Dog Snapped and Bit Me

by Sherri Gruber
(Deshler OH)


I have a rednose male pitbull who is 6 yrs old. My dog snapped and bit me on the finger. When he eats he throws his food all over the place so I smacked him on his nose and told him 'no'. That's when he bit me.

We have tried everything for him to stop that. Please tell me what am I doing wrong. Other than that he is a great dog I also have a female brindle pit which has never been aggressive unlike him.

Gale's Reply:

Hi Sherri:

Smacking a dog for misbehaving isn't helpful. For one thing, it erodes trust. For another, it doesn't really teach your dog anything other than perhaps to be wary of you--especially when he's eating.

Let's rewind this scenario and look at it in a slightly different context. Imagine you are a youngster sitting at a dinner table with a family who speaks a foreign language. In between bites of food, you're playing with your mashed potatoes and making a bit of a mess.

Suddenly, a hand smacks you in the nose while someone at the table yells at you. Now, would it be immediately apparent to you that the smack on the nose was related to the mess next to your plate? Further, would it be crystal clear that the key to avoiding future smacks is to keep all your food neatly on your plate?

It's more likely that you would conclude that these people are unpredictable at best and crazy or mean at worst. And, you'd probably resolve to keep an eye on them if they're around the next time you're eating.

It sounds like you smacked your dog out of frustration. And he reflexively snapped and bit you for the same reason. Assuming this is an isolated incident, I wouldn't label him aggressive. I would chalk it up to handler error and move on.



Most dogs prefer to eat their food rather than throw it around. So, I think it would be worthwhile to try and figure out why playing with his food is more interesting to him than eating it. Is he not hungry? Is he getting too many between meal treats? Does he not like the food? Is he getting enough exercise?

I suspect that if you start feeding him a bite at a time he'll be less inclined to throw it around. If you don't want to hand feed, get a Dog Treat Dispenser--one that will make him "work" for each bite he gets. The dispenser would have the added benefit of letting him play without making a so much of a mess.

Once you get him out of the habit of throwing his food around, you can start feeding him from a dish again increasing the amounts you put down for him at a time slowly until he is eating a meal sized portion without incident. However, there's nothing wrong with continuing to feed him with the treat dispenser or by hand if you want.

I would also encourage you to begin educating yourself about positive training methods that build the bond between dog and owner. Clicker training is my personal favorite. But there are others. Do a Google search and find a method that works for you. Good luck.









Comments for Dog Snapped and Bit Me

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Oct 23, 2011
Response from FB
by: Julie

I agree 100% with what the person just wrote about handler error and figuring out why he's playing with his food so that you can correct the behavior that way.

Oct 23, 2011
Not aggressive
by: MissAmanda

I agree! Do not slap your dog, we rescued one of our pit bulls and as the colder weather approached we wore sweat shirts he would jump up grab a hold of our arms, he even did this to our 8 year old daughter when she put on her jacket. I found out who owned our dog previously (it was a young girl) and she told us that he had been sleeve trained and her ex boyfriend was trying to train him to be an attack dog. First thing I did was contacted his trainer and immediately brought him out to be evaluated, she helped us nip this problem, it took some practice but a month later our precious baby no longer grabs a hold of our arms. I would contact a trainer and try a few different methods but slapping him should not be one of them. If that is the only problem he would not be deemed aggressive. Good Luck!!

Oct 23, 2011
no hitting
by: Anonymous

I agree pits. Are way too sensitive to be hit ...a stern look and words are enough. Dogs don't have hands to hit back so he nipped u! My pit used to make a big mess with her food, we give her smaller portions no More mess...and no hitting needed....good luck.

Oct 23, 2011
No more mess
by: Jody

I agree, the snapping was a defensive act, not an aggressive one. My dogs both used to "play" with their food and not eat it all when I was feeding them just dry kibble. I started mixing in a spoonful of wet food with the dry and now they eat every bite, no more mess. It's very possible that he just doesn't like the food.

Oct 23, 2011
Just one more thing
by: Margaret

I have a mastiff mix that gets more food on the floor than in his mouth. Is it possible that your pittie is just messy by design? There are also the bowls made for fast eaters that have the hole in the center that helps dogs slow down. Those may help in your situation. Good luck and don't give up on him.

Oct 23, 2011
BITTEN WHILE FEEDING
by: ANGEL

I HAVE A RED NOSE PITBULL AND A BLUE NOSE BRINDLE PIT NOW MY BRINDLE PIT HAS NEVER BIT ME BUT MY REDNOSE HAS MY EXPERIENCE WITH THE 2 IS REDNOSE ARE ALOT MORE AGGRESIVE THEN MOST PITS I HAVE OWNED I USED TO BREED THEM ONE THING I HAVE LEARNED IS I NEVER BOTHER MY REDNOSE WHILE HE EATS MY REDNOSE KINDA MAKES A MESS SO I GOT A DEEPER FOOD BOWL FOR HIM SO THAT IT WOULD BE HARDER FOR HIM TO THROW HIS FOOD OUT ONLY FILL IT HALF WAY THREW AND IF HE STILL MAKES A MESS JUST WAIT TIL HES DONE EATING THEN CLEAN IT UP THEY ARE REAL GOOD DOGS JUST AT FEEDING TIME THEY CAN BE A LIL AGGRESSIVE TOWARD ANYONE EVEN THERE OWNERS BUT I WILL SAY AFTER I GOT HIM THE DEEPER BOWL HIS MESSES AINT THAT MUCH ANYMORE!!!

Oct 23, 2011
Big Red
by: Laura

Looks like from his picture, this dog is over weight. Which probably means he is completely bored. Give this dog something to do. Weight pulling is an excellent sport for this breed. How about I make this simple, walk him. Have your kids play with him. Tennis ball anyone? All these things & clicker training will bring you both really close.

Oct 24, 2011
every dog has it's quirks..and so do we..
by: Anonymous

I have Great Dane/ Pit mix..and she loves to make a mess when she eats..She eats out of a food dispenser (which does not help..lol) and she 1st throws out all the food that's in the bowl part and then eats the food that falls in the bowl out of the dispenser..I just let her, my other dog (Sharpei/Pit mix) usually eats whatever she threw out...For a while she used to throw the food into the water bowl, so I just moved the water bowl and now the food only ends up on the floor...Additionally I put down a big doormat under the food dispenser so my kitchen floor doesn't get all messy...Every dog has it's quirks and so do we, but we don't get slapped on the nose for it..and the dogs shouldn't get slapped either..personally I don't see why his playing with the food is such a big deal..if you see him playing with it, put it up and offer it again later..he will be hungry eventually..

Dec 01, 2011
dog snapped
by: sharon

there is NO ACCEPTABLE REASON that your dog snapped at you, You are the alpha and you can not afford to have the dog think this is AN even RELATIONSHIP. whether you popped her with a newspaper or a slap, she doesnt ever think she has a right to have rights. Be careful, once she learns you back off and she smells a slight scent of fear, she will get worse, Personally i had a doberman that did that to me and my vet told me to isolate her, so I took her out to our very nice back yard and put her on her chain, to the tree for 1 hour. Nothing like a nazi cAMP, SHE JUST GOT A FORCED TIME OUT AND SHE HATED IT. ANY OWNER OF A BULLY BRED HAS TO BE IN TOTAL CONTROL AT ALL TIMES, I beleive it said in a training book, treat them like you are walking grenrade with the pin pulled at all times. If you cant control and be stronger ( mentally) than a bully bred then you need to get a poodle.

Feb 27, 2012
dnt fuss
by: MR T

just a quick comment firstly as always i agree with gale, while eating his food my pit makes a mess the food also gets caught in his lips which falls on the kitchen floor he has no manners but he doesnt mean any harm he is not saying i am going to make a mess so some1 has to clean up after me i'll show them whos boss they dont think that they just eat, i accept this about my pit & just clean up when he is finished eating but i wouldnt hit a pit in that situation accept u have a great pit in all other ways who is a messy eater.

May 01, 2012
Aggression begets aggression
by: Nancy

Hi I thought I would get in on this subject as my Pit Bull Caign does the same thing with his food. He would dump the entire bowl all over the floor. The vet said it is a nervous tick. Either that or he does not like his food. I have tried changing his food and he stopped doing it. Working with animals my whole life I have found that showing aggression toward the dog will lead to aggressive behavior back toward you. Think about it what if someone walked up and smacked you up side the head for something you did that irritated him or her? Would you just deal with it or would you smack them back? Positive reenforcement works way better. Try feeding him when you are cooking supper. That works for my Pit Bull. He will eat the entire bowl while I am in there cooking. It seems to calm him and after he is done I tell him what a good boy he is. All the dog wants to do is please you so work out a way to make it easy for him to please you. If he does it and you want to do something point at it and ask him what is that say bad dog and crate him for five minutes while you dlean up the mess. That way he knows it is not behavior that is acceptable. Bring him out and try it again. I would seriously try changing his food. And if he is dumping the bowl get a bowl that has a big round bottom bigger than the dish. It is harder for them to dump.

May 07, 2013
i love my dog , but ...
by: silverfr0ggie

ive owed and have loved my dog "chase" of 2 years he is a pitbull/whippet i have spoiled him allowed him to sleep in my bed , eat whatever he wants and here goes , he bit me! out of nowhere , for no reason an drew blood that was yesterday 5/6/13 now today i kept my distant but tried to stay on the normal went to go take him for his normal walk and he bite me again in the same spot ..he's not only my dog but my boyfriends as well however sleeps with me, and i feed him , and listens to me so i assume he has some respect for me im so confused everyone says its time for him to go and yes its been building up to this he has issuses when i leave the house he growls and tries to attack anyone leaving my home , he hs gripped a friend , snipped at my face , and my boyfiends face , but my boyfriend loves him so much and so do i that he keeps pushing it off to get rid of him , our dog is good and trained with the basics , i dont know if i should mark them up to bad days or just take him to a spca...help please.

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