Last Updated on June, 2023
Do you think your German Shepherd puppy is aggressive for his age?
Does he bite you with his razor-sharp teeth?
Are you worried that your pup won’t grow up to be a well-mannered dog?
Puppy teeth are so much sharper than adult dog teeth, and puppy nips are anything but cute.
Don’t fret. There’s nothing to worry about your pup’s biting phase. All first-time German Shepherd puppy parents have gone through your troubles.
The excessive nipping behavior will reduce as your German Shepherd grows up. Meanwhile, there are many training methods to minimize your pup’s biting habits in no time.
Keep reading to find out how to get a german shepherd puppy to stop biting.
Here are the 3 key points from this article:
- Biting is normal behavior for all puppies and there are many reasons for it including teething, sore gums, boredom, and exploring their surroundings.
- German Shepherd puppies may be more mouthy than other breeds due to their independent nature and strong prey drive.
- There are many games and exercises you can do with your German Shepherd puppy to curb biting including fetch, tug-of-war, hand targeting, and the car wash game.
TLDR: There is nothing to worry about if your German Shepherd puppy is biting during his teething phase. All first-time German Shepherd puppy parents have gone through this phase. The excessive nipping behavior will reduce as your German Shepherd grows up. Meanwhile, there are many training methods to minimize your pup’s biting habits in no time.
Table of Contents
- Why Do German Shepherd Puppies Bite?
- What’s Normal Biting And What’s Not?
- So When Should I Worry About My Puppy’s Biting?
- 7 Ways to Stop a German Shepherd Puppy From Biting
- 5 Games to Curb Puppy Biting
- Things Not-To-Do When You Are Training Your German Shepherd Puppy
- At What Age Will My Puppy Stop Biting?
- Should I Get Professional Help for Puppy Biting?
- What Are the Best Toys to Use to Stop Biting?
- At What Age Do German Shepherd Puppies Stop Biting?
- How Do You Discipline a German Shepherd Puppy?
- Why Do German Shepherds Bite Their Owners?
- How Do I Train My German Shepherd Not to Be Aggressive?
Why Do German Shepherd Puppies Bite?
Biting is completely normal behavior for all pups. There are so many reasons for puppy bites.
Sore Gums, Teething, Playfulness, Or Simply Boredom!
Sore gums and teething is the main reason for puppy biting. Just like babies bite everything through their teething phase, pups do the same. There are so many toys to give a teething pup. We will discuss more on this later on.
Puppies crave attention. They will bite you to make you play with them. Play biting is very common in pups. Biting is how they play with their siblings.
A bored puppy is a biting puppy. To reduce your puppy’s nipping behavior, give him plenty of exercise and stimulation to keep him busy. There are many games you can play with your pup. We will look at some of these games later on.
Exploring the World
Puppies explore the world with their mouths. They taste, feel, hold, catch and play with their mouths. It takes puppies some time to figure out how much force they must use when biting gently.
Once your GSD puppy knows to control his bite force, he will even be able to play with soft toys!
Their Unique Biting Behavior
Your German Shepherd puppy might be nipping at you more than any other pup you have owned. There’s a reason for this….
German Shepherds are herding dogs with a stubborn temperament. They are very independent dogs with a strong prey drive. It’s typical for German Shepherd pups to be more mouthy than other breeds.
They are also more energetic than pups from other breeds. All this energy and the unique German Shepherd temperament make these puppies a handful. This is why exercise is vital for your German Shepherd. German Shepherd puppies should never be left on their own with nothing to do.
Your Puppies Were Previously Raised In A Poor Environment
This usually occurs with older GSD puppies adopted from shelters. These puppies might have been mistreated by their previous owners. Biting may be a defense mechanism for them. The puppies could also bite because they are not socialized with other people and animals.
If your GSD pup falls into this category, you will find it a bit harder to train him. Do try to socialize your pup and give him lots of love. He will need to trust you before you can train him. If your puppy takes longer than usual to trust you and is not taking commands from you, do take help from a certified dog trainer.
Related: GSD Best command list
What’s Normal Biting And What’s Not?
Young pups are notorious biting machines. They bite for play, fun, or to get your attention. It’s not always easy to tell playful mouthing apart from aggressive biting.
You don’t have to worry about typical pup bites. Yes, the sharp puppy teeth hurt, but it’s just a phase, and your pup will soon learn not to bite you.
If your pup bites you without letting go and if he’s showing aggressive behavior and a lot of temper tantrums, it’s not normal. But then again, different puppies have different personalities, and they will not always bite the same way.
So When Should I Worry About My Puppy’s Biting?
If your GSD puppy is showing aggression and the excessive biting doesn’t seem to stop no matter what you try, your pup might need professional training. The bite force matters too. If your puppy’s bite force is powerful and causes serious injuries, seek training help at once.
Another instance is when your German Shepherd puppy’s biting doesn’t reduce as he grows up. Many puppies will stop biting after 6-9 months. If your pup continues aggressive biting after this age, you have a problem.
If you brought home an older German Shepherd pup (over 9 months), and he’s biting, you must start immediate training. Professional dog training is the best option if training the dog yourself doesn’t seem to work.
It is essential to start training a German Shepherd pup from a young age. The older your pup gets, the harder you will find it to teach them. After all, dog bites are a different story from puppy bites.
Worth reading: GSD Protection Training
7 Ways to Stop a German Shepherd Puppy From Biting
Using the proper bite inhibition method from an early age will make your hyperactive German Shepherd pup into a well-behaved adult dog.
Here are some fail-safe ways to stop your German Shepherd puppy from biting.
1. Using Special Toys
Chew toys are the best bet for biting pups and dogs. There are so many chew toys and teething toys for puppies. Purchase a few different toys and let your pup choose what he likes best. Most pups will have a favorite toy.
Your pup will eventually learn to bite the toys, and you won’t be his chew toy anymore.
2. The Yelping Method
Yelp-like a puppy!
Let your pup know that he’s hurting you. Most puppies don’t realize that biting hurts. If you show your pup that it hurts you very soon, he’ll learn to be gentle.
Be aware that some GSD pups with a strong prey drive will enjoy the yelping and try to bite you more. If yelping arouses your pup and he comes back to bite more, you must focus on another training method.
3. The Quiet Approach
The simplest method to stop puppy biting is to walk away.
Eventually, your pup will understand that biting will end playtime. Your pup will try to follow you and show temper tantrums; ignore him. Ignore your puppy until he has calmed down.
Also read: When do puppies start calming down
Turn your puppy’s attention to something else. When your pup nips you, give him something appropriate to chew. Your pup will soon learn to spend his energy on things other than biting.
Squeak toys work well for redirecting puppies. Their noise will instantly get your puppy’s attention.
Redirection will not work on all pups. Some pups are just too stubborn to be distracted by squeaky toys. If your pup falls into this category, use one of the other training methods.
5. Let Your German Shepherd Puppy Socialize
Socializing is easy to develop as a puppy and will be more challenging as your dog gets older. Socialized German Shepherds are well-behaved dogs. They know how to get along with both people and other animals.
Your pup will quickly learn to socialize if you have other pets at home. If you have just one dog, socializing is an issue, and you must dedicate some time to teach your dog this essential skill.
How do you socialize your pup?
- Take your German Shepherd pup to a dog park and allow him to play with other puppies.
- Find a puppy class. This will help to train your pup while socializing him.
- Arrange a visit with a family member or a friend who owns a dog.
- Not all GSD puppies will be kind to other pets on the first try.
- Make sure that your pup gets along with dogs and people before trying to socialize with gentle animals like kittens and hamsters. Otherwise, you are in for a tragedy!
6. Use daily leadership skills
Your dog needs to know who the house leader is. If not, you will end up with an adult German Shepherd that dominates the household. Your German Shepherd will respect and obey you if you exhibit good leadership skills daily.
Here are some tips on being a good dog leader
- Never use physical punishment.
- Be patient and confident with your pup.
- Stick to a regular training schedule.
- Always use positive reinforcement and reward good behavior.
7. More Exercise
Puppies have a lot of pent-up energy. A bored, energetic GS pup will always show destructive behavior. Give your German Shepherd pup plenty of exercise, and his biting behavior will soon be under control.
There are many puppy training tips online, and you can choose what works best for your pup. Remember that with all training techniques, consistency is vital.
Now let’s look at some games you can play with your GSD pup.
5 Games to Curb Puppy Biting
All these games will give you bonding time with your pup while giving him a good exercise session. You can use these games for both bite inhibition and obedience training.
Fetch is the most famous dog game, and there’s a good reason for that. Most dogs and puppies learn it in a few tries! Fetch is a good game for your puppy, and it will also train your pup to listen to commands. You can play fetch with either a ball or a stick. (1)
How do you play fetch?
- Throw the ball for your puppy to fetch. You won’t have to encourage your pup to bring the ball as he will know what to do.
- Once your puppy has the ball, call him back towards you.
- Encourage your pup to drop the ball by giving him a treat. Say “drop it” at the same time.
- Repeat this several times.
- After a few tries, your pup will learn to drop the ball without needing a reward.
Tug-of-war is a bit of a controversial game. Some German Shepherd owners think it makes their pups bite even more.
So how do you play tug-of-war SAFELY?
- Present your dog with a tug toy and encourage him to take it.
- Gently pull on the toy.
- Stop tugging the toy and give your puppy a treat to stop him from tugging.
- Say “drop it” at the same time.
- Repeat this game several times a day.
- Eventually, your puppy must not need the treat to stop tugging. He must stop pulling when you say, “drop it.”
- At some point during the game, if your pup gets aggressive and tries to nip at you to get to the toy, stop playing immediately. Puppies can learn aggressive behavior from tug-of-war.
- Don’t pull too hard on the toy. This makes your pup also pull harder, and he will learn to use more bite force and rough behavior.
3. Hand Targeting
Hand targeting is a way to discourage your puppy from biting your hand. If your puppy nips at your hand all the time, this method is an excellent option to try.
How do you play hand targeting?
- Open your palm and extend your hand.
- If your pup sniffs your hand without taking a nip, reward him with a treat. Say yes for positive reinforcement.
- If your pup tries to nip your palm or hand, stop playing and don’t give him any more treats.
- Repeat this several times a day.
4. The Car Wash Game
The car wash game will let your pup get used to the human touch. Most German Shepherd pups are not keen on being touched and will try to nip you.
How do you play the car wash game?
- Lie down flat on the floor and have your puppy on one side of your body.
- Have a treat on the other side and make your pup cross over your body to get the treat.
- When he’s crossing, gently pet him on the sides, just like a car going through a car wash!
- If your pup allows you to pet him without trying to bite you, give him the treat.
- Repeat this several times. If your pup bites you, stop playing!
5. The Touch And Treat Game
This game is for stubborn German Shepherd puppies who don’t like petting.
Some pups don’t like you touching their paws, while others don’t like head pats. Start by touching your puppy where he’s okay with being touched. When he doesn’t react, give him a treat. Move on the areas he doesn’t like being touched and treat him every time he doesn’t respond.
Things Not-To-Do When You Are Training Your German Shepherd Puppy
Now that we have looked at the methods and games to train your German Shepherd pup not to bite, let’s look at what you must not do.
React To a Biting Puppy By Playing Back
Never, ever react to your puppy’s bites by playing with him. If you play with your pup when he bites, he will make it into a routine to bite you when he wants to play.
Play Rough With Your German Shepherd Puppy
Never play rough games with your pup. Even when playing games like tug-of-war and fetch, be gentle and stop playing if your pup behaves aggressively. Never wrestle with your pup. Discourage your pup from jumping on you.
Smacking And Shouting At Your Puppy For Biting
Smacking your pup does more damage than good. Young puppies are still learning, and they can be taught any command with patience and love.
Hitting your pup may stop him from biting you, but it will be because he fears you and not out of respect. Smacking can also break the trust between you and your pup.
German Shepherds are powerful and intelligent dogs. Trust is essential with a German Shepherd.
Punish Your Puppy Later
Puppies, as well as dogs, have a short attention span. If your pup makes a mistake, be sure to correct him then and there. If you punish or scold him later, your pup will not know why he is being punished!
Holding Your Pup’s Mouth Closed For Biting
Never do this! It is not an effective way to stop your pup from biting. Your pup will struggle to open his mouth, and he will be angry at you. You’ll be doing more damage than good.
The German Shepherd puppy biting phase is a nightmare for dog parents.
German Shepherds are brilliant dogs, and their puppies tend to learn quickly. By using proper bite inhibition training from a young age, you can make your dog’s puppy days enjoyable for both of you.
A well-behaved German Shepherd pup is a bundle of joy. Once you get over the dreadful biting days, you will have a well-mannered, loyal German Shepherd dog.
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