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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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By 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


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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By 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


April 6, 20100 found this helpful

I read an article about using a spray bottle filled with water or a can filled with rocks, making a rattle. When the dog starts nipping you either spray the water at him or shake the rattle.. the vet who wrote the article says they are both good deterrents and excellent behavior modification techniques that will produce results but not harm the dog.


I never used either one as our pup did not go through that stage. Maybe another member has had some experience using one or the other?

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April 8, 20100 found this helpful

I use pennies in a can for my 9 month old puppy and I have to say that it really works. I also use it for training, barking, jumping, chewing, marking for boys, pretty much any kind of "bad behavior."

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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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By 0 found this helpful
January 25, 2011

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

By cammi from DE


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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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.


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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By 1 found this helpful
October 3, 2010

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

By brandon roberts from Charlotte, NC


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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July 26, 2018

My puppy is going on 7 months now. He is a mutt. He is mixed with breeds that I have yet to find out. He is medium size right now. He has a lot of energy, and is very trainable. I have taught him how to sit, stay, come, down, spin, paw, under (To get in between my legs when it is crowded in public), heel, and crawl. He knows all of these commands, and chooses if he doesn't want to do them sometimes.

Anyway, to the point, my pup gets so overly excited to see me that he automatically wants to play so he bites and tugs on my skin to play. He nips hard. I tell him "no" calmly, or in a deep voice or loudly, and it doesn't seem to work. If i keep shielding myself and telling him "no", he starts barking, loudly. The problem is not the barking, as much as it is his biting and leaving me with bruises all over my legs. It's terrible. Please help.

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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.



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!


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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 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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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 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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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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By 0 found this helpful
November 18, 2018

I have a German Shepherd puppy and he's 8 weeks old. I know puppies tend to bite a lot because they're teething and because they're simply puppies, but mine bites way too hard. I've searched for ways to make puppies stop biting you and I've tried ignoring and walking away, yelping, giving praise when they stop, and more, but he always goes back to biting. It really hurts and he shows signs of aggression sometimes, how can I get him to stop?

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By 0 found this helpful
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. 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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By 0 found this helpful
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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By 0 found this helpful
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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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 Meg


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 Cricket

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