Dog Biting

 

Dog Biting - Meaning

Uncontrolled dog biting can be the ultimate expression of dog aggression - which we have discussed under German Shepherd aggression. Dog biting leaves a wound, a laceration.

Dog biting vs Dog nipping

Conversely, dog nipping has a playful intention, at most it leaves teeth marks but never a laceration. All healthy puppies nip, but very very few puppies bite (if raised reasonably well). With a puppy however, the temporarily spiky teeth can leave small punctures that may even bleed a bit (subject to how thick your skin is). Still, dog nipping never results in a laceration in the common sense. Dog nipping never needs stitching or medical wound care. Most times, dog nipping leaves no more than a mild surprise that it... leaves nothing. ;-)

Uncontrolled dog biting vs Controlled dog biting

Another necessary clarification in order to understand dog biting is the difference between controlled and uncontrolled biting. This article will address uncontrolled dog biting: The owner, trainer, or handler does not control the biting dog. The person may not even be aware that the dog just bit someone (a person or another animal).

Conversely, controlled dog biting means: The owner, trainer, or handler has the dog under control, and yet the dog bites. The person may even want that the dog bites, whether because it's part of a dog bite training session, or because he or she feels being attacked, or whatever.

Dog Biting - Causes

Now that we have clarified the meaning of dog biting in the context of this article, next is the causes of dog biting: Why dogs bite.

Uncontrolled German Shepherd biting may happen because:

  1. The dog may be ill
  2. The dog bite may be a reflex to a particular stimulus
  3. The dog may feel threatened and uses biting as defense
  4. You or someone else is intruding the dog's assumed territory and you have not yet been accepted as the Pack leader
  5. The dog bite may be a symptom of a trauma suffered at some point earlier (possibly with a prior owner or handler, or with another dog)
  6. The dog bite may result as a consequence of mistakes made during puppy socialization!
  7. Or (most of the time), the dog bite results from a combination of stress and fear!

You see that the potential CAUSES of uncontrolled dog biting are similar to the potential causes of German Shepherd aggression, and this is no surprise: As said at the top, uncontrolled dog biting can be the ultimate expression of dog aggression - yet often dog biting has a different cause.

Dog biting - Seeking clues

In order to identify the particular CAUSE of dog biting in a given situation, you can seek out clues. For example, ask yourself:

  • WHEN does your German Shepherd bite?
  • WHO is your German Shepherd biting?
  • WHERE is your German Shepherd biting?
  • WHAT triggered the dog bite?
  • Can you identify some systematic in any of these factors?

If your dog has repeatedly bitten, it's sensible and worth the effort that you take records for all of the above clues. This will help you over time to pinpoint the true cause of dog biting. Only when you have identified the CAUSE of biting, you can reliably stop dog biting!

On MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG we have an entire series of Periodicals that address all the different topics of dog biting: Dog bite inhibition, dog bite risk assessment, dog bite treatment, dog bite prevention, what to do when your dog injured someone, how to save the relationship when your dog bit you, etc. The MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL is free to join.

Miguel at 28w Can you give back a bit today?

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  17 Site Comments, ZERO SPAM Add one

  1.  

    My standard poodle was bit by a German Shepard this morning. It left bite marks in the high back leg almost to the tail. Why I have no idea as we were walking in a family neighborhood. The handler(not sure if its the owner)had two full grown gsd on leashes. As we passed her dogs began to bark then one of them got away from her and attacked my dog. She gathered her dogs and ran away?? Really??? What happened? Can you shed any light on this situation.

    •  

      Not sure if I understand, your post sounds like a dialogue of TWO people, not one poodle owner.
      But I try to answer the (seconds person's?) questions:

      - She gathered her dogs and ran away??
      Apparently so.
      - Really???
      Not sure, better ask the first person who was present.
      - What happened?
      Apparently a GSD bit a poodle. For sure, the GSD owner is not a member of our site (or totally ignorant as to our German Shepherd training advice)! So sorry for the poodle owner! Avoidable situations like these shed bad light on our breed!

  2.  

    I have a GSD that we rescued from a city shelter. He was 2yo when we got him and have had him for approximately 5 years. We follow a regular feeding and walking routine. He is not the alpha in our house. He gets along with other dogs. our problem is he is aggressive to the UPS, FedEx, and USPS drivers. He nipped one of the FedEx drivers on the foot yesterday. Partly my fault for not having put the shock fence back across the driveway after I arrived from work. The driver said he was okay but I could tell he was a little shaken up as I would have been. With our two wire shock fence he will not attempt to leave the yard. He did nip (bite) my wifes cousins little boy after the bot came into our yard and grabbed the GSD around the neck from the back. The GSD was letting the boy know to back off IMHO. Nothing negative came out of that altercation but the boy was taken to a clinic for treatment of a puncture on his chin from the dog.
    The GSD is loving and our best friend. Just a wonderful addition and I do not want to lose him for any reason. He just gives so much love to my wife and I. Wou

  3.  

    Hi, A few months ago I got a german shepherd from a friend. I don't know his background and she refused to tell me anything other than she couldn't keep the puppy and it was a black lab. When I revieved him he was less than 8 weeks. After we took him to his first appointment we found out that he was a GS. Over the past 4 months we've been struggling with obedience and biting. He bites all the time and since we have a four year old it has become a bigger issue because as the dog is growing his bite is getting stronger. We don't really know what to do in this situation. Is there anything we can do?

    •  

      Yes Amy, there is. A lot.
      1) I would subscribe to the renowned MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL while it's still free.
      2) I would download the New Puppy Checklist and APPLY it to the letter. It also is free.
      3) After that, I would be extremely nice to someone called Tim, and maybe I am lucky for the third time and he gives me free, early access to Puppy Training in a NUTSHELL. Then I would APPLY that to the letter as well. ;-)

      And schwupps!, like magic, the "biting" problem is gone! - As well as pretty much all the other "dog problems" too! :-)

      ---
      But if for some reason I don't do 1 to 3 above, I would NOT leave my four-year old alone with the dog, ever!
      I hope that made it clear.(?)

  4.  

    I have a 7 months GSD and we had gone to two dog training obedience classes, one with other dogs and one private. His name is Regalo and he is doing well with the sitting, laying down, wait but only when we are walking. When we get to the backyard and I let him loose he kind of bites my hand. It seems that the backyard is his territory, I have not been able to stop him from doing in it, I say no bite when he does it.

  5.  

    My 4 year old GS bit a neighbor this morning. This is the 4th person he has bittenin a month. My son-in-law was walking Dax and this neighbor generally walks with them. All of a sudden my dog bit her and she had to go to the ER and get stitches. I am struggling with this. I posted beware of dog signs on my home and my fence, but this occurred on the road outside my property (we live in a lake community and people are always walking around the lake). Please give me some advice. I can't stand the thought of ever having him put down or gettting rid of him.

    •  

      Sally, what of my published advice have you applied so far, for how long, and what were your observations?

  6.  

    Recently, I bought one month old GSD. This is rather early to get it, but we did it so that he can become well acquainted and accustomed to us at an early age and be our friend for a long time. Me and my wife, together we fed him lovingly with our own hands and in plentiful including half kg milk,rusks and bread etc.. I also spent most of my after office time with him. We played with him. We brought ball and stick, toy car, toy baby and so many other things.Also,hardly ever we scolded him. Yet he bites both of us so much without any visible reason,to the extent of having become a nightmare for us, making us a prisoner in our own house. Both of my hands and ankles are full of his bite marks.My wife has to sit with his legs on the chair. First thing I do in the morning is to put on shoes so that there is less pain when he bites me. He has torn sleeves of several of my shirts and lower portion of gowns of my wife.Belatedly however, it has lessened after I started taking him out for a 2 km morning walk. We love him so much that we don't want him away. But we are paying a heavy price for our desire to keep a GSD.A very heavy price indeed.

    •  

      We have always said: NO ONE should get a GSD (and indeed any dog) without PRIOR adequate education. Your desperate message reinforces this advice! Almost everything you wrote you did you wouldn't have done given PRIOR adequate education. Your puppy would be as well behaved as my new puppy. And certainly you and your wife wouldn't have bite marks anywhere!

      You didn't say for how long this has been ongoing and whether you are willing to LEARN how to behave with a puppy right, such that the things you mention won't happen?

      Where's a will, there's a way! Even an easy way!

      But you aren't even subscribed to our Periodical, and this although it's FREE and you'd have learned everything you need to know how to behave right with a puppy.

      I won't ask "Why not???" because I learned in life: One cannot force people, they must WANT it. :roll:

      Once you are subscribed (IF) you may refer me to this post and I would help you get up to speed as fast as TODAY.

  7.  

    I have a 8 week old male German shepherd and a 11 month male German shepherd. They get along great. I also have a 5 year German shepherd female that we rescued and she is biting both of them. We have been to the vet three time already with the 8 week old. Almost lost his eye with her biting. I have no idea what her background is. I really don't want to get rid of her but I don't want my pups hurt anymore either! I don't want to muzzle her like the vet said or cage her. Anything that you can help with?

  8.  

    NOW?
    Tsss.

    Please go through the above advice IN DETAIL and NOW, then add your precise(!) and succinct(!) answers to your Dog Problem Consultation here.

    You know, it's all here, you just need to WANT to find help. Also be aware that your UNformatted essay is insulting, no one else would try so hard to read it!

  9.  

    My 1 year old German shepherd keeps attacking my wife, reasons are random. Never attacked me before, but my wife, family, friends etc.. This morning she went to hand me a coffee and he jumped over a couch to bite her. She's terrified. What do I do?

    •  

      "What do I do?" - Brian, the menu IS your friend, you confirmed you read that before you clicked submit. You find EVERYTHING you need via the menu. It wouldn't become any better if I tried to repeat so much here in this box.
      Oh, from what you write I notice you've missed a LOT if not all that we teach new puppy owners! So start with the New Puppy Checklist TODAY.

  10.  

    Hi , I need advice urgently ,I have two dogs .1 GSD and 1 Rottweiler. Both are male and GSD has been with me since 3 years the most friendliest dog I have ever seen around 15 months ago I got a Rott as well they are friendly enough and they play with each other and love each other but sometimes the Rott is growling at GSD but never bite each other. Today a very bad incident happened as I am not in my home country and me and my brother have been taking equal care of the dogs and we love them more than us . But unfortunately today my cousin came back from canada after 3 years and was playing with GSD, and he was going to my cousin and my brother with excitement. My brother just grabbed him from the back out of love as we always did this and he would play with us . But I cannot believe but my GSD bit my brother 3 times on the hand and it's quite disturbing thing for us as we cannot believe how can this GSD do that I have never seen a dog this social . Please advice me something I am really worried I don't want to loose my dogs , I don't want to give them to a shelter but I cannot risk my family too. I am very worried please urgent reply is appreciated

    •  

      First go through the dog biting CAUSES above, what have you analyzed?
      What clues did that analysis give you?

      We have seven Periodicals that explicitely deal with dog biting (plus more on aggression, but that's not your case). The most relevant for you is How to save the relationship when your dog bit you. Yet again: All that comes AFTER your analysis as per above.

      I know this will help you, as it has helped thousands before you. But you need to consciously READ and APPLY it. Okay?
      So start above at the top. I read texts three and four times when I feel they are important to me.

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