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How To Punish A German Shepherd For Biting

How To Punish A German Shepherd For Biting

Ugh, he’s a menace and won’t stop doing it! How to punish a German Shepherd for biting?

PupVine, help!

Help is on the way, but probably not what you had in mind. If your version of punishing a German Shepherd for biting is physical punishment or yelling, then you should leave this article.

Good dog owners will know that the standard punishment is not what we’re looking for.

But, what is? How do you make a dog realize he’s wrong for biting you?

So, How To Punish A German Shepherd For Biting

A small German shepherd puppy plays and bites a woman's finger.

The simple answer is: you don’t!

Punishment is never okay. Keep on reading to find what we, at PupVine, think of any form of punishment, and how to really react when a dog bites you!

Before We Start… Punishment Is Disciplination

A german shepherd puppy trained by a dog trainer in a green environment at a sunny springtime.

The only punishment your German Shepherd needs is discipline!

When we talk about punishing your dog, no one thinks of hitting him or making him go through physical pain in any way. Hitting a dog, even as a joke, will bring you one step closer to eternal hell, even if you don’t believe in the whole Heaven-Hell theory. 

Seriously, why would you do that? Why would you even think about punishing your dog physically? Oh, not to mention mentally, too!

Discipline is the only so-called punishment that works. Everything else will leave you a counteraction, and your dog might be scared of you even more.

Obedience because a dog is scared is not real obedience. You must respect your dog, and your dog will pay back in respect and admiration, too. It’s really a quid pro quo situation here.

Hit a dog and he’ll never forget that. In fact, he will try to find a way to get back at you. 

With this being said, I hope you realize what we’ll be talking about today. The topic is how to make a dog realize he’s done wrong, and how to correct this behavior by using helpful, harmless methods.

Ready? Let’s get disciplined!

Immediate Response

german shepherd puppy standing next to a woman at the beach

As far as the reasons for biting are concerned, we’ll talk about them soon. 

Now, I want to address something that should be done immediately when your dog bites you.

You see, when a puppy bites you, he’s usually playing with you. A GSD pup won’t intentionally attack its owner just because.

When you respond with laughter or don’t do anything about it, he sees that as if you’re approving his behavior. That’s absolutely wrong. Sooner or later, your dog will learn to bite once he’s older, and that won’t be a joke.

Try explaining to an older dog that a behavior that was once okay is now frowned upon. He won’t get it. Why? Because he was taught differently.

So, when your puppy bites you, respond immediately. I used to leave the room for a moment when my puppy tried to bite me so that he would understand that if he does that, he won’t see me anymore.

However, I find that a confident ‘no’ will work the same way. Just don’t yell at your puppy. Yelling is another thing he won’t forgive or forget. 

Act It Out

young german shepherd dog

Seriously, you should act it out the moment your dog bites you. I know his tiny teeth are still not that strong to hurt you, but rough playing can become an issue once the dog is older.

So, what do you do to prevent this behavior? 

You should scream in pain and let your pup realize he’s hurt you. I can’t tell how many times I’ve shown my pups bite marks and scolded them because I’m in pain. Of course, I wasn’t harsh, but you should’ve seen the looks on their face. It seemed like they really understood I was hurt.

Puppies play with their humans the same way they play with their siblings. So, you should really cry for help. Don’t jerk the hand away or act aggressively. They can follow your example and do the same even if GSDs aren’t considered aggressive.

Positive Reinforcement Truly Helps

Teaching your German Shepherd puppy not to bite is a real training lesson. Puppies bite for numerous reasons, but all of them should be put to an end. 

As always, positive reinforcement really helps. Your puppy should be taught to stop biting you immediately when you say the command and redirect his attention to something else. Usually, chewing toys are the most helpful items.

Invest in some durable chew toys because German Shepherd puppies go through a lot of them while growing up. German Shepherds have a strong bite force. Also, have them ready all the time, especially when you’re practicing the ‘leave it’ command. We’ll talk about this command in a few short lines.

Once a puppy starts chewing the toy instead of your hand, you should immediately reward him with a treat. Don’t wait too long or your dog won’t realize what the treat is for. As always, repeat until it’s perfect!

The ‘Leave It’ Command

A beautiful little black - and-red German shepherd puppy bites a person's fingers

As I mentioned earlier, teaching your dog to stop biting is complex training. However, with lots of positive reinforcement, repetition, and some time, this should be a walk in the park.

The whole point of this command is to say it out loud when your dog grabs your hand or any other part of your body. The moment his teeth touch your skin, you should say ‘leave it’ so he hears it loud and clearly. For simpler purposes, you can also use ‘leave’ or ‘don’t’. 

If the dog really leaves it, reward him. He doesn’t have to run to his chew toy all the time. The important thing is to see that your dog understands you, and that he will switch focus onto something else.

Besides delicious treats, the clicker will also help you with this training. Clickers are super useful, and I always carry mine around. When a pup leaves it, you should make the clicking sound, and reward him.

He will associate the clicking sound with something positive like getting a reward. Your GSD pup will be all like: wow, I get treats if I listen to my hooman. I’ma be a good boi and get all the treatos!

Dogs are simple creatures. They don’t have long-term memory like humans, but they do have associative memory. So, every time your GSD hears a clicking sound, he will expect treats magically appearing in his mouth!

Be Reasonable

small german shepherd puppy

Biting is something that’s written in every dog’s DNA. Some breeds bite more than others, and that’s absolutely natural. 

It’s also natural to have them stop biting at some point. For dogs like German Shepherds, the biting should stop once they become older puppies. It’s around the same time they begin obeying their owner for real.

While German Shepherds are considered smarty pants of the dog world, they still need time to process commands and get used to obeying new rules. 

I want to point out that you must be reasonable while training your dog not to bite you. It’s not a process that guarantees success overnight. It’s something that takes a while, but the end results are absolutely worth it.

Don’t yell at your dog for not catching your drift the first time you try to teach him to leave. Be patient, show him you’re there, and you will go through it together.

Time Out

All dogs need some time out. But, the important thing is where they spend it. 

I don’t recommend you send your dog to the crate to think about what he has done because we use crates for some much helpful things. 

Once you associate the crate with something bad, he won’t get into it when you need him to. Crates are usually quite practical (as long as they’re of good size) for when you have to leave the home without your dog.

So, next time, give him a chew toy and leave the room to give your dog some space. Two hot heads are not what you need during this kind of training.

Why Do German Shepherds Bite?

german shepherd side profile

Nipping and biting are natural instincts for German Shepherds. They come from herding dogs, and they find it normal to nip someone when they want something. While GSDs aren’t notorious for biting, they still might go overboard sometimes.

In most cases, puppies are the ones that bite and nip. It’s their way of playing and communicating because that’s exactly what they do with their littermates. If they’re not playing, then your GSD will bite because he’s teething.

As simple as that.

But, when an older German Shepherd bites you, that’s a sign of aggression that should be addressed by a professional animal behaviorist and trainer.

If you’ve tried everything, and your puppy still bites, click here to find a solution.

Final Words

What have we learned today? How to punish a German Shepherd for biting.

By disciplining him, of course! Obedience training for the win!

Say a huge NO to physical and mental abuse. Not only is it harsh, but it’s not effective either!

Your German Shepherd should know that the biting behavior is wrong, and should not be done to you or anyone else… not even to other dogs. Of course, dogs will play together and nibble on each other, but they won’t bite or nip during playtime – not if they’re well-socialized. 

Repetition of the command ‘leave it’, lots of time and devotion, and of course some treatos will make your GSD puppy stop biting and start licking the hand that feeds him.