If your German Shepherd has been biting you then you’re probably wondering why and what to do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might be doing it and what you can do to get it to stop.
So, why does my German Shepherd bite me? If it is young then it is likely to be teething. If it is an adult it is likely to be because it was not trained not to bite as a puppy.
There are actually a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might be biting you and there are a number of different things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd bites you
Each of the different reasons that your German Shepherd bites you will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your German Shepherd might be doing it and what you can do about it.
It wasn’t trained not to as a puppy
If your German Shepherd is not a puppy then the reason that it does it is likely to be that it never learned that it is not ok to bite as a puppy.
If you did not train it not to bite as a puppy or you adopted it then it won’t be too late for you now to train it to stop. You can do so by following the tips given below.
It is teething
If your German Shepherd is a puppy then the reason that it bites you 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 reason that it might bite on you is 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 arm a lot because it is interacting with it.
If your German Shepherd is still a puppy then it is very important to take the time now to train it not to bite and to behave the way that you want it to.
You have been encouraging it
It could be that you have been inadvertently rewarding the biting which has been encouraging it. This would be more likely if your method to get it to stop biting is to give it things that it wants such as toys, attention or treats.
Instead, it would likely be more effective to reward it before it starts biting then to stop rewarding it until it is behaving how you want it to.
It wants attention
It could be the case that it starts biting you because it wants your attention. This would be more likely to be the reason if it does it when you have not been giving it attention for a while or when it is time to feed it or walk it.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
The reason that your German Shepherd bites you could be that it gets excited and it is trying to show its excitement.
This would be more likely if it only seems to bite you when you’re about to do something that it likes such as to go out for a walk. It would also be more likely if it tends to show other signs of excitement when biting you.
In this case, something that you could try would be to turn your back and to hide your arms until it starts to behave better. If it continues to bite you then you can leave the room. You would then reward it when it shows signs of behaving the way that you want it to. Doing this will teach it that biting you does not get it what it wants.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop biting you it would help to understand what exactly is causing it so that you can tailor your approach.
Below I will mention a number of things that you can consider.
How old it is
If your German Shepherd is still young then it would make it much more likely that it is doing it naturally because it is teething. Nevertheless, it would be important to train it not to bite you so that it doesn’t do it when it is older.
If it is an adult then it would be more likely that it never learned not to do it. However, if it started to do it suddenly and it didn’t do it in the past then it might suggest that something is wrong such as that it is in pain.
When it started biting you
It would also help to consider when it started biting you. If it always did it then it would be more likely that it’s natural behavior and you just need to train it not to bite you.
Whereas, if it started to do it suddenly it would be more likely that there is something else causing it.
Some things to consider would be:
- If you moved home
- If someone was aggressive towards it
- If someone moved away
How aggressively it does it
It would also help to consider how aggressively your German Shepherd bites you. If it does it aggressively by showing its teeth, growling and its hair stands up then it would be a more serious problem and you should seek the advice of a vet or a certified dog behaviorist.
When and where it does it
Considering when and where it bites you would likely help a lot in determining why it does it.
If it tends to bit you when it is time for it to get a walk then it is likely trying to remind you of that.
If it bites you whenever it gets excited then it would be likely that it does it naturally but it hasn’t learned that it is not ok to bite you.
How to get it to stop biting you
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop biting you that I will mention below.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Positive reinforcement training
The first thing that you can try is positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward the behaviors that you want to see from your German Shepherd.
To use it to get it to stop biting, you would:
- Stand up, turn away, and hide your arms when it starts biting them leaving the room if necessary.
- Wait a few moments and then go back to giving it attention and then turning away again if it starts biting
- Repeat the above until it learns that biting causes it to lose your attention
- Reward it with a treat when it does particularly well
You can watch the video below to see more on how to get your German Shepherd to stop biting with positive reinforcement training along with more tips.
Avoid encouraging the behavior
Positive reinforcement training can be very effective in getting the behavior that you want. However, it can also work against you if you give it rewards at the wrong time.
If your method of getting it to stop biting you is to give it things that it wants, it could be the case that you have encouraged the behavior.
Instead, of giving it things that it wants, when it bites you, try the positive reinforcement technique above.
Give it things to chew on
If your German Shepherd feels the need to bite things then it would likely help to give it some things that it is ok for it to chew on. Some things that you could give it would be bones, dog chews or toys.
It is unlikely that you will be able to completely get it to stop biting you in one training session. However, you will be able to make larger improvements if you are consistent with it over the course of weeks and months.
If you don’t know why it does it, you can’t get it to stop or it does it in an aggressive way then it would likely help to get help from a dog behaviorist or a vet.
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