Unfortunately, Pitbulls have gained a reputation for being somewhat aggressive dogs. Whether justified or not, pitbull owners need to take extra precautions to ensure their dog doesn’t fit the preconceived notions people might have about it. This will keep them, others, and their dog much safer in the long run.
To do this, you should start training your Pitbull when it’s still young. But how do you stop a Pitbull puppy from biting? Well, there are a few good methods to training your Pitbull puppy out of its bad biting habits. Giving your pup teething toys, giving “time outs,” and making sure your Pitbull gets enough exercise are all helpful methods, but there are even more out there as well.
Why Do Pitbull Puppies Bite?
There are a number of reasons why Pitbull puppies bite a little bit more than other breeds’ puppies tend to. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t because Pitbulls are a naturally aggressive breed. There are a ton of normal reasons that Pitbull puppies bite, and all of these behaviors can be trained out.
Read on to find out why your Pittie pup might be using its teeth a bit more than you would like!
Learning About the World Around Them
One of the main reasons that Pitbull puppies (along with many other kinds of young dogs) bite is to learn more about the world that they live in. Unlike us, dogs don’t have hands to properly explore the world, so they teethe. Humans teethe as well, but not to the same degree.
Biting objects and sometimes even siblings or owners can be an expression of your puppy wanting and needing to learn more about the world it’s in.
Not only is teething a way to learn about the world, but much like human babies, it provides your puppy relief for when its gums hurt. Your Pitbull pup’s teeth are still growing in, and it will need to scratch that itch somehow.
There is no getting around the fact that it’s going to bite something, so making sure that it’s biting the right thing is of the utmost importance.
Pitbulls are a high-energy breed. This is definitely not a bad thing and can lead to lots of fun playtime with your Pittie pup. That being said, if this energy isn’t used up properly, your puppy’s playful biting can become a bad habit rather quickly. Even if your puppy doesn’t mean to harm anything, its bites can still be painful.
Your puppy’s biting might simply be an outlet for a lot of unused energy that it has pent up throughout the course of the day. This is why making sure you find a way to burn off that energy is of the utmost importance when avoiding your Pitbull puppy from biting. Scroll down to learn more about how you can burn some of your Pitbull pup’s unused energy.
Lack of Bite Inhibition
Your puppy also might be lacking what’s called bite inhibition. Bite inhibition is your puppy’s ability to control not only how hard but how often it might bite. This is one of the most important things a puppy can learn to make a properly trained dog. Obviously, puppies aren’t born knowing this skill, so it’s extremely important to train it into them as early as possible.
Usually, this is learned through playing with their siblings. You and toys can be used as a substitute, but you won’t be quite as naturally effective, so make sure to pay attention and respond with proper training methods, which we will go over later on in this article.
Puppies Get Scared
Another reason a puppy might bite is that it’s scared! This might seem fairly obvious, but many owners don’t take this into account when wondering why their puppy might be biting a bit. Puppies are small and young, and so they scare very easily.
If backed into a corner or feeling threatened, your puppy will not hesitate to bite to get out of a situation it perceives as threatening.
This is one of the major reasons that puppies might bite, especially if it seems like your puppy is otherwise good-natured. Make sure that your pup feels safe and comfortable at all times. This can be done by keeping a calm voice, not playing too aggressively, and not forcing your puppy into unfamiliar social situations.
Pitbulls, unfortunately, were originally bred to be fighting dogs. Don’t be confused; this is not to say that they are naturally more aggressive. In fact, Pitbulls score better than average on the American Temperament Test Society’s aggression test. However, this does mean that your Pitbull might be a bit more intense during playtime with other animals.
Not only this, but their reputation can make the owners of other dogs or even just other passersby a bit apprehensive. Your pup will easily be able to tell and might become defensive if it perceives these negative emotions as threatening.
How Do You Stop a Pitbull Puppy From Biting?
So, there are reasons that your Pitbull is biting. Knowing is the first step! But how do we turn knowing why your puppy’s teeth are a bit overactive into curbing that bad behavior? There are a few great ways you can train your puppy how, when, and how often biting is appropriate and when it should keep its jaws closed.
Read on to find out some great tips and steps you can take for learning how to stop your Pitbull puppy from biting!
Let it bite toys!
One of the most important ways to curb your puppy’s bad biting habits is to make sure they’re biting the right thing. After all, with all the above reasons that puppies bite, your puppy will end up biting something. That means it’s your job to make sure your pup is biting the right things.
Whenever your puppy starts biting shoes, furniture, pets, or people that it isn’t supposed to, give it a toy that it can focus that behavior on instead. Not only will this protect your safety and your property, but it will also teach your puppy that its toys are the appropriate outlet for its biting habit.
If your puppy is biting during playtime, it is important that you don’t keep playing and ignore the habit. Sternly and loudly say “No,” “Ouch,” or another word to alert your dog that your attitude has changed. You should also immediately stop playing and do not start playing again for a little while. This will teach your puppy that when it bites, playtime is over.
You can save this for when your puppy nibbles a couple of times. Don’t withhold playtime for too long, as your puppy won’t remember why you aren’t playing. You can resume after about 15 minutes.
There are a couple of ways to actively discourage biting in your young Pittie. Loud and firm verbal cues such as the “No,” or “Ouch” discussed earlier are definitely a solid start. These will alert your puppy that the action that it just took is wrong, and repeated training will hopefully train out the behavior.
A spray deterrent, such as a bitter spray that can be bought at a pet store, can also help. This immediate deterrent won’t hurt your puppy, but it will taste bad and form an association between biting and unpleasantness in your puppy’s mind.
Socialize your Pitbull
Socializing your Pitbull with other animals early in its life can help to deter it from biting. This will reduce the stress it experiences in social situations, which often leads to bites. This is extremely important if you have other pets in the house or plan on bringing your Pittie into public spaces often.
Playing with other dogs is the best way for your Pitbull to learn bite inhibition. Socializing with people, dogs, and cats, will also just get your puppy used to being around other people and animals, which will keep it calm when these situations arise.
Get Some Exercise
As stated earlier, Pitbulls are a very high-energy breed. Biting is often a response to having a ton of energy. In order to burn this energy, it’s important to make sure your Pitbull is getting enough exercise.
The best way to make sure your puppy is well exercised is by going on walks. These will also socialize your puppy and let it get to know your neighborhood. Try taking your Pitbull pup to a dog park for bonus playtime and to socialize even more!
Playing is also a great way to burn energy. Playing fetch in the yard, tug of war and other games will keep your dog active while letting it have some fun and burn off a little of that energy as well.
Although sometimes controversial, getting your Pitbull neutered or spayed can be an effective measure against its aggressiveness. This is also good if you want to avoid your dog having puppies of its own someday.
The desire to mate when it gets older will lead your puppy to extra aggressiveness—having it neutered or spayed while still young will avoid some headaches in the future. This should be done before your puppy reaches 6 months of age. This, according to some experts, also helps training so that your dog can maintain focus on you rather than other dogs.
What to Avoid When Stopping a Pitbull Puppy From Biting
When training your puppy out of bad biting habits, there are definitely some things to avoid. Read on to find out what you shouldn’t do while training your puppy out of biting.
Don’t Discourage Bite Warnings
Although you want to discourage biting itself, you should try not to discourage your puppy from warning that it’s about to bite. These behaviors include baring its teeth, growling, snapping.
Although these behaviors might seem scary, they are important. Pitbulls very rarely bite without warning. If you do train your dog out of doing these things, it might start biting without warning, which is far more dangerous.
When you notice your puppy growling, baring teeth, snapping, or displaying other behaviors that might tell you it’s getting ready to bite, simply walk away. This will teach your pup that exhibiting these behaviors is better than biting outright and also that these behaviors are okay and biting is not.
Don’t punish your dog for biting. Punishments, both physical and verbal, will often make the behavior you’re trying to avoid worse and not better. This is because you are causing your puppy to be scared, which will lead to more biting in the future.
Instead, ignore your puppy for biting. Positively reinforce good behaviors, and treat bad behaviors with ignoring. This will teach your puppy in a more constructive way that biting isn’t okay, without making you an object that your puppy fears, but one that it wants more love and attention from instead!
Don’t Use Your Hands as a Toy
When playing with your puppy, avoid using your hands as a toy. It’s important for your puppy to know that hands, and humans in general, are not an object that is supposed to be bitten. It might not hurt at first and seem so fun, but it will tell your pooch that biting is okay, which is the exact opposite of what we’re aiming for!
This goes for feet, ankles, shoes, and other things attached to you. Keep the play-biting strictly focused on toys. This is extremely important!
Don’t Assume Your Pitbull Is Aggressive!
Don’t assume that just because of the breed, that your Pitbull will be aggressive. Dogs are adept at sensing when people are apprehensive around them, and often these negative emotions can be perceived by them as a threat.
If you are afraid of your dog, it will become more aggressive because it will think either that you might be a threat or that it can take control of the home. Both of these are important to avoid.
Don’t Take Your Pup Away From Mom Too Early!
This one isn’t always possible since sometimes you can’t control the circumstances in which you got your puppy. However, if you can control it, try to keep your puppy with its mom and its litter.
Playing with its siblings and living with its mom will socialize your puppy, teach it social behaviors like bite inhibition, and teach your Pitbull when and how biting is appropriate. Try to keep your Pittie with its mother for around 8 weeks.
When to Call a Vet
There are a number of reasons that calling your vet during training might be a good idea.
Firstly, calling your vet can be a good idea just to keep them in the loop! Letting them know all the latest training techniques you’re using and what behaviors you’re trying to encourage and avoid can be a great idea. Take your vet’s opinions and input seriously. They are experts on your dog, after all!
Also, it’s a good idea to call your vet if your Pitbull starts biting out of the blue. This can be a sign that something is wrong with it health-wise or something else has changed to make the behavior happen randomly. Calling your vet can give you some more information and a way to solve this problem hopefully.
If your Pitbull is exhibiting aggressive behaviors outside of biting, especially if that’s a new behavior (or you see a significant uptick in the behavior), it’s a good idea to call your vet about this too.
Want To Train Your Dog With Peace Of Mind?
If you haven’t trained your dog properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.
The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.
With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.
So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!
And in most cases, it’s still going to be:
- Cheaper than hiring a professional.
- Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
- And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.
Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your dog completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.
And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!
So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!
(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)
Here are some frequently asked questions about why Pitbull puppies bite and how to stop Pitbull puppies from biting more effectively.
Q: How Do You Discipline a Pitbull Puppy When Biting?
A: As we’ve gone over, the best way to discipline your puppy is to avoid punishment. Instead, try ignoring your puppy for a while when it bites. Additionally, using positive reinforcement to encourage the behaviors you want to see is the best way to train your dog to be well-behaved and calm.
Q: At What Age Do Pitbull Puppies Stop Biting?
A: Pitbulls will always bite if threatened, scared, or trained improperly. They end their teething stage between 4 and 7 months old.
So, there are plenty of ways to stop a Pitbull puppy from biting. Make sure your puppy is getting plenty of playtime and exercise to burn off excess energy and has proper toys for teething properly. Make sure your pitbull is properly socialized so it can learn to tolerate other people and animals, as well as learning important behaviors like bite inhibition.
Avoid punishing your Pittie pup or using your hands as an appropriate toy for biting. Try keeping your pup with mom for a few weeks to engrain some important social behaviors into it.
Remember, your Pitbull isn’t naturally aggressive, but like many breeds, will bite when it’s scared, has too much energy, or needs to teethe.