Thanks for this post! My pit bull actually has a bit of heeler in him too, so the following us around and always being underfoot and nipping at the ankles makes a lot of sense.
Here's my dilemma:
Our pitbull puppy will be 8 weeks old this Sunday; we adopted him 1 week ago. For the most part, he is totally sweet, affectionate, playful, and charming. However, being a puppy, he is also very chewy and nippy right now.
My boyfriend and I are being very consistent with praising him when he gives "kisses," giving him good chew toys and praising him when he uses those, and firmly telling him no when he bites our hands, face, or clothes.
However, he seems to get in these rambunctious biting moods where he is totally out of control, and I can't find anything that will calm him down other than putting him outside or in his crate -- neither of which I want him to view as a punishment!
I have read many forums about this and everybody advises saying no sternly, and then withdrawing attention. The problem is, when I do this, he follows me and continues to nip and bite even though I am walking away and ignoring him. He's already strong enough that if I don't react to this biting, he will tear my clothes or skin. Basically, he forces me to engage if I don't want to lock him outside or in his crate, and given that fact, I don't know what I should be doing in reaction to this. Clearly, I don't want to end up actually running away from him, because that will certainly send the wrong message!
Should I be pinning him down to assert my dominance? I have tried this and because he is still small enough for me to handle easily, I can do this, but I don't want to scare him or make him think he's in a fight; and even this doesn't seem to stick for very long, he is back up and snarling and biting at me as soon as I stop.
I understand that he is a small puppy and thinks he is playing; I truly don't feel that he is trying to be mean or aggressive towards me, he just doesn't know the difference. But I am very adamant about nipping this behavior in the bud before he is bigger, and would appreciate any advice on how I should react when this happens. (Also, I know that he left his litter a bit early. We are going to be very good about socializing him with lots of other dogs, but he has not yet had his first shots so we've been keeping him restricted to our house and yard for now.)
He seems to only do this with me and not my boyfriend, which leads me to assume that it has to do with some sort of dominance relationship he is perceiving only with me. Any advice on what I can do for the next few days until we can take him out around other pups and give him another play outlet would be much appreciated! I love this little guy so much and don't want to get started on the wrong foot!
Thanks so much,