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German Shepherd pups can be a joy to play with at times because they are so fun and active. The problem is that there is also the issue of German shepherd puppy biting. A fun game can seem to turn nasty with a nip to the hand or ankle, even if there was no negative connotation as far as the dog was concerned. There are lots of frantic questions online from owners saying my German Shepherd puppy bites a lot! The problem appears to be out of control and they don’t know how to stop the behavior in a positive way that will have an impact.
In this guide to training a German Shepherd puppy not to bite we will look at the different methods that have been put forward to help dog owners stop their shepherds from biting so much. There are two methods being examined here.
The first is the bite inhibition approach that works with a pack mentality and encourages biting in certain situations.
The other is the approach of discouraging biting from the start by providing other games and distractions and training them not to bite at all.
The guide will also look at some of the toys and games that can help, an online resource for desperate owners and other behavioral issues. We will start with the importance of biting training and the main reason why biting is part of the GSD temperament.
The first thing to remember is that it is crucial to stop German Shepherd puppy biting issues as soon as possible.
The good news here is that there are many people out there shouting “my German Shepherd puppy bites!”. You are not alone here. It is something that this breed goes through in early life because of their genetics and temperament.
Image Source: Pixabay
Success is all about understanding why your German Shepherd bites at your hand and ankles and how to control it.
You may ask why is my German Shepherd puppy biting my hand so much?
The simple answer is because it is a moving target and instinct is kicking in. German Shepherd dogs are working dogs with a genetic line to predators. This means they have the instinct to chase and prey upon fast moving objects, or to herd them all. This explains the importance of slow, simple movements and getting pups used to touching you without biting. Running away just encourages a German Shepherd puppy biting ankles because you look like a prey animal or herd animal that needs to be controlled.
Then there is the issue of German Shepherd biting and pack dominance. Biting is something that is normal to a puppy, it is a way of communicating feelings to another member of the pack. Furthermore, they like to explore their surroundings with their mouth. Trying out tastes and textures that are new. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as babies do this too. The problem is that there is a difference between mouthing something and biting down upon it.
German Shepherd pups need to learn the difference. This can be a problem if you find your German Shepherd puppy biting children. Once they learn their place within the pack – or the family set-up – then you have a better chance at keeping a baby German Shepherd under control and stopping a German Shepherd puppy biting other dogs.
This is where bite inhibition training comes in. There are some German Shepherd owners that swear by this method for teaching their pups not to bite. The idea is that the pup is invited to play rough and then disciplined for biting. This may sound confusing for the dog, but many believe that they have to be given the chance to make a mistake to know that a behavior is wrong. Owners then respond to the bite with a negative reaction like a yelp of pain and time ignoring the pup. This is designed to show the puppy that their action was bad and they shouldn’t do it again. If this doesn’t seem to work, some go a stage further and pin the puppy on its back to show displeasure and dominance.
Image Source: Wikimedia
The trick here comes in acting like the puppy’s mother. A 4 month old German Shepherd is looking to its parent to teach it what to do and tests boundaries until it learns its lesson. You cannot expect a puppy to know not to bite and use its teeth if it hasn’t been given that lesson. This bite inhibition approach looks at the issue from a dog behavioral perspective for a different result. It may seem harsh and rough at time, but many owners say that it help to get the message across and nip biting in the bud
The problem with using bite inhibition to stop a GSD puppy biting is that you are encouraging biting in some instances and rejecting it in others. There are some concerns over consistency of the message here. Many suggest finding ways to stop puppies nipping and biting straight away so there is never an issue. The problem here is the idea that puppies need to understand that the behavior is wrong.
The other issue with the bite inhibition training is that some believe that it may in fact encourage GSDs to continue biting. There is the concern that the aggressive play and extreme responses may actually be enjoyable and trigger other response. Yanking a hand away and yelping in pain does go against the idea of slow, simple movements to stop them from biting at hands in the first place.
German Shepherd pups are going to put things in their mouths to explore and play. They can be disciplined for biting at people and animals, yet encouraged to transfer their needs and feeling onto other items. This is where toys and games come in.
A ball, rubber Kong toy, soft toy or other item can be a great way to keep pups happy and teach them about appropriate handling. Games like fetch and tug-of-war are great with these pups because it gives them exercise and works with their instincts. If they want to chase after a moving object, it much better to teach them how to play fetch with a ball or frisbee than have them chasing children or cats.
These toys also provide a form of entertainment when they are home alone. GSD pups don’t want to be left alone for long periods of time or confined to crates. If you do have to leave them unattended, they need the run of the house. The potential problem here is coming back find a pup chewing through things it shouldn’t be handling. Toys, especially treat-filled Kong toys, can reduce boredom and stop the pup from resenting you for leaving.
Toys are clearly a great idea for a GSD pup while they are exploring and learning. The question is, what type of toy should you choose. As was mentioned above, there is a lot of love for the Kong toy because of its entertainment factor. However, you cannot assume that one highly rating toy will be suitable for your puppy. Every dog has their own preferences on textures and tastes. Some may not like the rubber of a Kong toy and may prefer a soft toy instead. There could be a trial and error process here in finding the best match. Be patient and listen to your dog.
Image source: Pixabay
Whichever type you end up choosing, you should be aware when using these toys and games if you have a German Shepherd teething. You don’t want to be engaging in any sort of rough play with hard toys during this time as their gums are sensitive and they need time to lets their adult teeth come through naturally. You don’t want to be forcing the baby teeth out. This is when a game of tug of war is out of the question.
If you have a real problem with a German Shepherd puppy biting and growling or a German Shepherd puppy biting hard, you may need some expert help.
Resources like Doggy Dan the online dog trainer and the Secrets to Dog Training online program are a great starting point because these guides are full of tips and related issues. The former is now revered across the world because of its user-friendly advice and easy-to-follow steps. The latter is a great alternative approach that focuses on the behavior of the human owner as much as the pet. Both have strong sections about biting These resources may also be able to provide more information on German Shepherd puppy teething to help with appropriate solutions at this point of development.
With so many different opinions on the subject of German Shepherd puppy biting, it can be hard to know which route to take.
Opinion is split on the best way to stop a GSD puppy biting. It can be confusing trawling through the net for the best way to discourage these pups from biting because some will praise bite inhibition and pack-style training and criticize the use of toys. Other take the opposite view. These two opposing views don’t have to be so conflicting. Simply look at these approaches as two separate options to an important problem. If one fits in with your training style and is more comfortable then work with that one.
There is a lot to consider here with how to train a German Shepherd not to bite. Once you have decided on the approach that you are going to take, it is important to follow the methods to make sure that the training is consistent GSDs are smart dogs that can learn with minimal repetition and they are pretty good with voice commands. However, they all need a consistent regime so they don’t get confused. This means that all commands, words of praise and negative words must stay the same.
Baby German Shepherds are adorable pups and can be a delight when handled correctly. However, we cannot overemphasize the importance of good training to turn a smart, misbehaving pup into an obedient family dog that is a joy to be around. The last thing that you want is for a 120 pound adult dog to start nipping at strangers because they weren’t trained on biting and mouthing or socialized properly.
In the end, German Shepherd puppy biting is a common problem that can be dealt with, if you find a method that suits your pup and your own teaching style.
Take the time to research the different methods, do things properly and play with your puppy in a beneficial manner.
If you decide that bite inhibition training is for you, be sure to firm, consistent and understand the behavioral signals of your dog. If you decide to work with other methods and toys, take the time to find a good fit where your pet gets as much enjoyment from the games as possible. The frequency of online posts on this topic may suggest that the problem is impossible to deal with, but it can be beaten. Don’t give up.
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