Give Them Plenty Of Chew Toys
Since a growing German Shepherd puppy can experience teething pains, its important to make sure that they have plenty of chew toys available. Having a variety of chew toys can alleviate their need to bite our hands and feet, and offer them the relief they seek in this uncomfortable transition.
There are so many toys created for teething puppies, that it should be easy to fill your home with plenty of appropriate options. One of our favorite chew toys is the Kong Teething Binkie.
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.
Why Does My German Shepherd Nibble On Me
Nibbling is the gentle bite your dog will make on your body, especially on your toes! This German Shepherd behavior is generally considered an instinctual behavior characterizing puppies of all breeds, especially during teething. But German Shepherd Dogs tend to bring this growing up behavior into their adult life.
Read Also: What Jobs Do German Shepherds Do
Play Biting Vs Aggressive Biting
You should be able to tell playful nipping from an unfriendly bite because an intentional bite is usually more direct, explains Naito.
When dogs deliver a more serious bite, they usually have specific body language: Approaching from head-on, with their bodies are usually stiff, straight, making no noise, she adds. If you see a dog focus on a person or animal and suddenly get very still, a bite may follow, says Naito.
Biting is an aggressive behavior and requires proper training and professional assistance due to its inherent danger, notes Dr. Klein.
Since puppies that nip can turn into adults that biteespecially since as adults, they will have larger teeththe playful nuisance of nipping can become dangerous, he says, explaining thats why people with pets that nip should act early to redirect the behavior.
What To Do If Biting Becomes Aggressive
Although puppy mouthing is normal, there can be cases where biting can signal problems and possibly even aggression.
How can you tell if a puppys temper tantrum is a warning sign or just playful mouthing?
Well, its not always easy to tell the difference. Look for physical differences in your pup. When play fighting, your puppys overall demeanor should be relatively relaxed.
If your puppy is having a moment of aggression, their body may stiffen when snarling, and bites will typically be more painful than during regular play.
Also, if your GSD puppy is biting out of fear or frustration, you may need to take action. These types of behavior are not something your pup will just grow out of.
If youre worried that your new puppy may be exhibiting signs of aggression, contact a qualified professional for advice.
You May Like: A German Shepherd Akita Corgi Mix
Play This Impulse Control Game
One of my dog training mentors took the standard way we teach a leave it behavior and pushed the envelope on this to create the It’s Yer Choice or IYC game.
This game is not only a powerful impulse control training tool but also teaches dogs of any age the power they have in making choices.
Here’s how to play it
Quickly your puppy will learn that choosing an impulse-controlled behavior and sticking to it even when your hand is open wins them reinforcement.
You have a toolbox filled with positive ways to help your puppy learn to use their mouth appropriately!
And before I sign off, here are 4 rules to simplify the steps
The Top 5 Reasons Puppies And Dogs Playfully Nip
According to Naito and Dr. Klein, here are the most common causes of puppies and dogs that nip at their humans.
#1: To share how theyre feeling
As humans, we use our hands to express our emotionssuch as through hugging and clapping, explains Naito. Dogs use their mouths, she says.
#2: To indicate they want to play
The bites are not meant to hurt you, but rather to indicate the dog wants a play session, not a cuddle fest, she adds. This is especially true for puppies and young dogs, who want to do nothing but play most of the day, she says.
You may find this happens when you want to calmly pet your dog. But the mere act of physical interaction can get your pup excited and then expect the teeth to come out.
While biting is an aggressive behavior, explains Dr. Klein, nipping is usually a conversation starter in puppies, a vehicle to start play and interaction.
#3: To explore their environment
Just as human babies explore their worlds with their mouths, so to do puppies, explains Dr. Klein. Thats why when puppies play together, using their mouths is one of their main forms of play, he adds.
#4: It may have to do with genetics
Certain breeds, such as breeds in the herding group, such as Corgis, Collies, and German Shepherds may have a higher incident due to them being bred to perform their original function for herding calves and sheep using their mouths to nip at the heels of calves and sheep in order to move the herd, says Dr. Klein.
Don’t Miss: What Is The Best Shock Collar For A German Shepherd
Socialise Your German Shepherd Puppy With Other Dogs
Puppies will learn from each other and older dogs. Thats why its so important to socialize your German Shepherd with other dogs from a young age. It will help them learn to understand whats acceptable and whats not.
We often look after puppies for our friends. Our friends will often say what a positive impact they see in their young pups after spending a day in the company of our now older dog. And that can include not as much biting.
Theres another thing here too they will also tire each other out. This means your puppy hopefully wont have the energy to bite you!
Teach Your Puppy That Biting Means Game Over
If your puppy bites you while playing, that means playtime is over, with no exceptions. Yelling at or physically punishing your puppy, as strange as it sounds, is also a type of reward. It teaches them that biting gets some kind of response from you, which is known as positive punishment. This can also make them fearful of being handled. Instead, teach them that biting will get them nothing. Kathy Santo, dog trainer and columnist for AKC Family Dog, suggests turning around and tucking your hands into your armpits.
Its actually a calming signal and a minor form of attention withdrawal, she says. And be careful not to roughhouse with your young pup in ways that only encourage them to lose control and bite you.
Also Check: What Size Kennel Does A German Shepherd Need
Add A Comment To Jakes Experience
Was this experience helpful?
Hi there! Since everything you have tried has failed, I have a suggestion for you and I am hoping you havent already tried it. If so, please feel free to write back in. Its sometimes hard to answer these without me being able to ask follow up questions to get a clearer picture.Sometimes the reactive approach to biting is giving dogs exactly what they want, your attention. And they dont care if its negative or positive attention. I have learned that some of the feistier dogs seem to enjoy our negative reactions!If you havent tried doing no contact yet, that is the route I would go. When she jumps or bites, you fold your arms, avert eye contact, and leave the area, to the point where she cant follow you. Go into your room, and close the door behind you. And wait a good 5 minutes or so.The reason this method fails for some is because they will ignore the dog for a few seconds and then come back. So in a sense, this becomes ANOTHER fun little game that your dog gets to play!Give this a try and give it a good week, and you should see some results.
Also Check: German Shepherd Mixed Wolf
The Bite Of A German Shepherd
Theres a saying that when a German Shepherd bites you, shes in it for the long haul. An aggressive 70-pound dog pouncing on you can get quite ugly fast.
Think broken bones, damaged muscles, deep lacerations, bruises, scars, and expensive medical bills. Although uncommon, it can sometimes lead to the victims death.
German Shepherds have a bite force of 238 PSI , compared to humans with a bite force of 162 PSI.
In fact, the American Animal Hospital Association lists the German Shepherd as one of the six breeds with the most dangerous bites, based on a US study.
Therefore, training your GSD to inhibit her bite is mandatory as it not only rewards you with a well-behaved dog, but also ensures your safety as well as the safety of the people around you.
A crucial step towards correcting this nasty behavior is to first understand why German Shepherd puppies bite.
Before we move on, take a look at some important and useful information that weve written for you in the following 2 articles:
Recommended Reading: A Rottweiler Mixed With A German Shepherd
What You Shouldnt Do
There are some things that you should avoid when training your dog to stop biting. The first thing you want to do is avoid yelling at your dog or hitting them. Why?
If theyre biting for your attention, youll be giving them what they want. Moreover, itll give them negative feelings, and we dont want that.
Also, when they try to bite your hand, dont move it away. They might think its some sort of a game and keep trying to bite you.
Last but not least, dont opt for shock collars as theyll only cause your puppy pain and they wont solve the problem anyway.
When Should Your German Shepherd Stop Biting Ankles
While development varies between puppies you should aim to have your puppy stop biting your ankles by around 5-6 months of age. However, remember some puppies are going to be early learners and others will be late bloomers.
At 5-6 months they should have full bite inhibition and realize that theyre not allowed to bite anyone hard.
Recommended Reading: How To Make Your German Shepherd Listen
What To Do If Your Dog Is Jumping On Your Guests
As well as jumping on your the chances are your german shepherd is also going to jump and bite guests you invite to your house. Not only is this embarrassing, but if theyre scared of dogs it could frighten your guests.
If you have guests coming over then you should pre-warn them that youre trying to teach your dog to stop. And if they could, follow the training that youre doing, by offering your dog a treat when they sit patiently and wait.
Lastly, if your guests dont want to, when they enter, get your dogs attention with treats if he starts jumping up. Once youve got his attention follow the guidelines above. Once your dog sits down patiently you can then give them the treat and attention.
Puppy Biting Women And Children
My skin is a bit thicker than my wifes or my kids skin, especially the kids who seem to have soft, sensitive skin. This training method can be very difficult with small children. If your kids are over the age of 6, go ahead and practice with them BEFORE puppy introduction. Bite on their hand and teach them to react properly if needed.
Read Also: What You Need To Know About German Shepherds
Why Do German Shepherds Become Aggressive In The First Place
The potential for a German Shepherd to become aggressive begins at a young age. It actually begins when they are just several weeks old and under the care of their mother.
It is the mothers job to socialize and encourage her puppies to behave well and interact productively with one another.
This job is not an easy one. Consider a human mother being overwhelmed with a child the mother of a litter of puppies is in the same circumstance.
Just like people, first-time moms can have it rough. A GSD who is a first-time mom may just be overwhelmed. This stressful situation is also one which causes a lot of fear in the mother.
And when frightened, a German Shepherd mom might not act rationally she may even act aggressively towards her puppies.
If a mother acts aggressively towards her puppies, then the puppies will no doubt also become frightened.
It is at this point that her puppies, because of their fear, may also begin to become prone to aggression. This will also make them more difficult to train as they get older.
One lesson here is that you need to make sure that your breeder is using the proper dogs for having puppies.
It is vital that understand the mother of the litters temperament to make sure that you are not getting a dog that comes from a frightened and ill-tempered mother.
If you plan on getting a puppy, make sure that you discuss this point in-depth with your breeder.
Extra Tips To Reduce German Shepherd Puppy Biting
Now, here’s the stinky truth: you can’t stop puppy nipping overnight! Actually to be honest not even in days or weeks. However, you can take steps to reduce its occurrence dramatically.
Here’s the thing: For nippy puppies, it’s important taking a multi-faceted approach. In other words, address all their needs at various levels and use some smart training methods that enforce alternate, more desirable behaviors. With time, these behaviors should start outranking the nipping.
Recommended Reading: How Much Should A 3 Month Old German Shepherd Weight
When Should I Worry About My Puppys Biting
Although biting is normal, it can sometimes be hard to recognize whether your puppy is playfully mouthing or exhibiting temper tantrums, which is a form of aggressive behavior.
In playful mouthing, a puppys face should still be relaxed, the tail wags, and biting isnt forceful.
On the other hand, temper tantrums, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, are characterized by a stiff body, lips pulled back to show teeth, and growling.
Biting will be more forceful and painful, since the behavior is typically caused by fear or anger. A German Shepherd puppy may be more prone to displaying this behavior, especially around unruly children.
If these tantrums happen frequently, its time to seek a professional such as a veterinarian, a certified dog trainer, or an animal behaviorist ASAP.
Dont Rub Your Dogs Nose In His Poop Or Pee
You should never rub your German Shepherds nose in his poop or urine as a means of teaching him not to bite. This old-fashioned technique is a form of positive punishment and was often used to house-train pups. Not only is it gross, but its also similar to the above aversive methods and will only cause your dog to fear you, or worse, cause aggression.
Many people will have used this method decades ago without success, but at the time, they believed it was the right thing to do. I can even remember my Grandma rubbing her chihuahuas nose in his pee after discovering he had had an accident on the kitchen floor after coming down in the morning.
For a positive punishment to work, the problem is that it has to be administered during or immediately after the act otherwise, the dog will not make the connection. Unfortunately, dogs were punished too long after the accident, as in the chihuahuas case, and would not have understood why they were being punished.
Don’t Miss: Are German Shepherds Considered An Aggressive Breed
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.
Do Teach Them That Biting Means Game Over
If your puppy continues to bite, ignore your puppy by turning your back away from her and tucking your hands in your armpits.
She needs to understand that biting ends playtime and that it does not give her anything in return. Over time, your consistent reinforcement of this will be highly effective to curb your puppys biting behavior.
Recommended Reading: How To Train A German Shepherd Lab Mix
Play The Kibble Toss Game
I came up with this game this past fall when working with a super nippy German shepherd puppy. Basically, as your puppy approaches you intently to bite, ask him to sit, and reward that with the toss of one kibble across the room.
Being that dogs have to eat their kibble during the day anyway, why not put it to good use? This allows you to perfect your German Shepherd pup’s sit, while also giving him an opportunity to exercise, drain that extra energy and scavenge for kibble. Imagine how many reps of this you can do with just a handful of kibble!