They Have A Strong Prey Drive
For starters, many German shepherds have a very strong prey drive, so they are very attracted to movement. If you watch your puppy in the yard, you may notice how readily he captures the slightest movement of some critter in the grass.
His big ears will twitch to capture the faintest sounds, and his body will be ready to pounce into action in a split second.
Balls, small critters, and unfortunately, your arms, legs, ankles and pant-legs will soon become targets of his prey drive and turn into objects for a fun game.
And to make things worse, any movement you make to move your hand away when your pup comes to nip will further increase this drive and risks damaging your skin. That explains all those “teeth scratches” you have on your arms and legs!
Faq About Gsd Puppies And Bite Inhibition
What age do German Shepherd puppies stop biting?
Most puppies will stop nipping and biting once they have completed their teething process. For German Shepherds, this is around 7 to 8 months.
Provided you have diligently taught your puppy to have a soft mouth, you’ll see a reduction in the level of the bite pressure soon.
The frequency will take longer to reduce, but it’s the change in the pressure of the nips and bites that indicates a move in the right direction.
Should I let my German Shepherd puppy bite me?
Helping your puppy not rehearse behaviors you’d prefer not to continue is vital for good training. So, although it’s fun to play rough with your puppy, it’s best not to let your puppy bite you, even during play.
How to get my German Shepherd puppy to stop biting my ankles?
It’s not uncommon for puppies to nip at ankles, legs, and even loose-fitting clothing. And frequently, this happens while you are walking.
So I like to keep treats handy and drop them as I walk. Almost like a modified version of the treat toss game above. This will prevent your puppy from rehearsing biting behavior.
And it’s also a great way to begin teaching your puppy that good things happen when they have all four paws on the ground the foundation of teaching them not to jump on humans.
What Do So When Bitten By A German Shepherd
If you get bitten by a German Shepherd and it leaves a bleeding wound rather than just an abrasion, take the following steps:
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Dont React To Biting By Playing Back
If you want your German Shepherd puppy to stop biting you, dont react back to them when they nip. I made this mistake with my own puppy, as would push him away playfully, but that just encouraged the biting more.
I think its because you are mirroring the fun back to them and reacting in a playful way. They will want more of the play, so will bite back again.
How To Stop Dogs From Biting At Twelve Months
If your German Shepherd puppy is allowed to nip and bite and show that it is in charge of your family, itll proceed to play biting when it is an adolescent around one year of age. A variety of factors can contribute to this behaviour. You should stop playing physical games with you dog immediately. No wrestling, tug of war or other dominance related games.
Additionally, stop allowing your dog the run of the home. Give them boundaries, cut them down to a specific range of motion, even crate training them if required. A great obedience training program can be very helpful with a adolescent dog that bites.
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They Have A High Prey Drive
German Shepherds have a high drive for prey, and even the more chilled out Shepherds can kick into this drive in a split second. Meaning they love anything that moves fast!
Take some time to observe your puppy outside, and you’ll notice how they pick up on the slightest movement and sound.
And should any kind of critter or even a bug start to move fast, your puppy will spring into action and quickly pick up momentum to chase as their drive kicks in.
Anything from balls, and garden critters, to other puppies can flip that drive into action.
And unfortunately, your hands, feet, or even your pant legs or long flowing skirt can become a target.
And the faster you try to move your hand, foot, or something else away, the quicker your puppy will move to catch it.
That’s prey drive in action!
Skip Yelping If It’s Not Working
You may have heard about yelping or saying ouch when a pup nips. However, this doesn’t work with all dogs, and in my experience, some German shepherd pups will nip even more!
Why is it that some puppies get more hyper and excited after hearing people “yelp?” Most likely for the same reason they love squeaky toys: yelps and squeaks trigger a dog’s predatory drive.
How fun is it to play with a live tug toy which, on top of moving, emits squeaking and squawking noises too? Very fun! says a German Shepherd pup.
Consider Safe Dog Anti
If your German Shepherd is chewing valuables, consider using safe anti-chew dog deterrents. These use an aversive association mechanism by causing your dog to associate the object with the deterrent that has an awful smell or taste, therefore, labeling it not good for chewing.
Follow these steps to create the aversive association:
Note that coupling the deterrent with another form of training that redirects your German Shepherd to chew permitted objects such as toys will be more effective in making your dog cease chewing your valuables.
Some of the anti-chew deterrent tastes/odors you could consider include those with a bitter apple/lemon flavor, apple cider vinegar, or cayenne pepper. However, be careful with the latter as although the pepper is not harmful to your dog if swallowed, it may irritate his eyes if he gets it on his paws and then rubs his face.
Physical Correction For Biting Is The Least Effective
You should never strike or verbally reprimand your puppy for biting.
As for yelping or squealing in imitation of how a littermate might react to a painful nip, the results are mixed.
Loud yelping sounds work on rare individuals and often serve to arouse GSD pups further. Excitement will intensify your dogs biting.
Other tactics, such as grabbing your dogs snout, pinching her muzzle, or tapping her on top of the head, will teach him to fear your hand or cause him to react aggressively towards it.
Other trainers teach people to stuff their hands deeper into their puppys mouth or insert their thumb under the animals tongue.
Again, making your dog uncomfortable with an activity that comes naturally to her will often stimulate fear or aggravate her aggression.
As reported by several sources, including Shibashake.com, physical correction can cause anxiety, fear, or stress in puppies and dogs.
Harsh punishment and even moderate physical or verbal reprimands too frequently lead to future aggression in dogs.
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How To Get Your German Shepherd Puppy To Stop Biting You
There are a number of things that you can do if you want to get your German Shepherd puppy to stop biting you and I will mention a number of them below.
Try positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward the behaviors that you want to see with attention, treats or something else that your German Shepherd likes.
To use positive reinforcement training in getting your GSD to stop biting you would stop giving it attention or treats by facing away from it and putting your hands in your pockets.
You would then wait for a few moments and they go back to giving it attention. If it bites you again you would stop giving it attention again. If it doesnt bite, you would then reward it with a treat.
You would then repeat the process until it has learned that biting doesnt get it the things that it wants.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Avoid reinforcing the biting
While positive reinforcement training can be very effective in getting the behaviors that you want, it can also work against you.
If your method of getting it to stop biting you is to give it toys, treats or something else that it wants then it would be likely that you are reinforcing the behavior.
Give it things to chew on
It is natural for German Shepherds to want to bite on things when they are young. This is mainly because it will soothe their gums when they are teething.
Why Do German Shepherd Puppies Bite
You might want to know what your German Shepherd puppys biting behavior is all about. The response to this query is that GSDs, like all other puppies, teethe.
Teething causes discomfort and pain for your puppy, just like it does for children. The result is that your puppy wants to bite everything and everyone around it.
Not because the puppy wants to hurt anyone, but because it is trying to relieve its discomfort. This is normal behavior.
German Shepherd puppy biting will typically begin once its temporary milk teeth start pushing through its gums. Teething begins from around two to four weeks old, and the small dogs gums are sore and itchy.
It will then look for ways to soothe the pain, which it does by biting. Whether it is your hand that it bites or it chews on the furniture, it wont be picky. Your puppy has an itch to scratch, and anything chewable will do.
Forty-two adult teeth will eventually replace the 28 small teeth, and this process may take up to six, seven, or months to complete.
With a deadly force of 238 PSI from a German Shepherd bite, its essential to control your puppys biting before it becomes an adult dog.
The sooner it learns that biting, nipping and other aggressive behaviors are unacceptable, the safer you and your family will be.
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Its Their Instinctive Behavior
Although a lot of people use german shepherds as guard dogs for their home, its not actually their main behavior. As their name suggests German shepherds are herding dogs.
And because they wouldnt be able to herd cattle through brute force, they have a better way of doing it. They bite at their ankles and nose to get them moving.
If your puppy is biting your ankles then hes trying to herd you.
They Wont Stop Biting Overnight:
One final thing to remember is that your puppy has built in instincts that cause them to feel with their mouth, to make their mouths feel better by chewing, and strengthen their jaw by chewing. Therefore, youre not going to be able to get your pup to stop biting overnight. They tend to get it faster than other dogs, but you should keep in mind that itll take time.
What many people call biting is actually not always biting. Sometimes it is, like when puppies play with each other. Other times, its chewing which is a totally normal and healthy thing for puppies to do. In fact, its required for them to develop properly as we highlighted above.
If you follow the above-listed steps, you should be able to minimize the amount of biting thats being done to you.
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Is It Behavior Or Temperament
You need to realize the difference between behavior and temperament
Biting is a behavior, and it’s something all puppies do.
Biting, in general, regardless of age, is a behavior. And a natural one to boot.
The difference between a dog that’s much more prone to biting and nipping has a lot to do with temperament.
And the following two factors play a significant role in temperament
Acquired Bite Inhibition Protocol
In my ABI Protocol, I share my exact process for:
- Using a positive interrupter when your puppy is in a biting frenzy.
- Scanning and rating the bite in a matter of seconds.
- Also running through a list of possible causes of the biting frenzy.
- What to do after you’ve interrupted your puppy.
- When to remove them from the situation and how to do this with kindness.
My tracking tool will help you collect data on your puppy’s biting behavior and follow improvements over time.
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Lack Of Proper Training/untamed Instinct
As indicated earlier, chewing is an instinctual and normal exploratory behavior in dogs and should not worry you if your dog is chewing within normal limits. But a German Shepherd who chews everything in their way is not exhibiting normal chewing behavior.
To keep chewing within normal levels in your German Shepherds adult life, tame his instinct to chew by training him not to chew things hes not supposed to. He should readily heed a NO when he attempts to chew your slippers or the cushions on the couch while hes still a puppy.
Say No To Your German Shepherd Puppy When They Start Biting
You should make German shepherd know that biting is an unacceptable behavior. Let your German shepherd know this through hand signals, body language, or voice commands. When your German shepherd bites you, its okay to say ouch. After that, pull your hand away from your German shepherd and tell him No.
Move or walk away from your German shepherd and stop playing. It might be hard to resist their charm but mind this: when you stop playing with your German shepherd the moment he bites, he will understand and associate no play with biting. This may not work the first time you do it but with practice, your German shepherd may easily pick up the message and learn that biting is no-no.
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Be Gentle When Puppy Nips
Do not use negativity to discipline your GSD puppy. Dont lose your cool. If you do, your dog will know your weak spots and will outsmart you every time.
Patience and consistency is key. Once the puppy is used to one training method, they will have a hard time adjusting to a different one.
Only change training methods if your current one is wrong. Ideally, you can use different training methods together.
Do All German Shepherd Puppies Bite
The causes of puppy biting that we looked at earlier in this guide apply to all GSD puppies. In fact, they apply to all puppies of any breed.
So, you arent alone in dealing with puppy biting.
Biting and chewing is a normal puppy behavior, and a normal part of play.
As long as you react to this behavior in the right way, it is a period that will pass.
It doesnt mean that your puppy is any less well behaved than any other.
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Do Not Offer Old Possessions As Chew Alternatives
Some dog owners think that it is ok to offer their German Shepherd old shoes, rags, or cast-off clothes to chew instead of the valuable ones still in use. Wrong thinking!
If you give your dog an old shoe to chew, you are reinforcing his preference for chewing shoes. Once the old shoe is all destroyed and no longer good to chew, your German Shepherd will look for your latest purchase to replace the consumed one! Dogs are dogs, and they do not know the difference between an old shoe and a brand new one!
How To Stop German Shepherd Puppy Biting
You can use several bite inhibitions methods to manage and eventually prevent your German Shepherd pup from biting. Implement dog bite training in the first place, and you will save yourself many headaches later on.
You will also save yourself a pot full of money by preventing your puppy from chewing your furniture to shreds.
Heres what you can do to stop your GSD pup from biting everything in sight.
Gsd Puppies Bite Because They’re Overstimulated
As you’ve already seen, German Shepherd puppies are likened to sharks and dinosaurs.
But often, their nipping is a manifestation of overstimulation and losing control of their bite force.
Sometimes, German shepherd puppies will get nippier and nippier when they are cranky and need a nap.
And considering they are a puppy with very little training in impulse control , it’s up to you to teach bite inhibition in a kind and clear way.