Are you at the end of your rope and wondering how to stop your German Shepherd puppy’s aggressive biting right away?
Don’t let them ruin your previously happy relationship with their nuisance nipping!
Take back control of their behavior using these quick and easy solutions that work.
1. Use Special Toys for Play
Toys are useful for playing with your puppy because they put a barrier between your fingers and their teeth.
Even better, have a set of toys that are only used when you want to engage in play with your puppy. Hide these toys in a basket or box after your game of play.
This makes them extra special.
They are under your control and your dog must give them back to you. Special toys are more fun for your pup to bite than you.
When in doubt of what special toy your dog likes, use my list of what toys German Shepherds love for interactive toy ideas that are puppy-safe.
2. Say OUCH!
When your pup bites you, say OUCH firmly. This simple technique catches the attention of many puppies when done correctly and can train a German Shepherd puppy to not bite you.
You could also make a YIP sound instead, just like their little brother and sisters would make a yipping noise when playing too rough.
Here’s how it’s done:
- Let your pup play and chew on their toys, but as soon as they chew or nip you let out a sharp OUCH or give a high-pitched yelp.
- This not only gets their attention, but it’s the same feedback they would get from their littermates during play.
- If they continue to bite and nip, say OUCH again and then get up immediately and leave the room for a few moments.
- You may return to play but keep repeating this simple process until they learn to keep their teeth on their toys.
- Any biting, nipping, chewing, or teeth to skin contact STOPS PLAY.
Don’t laugh or smile during this process, even though your dog may give a cute face or gesture to you.
This will only encourage them to continue their unwanted behavior.
This process doesn’t work overnight, so stick with the training until they understand and try the other training techniques further down in this article.
3. Use Pet Safe Baby Gates
If your pup bites you aggressively when you and your family walk past you, then use an exercise pen or pet safe baby gate to contain them.
Use the items during busy times in your home to keep your dog calm and out of areas that might increase their excitement and biting or nipping.
When they remain calm in their exercise pen or behind their baby gate, reward them and tell them “good dog”. Only let them out when they’re showing calm behaviors, such as lying down quietly or sitting calming.
If you let them out while they’re whining or excited, you’ll also encourage them to stay in an excited mental state and this increases nipping and biting.
4. Offer Them Frozen Carrots
Puppies tend to bite and chew when their teeth are coming in. They do this to relieve the pain and help soothe themselves.
Freeze fresh carrots and have them on hand for times when your dog is acting out and biting you.
Give them a carrot (green stem removed) to gnaw on and bring icy relief to their gums.
Even better, say CARROT when you give your dog the carrot to help train them to understand the word. After a few repetitions of saying the cue word, the next time they bite and nip you say CARROT and see if they follow you to the freezer or race you there.
5. Use Redirections
Redirections are actions that keep your pup from engaging in unwanted behavior by showing them appropriate behavior.
The goal is eventually to have your dog perform positive behaviors more often by going to their approved toys that you’ve left for them, instead of your fingers or hands.
Squeaky toys are ideal to distract your dog from your hand to another object. These toys differ from their special toys (mentioned above), because these redirection toys are ones you leave out for your pup to chew most of the time.
They’re lying around and used for the redirections when your pup bites you aggressively.
6. Use Daily Leadership Skills
Use daily interactions as an effective way of teaching your dog about leadership.
While these don’t directly stop your puppy from biting, they help communicate with your dog your leadership. If your dog sees you as a confident leader, they’re likely to respect your discipline more.
You can learn how to get your dog to start behaving by reading “Easy German Shepherd Training at Home (Step-by-Step Obedience)“.
7. Take the Quiet Approach
Don’t reward mouthing or aggressive biting by responding to it. Ignore them altogether.
You can choose this option if you’d prefer not to say no to your puppy or the ouch method didn’t work.
To ignore them, walk away and go into another room, remain silent, and don’t make eye contact. Only offer them interaction and come back to them when they show you calming behaviors.
Our dogs love our attention. They crave it!
By withholding any attention, even reprimands, you make quite an impact on your dog’s decisions.
8. Engage in Structured Exercise
Make sure you properly exercise your dog so they don’t have extra energy to want to engage in destructive behavior and biting.
An overfed dog that is under-exercised may display destructive behaviors because of boredom and lack of energy needs being met.
Get up off the couch and go outside for a walk and sniff party. German Shepherd puppy’s bones aren’t fully fused until they’re 12 to 18 months old, so be careful in the exercises you choose.
Stimulating exercise doesn’t mean high-intensity exercise.
Low impact activities and free-running (off-leash running) are best. Choose from a list of fun and gentle, age-appropriate puppy exercises to keep your pup healthy and better behaved.
9. Don’t Take Part in Rough Play
Stop roughhousing with your dog before it frustrates them.
Use appropriate, puppy safe toys instead of play sessions. This way, your pup can bite the toy instead of your fingers, hands, or arms.
You may stress out your GSD by engaging them rough of play. For your pup to either keep up with the play or stop you from too rough play, they may bite you!
Don’t get angry, yell or punish them. From day one, avoid play that involves mouthing or teeth on skin.
10. Teach Impulse Control
Puppies love games, especially when you’re involved as the teacher and leader of the game.
And this game is great because it teaches your dog a necessary life skill. Practice the game multiple times a day for 2 to 3 minutes at a time.
Your pup learns impulse control during the game and this transfers over to their ability to stop themselves from biting you. Read below for the easy-to-follow directions.
The Rev Up and Cool Down Game: Help Teach Calming Behaviors
If your dog gets too worked up and then bites, then teach them this Rev Up and Cool Down game.
- Start by running a few steps (your puppy should chase you because it’s fun for them).
- After a few running steps and before your pup gets too excited, stop running and walk slowly.
- Don’t look at your dog at all. Keep moving slowly until your dog also slows down. When you see them slow down, take a few more steps calmly and peacefully. Then, click and treat them or say your reward word (maybe “yes” or “good dog”) and treat them.
- Continue with steps one through three. Each time your dog should slow down sooner and quicker.
- If your puppy knows any of these basic German Shepherd commands, incorporate those commands to make the training more interesting and fun. (The link above will also easily explain how to teach over ten commands!)
The point of the Rev Up and Cool Down game is to teach them to settle and stay calm without nipping and biting you.
Conclusion: How to Stop German Shepherd Puppy Aggressive Biting
Learning how to stop German Shepherd puppy aggressive biting and nipping can increase your happiness with your dog.
Don’t let your dog continue these behaviors or you’ll wind up without control and leadership in your own home.
You need to keep your pup exercised, mentally stimulated, and show them what calming behavior is.
Be fair and understanding. A Shepherd is a joy to own when given the direction they desire and the commitment they need.
I’ve found a group of other like-minded individuals with an online behavior-improving training program that helps reinforce good behavior using fun games. You can check out my review of the Brain Training for Dogs Program that encourages mental stimulation for better behavior.
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