If your German Shepherd puppy has been biting you then you are probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons that your GSD puppy might be biting you and what you can do to stop it.
So, why does my German Shepherd puppy bite at me? German Shepherd puppies will, naturally, go through a biting phase when they are you. This is because it explores the world with its mouth and it is teething and it bites things to soothe its gums.
While it may be natural for your German Shepherd puppy to be biting a lot, it is still very important to curb the behavior now while it is still young.
Why your German Shepherd puppy bites you
There are a number of reasons that German Shepherd puppy might be biting you and there are a number of signs that will come with them.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons that your German Shepherd puppy will bite you and the signs to look for.
The reason that your German Shepherd puppy has been biting you could be that it is teething.
A German Shepherd will teeth until it is about 6 months old. While it is teething its gums will be painful which can cause it to want to bite things to soothe the pain.
If your German Shepherd is below the age of 6 months it is likely that it is biting you because it is teething. If you want to get it to stop it would help to do positive reinforcement training (mentioned below) and to give it other things to chew on.
You have been encouraging it
It could be the case that you have been inadvertently reinforcing the behavior.
If your method to get it to stop biting your hands is to give it things that it wants such as toys or a treat then it could have learned that biting you results in it getting things that it wants.
This would be more likely to be the reason if it is older than 6 months old and it is no longer teething.
Instead of giving it things that it wants, when it bites you, a better option would be to withdraw your attention and to hide your hands in your pockets when it bites you. Then after waiting for a few moments, you would go back to giving it attention and withdraw your attention again whenever it starts biting.
German Shepherds are, naturally, a breed that bites a lot as puppies. It is unlikely that your German Shepherd is doing it because it is not a well-behaved dog.
With that being said, even though it may be natural for it to be doing it, it is still important to make sure to take the time now to stop the behavior (more discussed below).
It is exploring
German Shepherds will explore using their mouths when they are young. The reason that your GSD puppy bites you and mouths other objects is likely to be partly due to the fact that it wants to explore the world around it and it does so using its nose and mouth.
How to get your German Shepherd puppy to stop biting you
There are a number of things that you can do if you want to get your German Shepherd puppy to stop biting you and I will mention a number of them below.
Try positive reinforcement training
Positive reinforcement training is where you reward the behaviors that you want to see with attention, treats or something else that your German Shepherd likes.
To use positive reinforcement training in getting your GSD to stop biting you would stop giving it attention or treats by facing away from it and putting your hands in your pockets.
You would then wait for a few moments and they go back to giving it attention. If it bites you again you would stop giving it attention again. If it doesn’t bite, you would then reward it with a treat.
You would then repeat the process until it has learned that biting doesn’t get it the things that it wants.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Avoid reinforcing the biting
While positive reinforcement training can be very effective in getting the behaviors that you want, it can also work against you.
If your method of getting it to stop biting you is to give it toys, treats or something else that it wants then it would be likely that you are reinforcing the behavior.
Instead, a better option would be to withdraw your attention by leaving the room if you have to, waiting for a few moments and then giving it your attention again until it starts biting again. By doing this it will learn that biting causes you to stop giving it attention. You would also reward it with treats every time it does not bite when it normally would.
Give it things to chew on
It is natural for German Shepherds to want to bite on things when they are young. This is mainly because it will soothe their gums when they are teething.
With that being the case, it would help a lot to give it things to chew on such as chews, bones or toys so that it chooses to chew on them instead of you or your furniture.
Avoid punishing physically it or yelling at it
It might be tempting to punish your German Shepherd Puppy for biting you. However, this is not recommended.
This is because it teaches it that biting gets some kind of a response from you so it can actually be rewarding.
Instead of punishing it try withdrawing your attention and try positive reinforcement training.
You can watch the video below to see how you can get your puppy to stop biting you using positive reinforcement in a different way to how it is described above.
Things to consider
It is important to get it to stop biting now
While German Shepherds will, usually, begin to bite less as they get older it is still important to take the time to get it to stop biting now.
If you do not take the time to get it to stop biting now it might still bite you at times when it is older. Adult German Shepherds have a very strong bite force so this is definitely something that you will need to avoid.
The other reason that it is important to get it to stop biting now is that it will teach it to become used to following your command. The best time to train a GSD is when it is still a puppy since it will ensure that it is well behaved as an adult.
Biting is normal at a young age
If you are concerned that your German Shepherd puppy’s biting is not normal then don’t be. Most German Shepherds will go through a biting phase.
However, as mentioned above, it is still important to train it not to bite now so that it doesn’t do it when it is older.
It is important to be consistent when training your German Shepherd puppy.
If you only train it once then it will likely relapse back into its old habits. Also, it is likely that you won’t be able to get the exact behavior that you want it to display on the first training session. This is why it is important to train your German Shepherd on a regular basis.
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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 - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.