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Training a Pitbull to Not Bite

Puppies love to play rough and tumble and biting is a part of that play. However, when they grow up biting is no longer acceptable and potentially dangerous. Training your Pitbull not to bite is a process you can undertake successfully at home. This is a page about training a Pitbull to not bite.
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I would suggest getting information about The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan. He is in Los Angeles. He has many Pits and would certainly know what to do. He has books and DVDs, also. His show is on NatGeo Wild every day. I hope this will help you.

Source: NatGeo Wild, The Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan

By Barbara Walker from Oceanside, CA

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33 Questions

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January 7, 2008

I have a 7 month old Pit Bull. She keeps play biting my 14yr old daughter. I have tried everything to stop her but she won't stop. My daughter is the only person she does this to.



Christine

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January 7, 20082 found this helpful
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At one time my own dog always play bit my daughter. I then explained to my daughter that the dog thinks of her as a litter mate. She has to show the dog that the behaviour is not acceptable and to make a very loud noise when the dog tried to nip at her and say no, then walk away. After a short time, my daughter then had control of the dog as the dog learned that she was in fact not its litter mate.
Our dog is a beagle.

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January 7, 20082 found this helpful
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My neighbor had a pit bull. I knew this dog since it was a tiny puppy and it was very loving and playful with me. Then one day it suddenly attacked me out of nowhere. An animal control officer told me that's the way pit bulls are. For centuries they were taught to fight to the death and developed some kind of enzyme in their brains, they can not control their behavior. Please get rid of the dog before it causes real harm to your daughter.

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January 9, 20086 found this helpful
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Get your daughter a can of breath freshner - you know, the palm-sized little cans you can find when checking out at the grocery store. Everytime the puppy - and he's still a puppy and can be corrected - tries to nip/bite her, she should squirt him right in the face/mouth. Get a strong flavor. This should startle the puppy and it should not take long before he ceases the bad behavior. I also strongly recommend that you get your puppy in obedience classes asap. He needs to learn that the humans he lives with are the "alphas" in his life, and he needs to be well-behaved. Pit bulls have the bad reputation they have because they are well built dogs for bad activities promoted by bad people. But they do not have be bad - it depends entirely on the owner. This is true for any dog. Even a chihuahua can be vicious if not properly raised. As a responsible dog owner, you should definitely put the dog in obedience school, and it is so much fun, you might want to continue with agility training and other schools to keep the dog active, interested, and out of trouble. Good luck!

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January 9, 200811 found this helpful
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I cannot believe the feedback given here. Every dog deserves to have a life and a family. Pit Bull's are NOT born evil, or born agressive. If the dog is trained correctly and given love and affection, it will NOT maul anyone in your family or around you. You do NOT -again- have to choose between your daughter and your dog.
Simply correct the behavior. If you already established yourself as alpha when the dog was a puppy, he/she should understand. If the dog considers your daughter as lower than itself in the pack, that could explain the biting. I suggest being there when the dog tries it again, and in a stern voice say 'NO'. Test if the dog tries it again, if not than it understands the pack-leader, if so than continue the treatment.
Your daughter isn't a child, she can defend herself like any adult. She should have also established herself ahead of the dog when it was a pup, this might not have happened. Please read up on what you are getting into before taking an animal into your home, it will save you and the dog grief later on. Pitbulls are especially good to study before taking one, as they require owners that usually had a dog previously.

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January 12, 20087 found this helpful
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You do not need to have your dog euthanized you can easily correct it by having a toy in your hand and when it begins to bite give it the toy and if it continues to bite pluck the dog on the nose. if that does not work contact a professional dog trainer and ask him what else could work. just because its a pit bull does not mean its gonna automatically be aggressive. i have 3 pit bulls and none of them are aggressive in any way so for the people who believe that they need to not criticize 1 breed of dog because a lab or golden retriever could be just as viscous as a pit bull. and its peoples ignorance that continues to make this breed have a bad rep.

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By (Guest Post)
January 23, 20080 found this helpful
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How about training? If the pup has been taught not to play bite with others, it more then certainly can learn this from your daughter. If the biting is more then play disregard the following, but its simple if it is all that must be done is training. The owner must teach the daughter how to force the pup into obedience. My 7 year old had this issue with our 12 week old pup and now with the SIMPLE command of OFF, he listens just fine. You might want to be sure that he is neutered as this may help with aggression.

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By Pit Owner (Guest Post)
January 26, 20083 found this helpful
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Buy a book on dog training and puppy care. Teach the dog proper manners concerning your family and your property. My pitbulls have NEVER bit anyone in their entire lives.

All dogs can be trained to be "good" or "bad." If the breed mentioned in the original title was "Golden Retriever" or "American Eskimo", there would be very few demands to destroy the dog or get rid of it.

Train your dog, and if possible ( depending on age ) train your own children how to show their dominate status. Hold the puppy down until it stops struggling, remove it's food at times the puppy is eating( giving it back, of course, soon after ). As I said, buy a book - but these are simple examples of showing the dog you are in charge. Do NOT play tug-of-war games, nor allow it to "nibble" on the tips of your fingers. Be clear it is not allowed with a loud clap of your hands, and if necessary, a pop on the nose or rear. Don't hurt your puppy, but make sure it understands "NO!"

However it turns out, whatever it's behaviour - it is because it's been either "allowed" to behave that way, or distinctly "taught" to behave in such a fashion. Do not destroy that dog - you have no right to end a life. Find a No-Kill shelter if you feel that training a puppy not to bite is beyond you.

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February 18, 2011

Is it common for my nine week old bluenose Pit Bull to be biting? What is the best way to help him to stop?

By KATE from Sandown, NH

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February 19, 20110 found this helpful
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It is normal, that's what puppies do, but it is easily stopped. The next time your puppy goes to bite, put your hand in his mouth and grab his lower jaw firmly and then firmly say "No bite". Do this everytime and he will learn and stop. He will not be able to bite with your hand holding him like this and it doesn't hurt him. This worked with our American Bulldog puppy, hope this helps.

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February 19, 20110 found this helpful
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Buffalowgal has good advice. I hope this cures your pup!
I had an experience with my 8 wk old Dane that was different, though.

On reflection I think this is what I did wrong with him:
Being so darned cute, I just could not help but fall for this little 20 lb guy. Morning one with us he started to cry a bit. I grabbed a throw for myself to snuggle on the couch to watch early news. I picked him up and placed him on my tummy. He stared at me, but then went to sleep. Lovely, huh?

2nd morning: He started that pitiful cry, so I grabbed the throw, etc. I picked him up, put him on my tummy, I got the stare. THEN.....he just started biting the %$#& outta me!

This started an approx 6 month behavior that was just awful. My husband would come in from work to find me crying and bloody. I was SO frustrated. I had four Danes before him and they were so mellow and great and now I had a MONSTER on my hands.

WHAT I DID WRONG: I elevated this intact male pup off the floor and then placed him to where he looked down on me. This gives them the msg that they are superior and he was acting on that. He saw me as a weak pup.
NEVER treat a pup like they are a baby! They need to know where they stand from day one and as they grow and learn then they can be rewarded.

Outdoors he would see me in the yard and run past me grabbing an arm: more injury. But, remember that pups will do that to each other as they make their way to the top of the pack.

It took a LOT of patience and training (not to mention neosporin and bandaids), but I am stubborn and knew that he was a good dog, behind all those big teeth.
Today he is 2 1/2 years and is 165#. I am 120#. He only sees me as a pup as far as protecting me, but I could NOT ask for a better dog, he's marvelous! Now I tell him "let's go watch tv on the couch" and he ambles towards the family room, but waits to get the signal if he can sit with me or sit at my feet.

I hope the "don't bite" maneuver works for you. Good luck with your cutie. Let us know what happens!

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February 21, 20110 found this helpful
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I only have one thing to add to all the other bits of advice. Do not think that I have any grudge against Pitbulls, in fact, I love them. The actual findings, according to people like the ones who have handled them (a lot) is that the blue nose pits are always the ones in demand as fighters, and are usually the ones that do get in trouble as adults, for attacks. I think I heard the lady who runs Villa Lobos and has the tv program pit bulls and parolees, was one who mentioned that. Again, I love pits, but do watch, and if the best attempts at training are not successful within a reasonable time, and you have children around, at any time, please be cautious. We dont want more media vilifying such awesome dogs.

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January 13, 2013

We rescued 2 Boxer mixes when they were 3 months old; a female Teaya, that is 3 years old now and less than a year later a male Tyce, who is 2 years old now. Taeya has severe separation anxiety for which we thought getting her a brother would be a great idea, so we adopted Tyce. Taeya is very motherly and they are two peas in a pod; never had any problems with them.

We recently came across a homeless family with Pitbulls living in a park and found out that two of the litter died. Our heart went out to them and we adopted 1 male (Titan) that was 6 weeks old and is not fixed yet. He is now 4 months and we plan to get him fixed, but he has been showing major aggressive behavior recently.

First, he would start playing with Taeya, and she can handle it, but then he would start to bite her mouth and we could not pull his mouth open; which terrifies us.

Now, he leaves Taeya (female) alone, and has been going after Tyce (male). He bites his mouth and does not let go, whenever we take them on a walk or if we give Tyce attention. Our only methods have been putting him in the crate to calm him down, which works, and then he goes up to Tyce and gives him kisses. But once we walk them, it starts again. We got to the point where we can't walk them together.

I can only imagine he is trying to establish dominance, but Tyce is a submissive dog. Taeya and Tyce do not defend themselves and I believe they are terrified of his lock jaw.

I plan to get him fixed this week and see how they may change; but in the meantime, I need a solution for them to co-exist without my older dogs getting their face bitten off. Then we will most likely find him a new home; our intention from the start was to foster him.

Any advice?

By Caitlin C.

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December 16, 2011

I just got a Pit Bull/Boxer mix pup. He was 6 weeks old. I have had him for about 3-4 weeks now and his aggression and biting is getting to be too much, especially with my 5 year old son. I have tried smacking his mouth, giving him a firm NO, newspaper against my hand to make loud noise to stop him, putting him in his cage after disciplining him, he just doesn't stop. He goes right back at it. He also gets spiteful when you yell at him for the biting and put him in his cage. He goes in and pees. Any suggestion how to calm his aggression?

By Mimi from east coast

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January 7, 2010

How do I get my American Pitbull five week old puppy to stop biting my two year old when she tries to play with it?

By sally martinez from Austin, TX

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January 7, 20100 found this helpful
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First of all, a 5 week old puppy should still be with it's mother who will let it know when it's biting her too hard. Second, a two year old child should not be unsupervised around any dog. A child that young has no idea when it's being too rough with an animal, and a dog will respond the only way it can when it's being hurt - it will bite.

If there is no mother dog in the picture, you should do some research on training, or better yet, consult a trainer who can tell you the best way to handle the problem. All puppies bite, especially when they're teething, but you do need to deal with it when they're young, otherwise you will have real problems.

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January 8, 20100 found this helpful
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I TOTALLY agree with suescats. Our behaviorist says pups should be with the mother until at least 12 weeks regardless of wether or not they can eat dry food. The mother's training as far as play biting goes should last until the pups are weaned.

The Humane society, aspca, and most rescues don't want to place pups and small dogs in families with children 5 and under. Little ones, especially a two year old, cannot comprehend what their actions mean to the puppy. Something as simple as a quick movement of the arm can entice the pup to bite.

Keep in mind: THIS IS NOT THE PUPPY'S FAULT! It is a poor situation for both the pup that you want to work out and the child that you ultimately want to not fear dogs. Is there someone who can do the initial rasing of the dog until it can be trusted with your family?

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January 10, 20100 found this helpful
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Puppies, no matter the breed, will "bite". It is a teething action. You need to correct the action, and redirect it to something that it can chew on. My Aunt had a great idea that I used with my dog, when she was a pup. Take your dry dog food, and a can of wet dog food (preferably the same brand name), mix it, and stuff it into a kong (for pups, use the puppy kongs). Then, place the kong into the freezer for a couple of hours. This is a great teething toy for your puppy! I kept about 3 kongs on hand, and rotated them from the freezer. Just make sure that the portions you give in the kong, is added to the total amount of food you are feeding in a day. You don't want to over feed.

There are several ways to correct the pup, when it tries its teething on you, or your child. If you google puppy training articles, you will find several that will give you ideas on how to stop, and redirect the behavior.

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July 22, 2012

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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November 28, 2012

I am at the end of my rope. This is our second Pit (our first was hit by a car at 1 year). BeBe is 14 weeks old and I can not get her to stop biting my hands, feet, legs, and she pulls on my pants leg. I have tried "NO", I have pushed her away, tried to ignore her, tried to give her chew toys when she tries to bite me or chew on my clothes. She has gotten where she barks at me and is getting to be aggressive toward me. I am the primary caregiver and I love her and want her, but she is really getting to be a handful.

By Bonnie W. from La Grange, NC

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August 29, 2012

My boyfriend and I have had this blue nose Pitbull since he was a baby. Now he is almost 4 years old and he has bitten me twice within the past 2 years. The last bite almost caused me to lose my arm. I still want to be with my boyfriend, but I don't like the dog anymore and he's' still in the house.

His mom lives with him and she spoils the dog like a child and he stays in the house. I cared for him while he was a baby and I don't understand why he bites me when I cared for him more than my boyfriend during his younger years. And I don't understand why the police did not put him down. I want to remain in a relationship with my boyfriend, but I don't want the dog.

By CB

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September 29, 2015

I have this baby Pit Bull and he is about 8 months old now. He is snapping and biting, but only at kids. He use to never do that to the kids as a baby. We have been putting him outside on the chain or in the room when he does and/or spanking him.

He has bones and stuffed toys that he plays with. This is the third time he has done this. I love him dearly and if I can't find a way to help him stop then we will have to get rid of him. I really don't want to cause he is my baby.
Help?

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My APBT is currently 8 months old and I have had her since she was 6 weeks old. During this time we have moved three times. Initially, we lived in a situation where she got to play with a few different dogs and see various people. While playing with these animals, she would play normally and occasionally act dominant but never aggressively or too rough. She would not jump or nip at people except my 10 year old nephew who would play roughly with her.

Soon after this, we moved in with my parents. My parents spoiled her by not enforcing rules and letting her play roughly with them. After discussing this with them, they stopped for the most part but it seemed the damage was done because she now thought it was okay to jump on people and nip at them.

Since then, we have moved into a complex with a roommate. The complex contains many people and animals. She will listen to me when we are alone with only the occasional challenge. However, when we are walking and she sees a person or another dog, she gets really excited, stops listening to me, and tries to pull to get to the person/dog. On the occasions that she does meet someone new (or old for that matter) she will jump on them and nip at them. She does not do this with me, but she does it with everyone else! It makes me nervous that she may hurt someone because she does not realize she is being so rough. She also now plays too roughly with the dogs she was initially socialized around. I just want her to act more calm around everyone else like she does with me. Any advice?

By Mary Katherine C.

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June 10, 2013

I've had my Shar pei/Pitbull puppy since he was 8 weeks old and from then on I stressed how important it was to not let him bite. My fiancee and I went out and got him ropes and treats because he was starting to bite. He is 14 weeks now and he is starting to draw blood and bite harder and bark at our hands.

My mom's friend came over and was rough housing with him and letting him bite and bark. I'm afraid I'm going to have to get rid of him. He was a wonderful when he was younger and was good. Now he doesn't listen, he barks, he bites, and he is scratching now. I've tried saying no sternly, avoiding him til he behaved, put him in his kennel til he settled down, and my mom doesn't know what to do so she grabs his jaw spanks him and says no biting.

I love my puppy, but this biting thing may lead me to giving him up or my mom just taking him to the pound. My fiancee wants to get him a muzzle and I want to be able to trust my puppy especially because I may be pregnant and I have a 6 year old nephew. I need to know how to get him to be good and stop biting.

By Samantha B.

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June 11, 20130 found this helpful

Aw he is so cute! All of the pit crosses have this teething play biting not minding being snotty problem.

Never roughhouse with a pup it makes them misbehave. Then any hand looks like a play toy to the pup.
I always would take the pup by the scruff gently and raise him up and look at him and say no. His upper feet would be off the ground but his back feet would be on the ground. I have found a firm shake to the scruff and a no with a mean growly voice usually works. Don't praise once he has calmed down, just let the quiet be the praise. Here are some other tips:

Here is a bit of help from leerburg.com
leerburg.com/bitingpuppies.htm

Fear Aggression in Puppies Video
leerburg.com/.../

Stopping Puppy Biting Behavior Video
youtu.be/1dKiaKSEilg

Here is an excellent pit bull resource site on training:
www.pbrc.net/training.html

Hope this helps, and if you do rehome him make sure you charge a fee for it!

Blessings,
Robyn

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March 20, 2020

I have an 8 week old female Pit Bull puppy that is very aggressive and bites constantly. Could you tell me how I can get her to stop?


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