Why Do German Shepherds Nibble
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.
When young puppies play, you will have noticed that they will display behavior consisting of gently biting each other as part of the game. Your doggo can transfer this nibbling behavior to you or your furniture if no other puppies or pets are around, which is why teething toys such as the KONG Puppy Toy from Amazon are essential. You can even stuff it with treats or peanut butter to keep your GSD entertained.
But German Shepherd Dogs tend to bring this growing up behavior into their adult life. Naturally, newborn German Shepherd puppies will explore their world with their mouths before using their sight and smell. And it appears that this instinct is maintained throughout life for important reasons, as shown by some studies.
A study investigating the meaning and emotion associated with nibbling in dogs concluded that the behavior is not related to negative personality traits. Instead, nibbling has two functions:
Despite these facts, nibbling behavior in German Shepherds can also be triggered by several other factors:
When To Get A Trainer For Your German Shepherds Biting
Though biting in German Shepherd puppies is usually easily corrected, there are some puppies that prove to be more challenging. Some puppies just dont get the hint with standard training, and require a bit of extra help to kick the habit.
If you are unable to make any progress within a month of implementing the tips we discussed above, it may be time to contact a dog trainer. A trainer can not only help your pup refrain from biting, but offer other obedience training as well.
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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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!
Games To Curb German Shepherd Puppy Biting
The best time to curb a German Shepherd puppy from biting is during a play session between you and your puppy.
I suggest initiating play sessions with your puppy as often as possible until you have taught your puppy to have a soft mouth.
I suggest using a clicker for these games. If you don’t already know how, check out my article on before getting started.
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Why Do German Shepherd Whine A Lot
German Shepherds are highly intelligent, active, confident, and vocal dogs, they get along with other pets and dogs so well. As Puppy Leaks notes, these dogs can be very loud and vocal using groans, howls, cries, moans, barks, and whines as a way to communicate.
Like a baby crying, German Shepherd whine because something is amiss and it is your responsibility as a parent to pay attention and understand what they are trying to express.
Mostly, the whining is accompanied by some form of expression hence, a keen eye will easily identify what the German Shepherd is trying to say.
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!
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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.
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.
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What Can I Do To Stop My German Shepherd Puppy From Biting
Because biting is normal canine behavior and GSDs are a breed that is more prone to it, the goal here is to inhibit the bite, not completely stop it.
At the end of your training, your GSD should have achieved that lovely soft mouth.
Below are the dos and donts to keep in mind when training your GSD puppy in bite inhibition.
Why Do German Shepherds Tilt Their Heads
There is nothing cuter than a German Shepherd head-tilt and you will find tons of pictures and videos of dogs tilting their heads on all social media platforms. Many owners will make plenty of strange sounds just to see their pup perform an adorable head tilt. So, why do German Shepherds tilt their heads?
German Shepherds tilt their heads when they become interested in something different. They use the position of their head, and more specifically, their ears to learn the direction of the new sound. They also tilt their head when trying to understand what youre saying and to increase visual cues.
There are a lot of other behaviors that German Shepherd Dogs portray. You can read about problematic behaviors in this breed and their solutions from my article on German Shepherd Behavior Problems.
They’re A Herding Breed
On top of that, this is a herding breed, so the pups like to chase and gather moving things and they often accomplish this by using their mouths .
In the old days, the herding style of German Shepherds encompassed for a good part what was known as boundary patrol, or flock containment. These dogs had to ensure the sheep were properly contained and the rebellious sheep were controlled by gripping the top of the neck, the ribs or just above the hocks.
Breeder and herding expert Ellen Nickelsberg explains how puppy herding trials are conducted and how puppies are selected based on gripping style which may range between damaging and less damaging bites, full-mouth bites and puppies who bite and hold on. These preliminary tests are done when the pups are very young.
Why Your German Shepherd Puppy Bites You
There are a number of reasons why German Shepherd puppy might be biting you and there are a number of signs that will come with them.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd puppy will bite you and the signs to look for.
The reason why your German Shepherd puppy has been biting you could be that it is teething.
A German Shepherd will teeth until it is about 6 months old. While it is teething its gums will be painful which can cause it to want to bite things to soothe the pain.
If your German Shepherd is below the age of 6 months it is likely that it is biting you because it is teething. If you want to get it to stop it would help to do positive reinforcement training and to give it other things to chew on.
You have been encouraging it
It could be the case that you have been inadvertently reinforcing the behavior.
If your method to get it to stop biting your hands is to give it things that it wants such as toys or a treat then it could have learned that biting you results in it getting things that it wants.
This would be more likely to be the reason if it is older than 6 months old and it is no longer teething.
Instead of giving it things that it wants, when it bites you, a better option would be to withdraw your attention and to hide your hands in your pockets when it bites you. Then after waiting for a few moments, you would go back to giving it attention and withdraw your attention again whenever it starts biting.
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Why Your German Shepherd Bites Your Hands
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd bites your hands or arms 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 hands and the signs to look for.
It wants attention
The reason why it bites your hands could be that it wants your attention.
This would be more likely to be the cause if it starts biting your hands 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.
If that is why it bites your hands 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 hands.
It is teething
If it is a puppy then the reason why it bites your hands or arms 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.
Another possible reason could be that German Shepherd puppies explore and interact with the world with their mouths and noses as much as they do with their eyes. As a result, it will bite on your hands a lot because it is interacting with them.
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It wasnt trained not to as a puppy
You have inadvertently been reinforcing the behavior
It is exploring
German Shepherd Jumping And Biting
Whats worse than dealing with puppy biting? When your pup decides its a good idea to bite AND jump! This is something your German Shepherd may do when theyre excited or just seeking attention.
As a pup, Allie thought she should greet everyone by jumping in their face and nipping kind of like a kiss hello, but with teeth.
It didnt matter if you were 6 feet tall, she wanted to be in your face, and if you werent careful, she would get a good nip in before you could react. And as she got bigger, it was harder to control.
Of course, I knew this wasnt aggression she was just excited to see a new face! But trust me, it got old quickly. Again, this is pretty normal behavior for a puppy, but its definitely something you want to stop sooner rather than later.
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German Shepherd Whine When They Cannot See You
German Shepherds have very strong guarding and herding instincts this is why they are the official guard, guide, search and rescue, and military dog. While at home, German Shepherds are very territorial.
It will follow its owner around the house and when it is locked in a room, the German Shepherd whines until it is opened for.
This is because it has an overwhelming urge to protect its owners. Hence, another reason your German Shepherd whines is when they cannot see you.
You may have noticed this behavior in public. Your German Shepherd may turn and discover you are no longer in their line of sight this may be very distressing for the dog as it cannot protect you. The dog may vocalize this distress by continuously whining.
Is It Normal For German Shepherd Puppies To Bite
Biting is a normal behavior in puppies of all kinds. Puppies begin to bite their siblings from the moment they can move, and will continue this behavior until they learn otherwise.
A biting German Shepherd puppy is to be expected, and should not result in any discouragement on your part. As long as you are following the tips we mentioned above, your puppy should shy away from this behavior in no time!
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Treating Your German Shepherds Itchy Skin For Good
Its heartbreaking to watch your German Shepherd itching constantly, uncomfortable, and even in pain. Your GSD might just need a change of diet or a quick spray of anti-itch solution.
There are simple ways to help your German Shepherd from itching and scratching like crazy. Most of the treatments you can order from home and apply right away.
A solid skincare routine can help alleviate your German Shepherds itchy skin for good and doesnt cost a fortune.
Dont let your itchy dog lie around uncomfortable when therere steps you can take right now to help them!
Want more help with your German Shepherds skin and fur?
Do Not Offer Too Much Attention
As we mentioned above, even negative attention can give your German Shepherd puppy what they are looking for. Extra attention can validate their undesirable behavior, making it challenging to break.
Try your best to refrain from reacting to a bite outside of your interrupter cue, and pull your attention away from your furry friend afterward.
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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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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.