Why Do German Shepherd Puppies Bite So Much
October 28, 2020 By // by Megan AUSTWICK
Why do German Shepherd puppies bite so much?
When your puppy is going through that stressful biting period, it can seem like things are never going to calm down. Where has your cute puppy gone?
Luckily, it wont last forever. Its completely normal for GSD puppies to have a biting period, and you arent alone.
Here are some tips to calm your German Shepherd puppy down, and minimize the painful biting period.
The Most Powerful Deterrent To Nipping Is Ignoring Your Puppy
We are all familiar with the high abrasive screech a puppy makes when we accidentally cause her pain.
Some puppies even carry on a prolonged wailing if you step on a toe or tail. But more compelling is the way a puppy abruptly withdraws, heading away from you or refusing any contact with you for at least several seconds.
Puppies in a litter who are too exuberant suffer the same social withdrawal from siblings and mother.
When a puppy nips at you, the most effective way to grab his attention is to withdraw yours. Many puppies do not listen to commands like stop or no biting.
Physical withdrawal of contact, play, or affection is a means to control something your puppy craves. Some behaviorists refer to this training method as managing a resource.
To work, you need to achieve physical separation immediately upon inappropriate or unwanted nipping from your puppy.
When the offensive act occurs, remove yourself by turning your back, placing your hands out of sight, or walking away.
If your pup is an ankle biter, as herding dogs can be, put a baby gate that you can step over and effectively insert between you and your pup.
Ignoring your puppy for a few seconds can be particularly useful for pets who bite mainly to get your attention in the first place.
How Do You Stop A German Shepherd Puppy Biting Your Ankles
Luckily, if your pup is biting your ankles there are lots of things you can do to stop them. If one solution doesnt work you can simply move onto the next.
But just remember, the best way to stop your puppy biting your ankles is proper training! While you may find lots of short term fixes, long term you should make sure your puppy is being trained properly!
So, what are some ways you can stop your german shepherd puppy biting ankles?
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The Best Way To Train Your Dog
If you havent trained your german shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether its biting your ankles or whatever else, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.
The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.
With Brain Training For Dogs youll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog wont listen, youll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, thats given proven results. Not to mention the fact, youll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.
So instead of worrying about whether theyre going to be well-behaved or not, youll only have to worry about how much fun youll have with them!
And in most cases its still going to be:
- Cheaper than hiring a professional.
- Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
- And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.
Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to take your pup for a walk without them barking at everyone. Instead, youll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOURE NOT.
How To Discourage Jumping And Biting Behavior
Thankfully, there are ways you can curb German Shepherd jumping and biting.
- Be proactive. If I knew someone was coming over, I would put Allie in another room or in her crate. Once our visitor was in the house and the initial excitement had passed, I would let her out. By keeping her from greeting people right when they walked through the door, I could minimize her overzealous behavior.
- Teach a place command. This is a simple command that teaches your dog to stay in her place until you give a release command. This is another way to allow the initial excitement to pass and your German Shepherd to calm down a bit before greeting anyone.
- Redirect attention to a toy .
- Fold your arms and turn away. You can also use an off command when you turn. Keep turning until your GSD stops jumping, then praise them and use a treat as a reward.
This training method works great because youre refusing to give your German Shepherd what they want attention! Its best to practice this when you dont have guests over so that your pup knows how to handle excitement in advance.
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Show Them The Behavior You Expect To See From Them
The first method is to show your dog exactly what you expect from them. To do this youll need to do the following:
- Get your dog to jump up at you. You can do this by offering them treats that are just out of reach, or if your german shepherd is really used to jumping up, raise your hand higher than they can get to without jumping. (Just remember, at this stage dont reward your dog by giving them the treat or stroking them.
- Once your german shepherd jumps up and bite your hands use a voice command (such as no, ah ah ah or whatever you choose. Cross your arms and dont stroke them or give them a treat.
- When they drop down, and theyre waiting patiently you can then give them the treat and stroke them and give them lots of praise.
- Take a step back and repeat the first three steps again. If you keep doing this for 5-15 minutes every day your dog will quickly learn that jumping up and biting arent acceptable behaviors.
Have you ever been curious about a german shepherds biting force?
Why Your German Shepherd Bites Your Feet
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd bites your feet and ankles will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might bite your feet or ankles and the signs to look for.
It wants attention
The reason why it bites your feet could be that it wants your attention.
This would be more likely to be the reason if it starts biting your feet when you have not been giving it attention for a while. It would also be more likely if it does it when you had just left it alone for a long time perhaps because you were at work.
If that is why your German Shepherd bites your feet then it would help to give it more attention in the form of exercise, training and playing games such as tug of war in addition to training it not to bite your feet.
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It is teething
If your German Shepherd is a puppy then the reason why it bites your feet is likely to be that it is teething. When they are teething their gums will be painful and biting and chewing on things helps to soothe their gums. This is why they tend to bite and chew on things a lot as puppies.
If your German Shepherd is still a puppy then it is very important to take the time now to train it not to bite your feet and to behave the way that you want it to. You can do this using the tips mentioned below.
It wasnt trained not to as a puppy
It is exploring
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Dont Alpha Roll Your Gsd Or Use Techniques That Aggravate Aggression
Alpha rolling your German Shepherd and other techniques such as holding your pups mouth closed, putting your thumb under his tongue, pinching his neck, or grabbing the jowls and shaking only aggravates aggression.
Alpha rolling is a controversial and outdated technique that physically puts your dog on his back or side in a submissive position to show that you are dominant or the Alpha.
Its certainly no way to discipline your GSD for biting and other poor behavior, as it can cause more harm than good. One of the confrontational methods mentioned above in the same study caused an aggressive response in 31% of the dogs.
The study showed that 26% of dogs grabbed by the jowls and shaken also became aggressive.
Give Your Puppy An Alternative Item To Chew
Its a good idea to keep a puppy chew toy at hand at all times, so you can anticipate biting behavior and substitute the toy for your hand or furniture. Doing so will let pups know what is OK to bite or chew. If they start nibbling at your fingers or toes while youre playing, offer a toy instead.
Again, if they continue to nip, stop the play session immediately. If youve been training your puppy to sit, you might also redirect them by asking them to sit and rewarding with a toy.
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Manage Their Environment So Theyre Successful
Dont let your dog have a full run of the house if theyre not well-trained yet.
One of the most important steps to learning to discipline a German Shepherd for biting and nipping is to prevent the ability to continue practicing the unwanted behavior.
You can do this by controlling the environment and controlling your dogs exposure to these situations that cause him to bite.
- If your puppy begins to bite your children when they run around and play, place your German Shepherd in a contained area so he cant nip them.
- Keeping your puppy on a tether attached to a safe, heavy object so they cant run and bite you when they get too wild
Holding Your Puppy’s Mouth Closed
I have no idea why people think this is an appropriate way to change biting behavior.
I mean no living creature is going to sit back and allow their mouth to be held closed. It’s a natural reaction to struggle to break free from this type of grip.
Never mind the fact that doing this to a puppy will cause life-long issues when it comes to human limbs near their face.
Think about how difficult this will make grooming and visits to the vet.
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Giving Your German Shepherd A Comfortable Place To Sleep Means:
- Giving them the best German Shepherd dog bed to avoid joint issues and provide them a deeper rest
- Keeping them away from cool drafts or hot zones
- Stopping kids and visitors from interacting with a cranky German Shepherd to avoid nips, bites, and scratches
- Moving your dog away from the excitement and boisterousness
- Using a white noise machine or a sleeping aid with an automated heartbeat and warming sensation to soothe your dog and quiet them down
If you havent seen your puppy sleep in a while and theyre acting too excited, then placing them down for a nap might be just what you need. Many dog and puppy owners swear by the behavioral aid snuggle that mimics a mothers heartbeat and provides warmth.
Using these strategies to create a quiet zone will help your puppy recharge and become its sweet self again.
Enroll In A Puppy Class
An AKC S.T.A.R. Puppy class or another well-run local class will provide your puppy with the chance to socialize with other dogs.
Teaching your little manic play biter to be polite with their mouth may seem like a huge challenge at first. Patience and consistency are the keys. Some puppies may back off during one play session, and come at you teeth first in the next.
Play biting does not mean your puppy is vicious, says Dr. Jerry Klein, AKCs chief veterinary officer. However, if you havent been able to moderate the behavior by the time theyre six months old, its a good idea to consult an experienced dog trainer or animal behavior specialist.
AKC is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to akc.org. If you purchase a product through this article, we may receive a portion of the sale.
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Teach Your German Shepherd Bite Inhibition During Play
You can teach your German Shepherd bite inhibition to help deter their nipping!
Its important for your dog to learn how to control the force of his bite as soon as possible. There might come a time when your dog is in fear, pain, or discomfort and they put their mouth on you.
If your German Shepherd has learned bite inhibition during their play, then they understand to not bite down hard and avoid injuring your skin.
You can play these fun games with your German Shepherd while teaching them to not bite you.
Why This Method Is Important
If you smack your puppy they will probably stop biting you right away. But, they will then associate biting people as a bad thing. Do you want your puppy to be able to bite people some day?
I would rather have a dog who understands right from wrong and comprehends the power of their teeth than a dog who is afraid of people. Fear is a terrible problem to have in a German Shepherd. In fact, most dogs who grow up to bite or attack people do so out of fear.
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Use Pet Safe Baby Gates
If your pup bites you aggressively when you and your family walk past you, then use an exercise pen or pet safe baby gate to contain them.
Use the items during busy times in your home to keep your dog calm and out of areas that might increase their excitement and biting or nipping.
When they remain calm in their exercise pen or behind their baby gate, reward them and tell them good dog. Only let them out when theyre showing calm behaviors, such as lying down quietly or sitting calming.
If you let them out while theyre whining or excited, youll also encourage them to stay in an excited mental state and this increases nipping and biting.
Redirect The Behavior To A Chew Toy:
Sometimes, a pup bites everything in its sight, not because it is rebelling but because it is facing teething problems. When a pups teeth are about to erupt, his gums become swollen. Applying pressure on it provides temporary relief.
If your pup is going through the phase, you can first give a feisty no command to it to stop it. You should then give him a chew toy that will help him ease some of the teething discomforts. You may also offer them frozen carrots to allay their teething woes.
However, it is important to ensure that your dog is indeed suffering from teething problems and not just displaying bad behavior. This is because, if it is the latter case, you will be rewarding his bad behavior with a chew toy.
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Redirect Your Gsds Destructive Chewing To Chew Toys
As indicated earlier, chewing is a natural need in dogs and should not be eliminated. Instead, destructive chewing should be prevented or corrected through training.
Experts in canine care suggest that redirecting your dogs tendency to chew valuables to chewing toys offers healthy alternative stimulation and enhances your dogs welfare. Also, these toys should be rotated often to avoid habituation, which would lead them back to chewing what they are not supposed to.
According to Preventive Vet, you should evaluate your GSDs chewing behavior to understand your dogs type of chewer. This helps to decide the best chew toys for your dog.
Dogs can belong to one of the three types of chewers, and each has some recommended types of toys, as shown below. The recommended toys are from Amazon and are ones that I personally like.
|Type of chewer|
|Nylabone Big Chew Chew Toy|
Remember that your German Shepherd should not be chewing toys the entire day, as this can become another behavior problem. Instead, give chew toys when your dog shows signs of putting his mouth on what he should not.
Your German Shepherds other time of the day should be occupied with exercise, play, sleep, as well as time to connect with you.
Other chewing considerations:
Edible chews are a good alternative to mix things up a bit for your GSD. However, these dont last very long, but I like to give them to my German Shepherd to reward good behavior.
Read More:15 Best Chew Toys For German Shepherds.
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.
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