German Shepherd puppy biting may seem cute and harmless when they’re small, but a lack of training can go horribly wrong as they mature. Some GSD owners have even given their pets the nickname ‘land shark’, because of their biting habits.
An adult German Shepherd’s bite force can be very dangerous, reaching a force of more than 1,050 newtons. This force translates into 238 pounds per square inch (PSI), which is enough to cause serious damage.
The quicker you train your puppy that is unacceptable to bite, the safer you and your family will be. Think about the safety of your family and other household pets.
Also, consider that your adult GSD might get out and bite neighbors. As the dog owner, you will be responsible if it does, which could cause legal problems for you and may lead to your pet being destroyed, which would be heart-breaking.
Why Do German Shepherd Puppies Bite?
You might want to know what your German Shepherd puppy’s biting behavior is all about. The response to this query is that GSDs, like all other puppies, teethe.
Teething causes discomfort and pain for your puppy, just like it does for children. The result is that your puppy wants to bite everything and everyone around it.
Not because the puppy wants to hurt anyone, but because it is trying to relieve its discomfort. This is normal behavior.
German Shepherd puppy biting will typically begin once its temporary milk teeth start pushing through its gums. Teething begins from around two to four weeks old, and the small dog’s gums are sore and itchy.
It will then look for ways to soothe the pain, which it does by biting. Whether it is your hand that it bites or it chews on the furniture, it won’t be picky. Your puppy has ‘an itch to scratch,’ and anything chewable will do.
As your puppy grows, permanent teeth will replace its temporary, tiny, very sharp teeth. Adult teeth begin pushing through the gums from around the six to eight-week mark.
Forty-two adult teeth will eventually replace the 28 small teeth, and this process may take up to six, seven, or months to complete.
With a deadly force of 238 PSI from a German Shepherd bite, it’s essential to control your puppy’s biting before it becomes an adult dog.
The best time to start controlling the biting and nipping phase is when the milk teeth develop. Even though two to four weeks may sound like a young age to start teaching your puppy not to bite, it is the best time.
The sooner it learns that biting, nipping and other aggressive behaviors are unacceptable, the safer you and your family will be.
GSD pups uses their noses and mouths to explore their environment. GSDs also bite if raised in poor surroundings or when they are overstimulated. The GSD was also bred for herding livestock, which is another reason it tends to nip. Certain behavior also engages its prey drive, which means its ready to hunt, chase and bite prey.
But before you think that it is a tough job to teach a puppy anything, remember that the GSD is exceptionally intelligent and a quick learner.
Having an intelligent dog makes your job easier, and it is easier to train the GSD than you might think.
How To Stop German Shepherd Puppy Biting
You can use several bite inhibitions methods to manage and eventually prevent your German Shepherd pup from biting. Implement dog bite training in the first place, and you will save yourself many headaches later on.
You will also save yourself a pot full of money by preventing your puppy from chewing your furniture to shreds.
Here’s what you can do to stop your GSD pup from biting everything in sight.
1. Thumb under tongue training trick
When German Shepherd puppy biting becomes painful, stick your thumb in its mouth and under its tongue. This is a quick trick that will startle your puppy as much as you will prevent it from biting down.
Try to hold your puppy’s jaws slightly open with the opposite hand when using this trick until it gets the message that rough play is not acceptable behavior. This will not work the first time, so you should expect to do this repeatedly during play until your dog understands.
2. Managing mouthing
Mouthing refers to when GSD puppies play with each other and how they learn to manage their impulse to bite. Human skin is far more delicate than that of a GSD.
Inevitably, your puppy will grow up with its siblings and indulge in play. Young puppies learn how to behave and interact through play, which is vital to their development.
As puppies play, bite and nip at each other, they become overexcited. When this happens, they tend to bite each other too hard, causing pain.
Pain causes the recipient to yelp, which stops the perpetrator in its tracks. The yelp is shocking enough to teach the puppy that biting down hard is not fun.
People use the same concept when managing German Shepherd puppy biting. When your puppy bites hard enough to hurt you or break your skin, let out a loud yelp to teach them that they’re doing a bad thing.
Your puppy should be shocked enough at your body language and loud yelp to stop. Continue this process until you have yelped at least three times in a 10-to-20-minute play session.
If your puppy continues its overenthusiastic biting, you can use commands such as ‘stop,’ ‘don’t hurt,’ ‘don’t bite,’ or whatever else seems appropriate.
Repeat the yelping and this command in all play sessions daily. If your puppy still doesn’t learn, use the time off from playing to let it cool off.
Always praise your puppy when it listens and stops biting, as praise from you is rewarding.
The lesson here to stop German Shepherd puppy biting is that gentle play means more fun while hard biting means that playtime is over. This will make petting your GSD a lot safer in the future.
3. Scruff training as a deterrent to biting
Like the yelping and thumb under tongue training to prevent German Shepherd puppy biting, you can also use the scruff and command method.
When your puppy bites down too hard, you can grab him gently by the scruff of the neck and repeat the ‘No’ command.
You can choose any command that you like to stop unwanted behavior but keep it consistent.
Consistency and repetition will teach your puppy to control its impulses, making it safe for everyone to be around.
Does Training Help Stop Your Puppy From Biting?
Any of the three methods above is effective as a part of home training your pet. Make time for regular play throughout the day.
When play becomes rough, issue your command together with the action of yelping, thumb under the tongue, or the scruff of the neck method.
Choose one method for the sake of consistency and stick with this until you see that your puppy is learning from you.
Only switch methods if you see that the one method is not working, or try an alternative method to find the one that works best for both of you.
Follow the routine of play, yelp, play, time-out until your puppy understands what is required of it.
Remember to treat your pet with yummy food and praise when they get it right but don’t hit your pet if you lose your patience. Time out works both ways!
Use the same methods for nipping as you do for biting. If you feel that you are not winning at home training your German Shepherd dog, then take your puppy to professional training.
There, you will both be trained in how to stop biting, and your puppy will learn many other valuable lessons in obedience.
It is important to note that any biting degree is unacceptable around the home. Small children, other pets, and visitors are at risk if you don’t train your puppy to control its bite force.
Should I Get Chew Toys For My Puppy?
Toys also stimulate your GSDs curiosity and help keep your pet busy in a healthy way.
Ensure that the chew toys you purchase are suitable for teething as your puppy transitions to its adult teeth. Also, purchase dental sticks to maintain teeth and gum health as your puppy develops.
Keep your puppy’s favorite toy close by, as this will also help it stop mouthing. Mouthing includes snapping at ankles and other human body parts, which is undesirable behavior.
If you have a favorite toy on hand, you can quickly distract your puppy from biting. Instead of nipping and mouthing on you, you can use an old toy or rag to play tag or tug of war with your pet.
Healthy socialization starts at a young age with friendly play among litter mates. Using a toy, like a Kong, to distract German Shepherd puppy from biting is a way to replicate this back and forth to train your pet to stop biting.
Teach your pet good behavior as a puppy to carry through long into its adult years through positive reinforcement. As it grows into an older dog, change the toys for professional obedience or advanced training methods to continue to stimulate your GSDs impressive intelligence levels.
German Shepherd puppy biting occurs when your pet is teething, afraid, or feels threatened. Dog training from a young age teaches your pet healthy socialization skills.
Home training or professional training will also raise an obedient dog that is manageable. As any dog trainer will tell you, It is essential to train the GSD because its bite is powerful and can prove fatal.
Take the necessary action to meet your pet’s needs with training. You will meet your own needs in the process and have a pet that is ready to protect you and your family without causing harm.
If you’re still unable to prevent biting, consider meeting with a dog behaviorist or similar professional.