If your German Shepherd has been grabbing your arm then you might want to know why and what can be done about it.
This post will show you why your German Shepherd grabs your arm and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my German Shepherd grab my arm? Common causes can include excitement, teething, wanting attention, a lack of training and inadvertently rewarding the behavior.
There are a number of things to consider when thinking about why it might be grabbing your arm and there are a number of things that you can do to stop it.
Why your German Shepherd grabs your arm
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd grabs your arm will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why it might be doing it and the signs to look for.
If your German Shepherd is still a puppy then it might be grabbing your arm because it is teething.
When they are teething their gums will be painful and biting on things can help to soothe their gums.
If this is the reason why your German Shepherd is grabbing your arm then it would be likely that it would chew on other things as well.
In this case, the best option for you would be to give it lots of toys to chew on and to do positive reinforcement training with it (discussed below) so that you can get it to behave the way that you want it to.
It wants attention
The reason why it grabs your arm could be that it wants your attention.
This would be more likely to be the reason if it starts grabbing your arm when you have not been giving it attention for a while.
If that is why your German Shepherd grabs your arm then it would help to give it more attention in the form of exercise, training and playing games such as tug of war in addition to training it not to grab your arm.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
The reason why your German Shepherd grabs your arm could be that it gets excited and it is trying to show its excitement.
This would be more likely if it only seems to grab your arm 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 grabbing your arm.
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 grab your arms 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 grabbing your arm does not get it what it wants.
You have inadvertently been rewarding the behavior
It could be the case that your method of getting it to stop has actually caused it to want to do it more.
This would be more likely if your method of getting it to stop biting you is to give it something that it wants such as a toy, attention or a walk. It would also be more likely if you shout or punish it since that is actually also a form of attention.
A lack of training
The reason why it does it could be that it thinks that it is ok to grab your arm.
This would be more likely if you have not spent much time training it to act the way that you want it to. If you haven’t then your German Shepherd won’t know how it is supposed to act so it will act the way that it thinks it should or just the way that it wants to. This is unlikely to be in line with what you actually want.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to stop grabbing your arm it would help to understand what exactly is causing it so that you can tailor your approach.
Below, I will mention a number of particularly important things to consider.
If it does it aggressively
If your German Shepherd grabs your arm aggressively then that would a more serious problem.
Probable causes for it grabbing your arm aggressively would be mistreatment, pain, a lack of training or being aggressive towards it yourself.
In this case, the best option would be to get the help of a certified dog trainer or behaviorist in your area.
If your German Shepherd is a puppy then it would be much more likely that it is doing it because it is teething and it has not yet learned that it is not ok to grab your arm.
If it is a puppy then now would be a good time to start training it to act the way that you want it to and to stop grabbing your arm.
When and where it grabs your arm
Considering when and where it grabs your arm would likely help a lot in determining why it does it.
If it tends to grab your arm when it is time for it to get a walk then it is likely trying to remind you of that.
If it grabs your arm 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 grab your arm.
How to get it to stop grabbing your arm
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop grabbing your arm 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 grabbing your arm you would:
- Stand up turn away and hide your arms when it starts grabbing 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 grabbing your arm
- Repeat the above until it learns that grabbing your arm 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 grabbing your arm with positive reinforcement training.
Avoid reinforcing 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 when it behaves in a way that you do not want.
Instead, of giving it things that it wants, when it grabs your arms, try the positive reinforcement technique above.
German Shepherds are highly responsive to your own emotions. If you become highly emotional when your German Shepherd starts grabbing your arms then it can cause it to do it more.
Instead, it would be better to be calm around your German Shepherd and to take the time to train it to behave the way that you want it to.
Give it exercise
German Shepherds are a highly active breed and they are supposed to get a lot of exercise. When they do not it can cause them to misbehave. Generally, it is recommended to give your German Shepherd an hour of exercise per day.
Get help from a dog behaviorist
If you cannot get your German Shepherd to stop doing it, you don’t know why it does it or it does it aggressively then it would likely be very helpful if you could get the help of a dog behaviorist in your area.
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Best German Shepherd Training Program
Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.