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How to Stop a German Shepherd Puppy from Biting

Who wouldn’t want to play with German shepherd puppies? They’re adorable and playful, not to mention they’re active. But the problem is they’re also fond of biting.  They are also called ‘land sharks’ because by 6 months, GSD puppies tend to bite and chew on your arm, ankle and everything you have. The good news is that this problem can be solved. Read this article to find out pertinent information that will help you stop or prevent your GSD puppy from biting.

Do German Shepherds Bite Their Owners?

In a word: yes.

You might assume that German shepherds don’t bite you as their owner because obviously, you are the one feeding them and providing their food so you expect them not to hurt you. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. To be able to stop your German shepherd puppy from biting you, it’s important for you to know the common reasons why your German shepherd puppy bit you in the first place so that you can solve or eliminate the problem. 

Why Do German Shepherds Bite?

Dominance

GSDs even German shepherd puppies can show signs of dominance. It’s easy for GSDs to get the impression they are the leaders in their pack so they bite when they think their leadership is challenged. For example, when you tell your GSD to do something new, he believes his human companion doesn’t have the right to lead so he bites his owner to discipline him.

Threat

Many things could threaten your GSD. German shepherd dogs who are confronted by a potential threat such as people staring directly into their eyes tend to bite. New mother GSDs will growl at people who get near her puppies. Your GSD can even be protecting one household member from another member of the family perceived to be a threat. 

Fear

When a stranger or a newcomer approaches your GSDs, they might feel afraid especially when they’re used to living with only one caregiver. They can also be afraid of rowdy children. Some children also poke, grab or pull their tails. This could result in your GSD hurting your children. 

Sickness or injury

If a GSD is in pain, he is sensitive so he doesn’t want to be approached or touched by other people. Even if you’re the owner, the GSD can bite you if he’s injured or feeling uncomfortable.

How To Train A German Shepherd Puppy Not To Bite

Redirection

Discourage your German shepherd puppy right away from biting you and others by providing distractions such as acceptable chew toys and games. Make sure that the toys are heavy-duty and non-toxic. For example, when your German shepherd puppy jumps and bites your ankles, offer him a toy to chew instead. If you continue doing this, he will soon start chewing appropriate objects instead of biting you.

Inhibition

Another way to get your GSD to stop biting is to use the bite inhibition technique. Bite inhibition happens when a German shepherd puppy learns to soften his bite and limits the frequency of biting. This is usually taught by its mother for its first 7 to 8 weeks of life. After that, the owner will continue the process. For example, when your GSD bites you while playing, you say ‘oww’ or ‘ouch’ and stop playing with him to express that you dislike biting. Make your GSD believe that you are hurt so he can learn that biting you means harming you.

Socialization

As early as possible, let your GSD interact with different types of people. You can start with your family members, friends, and neighbors. You should also expose your GSD to different kinds of noises, other animals, and anything else that might cause fear. Take him to places you will visit frequently. GSD training centers can be a good place for GSD obedience training and social interaction. If he becomes familiar with these, he will feel comfortable and relaxed when he’s exposed to noise, people, animals, and places.

Specific Unwanted Behaviors of German Shepherds and Ways to Stop

German shepherd jumping and biting

GSDs jump to greet you but it can knock you down especially if you have an adult GSD. Don’t pat your chest to encourage your GSD to jump up because it’s simply dangerous. Teach your GSD to sit down instead of jumping. If he jumps, ignore him.  Say ‘no’ or ‘down’ then reward him with a treat when he sits on the ground.

German Shepherd biting arms

Try to observe when German shepherd puppies play. When a German shepherd puppy bites his sibling, his sibling yelps so the German shepherd puppy learns to bite gently. So when your German shepherd puppy bites you, you need to yelp loudly. He will understand that you’re not having fun. Then offer him something to chew instead of your hands and arms.

German Shepherd biting ankles

GSDs are herding dogs so they usually bite the ankles. If you run or yell when your GSD bites your ankles, he thinks it’s fun. So manage your reaction and prevent this from happening again. Give your GSD appropriate games to teach him self-control.

When Do German Shepherd Puppies Stop Biting?

Biting persists especially when the owner ignores or encourages biting. German shepherd biting habits can be stopped when their owners train them properly as early as possible. Don’t be too gentle or lenient towards your German shepherd puppies if you don’t want unwanted behaviors to arise in the future. Correct and control your GSD’s biting behavior by following the strategies above. If you don’t address unwanted behaviors like biting immediately, it can get worse and your GSD might become aggressive which would be difficult to control. 

Conclusion

German shepherd biting is a common problem but it can be stopped. Take time to learn the different ways to stop German shepherd puppy biting especially if you are inexperienced. If the redirection technique works for you and your GSD, then be firm and consistent. If it’s not effective, try other approaches. If you’re not sure how to handle this problem, you can always ask for a professional’s help. 

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