Why Do German Shepherd Puppies Bite
Its important to understand that your fuzzy little friend isnt being aggressive this is just how your puppy plays. Up until this time, your puppy was with its littermates, and playtime meant lots of mouthy, nipping fun.
Accordingly, this is the only way your GSD knows how to play! As a new puppy parent, youll need to teach your dog other gentler ways to play.
A German Shepherd puppy also uses their mouths to explore different things like toys or hands, ankles, furniture pretty much anything they can get their mouth around.
Because dogs cant pick things up and examine them, they resort to using their mouths. While being mouthy isnt inherently a bad thing, youre in trouble when teeth start getting involved.
Your puppy could also be teething, which can increase their mouthy behavior.
Now that you understand a little more about why your pup is biting, you shouldnt be alarmed. Just be patient as you work through the German Shepherd puppy biting phase give your pup time to learn to be gentle when playing or seeking your attention.
What Not To Do:
I want to take this moment to mention that there are RIGHT ways and WRONG ways to train your puppy not to bite.
I have seen so many people give bad advice to puppy owners including:
- Holding their mouth shut after they nip you
- Pinning them on their back to show them you are the dominant one
- Putting a muzzle on them
- Incorrect styles of time-outs
- Punishing or hitting the puppy
What To Do When Your Puppy Bites
Puppies use their mouths for many reasons. Teething, exploration, taste, play, and chewing are just a few. Plus, your puppy needs to learn bite inhibition so he or she can regulate those powerful GSD jaws as an adult dog. So what do you do when those needle-sharp baby German Shepherd teeth are tearing up your clothes or skin?
First, lets cover a few DONTs:
- Dont hold your puppys mouth shut. Besides possibly hurting your puppy and causing him to retaliate with a hard bite, think about what puppies do when they play they mouth each other! If you start interacting with your puppy when he puts his mouth on you, he will be likely to try that strategy again the next time he wants your attention.
- Dont smack or hit your puppy . Besides hurting your puppy, hitting teaches him to be wary or afraid of human hands definitely not an association we want our adult German Shepherds to have!
- Dont shout NO! or Stop! If this worked, it would have worked the first time, and forevermore! Instead, shouting at your puppy teaches him to be afraid of you or to ignore you .
Here are some strategies to try if you find your puppy is biting too hard:
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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.
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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Do Reward Good Behavior
Dog trainers and experts agree that positive reinforcement using rewards are highly effective in forming and keeping desirable behaviors as a puppy matures into an adult dog.
Try reaching out your hand to your puppys nose. If her nose touches your fingers without biting them, give her a treat and praise generously.
Hold off the treat if she bites. Do this repeatedly until she associates the treat with not biting your hand .
Use Special Toys For Play
Toys are useful for playing with your puppy because they put a barrier between your fingers and their teeth.
Even better, have a set of toys that are only used when you want to engage in play with your puppy. Hide these toys in a basket or box after your game of play.
This makes them extra special.
They are under your control and your dog must give them back to you. Special toys are more fun for your pup to bite than you.
When in doubt of what special toy your dog likes, use my list of what toys German Shepherds love for interactive toy ideas that are puppy-safe.
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Why Does This Work
It sounds awfully easy and simple, doesnt it?
In reality, your pup might not refocus on his toy immediately, and he might push the limits a little further before he listens.
But when he does, Its crucial to capitalize on it.
In the end, this training WILL work, it wont work after a day, but after a solid week or training and consistently redirecting his chewing behavior, he will eventually only chew on what he knows hes allowed to.
This works because, at the end of the day, puppies only want to appease their owners and have their owners approval. I know it doesnt seem like that, but its the truth.
Once a puppy knows the difference between right and wrong, they generally always stick to what they are allowed to, unless they are stressed, frustrated, or are lacking basic needs.
Basic positive reinforcement like this remains to be the best way to train a puppy or dog anything. With enough repetition and positivity, you can teach a puppy anything.
How To Stop A German Shepherd Puppy From Biting
Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and former veterinarian assistant who partners with some of the best veterinarians worldwide.
Is your German Shepherd puppy’s biting driving you nuts?
If you are blessed with a German Shepherd puppy, you may at times feel at your wits’ end when it comes to those constant nipping behaviors. Don’t feel badyou are not alone. This breed is indeed notorious for nipping, and those sharp puppy teeth hurt! If your arms are covered with bruises, scratches and teeth marks, you surely are upset about it and are looking for a way to decrease the nipping and finally allow those wounds to heal.
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The Puppy Might Be Overstimulated Fearful Or Anxious
Sometimes puppies lose control of their bite because of overstimulation. Overstimulation can happen during playtime, or when your puppy has become cranky due to teasing.
Your GSD puppy may also bite out of fear. Your puppy has but 2 defenses to run away or to bite. If your puppy feels cornered, then biting is the defense that she will most often resort to.
When Will My German Shepherd Calm Down
While the biting phase will inevitably end, you may find yourself asking the infamous question when do German Shepherds calm down!?
I asked myself this question more than once! So dont feel bad if you find yourself wondering the same thing.
Unfortunately, theres no one-size-fits-all answer. It honestly just depends.
At one point, I was assured that Allie would calm down by age 5 well, that didnt happen. Sure, she had her calm moments , but she was still very hyper especially in more excitable moments.
But in the last year, Ive definitely noticed a calmer dog, which means it took 7 years for my German Shepherd to calm down!
Dont get me wrong shes still a firecracker. But she isnt the same level of hyper as she was in the past.
The type of German Shepherd dog is yet another variable that plays a role in its energy levels. Allie is a working line GSD, and they are typically a bit more rambunctious than a show line GSD.
So when do German Shepherds calm down? It really depends on your individual German Shepherd. But hey, after having a high-energy, fun-loving German Shepherd, you wouldnt want a calm dog, right? I know I wouldnt have it any other way!
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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.
How Do You Know If Your Puppy Has A Dominance Problem
Dominance aggression rarely shows up in puppies before the age of 18 to 24 months, which corresponds to social maturity.
Even German Shepherds, a breed known for problems with dominance, often suffer from a misdiagnosis because they can show aggression as early as six weeks old.
It is crucial to be able to identify and distinguish aggression in your puppy at an early age so you can eliminate dangerous behaviors.
What many people think is dominance aggression can be fear-based or anxiety-driven reactions to specific stimuli. Fear biting can be as damaging as canine dominance.
Distinguishing fear from dominance in your pup depends on several factors.
- Age Aggression at a young age is usually fear-based.
- Body language Fear usually starts as an attempt by a pup to make herself appear smaller. You will see a low body posture, dropped tail, and lowered ears. However, fearful dogs often learn to become more offense-oriented and eventually develop more assertive signals like erect neck hairs, upright ears, raised tail, and possible attacks.
Puppies and dogs who nip from dominance aggression should receive diagnosis and training from medical professionals and certified canine trainers.
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Here Are A Few Things You Should Not Do When Trying To Teach Your German Shepherd To Stop Biting
- Dont yell or use any kind of physical punishment. This is still attention your puppy bites, your puppy gets attention. You dont want to create that reinforcement loop!
- Puppies are easily excited, so dont jerk your hand away. Otherwise, your pup may see this as a fun new game, kind of like tug-of-war but with your hands or feet as the toy.
- Dont create tension or negative feelings around playtime. You want your furball to love playing with you! And its an important part of building a strong bond between you and your pup. The goal here is to encourage your German Shepherd to play as much as ever but to play gently.
Most of all, its important to remember to be patient and understanding during this phase. Your German Shepherds mouthy behavior is perfectly normal! And while it can be a challenge at times, youll make it through I survived my girls piranha teeth, after all!
Why Is My German Shepherd Puppy Biting And Nipping
Little pups that bite on hands or chew on toys are doing so because they are developing teeth.
Recently, we got a new addition to our GSD family, a cute male named Bobby, and surely Bobbly likes to bite everything. He doesnt like plastic materials and thus he doesnt like his dog mom Kong toys.
We did order a set of tug ropes for him and it is working. .
Here is the model that we ordered from Chewy.
They chew on toys because their gums feel irritated and to make the pain go away, they bite and chew on things.
This behavior during the teething period is very normal and not much of a problem. However, if a GSD pup doesnt leave its biting habit behind when it has grown into an adult, it becomes a huge problem for everyone.
Another reason that GSDs bite a lot is that they did not receive proper training as pups. When people start to appreciate or encourage GS biting or nipping, they are making it develop this into a habit.
Your dog will start to bite at visitors and household items. This is a problem that needs to be controlled right away or else someone will end up getting hurt. If you let your GSD bite and nip, you are letting it take over.
Biting and nipping is also a play game for GSD pups. They like to bite other pups in the litter, and this is usually harmless. However, when a pup gets hurt unintentionally, it makes a loud sound. This sound is an indication for the pup that it is hurt, and it is time to stop.
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They Are Bred For Herding
Also, this is a herding breed, so puppies like to chase and pick up moving objects and often do so using their mouths .
In the old days, the shepherding style of German shepherds largely included what was known as boundary patrol, or herd containment. These dogs had to make sure sheep were properly contained, and unruly sheep were controlled by grabbing the top of the neck, ribs, or just above the hocks.
Breeding and husbandry expert Ellen Nickelsberg explains how puppy breeding tests are conducted and how puppies are selected based on their grasping style, which can vary between harmful and less harmful bites, full-mouth bites, and puppies that bite and hold. These preliminary tests are done when the puppies are very young.
Should I Say No When My Puppy Bites
Some people suggest that you say NO when your puppy bites you. This is similar to the method above, if used alone.
The problem with saying NO to your puppy when they bite you, is that puppies dont speak English! They wont know what you mean!
This is why training has to be done in small stages first you must teach the puppy what action you want, and then you can give the action a name, or command.
Saying NO to stop biting when you have engaged in no other training can be ineffective, and lead to more frustration by owners when their puppy doesnt understand them, and carries on biting.
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How Do You Get Your Australian Shepherd To Stop Biting
In most cases, your Australian shepherd can be trained to not bite you or other people.;;
The approach to training them to stop biting may be a bit different based on the cause of the biting.;
Biting Caused By Teething;
Biting while teething is;pretty standard;puppy behavior, but it is important to teach your puppy that they should not bite you.;
When your puppy begins to bite you, even gently, tell them no! in a firm voice.;;
You can also turn away from your puppy and tuck your hands under your armpits so that your hands cannot be bitten.;;
Once your puppy settles down and is no longer trying to bite, offer them a chew toy. This will help them learn that biting is okay if theyre biting on a toy, but that they cant bite you.;;
Biting Caused By Herding Instincts;
If your dog is trying to herd you when you are walking with them, stop walking the moment your Australian shepherd bites at your ankle.;
Once you have stopped walking, make sure that you are also not moving your feet. The more you move while your Australian shepherd bites your ankles, the more likely they are to continue.;;
Most often, your dog will get the hint and stop biting at you. If they continue to bite, tell them no! firmly and tell them to sit down.;
Once your dog sits and no longer shows an intention of biting at you, you can continue walking.;;
Biting Caused By Fear Or Anger;
Different dogs can have different things that make them angry or fearful.;