When first getting a German Shepherd puppy, you have problems such as how to take care of them and help them grow healthy.
There are many problems that you experience as a dog parent for a German Shepherd puppy such as biting.
So, how to stop German Shepherd puppy biting?
A German Shepherd puppy biting is a very common problem where you can actually stop it when you use ways such as redirection, bite inhibition, exercise, training, socialization, and positive reinforcement.
Causes of German Shepherd biting
German Shepherd puppies bite when they want to show dominance. Mainly, they do so as a way to tell you that they are the leader; they do so when their leadership is challenged.
For example, if you were to tell your German Shepherd puppy about something to do, they will bite you as a way to let you know that they are in charge.
If your German Shepherd puppy feels a threat, they will definitely bite. An example of threats is when you stare straight into their eyes threatening them.
A mother could also perceive any people as a threat when they get near their puppies out of fear that people would harm them.
So, to protect them, the mother may bite when feeling threatened.
A German Shepherd may also bite other people if they find them as a threat to their family. This is one of the reasons that we hear stories about brave German Shepherd who save their families.
Another reason that your German Shepherd puppy will bite is that they are afraid. An example would be if a stranger approaches a German Shepherd puppy while they are still not used to strangers approaching them.
Because this approach is unusual to the German Shepherd puppy, they will become afraid and may bite.
They can also become afraid of active children who always seem to chase, poke, and grab their tail. This experience will definitely cause them to feel panic as their personal space is violated.
Another type of fear is when they passed through a traumatic experience that caused them to become afraid of people. Experiences, like being abandoned or being punished for things, will definitely make them afraid.
Sickness or Injury
A German Shepherd puppy may also bite when they have an illness or injury.
The main cause is that they are in pain and so when you approach them, they will feel pain.
Even, if you are the dog parent, they will definitely bite you if they feel uncomfortable.
Your German Shepherd puppy may also bite while they are playing. This is mainly because it’s how they learned to play.
With their littermates, they used to play with them this way. So, while growing up, they learned that this is the way for play.
It’s up to you as a dog parent to teach your German Shepherd puppy to not to bite.
If your puppy is teething, it will definitely cause them to start biting. It’s because they are growing their teeth and they are feeling a bit of discomfort.
It’s important that you give your German Shepherd puppy time to grow their teeth out and find ways to help them out when mouthing.
Specific German Shepherd puppy biting behaviors and how to stop them
Jumping and biting
Your German Shepherd puppy may get so excited to see you that just when they see you, they jump at you and bite you a playful bite.
It’s their way of communication that they are happy to see you; it isn’t an aggressive behavior but they can actually knock you down if they continue to do so when they are adults.
The best way to teach your German Shepherd puppy to stop this behavior is through ignoring them when they do so. So, if your German Shepherd puppy jumps at you, don’t pet them.
You have to wait until they calm down so you can pet them.
You could also teach them some basic obedience commands such as sit so they get distracted from jumping at you and instead sit for the time being.
You could also say tell them “No” and then “down” so they will sit down. Then, you can give them a treat and praise them for doing a good job.
As a puppy, the German Shepherd can also bite your arms. It’s their way of playing with their littermates when they were young. So, they learned that this is the way to play with others including people.
Even though during play they may bite your arms, there are definitely ways to stop them from continuing this habit.
You can start by yelping out loud when your puppy bites you. Your puppy will then understand that you are in pain and will stop biting you.
The idea comes from when they were really young and they would bite their littermates during play.
When one of the puppies yelp during a playful bite, the other one learns that they are in pain so they learn to bite gently next time.
You can also help your German Shepherd puppy to stop biting arms by giving them chew toys; they will definitely learn to chew on the toys instead of your arms.
Because German Shepherds, in general, are herding dogs, they bite the ankles because it reminds them of herding livestock.
In their mind, they think that they are doing their herding job.
If you want to stop your German Shepherd puppy from biting ankles, never walk too quickly or yell at your dog because they will think that it’s a game and will continue biting.
The best solution is to react very calmly and give your German Shepherd puppy chewing toys so they can chew on them instead.
When do German Shepherd puppies stop biting?
The answer to this question isn’t simple. Generally, it takes about 3 to 6 months until your German Shepherd puppy stops biting.
This isn’t always the case because every German Shepherd puppy has a different background, environment, and experiences. Ultimately, this leads to different behaviors happening to every dog.
It is best to not worry about your dog biting in different stages of their lives because every dog has their own circumstances.
What you can do is follow certain ways and tips to help your dog stop biting all together.
Below are some of these steps and tips.
Top 10 ways to stop a German Shepherd puppy from biting
1.) Teach bite inhibition
Bite inhibition in dogs is their ability to control the pressure of their bite so it isn’t hurtful to people or other dogs.
All puppies learn that their bite hurt when they are with their mother and littermate.
Mainly, it happens when a puppy playfully bites another puppy. If the bite is very strong, the other puppy will make a yelping sound and stop playing with the offending puppy.
Then, the puppy will learn that hard bites mean no play so they learn to bite gently next time.
However, this doesn’t mean that your puppy learned fully bite inhibition because human skin is far delicate than dogs.
You can do so by targeting bites that really hurt. When your German Shepherd puppy bites you, you can either make a sound such as “ouch” or look hurt and quickly stop interacting with your dog right away.
At all time, avoid high pitched squeaky sounds as this will excite and encourage your puppy to bite.
Redirection happens when your German Shepherd puppy is about to bite and you redirect their attention to another object such as a toy.
To effectively redirect your German Shepherd puppy attention, follow these certain tips:
- When your puppy bites you, you can give them a toy instead. To get their attention fully, you can move the toy around and make noises so you make your German Shepherd puppy interested in the toy.
- If they won’t take the toy, ignore them because their attention isn’t redirected. Ignoring means that you stay still and don’t move so they won’t chase you; puppies usually chase anything that is moving.
But why do you stay still even if your puppy is biting you? The main reason is that your reaction and energy is reflected in your puppy or dog.
So, when you stay calm, you actually teach your dog to stay calm and stop biting all together.
Also by giving your puppy a toy, you make sure that they learn to chew on them only instead of your arms and ankles; you distract them from biting and get their attention to bite on toys only.
You can also play with your puppy games such as fetch and tug of war. In these games, they will learn to use their mouth while playing. Their need for biting is satisfied with these games.
You could also enroll your puppy kindergarten and socialization classes. Not only will your puppy learn social skills on how to deal with other puppies during these classes; but they will also learn acceptable manners to deal with other dogs.
They will learn things such as playing gently with others so they won’t bite other dogs or people.
If you aren’t enrolling your dog in a social class or puppy kindergarten, you could introduce your puppy to other dogs by walking them in parks. You could also invite people and dogs over to see your puppy.
Not only does it teaches your German Shepherd skills that they need, but it is also crucial for their social development.
4.) Clicker training
You could also train your German Shepherd puppy through another method which is clicker training.
Clicker training is effective because it marks good behavior in a consistent way.
The reason is that the clicker sound is used as a cue to capture the exact moment that your dog makes a good decision.
An example would be when you put your hand in front of your puppy and they don’t bite, click and give them a treat.
Clicker training teaches boundaries for which behaviors that are allowed and which aren’t.
Steps to teach bite inhibition with a clicker
- Place your hand in front of your puppy’s mouth, if they don’t bite back, then click, treat, and praise them a lot.
- You can then wave your hand in front of them, you can click, treat, and praise them a lot.
It will also take time to teach your puppy with a clicker so they will learn effectively.
6.) Use positive reinforcement
You can also use positive reinforcement in which you give your puppy rewards for doing a certain type of behavior.
This reward can be anything from praise, treats, to petting them and any other dog activity that they enjoy.
The exact opposite is punishment in which puppies are negatively affected.
Things such as hitting, leash correction, shouting, and doing anything that is unpleasant to your puppy will ultimately cause them to become scared or aggressive later on.
So by using positive reinforcement, you ensure that your puppy grows up mentally stable without problems and they learn effectively.
7.) Training session
Get to training if you want to teach your German Shepherd puppy certain behaviors.
Training, when combined with positive reinforcement, becomes the best kind of training where your puppy learns new things effectively.
Puppies love treats so you have to always have a couple of treats with you while training your puppy; they act as motivators for your puppy so they can learn smoothly.
Start with basic obedience training where you ask your puppy to “sit” or “lay down” and then ask them to “stay” like that for a couple of seconds.
Your puppy will learn to act calmly. So, when they are calm and are in a “stay” position, you can give them treats where they will positively associate it with acceptable behaviors.
8.) Dog trainer
If you are having trouble training your puppy on your own, you can get them trained by a dog trainer.
A dog trainer will know how to deal with puppies even at a young age. Observing your dog trainer will teach you how to deal with their biting.
A major advantage of a dog trainer is that they may also teach your puppy other positive behaviors that they need to learn.
When you exercise your German Shepherd puppy, they will learn how to stop biting. It’s one of the best ways to stop puppy biting.
Most of the time, German Shepherd puppies act out when they haven’t received adequate exercise mainly physical and mental stimulation.
As a rule, any puppy has to have exercise. It just differs from age to age. So if a puppy is one month, they should have 5 minutes of exercise. As they grow, add another 5 minutes to each month.
So, if you have a German Shepherd puppy who is 4 months old, you have to give them 20 minutes of exercise.
Exercise can be anything from walking to jogging; however, you have to not overexercise your puppy so they don’t get strained.
10.) Use a taste deterrent
You could also get commercial sprays that will make your skin and cloth smell and taste unpleasant to your puppy.
Thus, it will prevent your puppy from biting you. You can either buy taste deterrents or make homemade versions of them.
This is the last option for your puppy when all other options don’t work.
Tips on how to stop German Shepherd puppy biting
1.) Be strict
Be strict and calm when dealing with your German Shepherd puppy biting. Any time that they try to bite, stop them immediately.
You can do so through a body signal or voice command such as “No”. Always be persistent when handling your puppy so they don’t get confused.
You have to be a leader to your puppy so they listen to you and will look up to you when they don’t know what to do.
However, don’t be so strict that you punish your puppy and end up hurting them.
2.) Have patience
Training puppies take time so you got to always be patient. This will usually take a lot of time to teach them.
They will definitely make some mistakes along the way. So, you got to be patient while teaching them. Don’t rush training and instead wait for them to catch up and learn on their time.
Never pressure them as they will not learn effectively.
3.) Don’t punish them
Your puppy always needs to feel safe so they can grow healthy. If you punish them, they will learn to not trust others, become aggressive, and scared.
So, it is important to not punish them and instead redirect their behavior to acceptable ones through positive reinforcement and training.
A German Shepherd puppy bites and chews due to a lot of reasons. These reasons are mainly due to many different reasons.
To safely stop biting in German Shepherd puppies, you got to first start by identifying the causes and then choosing the solutions that will help your German Shepherd puppy.
These solutions will definitely help you German Shepherd puppy from continuing biting.
To know more about the best German Shepherd toys, check Top 7 Best German Shepherd Dog Toys