How to Train a Pitbull Puppy Not to Bite

By Britt Kascjak

New pitbull puppy owners face a lot challenges, from choosing the right puppy food to figuring out how to potty train. Perhaps one of the biggest is puppy biting and mouthing. Your puppy likely isn’t going to do much damage with his little puppy teeth. But, the same can’t be said when he grows up and has adult teeth. The good news is that you can train a Pitbull puppy not to bite with a little patience and consistency. 

How to Train a Pitbull Puppy Not to Bite Step-By-Step

 Most pet parents find it cute when a little puppy chews on their fingers. But it’s not as cute when that little pup grows up into a mouthy dog and bites visitors at home or other dogs on a trip to the dog park.

Teaching your Pit bull puppy to play in a gentle and safe way is an important step of puppy training.

The early you start addressing your puppy’s biting, the easier it will be.

But, you will need to commit to a long-term training plan. It won’t be solved overnight.

What You Will Need

  • Chew toys or teething toys
  • Treat chews
  • Crate or puppy gate

Step One: Provide Your Puppy with Chew Toys

Before trying to stop your puppy from biting your hands or feet, make sure there is something safe to chew.

Provide him with plenty of different puppy chew toys and treat chews. The goal is to find something that he truly enjoys chewing on so that he will choose to chew them instead.

If your dog is overly food-motivated, you can also use some human foods as chew treats. A popular choice is to freeze a full carrot before giving it to your puppy to chew on.

Anytime that you see your puppy chewing on one of these items, praise him.

Step Two: Address Biting the Moment it Happens

If your dog does start biting at your hands, feet, or chewing on items that he shouldn’t be, act right away. Don’t wait to address it later and don’t ignore the behavior.

It may not seem like a big deal to let your dog away with it once. But, that sends a mixed message.

You want to be clear in your training and that means sending the same message every time – biting is not allowed.

This message needs to be clear with every member of the house. If you have children, take the time to teach them how to react properly.

Step Three: Time Out

One way to train a puppy to stop biting at your hands is to incorporate a short time out.

If your puppy chews on your hand, make a short “ouch” sound. This will mimic the way that his littermates would yelp to tell him he was playing too rough.

Immediately stop playing, turn away, and ignore him for 30 seconds. Doing so will teach him that playing too rough will mean losing your attention.

If you notice your puppy is overexcited, a longer time out may be needed.

Set up a dog crate or designated puppy spot with a dog gate. It should include a bed, some quiet toys, and a water dish.

This space isn’t a “punishment”. Instead, it should be treated as a safe space where your puppy can relax.

You can help him see this as a positive space by saving a high-value treat chew just for time spent there.

Step Four: Redirect Puppy Biting as Needed

Any time that your pitbull puppy bites or chews on something he shouldn’t, redirect him to a chew toy.

You can help to encourage him by choosing a toy that incorporates puppy food or a treat. A great example would be a traditional KONG chew toy that has been stuffed and frozen.

Each time he focuses his attention on the chew toy, praise him.

Repeat this process as often as needed for your puppy to start making the choice to chew the toy himself. When he does, offer lots of praise for his good choices. This will help steer them away from bad biting behavior.

Step Five: Don’t Introduce Hands as Toys

Returning to the importance of a clear message, avoid using your hands as toys during play.

This rule includes the use of your hands for:

  • Wrestling and roughhousing
  • Grabbing at his nose or paws
  • Wagging your fingers in his face
  • Hand-chasing games

Instead, make sure that playtime is centered around appropriate dog toys. This could include chew toys, fetch toys, or rope toys for tug of war.


How do you train a Pitbull puppy to be gentle?

The best way to teach any puppy to be gentle is to focus on rewarding good behavior. This means praising your dog anytime he is being gentle and calm.

Of course, you don’t want to get your dog too excited as that could lead to rough play.

Instead, praise your dog with a calm voice and gentle pets. You can also give him his favorite treats or a toy that he can play with calmly like a chew toy.

The more that you reinforce this calm behavior, the better your puppy will behave.

Dogs genuinely want to make their owners happy. If you provide guidance on what to expect, they will try hard to follow your rules.

What age do Pitbull puppies stop biting?

As young puppies, dogs explore the world around them with their mouths. But, you will naturally see this slow down as they grow and mature.

By the age of approximately 8 to 10 months old, most puppies have started to learn the idea of boundaries in play.

This is an important less to learn as this is how they learn to play gently to avoid hurting their littermates (and you).

Of course, for this to happen you will need to set healthy boundaries for your dog. This means not encouraging rough, biting play.

Are Pitbulls hard to train?

Pit bulls do well in obedience and dog sports like agility. This is due to their loyalty, eagerness to please, and the fact that they’re energetic dogs.

But, it’s important to understand that they are stubborn dogs, especially unneutered males.

Dog training a pitbull will test your dedication. Be consistent and focus on positive reinforcement.

Before training, take some time to exercise your puppy. This will give him a healthy release for any pent-up energy.

Tired puppies tend to be much easier to train as they are able to focus better on the task at hand.

Finally, make sure that you aren’t sending mixed messages. Only reward your dog when he’s doing what he was asked.

The clearer the message, the faster he will pick up on the training.

What are the basic commands to train a Pitbull puppy?

 When training a pit bull puppy, there are a few key basic obedience commands to train. These are commands that you can start training as soon as you bring your puppy home.


Teaching your dog to sit on command may seem like a given, but he won’t’ know how if you don’t show him!

This is a great skill for everything from waiting at a street corner to staying calm with company. It’s also surprisingly easy to teach.

Hold a treat in your hand above your dog’s head and slowly move it backward. When you see him start to move into a seated position, give the command “sit” and give him his reward.

Repeat this until he obeys your command without the need for a treat.


The next logical command is to train your dog to move from a “sit” to a “down”.

This can be a challenging command when first introducing it to your dog. But, it’s a great way to help your dog calm down in an exciting environment.

Holding a treat where your dog can see (or smell) it, slowly bring it from your dog’s nose down to the ground.

As your dog starts to follow the treat and his belly reaches the ground, give the “down” command. Don’t forget to reward him with a treat!


Neither “sit” nor “down” are going to help you for too long if you don’t introduce your dog to the “stay” command.

This is a key command when it comes to keeping your dog safe in a dangerous situation. So, it’s not one that you should overlook!

Start with your pitbull puppy in a sit or down position. Then, slowly move backward away from him.

If he gets up, put him back into a sit or down and start again. If you are able to move back a short distance without him moving, give the “come” command and reward him.

Increase the distance that you move back before the “come” command a little bit at a time.

Leave It

This is another command that plays an important role in keeping your puppy safe.

If you are out on a walk or even around the home and your pitbull puppy picks up something he shouldn’t eat, this is a quick solution. Especially when you are dealing with a curious puppy!

To start, place a treat in each hand. Hold one hand out showing your puppy the treat while keeping the other behind your back.

Give the “leave it” command.

If you see your puppy move to take the treat, close your fist, removing the treat. Start again from the beginning.

But, if your pitbull puppy turns his head away from the treat or backs away, give him the treat you were hiding. The two separate treats are important so that your dog doesn’t get confused with being given the treat he was told to leave.

As he grasps the concept, extend the time that the treat is accessible a little to add to the challenge. You can also take it up a level by using a more high-value treat.

Final Thoughts: Training a Pitbull Puppy Not to Bite 

Dog owners need to remember that training your Pitbull puppy not to bite isn’t a quick process, but it isn’t complicated. With these five simple steps, you can get started today.

But you will need to commit to the training fully to see results.

There are no days off and you can’t let it slide because your puppy is cute. Even the cutest pit bull puppies grow into adult dogs and you don’t want to set your dog up for issues like aggressive behavior.

This will help you achieve the well-behaved pitbull puppy you dream of today. Looking forward, it will also teach your dog what is expected for years to come as they grow into an adult pitbull.

Photo of author
Britt Kascjak
Britt Kascjak has been active in the animal rescue community for over 15 years, volunteering, fostering, and advocating for organizations across Canada and the US. Her ‘pack’ includes her husband John, their 3 dogs – Daviana, Indiana, and Lucifer – and their 2 cats – Pippen and Jinx.