German Shepherd Puppy Still Biting - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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German Shepherd Puppy Still Biting

We are a family of 4 and have recently gotten our first German Shepherd Puppy. Her name is Leia and she will be 18 weeks this Sunday (17 June). Ever since we got her she would bite us while she was playing and we immediately distract her with a toy or a treat to stop her from biting us.

She only bites when we are playing with her or she is very energetic. We never play with our hands, we only ever use chew toys to play. I have started leaving the room for about 20 seconds if she does bite me.

However, we have just found out that she should have stopped biting us before she reached 16 weeks and are now concerned.

Is there any advice that can be given to try and prevent her from biting as soon as possible?

Thank you,
Cam Lillie
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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 06:07 PM
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Should have stopped biting at 16 weeks?? HAHAHAHAHA! That's a good one. More like at six months! After they are done teething, biting will definitely get better.

So far, sounds like a normal GSD puppy with nothing to be concerned about. You seem to be doing everything right. Make sure you reward her for going for a toy instead of going for a hand or foot, with praise and play!

And if it makes you feel any better, I adopted a GSD mix "project" dog, who at 8 months, was still biting hard enough to bruise me in an effort to get me to play with him. I've had him for 3 months now, and is definitely improving, but it does take time.

Enjoy your pup, the biting is just a phase.
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 07:22 PM
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My 18 month old will still resort to biting if allowed (she's not, but will try if being a turd). 😂
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Elisabeth Ann Parent View Post
My 18 month old will still resort to biting if allowed (she's not, but will try if being a turd). 😂
We've got one like this too (15 months). He's our 5th GSD and the only one to persist this late into maturity.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 11:17 PM
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The method I have used with several puppies, including the current two, is simply to say "Ow! No bites!" and make it clear to the pup that it hurt, and pull back from the playing.

If you have two very large ones, as I do, you can see that they play all day with each other in a manner that would scare anyone who did not know them. They are perfectly capable of doing serious damage if they want to, and are big enough that they could break each other's bones just throwing their weight around or cause serious injury just getting a tooth in the wrong place. But despite a show that would scare anyone, they never suffer an injury big enough to even make them yelp.

It turns out that when dogs play it is really a kind of coordinated dance where they are watching each other's microsignals for how they will move next. There are huge teeth flashing everywhere, but never a drop of blood. There is rarely even a bite serious enough to make the other dog angry. The reason is that they are each watching the other to make sure they don't get hurt.

If one of them actually gets hurt, the play stops and neither one of them want that. In fact, that explains why our 12 pound mutt can pin both of the 100+ pound GSDs to the floor. They really, really want to play. If the person/dog they are playing with gets hurt and stops, that's no fun. So nobody gets hurt. They are watching the whole situation very closely to make sure no one gets hurt.

Make it clear to them that bites hurt and that makes you stop the play. No punishment or further correction needed. Do it consistently, every time. Get down on the floor with them to play so they have lots more opportunities to learn it. It never took more than 30 days to get the point across with any dog I have had. Now they never put their teeth on me.
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-14-2019, 11:19 PM
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Who told you 16 weeks? I want a pup from that litter if that's true. Mine's 17 months and will still use his mouth sometimes. Try cleaning his ears or cutting his nails.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 09:00 AM
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At four months Nikki was just getting started with the biting. Who told you it should have stopped at 16 weeks?
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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 09:38 AM
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Whoever told you 16 weeks and it stops is just wrong Sounds like you are doing great with redirection, just keep it up and train and enjoy him
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 12:26 PM
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Whoever told you 16 weeks and it stops is just wrong Sounds like you are doing great with redirection, just keep it up and train and enjoy him
There are a lot of things I don't understand about recommended methods of dog training, and this "redirection" thing is one of them.

The reason to question it is simple and obvious, in my view. Dogs, and GSDs in particular, watch their humans constantly and everyone agrees GSDs have a high desire to please their humans. That's why people get GSDs.

Note that children are distinctly less interested in pleasing you than your GSD is. If you had a child that was biting you, you wouldn't hand them a toy or some other more interesting distraction. A toy is actually a reward.

Instead, you would:

1) physically prevent the child from doing it again
2) make it clear that it is unacceptable behavior
3) given them a hug when they acted appropriately.

You wouldn't just change the subject. All that does is break the line of communication about the original problem.

I always use the method of making it perfectly clear to the dog why I am upset. They really want to know. Like I said below, I can't recall any dog that ever took more than 30 days of playing on the floor to learn it. Never used a single distraction.
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 06-15-2019, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Cam Lillie View Post
We are a family of 4 and have recently gotten our first German Shepherd Puppy. Her name is Leia and she will be 18 weeks this Sunday (17 June). Ever since we got her she would bite us while she was playing and we immediately distract her with a toy or a treat to stop her from biting us.

She only bites when we are playing with her or she is very energetic. We never play with our hands, we only ever use chew toys to play. I have started leaving the room for about 20 seconds if she does bite me.

However, we have just found out that she should have stopped biting us before she reached 16 weeks and are now concerned.

Is there any advice that can be given to try and prevent her from biting as soon as possible?

Thank you,
Cam Lillie
I would not leave the room if the dog bites. That breaks the communication and GSDs are all about communication. Why did you leave, anyway? The dog may have no clue. The dog needs to clearly understand that your reaction is tied to his behavior.

If the dog did not respond to "Ow! No bites!" I would take immediate physical control of the dog so they couldn't do it again and make it clear that play time is over and they are under my complete physical control until the biting stops. No punishment, no pain, just immediate "Can't do that!"

If I have to, I will pin them to the ground to stop the play and hold their muzzle until they get the point. Then slowly release them, making sure they stay under control, giving them lots of hugs and affection for gentle behavior. Kisses get hugs, bites get you pinned to the floor (again).

I never walk away from them. In fact, I would probably spend more time on the floor playing with them, just for extra lessons and so they have more experience with my microsignals. Remember that GSDs pretty much live to please you.

I rarely use toys to play with them. It is usually all just contact with the hands. I cannot get them to put their teeth on me any time at all. They know it hurts me so they just don't do it, even accidentally.

I only play a dog expert on the internet, but it has always worked for me in 30 days or less.
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