It is a puppy’s nature to use their mouth to explore and play. When she was with her littermates, their playtime is all about mouthing and nipping. And believe it or not, this is the way they play and have fun.
Biting and nipping are an inevitable part of German Shepherd puppyhood. Our goal is to guide you through the biting stage.
- Make sure you are in charge by showing your pup biting is NOT accepted
- Put a leash on your puppy (all of the time when they are even in the house) to let yourself be in control
- Address the biting immediately by saying NO or OUCH, and walk away
- Redirect your pup a toy ONLY after she stays calm so she knows she is not getting a toy for biting you
- No rough play inside the house the prevent your pup to get too excited
- Be consistent
In this article, we will first why GSD puppies bite in the first place. Then we will provide you with 7 proven tips that actually work to stop the biting. As a bonus, we will also give you some suggestions to prevent your kids or grandkids from being bitten.
I highly recommend this video by McCann Dog Training in which they show you how to be in control when it comes to stoping your pup from biting. You should take a look if you think you’ve tried everything but nothing works:
Why do German Shepherd puppies bite?
First thing first, biting and nipping are extremely common for German Shepherd puppies. Every owner will need to deal with it.
But you have to understand this is their natural behavior for the following reasons:
- Curious puppies explore the world with their mouths rather than with their paws
- They are used to playing with their siblings with their mouth and teeth and tend to bite when they get too excited
- They need to relieve the uncomfortable teething process (starting at 4 months old) by chewing on things
- GSD is a herding breed where they have the trait to bite, herd, and chase small, fast-moving things. (Your hands and ankles are no exception if you tend to move quickly.)
Why do German Shepherd puppies bite their owners?
Puppies spend a great deal of time playing, chewing, and investigating objects with their mouth and teeth.
Owners are the people who your puppies spent the most time with. When puppies play with you, they will behave as if they are being with their littermates – they bite, chew, and mouth on people’s hands, ankles, limbs, and clothing.
Often, the nipping is a sign of your pup getting overstimulated and losing control of his bite force. Sometimes, German Shepherd puppies will get even nippier when they are in need of a nap.
As a GSD owner, it is your responsibility to look after your pup’s needs and teach them biting is not acceptable. We will provide you with some proven tips that actually work, later in this article.
At what age do German Shepherd puppies start biting?
For the first 6-9 months, it’s perfectly normal for your puppy to chew and nip. But that is why they are referred to as little sharks.
At what age do German Shepherd puppies stop biting?
Some owners even feel like they have come to their wit’s end in stopping the biting.
“My husband and me looked like our arms went threw a meat grinder for the first 9 months and he was a smarty pant and knew all the tricks but there was nothing that would make him stop this until his ears stood up and his big teeth came in and he stops. But that is why they are referred to as little sharks the first year…”Taken from social media
They’ve tried everything but nothing seems to work – until their pup’s ears stood up and his big teeth came in. The biting behavior just stopped. This usually happens between the age of 9-12 months.
And if you can make it past that first year, your German Shepherd will be the best baby ever and will be the great family dog for life.
Why does my puppy lunge and bite me?
Your puppy is bored and looking for something to do. … Once a puppy learns that nipping works to get your attention, they’re likely to try it all the time.
Now it’s also the best time to give them basic obedience training, such as SIT, NO, LEAVE IT or COME. By doing so, you are teaching your pup to pay attention to you and obey your command.
How do I get my puppy to stop biting my hands and feet?
When you’re just getting started, you can discourage your puppy from biting your hands or feet by crying out in a high-pitched “ouch!” when he starts to nip at you.
Allow your hand or foot to go limp and stop playing for a moment. (Make sure not to yank your hand away, however, or your pup may think it’s a game.)
Why does my German Shepherd puppy bite so much?
The main reason is that your pup is teething. It is common for puppies to nibble, nip or bite anything to get relief during this stage. When your puppy gets mouthy, you can redirect him with one of these below to chew on:
- Ice cubes
- Frozen carrots
- Frozen food in a kong
- Frozen cloth twisted and soak in broth
How to stop German Shepherd puppy biting and nipping? 7 Owners-Proven Tips That Actually Work
Again, biting and nipping are extremely common for German Shepherd puppies. This is part of the package in a GSD puppy, and there’s literally no way you can prevent it from happening.
But the good news is, you are not alone. And there are over a handful of things you can do to stop the biting. And we have actually gone through social media to look for suggestions from GSD owners. These are the ones that actually work for owners alike:
#1 Be in control
Even before the biting, put a leash on your pup at all times in the house. If she starts to nip, you can easily have access to the line of taking control.
#2 Be proactive
If you notice your pup is about to mouth, hand her a toy or a treat to show her what is allowed to be nipped on.
#3 Be bold
Say “Ouch”, stand up, and walk away. If your pup keeps nipping at you, leave her alone in a room you can watch her for 5-10 minutes. So she will know that she is not getting any attention with nipping.
#4 Redirection after correction
A lot of GSD owners got it wrong when it comes to redirection. You don’t “reward” your pup with a toy or a treat after she nips at you. Instead, you should first correct the behavior by asking your pup to sit, lie down, or stay calm. Then they can earn their treat or toy for doing so.
#5 No rough play
Your pup is so used to being on the floor nipping and biting and having fun with their littermates. The more excited they are, the more likely they will bite. The best thing you can do is to avoid rough play until they learn the basic common of SIT, DOWN, LEAVE IT or STOP.
#6 Stay calm
As a herding breed, German Shepherds have a natural instinct to chase, grab and bite fast-moving animals. Any quick movements with your limbs may also trigger this chain of action. So when you have a pup in the house, be calm and be gentle.
#7 Use a shake bottle
Recommended by Hollywood dog trainer Brandon McMillan, when you shake the bottle the noise breaks the dog’s focus on the unwanted behavior and redirects it to you so that you can correct them. It’s easy, effective, and safe. See it in action from the video below:
How to stop my German Shepherd puppy from nipping my children?
70% of children that are bitten by a dog are actually bitten by a dog that they know and love.Veterinarian Dr. Alex Avery
First, you need to understand your German Shepherd’s traits. These are hard-wired behavior that exists in the blood. And these instincts are also what make a German Shepherd a German Shepherd. Let’s look at a couple of those.
German Shepherds are in the herding group for a reason. If the kids move apart, he’s going to fulfill his genetic blueprint and use his teeth to get them back to flock order.
When a pup gets too excited, she may keep grabbing the kids by their clothes and tackling and biting them just like what he used to play with her littermates.
Prey-drive ticks in
Another reason may be the quick movement and sound of the kids induce the prey drive in your pup.
- Supervise your German Shepherd and children’s playtime regardless
Always supervise your dog and your child when they’re together. We mean active supervision by watching closely and correcting of unacceptable behavior of both your pup as well as your child.
As a responsible owner, you should be able to pick up any early signs that your dog is getting stressed and intervene early.
Active supervision should be a rule for babies, young toddlers, and even older children up to around 16 years of age.
- Provide a safe space for your German Shepherd puppy
Respect and allow a dog’s right and desire to withdraw from a situation they are not comfortable with. This means as an owner, you should provide your pup with a “safe space” for them to retreat to. This could be their crate or under a bed or sofa.
At the same time you should teach your child it’s a clear signal that your dog doesn’t want to play. They should then leave the dog alone and respect her right of being with herself.
- Teach children to be gentle and respectful to your German Shepherd puppy
It is very important to teach your child to be gentle with your dog, to respect their space, to respect their possessions, and to just really behave nicely with them.
Dogs don’t like their tails being pulled. They don’t like having their ears tugged. No dogs like to have your child lying right on top of them. We should also respect our pet dogs when they’re asleep and to be left alone.
- No rough play or chasing whatsoever
Kids will naturally pull back and a puppy will keep tugging. There may be a time when arms and legs get bitten in the process. If it is not a behavior you want, it should never be encouraged in play.
Kids also love to run around. But when it comes to a herding breed like the German Shepherds, any fast-moving motion may trigger their prey drive so they will bite or grab by instinct.
Therefore, you should let your child understand no rough play 0r chasing should be allowed at all times when your pup is present.
Just because you think you’ve tried everything you can to stop your German Shepherd puppy from biting and nipping does not mean you have done it right.
The key is to take control and be consistent. Avoid fast actions, tough play and redirect only after your pup has to stay calm You also need to keep your pup exercised, mentally stimulated, and show them what calming behavior is.
The good news is, your German Shepherd puppy will eventually grow out of the biting and nipping by 9-12 months old. All you have to do is stay calm and show your pup what is the right thing to do. Good luck!
If you are a first-time GSD owner and looking for training tips for your new pup, you may find our training guide useful.
More posts on German Shepherd Puppies
German Shepherd Puppy – The Ultimate New Owner’s Manual
Health and care
- German Shepherd Puppies: Everything You Need to Know
- Bringing Your German Shepherd Puppy Home for the First Time
- How Much Does A Purebred German Shepherd Puppy Cost?
- $500 German Shepherd Puppy For Sale: Does it Make Sense?
- German Shepherd Puppy Crying: Owner’s Guide
- How to Stop GSD Puppies From Biting: 7 Owners-Proven Tips That Work
- When Will My German Shepherd Puppy’s Ears Fully Stand Up?
- German Shepherd Puppy Sleeping Guide: Everything You Need To Know
Training, socialization, and behavior
- 10 Best Training Tips for German Shepherd Puppy
- German Shepherd Puppy Socialization: A Beginner’s Guide
- How To Tell If a German Shepherd Puppy Is Aggressive
- How Much Does an 8-Week-Old German Shepherd Puppy Eat in a Day? A Feeding Guide
- How Much Does a 3-Month-Old German Shepherd Dog Eat in a Day? A Feeding Guide
- How Much Does a 6-Month-Old German Shepherd Dog Eat in a Day? A Feeding Guide
Bon is a dog lover and a blogger. He loves spending time with dogs more than with humans. You will find him training himself for the next marathon when he is not writing. And he loves Thai food~