How To Discourage Biting Behavior
While the German Shepherd puppy biting phase is a rite of passage, there are some ways you can discourage bad biting behavior without harsh discipline.
- Say Ouch! whenever your puppy bites you, even if its not hard. This is one of the most effective ways to teach your German Shepherd bite inhibition or how to be gentle with her teeth.
Think about when your pup was rolling and playing with their brothers and sisters if your GSD was too rough, their sibling would let out a yelp. Thats the language that puppies understand, so use this to your advantage.
This trick worked great with Allie! Just make sure to be consistent until your pup gets the idea and learns to master the power of her jaws. Also, if your furry pal is just mouthy but NOT using her teeth, dont scold her. Puppies will be puppies!
- Redirect the biting to an appropriate toy. For example, when your fuzzy friend latches onto your ankles, give a little puppy-like yelp, and then whip out a toy and encourage your dog to chew on that instead.
Tug-of-war is the perfect game for the puppy biting phase. This is a non-contact game that satisfies your pups urge to use its mouth.
If your puppy is teething, heres a pro tip. Use a frozen KONG toy filled with peanut butter to help with your pups teething woes.
As a bonus, lots of playtime will expend some of your German Shepherd puppys energy!
Thumb Under Tongue Training Trick
When German Shepherd puppy biting becomes painful, stick your thumb in its mouth and under its tongue. This is a quick trick that will startle your puppy as much as you will prevent it from biting down.
Try to hold your puppys jaws slightly open with the opposite hand when using this trick until it gets the message that rough play is not acceptable behavior. This will not work the first time, so you should expect to do this repeatedly during play until your dog understands.
What Kind Of Toys To Use
Redirecting your puppy’s mouthing onto something more appropriate by using toys.
Some puppies will prefer soft toys while others will prefer something rubbery like a kong toy.
Other puppies might not like soft or rubbery toys but rather a rope toy. Only by purchasing some of these toys will you learn which your puppy likes best.
Kong toys are great because you can fill one end with something delicious your puppy loves.
I use organic peanut butter. But you can use treats or even a portion of your puppy’s meal.
It’s important to note here that your puppy should never be left unsupervised with toys.
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How To Train A German Shepherd To Be A Guard Dog
German Shepherds will usually take to being a guard dog naturally. It’s important to train them to be obedient. Learn how here.Many dogs are natural watch dogs their bark is sufficient to alert their owner to something unusual, and the alarm they set up is a deterrent. In addition, dogs who will fight if their owner is genuinely attacked do not have to be made aggressive to do so. Training a dog specifically to be a guard dog is hazardous and potentially creates a liability for you. Misguided attempts to make a dog aggressive through abuse will only backfire because the dog will not be loyal to someone who treats them harshly, and if the dog wrongly bites someone you will be at fault. Never train dogs who are basically fearful or out of control. Such dogs may not respond appropriately in non-threatening situations.
A German shepherd dog should not be selected to receive training as a guard dog unless the dog is basically friendly, stable and clear-headed, and has been well-socialized.
Walk your German shepherd dog on a leash around the perimeter of your property regularly to identify your territorial boundaries. Do not allow your dog to bark at people who are outside your property. Do not allow your dog to chase people under any circumstances.
TIPS & WARNINGS
Why Do Puppies Bite And Nip
First things first, lets talk about the purpose of puppy teeth.
The reason why puppies have sharp teeth is to teach them bite inhibition. When puppies play, they mouth each other and bite each other.
When puppy A bites puppy B too hard, Puppy B will instinctively react in one of two ways.
Puppy B will cry out in pain or bite back with enough pressure to cause puppy A to cry out. Both reactions by puppy B are letting puppy A know they got too rough, bit too hard, and it hurt.
When a puppy nips at an adult dog, it is common to see the adult put the puppy in their place by snapping at them or placing their mouth over the puppys muzzle.
This behavior is how puppies and dogs teach and communicate with each other.
A puppy needs to learn bite inhibition, so they understand when its appropriate to bite and how much pressure to apply as an adult.
Puppy teeth are sharp and brittle. Adult teeth are dull and solid and can be very powerful, depending on the breed.
An adult dog who did not learn bite inhibition as a puppy can be dangerous to you, other people, or other pets or animals.
If puppies are left with their littermates or mother until six months of age, these puppies have taught each other basic bite inhibition.
When littermates are separated starting at eight weeks of age, it now becomes the job of new dog parents to teach our puppy not to bite.
Next, lets discuss some misconceptions about play biting. It has nothing to do with teething.
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Training Goal #: Impulse Control
Learning to control their impulses is important for all puppies, and for the GSD, it can be one of the most important ways to curb problem behaviors to which this breed is prone if allowed to become bored: behaviors such as excessive barking, digging, aggressive chewing, and inappropriate chasing .
The key to impulse control is getting your dog to focus on you. This will have beneficial effects for all the rest of your training efforts, especially in AKC dog sports like Obedience and Rally.
Require that your puppy sit before getting food, playing with an exciting toy, going outside to play, or any other favorite activity. As your GSD puppy advances in obedience training and knows more commands, you can require more advanced commands or tricks in order to receive treats or play.
Speak To A Behaviorist
If you think your puppy is exhibiting aggressive behaviors, such as guarding their resources, you may want to speak to a behaviorist.
They will be able to look at your puppy as an individual case, and analyse their behavior properly.
They will also be best positioned to tell you whether your pups behavior is normal, or straying into aggression.
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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.
Expose Your Puppy To Loud Noises And Fearful Situations
As well as socialization, its also important to expose your German Shepherd puppy to situations that can spark fear and aggression such as vehicles, children, and busy public places they are capable, given how they make such great police dogs.
The sooner they can get used to things like this, the sooner they should learn not to bite out of fear.
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When Your German Shepherd Puppy Is Biting And Nipping Try This
If you find it cute that your little German Shepherd puppy is biting your hand, think again!
GSDs grow-up to become strong and muscular dogs.
If you encourage them when they bite or make aww sounds, it will adopt biting as a habit. However, once a GSD pup grows, its biting habits are not cute at all. Trust me on this one.
Disciplining Your German Shepherd: The Donts
Weve already indicated that discipline does not imply punishment. Rather, it means reinforcing good behavior and deterring unbecoming behavior. In other words, you should not punish your German Shepherd.
Punishment here implies what not to do. Here are five donts when it comes to disciplining your German Shepherd:
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Bite Inhibition Training With Your German Shepherd Pup
This is where bite inhibition training comes in. There are some German Shepherd owners that swear by this method for teaching their pups not to bite. The idea is that the pup is invited to play rough and then disciplined for biting. This may sound confusing for the dog, but many believe that they have to be given the chance to make a mistake to know that a behavior is wrong. Owners then respond to the bite with a negative reaction like a yelp of pain and time ignoring the pup. This is designed to show the puppy that their action was bad and they shouldnt do it again. If this doesnt seem to work, some go a stage further and pin the puppy on its back to show displeasure and dominance.
Image Source: Wikimedia
The trick here comes in acting like the puppys mother. A 4 month old German Shepherd is looking to its parent to teach it what to do and tests boundaries until it learns its lesson. You cannot expect a puppy to know not to bite and use its teeth if it hasnt been given that lesson. This bite inhibition approach looks at the issue from a dog behavioral perspective for a different result. It may seem harsh and rough at time, but many owners say that it help to get the message across and nip biting in the bud
Other dog owners like to discourage German Shepherd puppies biting by providing them with distractions and toys.
At What Age Do German Shepherds Get Aggressive
What Age Does a German Shepherd Become Aggressive? A German Shepherd becomes aggressive at around 3 to 6 months old. This escalates during the adolescent stage from 6 months to two years old as sexual maturity arises and hormones fluctuate.
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Teach Your Dog Advanced Command Training
In the advanced command training, you teach your German Shepherd commands that are not common and can be used in working environments such as training to become police dogs, watchdog, guide dogs or a family dog.
German Shepherds are smart and pick up commands easily. This is a reason that many of them are used in professions.
Train Your German Shepherd To Leave It
Train your dog the LEAVE IT command. This is also useful when your German Shepherd starts to put his mouth around your possessions or furniture, ready to have a good gnaw!
Furthermore, its an excellent command to use when your dog picks up something in his mouth that he shouldnt, such as grapes or chocolate.
Watch How To Teach The LEAVE IT Command
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Herding Instinct And Prey Drive Can Play A Role In A Pups Nipping
People often excuse a pups biting as normal playfulness. However, a puppy playing may also be exhibiting prey drive. Such pups will bite too hard, and the action becomes a stimulus for further aggression.
Have you corrected your puppy in the past for nipping only to have her bite you harder? When you think your pup is acting defiantly, she probably is simply becoming overstimulated. You must treat an excited puppy differently than one who is displaying normal playfulness.
Herding breeds often have the instinct to nip more often than other classes of dogs. They are motivated by an enhanced prey drive as well as a desire to control other individuals.
Use An Effective Time
When I refer to using a time-out as a way of teaching your German Shepherd consequences, Im referring to ignoring your dog for a few seconds, as opposed to putting him in isolation.
German Shepherds are very social and affectionate creatures, and placing your dog in this type of time-out will not work as it not only causes fear, but your dog wont understand what he has done wrong.
Using a time-out can effectively discipline a German Shepherd for biting and other undesirable behaviors. A great way to do this is to grab their collar, push their bum down, and make them sit.
The idea is that your German Shepherd will quickly learn to associate that the fun stops when his nipping starts! As always, timing is critical, so your pup learns what he has done wrong at the precise moment.
For very young puppies, you should only put them in time-out for a few seconds, between 7 and 10, and no longer than 30 seconds. At the end of the time-out, redirect your pup back to play and use lots of verbal praise or offer a training treat for good onward behavior.
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Do Use Toys As Alternative Items To Chew
Puppies will nib on your hands or your feet especially during the teething stage. Train this behavior away by offering the puppy a toy whenever she starts biting your hand or your ankles.
This teaches her what is acceptable to bite and which is not. It is good practice to always keep a chew toy nearby in anticipation of the biting behavior.
If You Have Other Pets Do Encourage Your Gsd Pup To Play With Them
This will expend your dogs energy and make her less prone to biting. By doing this, you are also socializing your puppy with other animals an essential skill to learn for a well-rounded behavior.
That being said, do not completely write off playing with your puppy! Playtime is still an excellent opportunity to bond with your dog, but make sure to keep it safe and fun by establishing boundaries.
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How Do I Get My 1 Year Old German Shepherd To Stop Biting
Its How Puppies Experience The World
Puppies experience the world through their mouths. They dont have hands like you and me, so they have to figure things out using their mouths.
So when your puppy is biting your ankles its not because theyre being naughty, its just because theyre trying to figure out the world and how they are meant to interact with it.
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Offer Them Frozen Kongs
Be sure to buy the red large Kong classic for a German Shepherd puppy to help them with teething.
Puppies tend to bite and chew when their teeth are coming in. They do this to relieve the pain and help soothe themselves.
Freeze a durable large Kong with their favorite treats and kibble and have them on hand for times when your dog is acting out and biting you.
Give them a Kong to gnaw on and bring icy relief to their gums.
Even better, sayKONG when you give your dog the toy to help train them to understand the word. After a few repetitions of saying the cue word, the next time they bite and nip you say KONG and see if they follow you to the freezer or race you there.
Even if your German Shepherd isnt teething, theyll still enjoy chewing on a frozen Kong. Plus, chewing has been shown to help relax and calm dogs.
So, you cant go wrong with offering a Kong
Instead of your fingers and hands to chew.
Use Daily Leadership Skills
How many times a day do you teach your German Shepherd to listen to you and offer them leadership?
Use daily interactions as an effective way of teaching your dog about leadership.
- Feed your pup only after youve eaten and always have them sit before their meal.
- Dont let your pup sleep in your bed if youre experiencing aggressive biting issues, as this may teach them they rank as high as you on the leadership scale.
- Have them sit before you take them for a walk or exiting a door.
While these dont directly stop your puppy from biting, they help communicate with your dog your leadership. If your dog sees you as a confident leader, theyre likely to respect your discipline more.
You can learn how to get your dog to start behaving by reading Easy German Shepherd Training at Home .
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