Pitbull puppies are very adorable, and being puppies, they like to put everything in their mouths. Puppies are cute and get away with many things because we find them amusing, but that can have serious consequences as they grow older. American Pit Bul Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and the American Bully are all intelligent, high-energy dogs. They need lots of exercise and mental stimulation.
Your puppy might occasionally nip you playfully, and you probably let him. However, it is better to nip this behavior in the bud, or the bites can be painful as your puppy matures. Train your Pitbull puppy using positive reinforcement to curb this behavior in puppyhood. In addition, having access to chew toys makes it less likely that your puppy doesn’t bite you or others. Keep reading to learn how to get your Pitbull puppy to stop biting.
Why Pitbull Puppies Bite
There are three main reasons why Pitbull puppies have a reputation for biting:
Puppies are generally a lot more energetic than adult dogs. Since this is the age where most of their growth and development occurs, their brains and bodies are full of energy. Pitbull dogs are generally an active, muscular breed, so the puppies are also very energetic. At this age, most puppies explore the world by biting or licking. Pitbull puppies are no exception; their high energy levels make nipping more frequent. Keeping your Pitbull puppy active can keep him healthy and reduce the frequency of this behavior.
If you have seen a litter of Pitbull puppies playing, they frequently bite each other. Biting, mouthing, and mock fighting is how puppies and kittens explore their world. And your Pitbull puppy will likely play with you the same way. When roughhousing with your puppy, he will probably nip at your hands and fingers, as it did with its littermates.
Similar to human babies and children, puppies grow new teeth during their development. The primary teeth fall out and are replaced by stronger adult teeth backed by a stronger adult jaw. Teething starts when the puppy is weaned, usually around six weeks. However, some can start teething at five weeks or as late as eight. There are two teething phases. The baby teeth erupt between five to eight weeks of age, followed by the adult teeth, which begin replacing the baby teeth at around seven months.
During teething, your puppy will have the urge to bite and gnaw on things. If he has bitten you previously, you will probably notice that the bites are more painful now. Provide your puppy with a large supply of teething toys during this time.
How To Stop Your Pitbull Puppy From Biting
Here are some tips you can use to reduce your Pitbull puppy’s biting behavior:
Playtime With Siblings
Playtime with siblings is essential for a Pitbull puppy to learn bite inhibition. Bite inhibition refers to a dog’s ability to control the force and frequency of his bites. Most puppies and kittens learn this skill by playing with their littermates. While roughhousing with their siblings, they learn that biting too hard can cause pain to others, and when bitten too hard by one of their littermates, puppies also learn that bites can be painful. These realizations are important for puppies to master bite inhibition.
Experts recommend keeping the puppy with his mother and littermates until eight weeks. Puppies separated from their mother early will have less bite inhibition. You may want to consult a professional trainer about the best way to impart bite inhibition training.
Teething toys are the best way to prevent your Pitbull puppy from biting you at this age. Some teething toys also promote the growth of your pet’s teeth due to their specific shape and size.
Puzzle toys filled with treats are a great way to provide mental and physical stimulation. If you know your puppy is teething, have lots of chew toys available to them at all times.
Discourage Biting at Playtime
Pitbulls are highly energetic dogs, prone to biting during playtime. Without realizing it, how we play with our puppies encourages them to bite harder and more often. For example, if you are playing with your Pitbull puppy and he nips you too hard, you can get caught up in your fun and ignore it. The result is that you’ve encouraged your puppy to play with you roughly.
To discourage your puppy from biting you during playtime, say “no” or “ouch” in a loud, firm voice and stop playing immediately. Just as one of its littermates would yelp and stop playing. Stop moving and wait a few minutes before you begin playing with your puppy again. The message is that “rough play makes the human go away.” Something that the puppy doesn’t want.
You will have to be patient and consistent so that your Pitbull puppy learns to make the connection between his biting and your leaving. Also, every household member needs to react to the puppy’s overzealousness similarly. Putting playtime on hold for a brief moment is the best way to teach your pet to stop biting. Attention is a powerful reinforcer for pets, and its withdrawal is just as powerful.
If your puppy is biting other things like household items and shoes, you can use a spray deterrent like a bittering agent. It will taste unpleasant to your puppy but poses no harm.
Sometimes, removal of attention is not enough to keep your pup from roughhousing. Timeouts can be useful for puppies that continue to bite you despite you saying “ouch” and briefly stopping playtime. It can vary from pup to pup, but the ASPCA recommends a timeout if your puppy bites you three times within fifteen minutes. Stop playtime for 20 to 60 seconds, which is ample time for your puppy to reflect on his actions.
It can be difficult to ignore your puppy if he continues to try to play with you, but you must hold your ground and be patient. If you have previously encouraged your puppy’s biting behavior, it can take longer to establish a link between biting and the end of playtime.
No Using Hands As Toys
It is common among pet parents to use their hands to engage with their pets during playtime. All animals, including dogs and cats, playfully bite their siblings to show affection and play. Your puppy is tiny and adorable, so it is difficult to resist playing with them using your hands. However, they won’t be small forever, so think twice before using your hands as toys. Use dog toys to engage your pet so it learns that it is not okay to bite your hands or fingers.
Chasing you and nipping at your heels is another “no no.” Rather than letting your pup nip at your feet and ankles, keep a chew toy at hand and encourage it to fetch. Use timeouts to curb this behavior if redirecting to toys does not work.
Redirecting To Toys
If you can’t ignore your pet’s pleas to play during the timeout, you can also use toys as an effective tool to redirect biting behavior. When your puppy tries to bite you, offer it toys and encourage the behavior with pets and verbal praise. You can also put treats like peanut butter on dog toys as a reward. This way, an energetic pup still has something to bite without hurting you unintentionally.
Like other techniques, you must be patient and keep redirecting your pet’s attention to their toys whenever they try to bite you. Praising your pet is crucial to maintaining this behavior in the long run.
Remember that using any form of punishment on a growing puppy will only have adverse effects, including physical and verbal punishments, prong collars, and shock collars. Puppies are far too young to understand the concept of punishment and will only react with fear, learned helplessness, or aggression.
Many people adopt Pitbulls but don’t have the patience to train these headstrong dogs with a firm hand. If a Pitbull puppy’s training includes punishment, it can grow into a fearful or aggressive dog. These adult Pitbulls can also bite their owners and will do so out of fear or anger. It is better to rely on methods such as redirecting behavior and timeouts. If you still have trouble managing your Pitbull puppy’s biting behavior, it is best to consult an animal behaviorist or professional trainer.
Puppies that don’t get enough exercise and mental stimulation are more prone to problem behaviors. Pitbulls are intelligent and active dogs needing lots of exercise and challenging games. Play fetch, teach them commands, and use puzzle toys to keep your puppy active and engaged. A properly engaged puppy is much less likely to behave badly.
Puppies don’t just bite because they’re bored or want to play. Hunger, excitement, attention, and teething are just a few more reasons your pup might bite your ankles. It’s important to redirect biting and encourage calmness during these times. When going for a walk, have your puppy sit calmly before going out the door. As a reward for calmly waiting, the door opens, and the walk begins. If your puppy bolts as soon as the door opens, reset, wait for calm, and then calmly go out the door. You will be surprised at how quickly your puppy will learn that being calm is the way to get things it wants.
Neutering or spaying your Pitbull will significantly reduce the chances of aggressive behaviors like biting. When going into heat, both male and female dogs can become aggressive.
Most dogs reach sexual maturity around six months, but veterinarians recommend having them spayed/neutered earlier. When your pup is spayed/neutered, they are less likely to be aggressive towards you and other animals.
Like other dogs, Pitbulls can be aggressive towards other dogs in certain situations. Even if your Pitbull puppy is super affectionate to you, they can still be aggressive to other animals. Always supervise your Pitbull in the presence of other animals and children. If you notice your puppy behaving aggressively towards another cat or dog, discourage this behavior and take your puppy away to prevent the situation from worsening. Pitbull puppies need proper socialization and training to live in a multi-pet household.
Fighting and bull-baiting are two reasons for the emergence of the Pitbull and other bully breeds. The modern Pitbull is unfairly painted with this brush. They often make the lists of dogs most likely to bite. But did your know that Chihuahuas and Cocker Spaniels are also very high on that list? Pitbulls are one of the most dedicated, family-loving, goofy dogs around. Some popular myths you might have heard about Pitbulls are:
Pitbulls Have The Strongest Bite
According to the American Pitbull Foundation, no published scientific studies compare biting power in a meaningful way.
Pitbulls Have Locking Jaws
According to the American Pitbull Foundation, the studies conducted about the skull, teeth, and jaw structure of Pitbull dogs show no evidence for a unique locking mechanism.
Pitbulls Are Naturally Aggressive
According to studies by the American Temperament Society, Pitbulls scored better on temperament tests than other dog breeds. Pitbulls scored 82% or higher compared to the 77% score among the general dog population.