Pitbull Terriers: Biting & Nipping [Preventing,Training,+10 Tips]

TerrierOwner.com is reader-supported. If you buy a product through a link on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

Biting and nipping can be frustrating as a new dog owner. Especially if you are worried that your Pitbull Terrier may escalate or carry this negative behavior into the future.

Biting and nipping for any dog owner can be a concern. I would venture to say it can be even more troublesome if biting and nipping remains a problem behavior for an adult Pitbull Terrier.

I am someone who has been raising a Terrier for the past 3 years. I have gone through the same issues with biting and nipping. I can tell you that I completely understand your concern and anxiety over the matter.

That is why this discussion will be geared around finding the best methods you can implement to ensure your Pitbull Terrier stops biting and nipping. Of course, we also want to ensure that biting and nipping do not become a permanent troublesome behavior in the future.

I will discuss the issues I encountered with my Terrier. Additionally, I will lay out some of the tips and strategies I recommend to completely curb this behavior and end biting and nipping for good.

Here is a quick outline of how I want to present this discussion today.

Understanding The Difference Between Bites and Playful Nipping With A Pitbull Terrier

The first thing that we need to cover before discussing anything else is that Pitbull Terrier puppies will most definitely bite and nip.

Especially when they are young puppies and attempting to learn the world around them.

A puppy such as a Pitbull Terrier will use their mouths often to explore and learn the environment.

This is entirely normal and one of the primary reasons new dog owners often make jokes and struggle with chewed-up or destroyed items around the house.

It becomes an issue with biting and nipping if the behavior continues as your Pitbull matures.

Or if the biting and nipping turns from exploratory puppy behavior to a form of aggressive behavior (more on this later).

Play Biting and Nipping With Pitbull Terrier Puppies

Let’s continue the conversation we started a moment ago and make sure we cover biting and nipping with Pitbull puppies.

It is normal, and it is going to happen.

When any dog breed is young, their mouth is the primary tool used to explore and begin to understand the world around them.

My Terrier didn’t completely stop this behavior until she was around 18 months old.

Sometimes it can be your hand and even hurt.

Especially during the teething phase or when those puppy teeth are sharply pointed.

It can also be challenging to get into a disciplinary role because some owners enjoy playing with their puppy in this fashion and allow it to continue.

This will be covered more when I dive into the tips you can use to end this behavior.

How To Stop Play Biting and Nipping With Pitbull Terriers

Now that we understand that we can almost guarantee Pitbull Terrier puppies will bite and nip, I want to dive into my most effective methods that I would highly recommend beginning as soon as possible.

Some tips on this list will be more effective than others because every Pitbull is different, and every Pitbull’s personality will respond differently or more effectively to different methods.

Nonetheless, here are some of the top tips I can offer you to ultimately end biting and nipping with your Pitbull Terrier.

#1-Start Socialization Quickly

Socialization for a Pitbull Terrier is critical.

Honestly, it is critical for any dog.

Socializing your Pitbull Terrier will allow them to learn the world and get exposed to a variety of social situations.

Some include being around other pets in the home, being around children, and learning to socialize with family and friends.

This is key because overall, it will bring down your Pitbull’s anxiety in these situations, which allows them to relax and not have a chance at any kind of aggression.

Begin allowing your Pitbull to be around kids in the home, other pets such as cats, and family right away.

Make sure to stop any biting and nipping during this phase which we will touch on in a moment.

#2-Correct Nipping and Biting Immediately, Don’t Have Fun With It.

I know this can be tough.

Trust me, I get it, and I fell into this trap with my Terrier as well, and it did not really bother me when she would bite and nip as a puppy.

I thought it was cute, and you may feel the same.

Do not do this.

All you are doing when you allow this biting and nipping behavior is giving your Pitbull a false signal that it is okay to use this behavior.

Pitbulls who don’t have you stop behavior may even begin to think you enjoy it and that it nets them a positive reward which is your attention and love.

Pitbull’s being the affectionate dog that they are, may grow to love this reaction.

This is exactly what you want to avoid.

Make sure that right after the adoption, you begin stopping this behavior and making it very clear to your Pitbull Terrier that you do not want them biting and nipping.

And of course, make sure nothing positive ever comes from your Pitbull biting or nipping.

Here are some specific ways you can stop the behavior or replace the biting and nipping with something more positive.

#3-Replace Biting and Nipping with Toys Designed For Chewing

One of the best methods, in my opinion, for eliminating biting and chewing is getting your Pitbull Terrier acclimated and happy with using chew toys.

One of the struggles I had with this, in the beginning, was getting my Terrier to enjoy the toy and become interested in it.

To make this simple, my advice is to make this fun for your Pitbull Terrier.

Make sure you also interact with them and get them interested in the chew toy you are using.

Heck, even turn it into some form of exercise for your Pitbull Terrier.

Otherwise, they will likely ignore the opportunity to chew the toy and either bite and nip you or find other items around the house to get their mouth on instead.

Turn toys into an adventure or game and bonding moment with your Pitbull for more effectiveness.

This worked for my Terrier, and I believe it could help you as well.

#4-Use Bitter Sprays To Get Your Point Across

I know that it seems a bit cruel or rude to use lemon bitter spray to deter biting and to chew but boy does it work.

My Terrier absolutely hates the taste of these items.

If you have a problem with your Pitbull nipping and biting at fingers and hands, try using some of the spray on your hands and allowing them to taste something they absolutely hate.

You can also use this to help prevent other problems chewing with your Pitbull, such as dog beds, trim and other items around the home.

Again, I get it.

It may seem harmful or not the most friendly approach, but it works when you struggle to find any way for your dog to stop nipping and biting behaviors.

#5-Never Harm, Scream, or Physically Discipline Your Pitbull For Biting and Nipping

Another big tip that I am sad to say, is probably often broken or not used, is something super simple.

Do not scold, harm, or use other disciplinary consequences for a dog or Pitbull that’s struggling with nipping or biting.

If anything, these behaviors from you as the pack leader are going to confuse your dog.

Not to mention, resemble that you don’t indicate safety for them and that your emotions are even unpredictable or erratic.

Instead, replace negative nipping and biting behaviors with the desired behavior and praise and reward your dog when doing the correct thing.

This is a much more effective form of discipline for a Pitbull Terrier.

This is much clearer and easier for your Pitbull to understand.

Eliminating confusion and building trust with your Pitbull is imperative.

Don’t break the trust or cause harm for a behavior they simply do not understand to avoid yet.

#6-Yelp Like A Dog To Scare Your Pitbull During Nipping and Biting and Episodes

This tip works way better than most of you may believe and is one of my primary methods for getting my Terrier to stop biting and nipping.

When they do bite or nip your hand, pull back quickly, yelp like a dog (speaking their language), and make it seem as if they harmed their pack leader and the one they love.

Pitbull Terriers are not born with an instinct to cause you harm nor want to.

It is typically the result of inadequate training, bad training, and poor socialization.

Try speaking their language and scaring them into believing that the nipping and biting behaviors are harming you, making you uncomfortable and upset with them.

It works way better than I believed it would, and I highly recommend it.

#7-Socialize Your Pitbull With Having Hands Near The Face

Seems simple right?

Not really, and it is often overlooked.

One more critical thing you can do to prevent biting and nipping is petting your Pitbull around their face and mouth.

Additionally, start rewarding them when they can hold back from biting and nipping.

Pitbull Terriers are intelligent dogs and will catch on to what you are training them faster than you believe.

Take 2-3 minutes a day when your Pitbull is a puppy and pet them and love them around the face and mouth.

Give them kisses, show them love and affection, and teach them never to use their mouths in these situations.

This will help permanently deter biting and nipping in the future when a stranger or another individual accidentally crosses this boundary with your dog without prior knowledge.

A often overlooked method of training and socialization you can implement.

#8-Get Your Pitbull Comfortable With Uncomfortable Situations

This goes back to socialization, but a piece of socialization that is often overlooked is that sometimes lousy situations arise that will cause your Pitbull anxiety.

Get your Pitbull comfortable with you being away at work.

Get your Pitbull comfortable around large groups of people or even dog parks.

Sometimes, even teaching your Pitbull not to bark, nip or bite during a thunderstorm can be beneficial.

In short, understand that sometimes things happen that are not in your control.

The more training and chances you get to teach your Pitbull not to bite or nip in these situations, the better.

#9-Always Supervise If You Are Around Young Children, Babies, and Toddlers

Like I have been stating for this entire discussion, a puppy is nothing more than an untrained dog with a young brain.

If your Pitbull is not fully trained, you should not trust them not to nip or bite with young children.

Young children can be clumsy and even push boundaries with a dog without effort or intention, such as pulling a tail.

Ensure that your Pitbull is around young children, babies, or toddlers that supervision is present until you are 100% confident that it is not required.

Always better to be safe than sorry in these situations if you ask me.

#10-Ensure Your Pitbull Understands You Are The Alpha

This may have been a better tip at the top of this list because it is vital with a Pitbull Terrier.

They need to know you are the pack leader, in charge, and have the final say.

Doing so gives them a sense of comfort and a direction to turn to during uncertainty.

Having this dynamic allows you to have control.

Your Pitbull will ultimately be better behaved because of it and help eliminate biting and nipping now and in the future.

#11-Consider Consulting Professional Help To Stop Your Pitbull Terrier From Biting

If you are still struggling with biting and nipping behaviors and have tried the tips we discussed, among others.

It may be time to seek the help of a professional.

Sometimes, especially if you are a new dog owner, a professional is much more capable of training effectively and reducing negative behaviors such as biting and nipping.

Don’t be afraid to ask for this help if biting and nipping aren’t improving, and you want to solve the problem faster.

Biting And Nipping Is Normal With Pitbull Puppies, Don’t Overthink It.

Puppies will be puppies, and I promise your Pitbull will bite and nip at one point or another.

As the owner and alpha, it is your job to begin socializing, training, and getting rid of these behaviors as fast and effectively as you can.

With some patience and following the tips we have laid out in this discussion, Luna and I believe you can end nipping and biting sooner than you think.

Luna and I wish you the best of luck with your Pitbull Terrier and hope that biting and nipping is not an ongoing issue for you!

What Did You Do Stop Your Pitbull From Biting, Nipping, and Mouthing?

What else can you share with the community about your Pitbull Terrier biting and nipping?

What other tactics and tips did you implement to help prevent biting and nipping with your Pitbull?

Be sure to share those thoughts, stories, and concerns by dropping a comment below.

As always, Luna and I appreciate you stopping by and reading today, and we will see you again next time.

Josh Martin- Founder and Creator of Terrier Owner

Josh Martin is the proud owner of a female Jack Russell Terrier Named Luna. Josh founded TerrierOwner.com to share the stories of owning a Terrier and to help all terrier owners with the struggles, excitement and common questions that come with being a new terrier parent.

Recent Posts