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:
- The dog may be ill
- The dog bite may be a reflex to a particular stimulus
- The dog may feel threatened and uses biting as defense
- You or someone else is intruding the dog's assumed territory and you have not yet been accepted as the Pack leader
- 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)
- The dog bite may result as a consequence of mistakes made during puppy socialization!
- 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.