How to Train a German Shepherd Puppy to Not Bite

Easy
2-5 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

You love playing with your German Shepherd puppy. The little cutie runs around, nipping at your heels and pulling on the leg of your pants. You just can't resist his little face and let him nibble on your fingers too. Six months later, your little puppy has grown and a nip from him is not so cute anymore.

Defining Tasks

Training your German Shepherd puppy not to bite is a crucial part of raising a well-mannered dog. German Shepherds have very strong hunting drives. Since this breed has been used historically as herding dogs, chasing and nipping to gather moving animal is pre-programmed into your puppy's genes. While he may not understand why he nips and bites, he is driven to do so. However, German Shepherds are also eager to please. Within a few weeks of consistent training with your puppy, you can show him when biting is acceptable and when he should keep his teeth to himself.

Getting Started

An important part of teaching this behavior is not to expect your puppy to stop biting altogether. Instead, you should invest in some good alternative toys. Your puppy may prefer stuffed toys, pull ropes, or rubber toys, like Kongs. Find something well-suited for the age of your puppy, especially if he is still teething. You should also use some form of reward, such as training treats, or clicker training to reinforce the behavior you want from your puppy.

The Play Method

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Step
1
Get your puppy used to being touched
Some puppies bite because they see a human hand moving towards them as a threat. One way to stop your puppy from biting is by getting him used to being touched by human hands.
Step
2
Build a bridge
Sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Gather some treats and your clicker (if you are doing clicker training). Start with your puppy on one side of your legs.
Step
3
Throw a treat
Toss a treat over your legs to the opposite side as your German Shepherd puppy so he has to walk over your legs to get it. As he crosses over your legs, gently touch his side. Click the clicker right before he gets the treat.
Step
4
Repeat going the opposite way
Get your puppy's attention again and toss the treat to the other side. Gently touch your pup's side again as he passes over your legs. If he nips at you, don't let him get the treat.
Step
5
Raise the criteria
As your puppy becomes comfortable with the touch, you can increase the level and frequency of touch required to earn the treat. Try touching his neck or tail. If at any point your puppy nips at you, go back to the previous level of touch and try again. Eventually, your German Shepherd puppy will become used to the touch and stop biting.
Recommend training method?

The Dog Language Method

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Step
1
Speak your puppy's language
Dogs have a language all their own. By learning how to speak the same language as your German Shepherd puppy, you can better communicate what you do and do not want from him. For biting, you can mimic that puppies have with each other in litters.
Step
2
Play with your puppy
Start a game with your puppy by encouraging him to chase your hands or a toy. Your puppy will likely try to nip or bite your fingers or hand.
Step
3
Say "Ouch!"
As soon as your puppy bites your hand, say "ouch" in a loud, high-pitched voice to mimic the squealing noise his littermate would make. Then, take your hand away and tell your puppy "no."
Step
4
Stop the game
Move away from your puppy and stop playing for at least 30 seconds or so.
Step
5
Be consistent
Anytime you are playing with your puppy, repeat the same actions by saying "ouch" and stopping the game. Over time, your puppy will associate biting with the game ending and will learn not to bite.
Recommend training method?

The Scruff Method

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Step
1
Take advice from Mama
When puppies are young, they learn how to behave from their moms. If a puppy acts up around his mom, she will grab him by the scruff of the neck to make him calm down and recognize that he did a bad thing. You can use this same technique to teach your German Shepherd puppy not to bite.
Step
2
Encourage your puppy to play
Start a game with your puppy. You want to encourage him to play with a toy right off the bat, rather than give him your hand to chew on. He will likely still nip at your hand at some point though.
Step
3
Grab the scruff
If your puppy bites you, say "no" right away in a calm but stern voice. Then, place your hand on the back of your puppy's neck and gently pinch. Your pup should instinctively go limp.
Step
4
Start again
Start playing again and repeat the same behavior if your puppy bites. Over time, your puppy will associate biting with the pinch and recognize that biting is not a good thing.
Step
5
No teeth on me
As your puppy gets the hang of not biting, say "no" anytime you feel his teeth on you. You want to encourage others who associate with your puppy. This consistency explains to your German Shepherd puppy that teeth shouldn't touch humans and encourages him only bite toys.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
flash
German Shepherd
15 Weeks
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Question
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flash
German Shepherd
15 Weeks

when i correct him for biting he only gets aressive and bites more i tried to use three technics on him one was to rap my hands around his mouth 2 was to put my thumb under his tung and put pressure three was to pinch his neck everey time he bites. all made him more agressive if it is a gentle way he wont even listen.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
418 Dog owners recommended

Hello David, Some German Shepherd's have a strong defense drive, meaning that when they feel threatened or pressured their natural response is to push back even more, rather than back off. Some puppies also just think it's a rough-housing game when you correct them at first. For flash I suggest using the "Bite Inhibition" method combined with the "Leave It" method from the article that I have linked below. These two methods will be more intellectual based, which might be a better fit for his temperament. They will also help him understand what you expect him to do, so that he can comply rather than push back when he just feels threatened. Start teaching both methods, using the "Bite Inhibition" method now, while you work on teaching him the "Leave It" command from the "Leave it" method, since it will take a little while for him to get good at "Leave It", to where you can use just that to eradicate the biting completely. Before he reaches five months of age you want him to stop biting completely using "Leave It" because at five months puppies develop stronger jaws. Reward him for self-control and stopping when you tell him to when you use "Leave It" in real life after he knows it. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Also, be aware that mouthing is still normal at this age. Most puppies cannot learn to stop mouthing right away. It is a gradual skill that they learn. The most important thing to teach a young puppy before five months of age is how to control how much pressure he uses when he does use his mouth. That skill can determine how severe a bite is one day if he ever bites as an adult. All dogs are capable of biting. If your dog ever gets scared, injured, or surprised when he is asleep, then he may bite even though he is extremely well behaved and friendly in general. How well a puppy learned to control the pressure of his mouth while young will effect whether that bite barely leaves a red mark and sends someone to the hospital. Learning pressure control during the mouthing period is extremely important. The "Bite Inhibition method" and playing with other young puppies under the supervision of someone who knows how to moderate their play to keep one of the puppies from being bullied, is how puppies learn this normally. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
JoJo
german shepard
11 Weeks
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Question
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JoJo
german shepard
11 Weeks

JoJo bites everything. My family's furniture, my feet, hands, carpets, doors, pillows, blankets, my other dog (who is a jack russell and does not like him, she is 9 years old), and everything else he sees. We have toys for him to play with and chew, but he gets easily distracted and then starts biting. He has bruised my foot, and we have yelled, said no, ouch, and swatted his behind. I even began grabbing his snout (not aggressively), and said no. It does not seem to be getting through to him. We have had him for about 5-6 days and I know these things take time, but my parents are tired of it, and quite frankly so am I. Are there any suggestions you may have as to training him not to bite, and to stop biting? Any tools or anything that can help us with him?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
418 Dog owners recommended

Hello Hannah, For the people biting if there is no history of aggression, then I suggest working on the Leave It and Out commands. Out means Leave the area. I also suggest teaching him a Place command and working up to him being able to stay on Place for 1 hour at a time with a dog food stuffed chew toy to work on to help him learn self-control and calmness - which it sounds like he needs to learn in general. Leave It method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out command: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Place: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-place-command-the-good-dog-training-tips/ For the household chewing on objects check out the article linked below: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ To help him settle in, learn calmness, learn respect, self-control, and trust I also suggest teaching the commands and info below: Crate manners: https://thegooddog.net/training-videos/free-how-to-training-videos/learn-to-train-the-good-dog-way-the-crate/ Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Heel Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTiKVc4ZZWo Dog Training Do’s https://www.solidk9training.com/sk9-blog/2016/09/08/the-ten-commandments-of-dog-training-and-ownership-do-2 If you see any signs of true aggression - opposed to just excited play mouthing, then I suggest hiring a trainer to help you with the training and tailor it more to her. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Odin
German Shepherd
10 Weeks
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Question
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Odin
German Shepherd
10 Weeks

Our puppy bites. EVERYTHING. I know it's normal at this age but for our small children, it's not enjoyable. They are terrified of the dog. We are training him now with a trainer, but at home he bites. We play with him, take him out etc, but he bites. If we are sitting calmly on the floor he'll come up and bite our feet. I've done the "yelp" approach, as have my kids and it doesn't work. I've spoken, "no" in a tough voice. The more I try to correct him, the more he bites. He'll go after feet, calves, clothes, legs, arms and hands. We have toys for him to play with that we switch out. I understand these things take time, but my young children don't understand. They are afraid to walk down the hall for fear he'll come up and bite at their clothes and get their skin. Our trainer told us of the dominating trick where we gently put him on his side and wait for him to stop moving. He's doing well with that for me, but my kids don't understand how to do that. Any advice that will work for us? Tonight he was biting my legs and I told him "no" sternly and he jumped up and went after my 7 month olds' foot. I know he's not doing it menacingly, however, it's an issue we need help with. Any advice is welcome. Thank you!!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
418 Dog owners recommended

Hello Dani, First, check out the Leave It method from the article I linked below. Once he understands what Leave It means, use that command whenever he is biting someone. Once he has learned what Leave It actually means, THEN use the pressure method from the same article linked below to gently discipline his disobedience if he continues biting after you say Leave It. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Be aware that a lot of German Shepherds have a defense drive - which partially means that when you apply physical pressure their response will be to fight the pressure instead of give into it, run away, or calm down. Earning his respect through training his mind and being consistent may go further than a lot of restraint if he is a pup with a strong defense drive - just pay attention to how he is responding and adjust if needed. Also, teach the Out command - which means leave the area. Once he has learned what that command means by following the section on how to teach out from the article linked below, then follow the section on how to use Out to deal with pushy behavior when he goes after the kids and won't listen. You can get between him and one of the kids and walk toward him until he leaves the area. By doing this you are 'claiming' the kids as your own and communicating that he needs to respect their space. When he obeys it's because of his respect for you and someone who belongs to you, and not because the kids have to be able to earn his respect also - many dogs don't respect small kids, so the dog needs to view the child as an extension of you and your rules, and to honor that. Your kids can also be the one to tell him Leave It and Out, then you enforce the commands for them if he doesn't listen to them - that way they feel like they have some control and he will learn to listen to them because of your follow through. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Finally, crate train and/or set up an exercise pen. Many pups this age will get super wound up when they are actually overtired. When he has a really hard time calming down, put him into a sturdy exercise pen or crate with a dog-food stuffed Kong with a little peanut butter, cheese, or liver mixed in, so that he can have some down time and take a nap if needed. Puppies need a good balance of mental stimulation through training and games, physical exercise in shorter bursts, and lots of rest times between activities. Check out www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads for a free pdf e-book download on raising puppies. Over the next year, work on teaching a 1-2 hour long Place command so that he can learn to simply be on Place as needed around the kids - this will also help build his calmness, self-control, and focus. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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