite, but I don't think "flipping" his nose is the answer. We took our dog to a professional trainer to learn how to teach him basic doggie skills. He (and you) will be happier when he knows what is acceptable behavior and what is not.

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By Artlady (Guest Post)
February 14, 20090 found this helpful

There is a book about resource guarding, which is what your dog is doing. It's written by Jean Donaldson. You can get it on Amazon for about $15. I've heard it is excellent to re-train dogs. Please try working with your dog before deciding to get rid of it. These things can usually be fixed. I trained my dogs to give me things by giving them really tasty treats in "exchange" for the item they were guarding. Most dogs are very smart and you have to out-think them.

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February 14, 20090 found this helpful

Watch the show The Dog Whisperer on national geographic channel or you can buy or rent dvd's of his older seasons. He is a miracle worker on teaching humans to understand their pets. Hope this helps.

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By Shelter Worker (Guest Post)
February 15, 20090 found this helpful

DEFINITELY work with your dog!

Being "loved" is not enough for any animal...dog or human. What happens to a child who is loved, doesn't get any exercise and is given whatever they want and never disciplined?


A small dog who needs just as much exercise, socialization, discipline, training, play time and affection as any other dog in order for them to behave properly. They don't get exercise running around the house nor do they get socialized or mentally stimulated that way. Being "let out" into a yard is just as boring and results in no exercise too. So get a good pair of walking and jogging shoes!

If you feel confident enough, get some books and learn what YOU need to change to have a better dog. The dog shows with Cesar Milan and Victoria Stilwell are good resources but watching is not enough. You have to change how you behave to change how the dog behaves.

If you're honestly not that confident, find a trainer who can work with you for a few sessions. That's not to get the dog trained; that's so you can gain the confidence to make the changes you need to make to change your dog's behaviour.

Good luck!

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By (Guest Post)
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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May 13, 2013

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.

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By Keith

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December 10, 2012

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.

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By Clarissa C

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September 10, 2017

We've had our puppy for 3 days now. He is a 5 week old Rottweiler. I constantly have to tell him firmly, "stop" or "no" every time he tries to nibble on our clothes, ankles, or fingers, but he continuously still does it anyway.

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We bought him 2 squeaky toys and a small chew bone, but he prefers chewing on us instead or his dog blanket and bed.

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October 3, 2010

My male German Shepherd puppy, 10 weeks old, is driving me literally crazy with his nipping and pulling on my pants.

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