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Puppy Biting Problem

 

Puppy Biting or Puppy Nipping?

Subject to age, if truly your puppy bites, you may be facing the first two of the dog biting problems that you find listed in the article just linked (wound infection risk, transmitted diseases), but none of the other listed dog biting problems. I said "if truly your puppy bites" because young puppies, including German Shepherd puppies, don't bite at all.

WHAT???

Yes, you read that right! Young puppies don't bite at all. Typically puppies NIP - and a LOT - but they don't bite. For the difference see dog biting, and for much more detail and differences and explanations and everything, see our MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL: We have several editions that feature the topic of biting dogs and biting puppies.

Impact of Puppy Age

For German Shepherds, the age when things can change is about 4 to 5 months - at which point a German Shepherd puppy is adolescent (and what damage adolescent boys and girls can do you may well remember from yourself). For other dog breeds timing is different.

By this time (age 4 to 5 months) you will (you should!) have done so much Bite Inhibition training and controlled play fighting sessions that nothing will change in terms of your biting puppy: it will all still be nipping, not biting.

Rescue Dog Difference

The exception is when you adopted a rescue dog older than say 4 months. Then obviously you have to start with what you got from the shelter or from the prior owner - neither of whom may have done Bite Inhibition training and controlled play fighting sessions while the dog was younger.

This is why in the case of dog adoption it is equally important to treat the adopted dog initially like if (s)he was a puppy. In many ways the adopted rescue dog is like a puppy: All is new to the dog at your place, and so the first 4 to 6 weeks of facilitation offer the same chances as does puppy development.

Benefits of Puppy Biting

Playful biting - which you know now actually is mouthing or nipping - is a natural behaviour of puppies. It helps puppies to establish their place in the litter and to discover how the world around them responds to their behavior. All that "puppy biting" allows your puppy to experience the environment, and how the puppy may fit into that new environment! Biting, nipping, and mouthing also stimulates the growth of the teeth, setting in of the teeth, and strengthening of the gums.

Yet "puppy biting" can be painful for the dog owner and family members, particularly for children. Not just for this reason Bite Inhibition training and controlled play fighting sessions from early on are so important! You do not really "fight" with the puppy, you formally invite the puppy to play, and since 80 to 90% of puppy play involves the mouth, it's called play-fighting. To really be helpful rather than detrimental to puppy development and puppy training, Bite Inhibition training and controlled play-fighting sessions need to follow a specific agenda. Details are in the free MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL as well as in the Tim Carter books.

Biting Puppy

The above makes clear that IF truly you have a biting puppy, something was missed earlier. Certainly Owner training, almost certainly Puppy socialization, and likely Puppy training too. For more detail see Puppy Behavior problems.

Puppy Biting Problem

The earlier mentioned health risks aside, the real puppy biting problem is just one: That everytime when you feel that your puppy bites, you missed another chance to raise your puppy in a way to become a SAFE DOG for yourself and for others. So for example, don't even let your puppy nip your arm, and you consider this affectionate. Next time the same puppy - but meanwhile much stronger - may nip your small finger or your ear (or your child's ear), and you won't call that affectionate! Therefore don't set your puppy up for failure. Set your puppy up for best behavior.

So how can you avoid to miss another chance to raise your puppy in a way to become a SAFE DOG that behaves well?

See the long numbered list under Stop Dog Biting. And specifically for a puppy, also see Stop Puppy Biting.

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Jonathan: "Thank you for your period advice. It is excellent! My GSD puppy is now 8 months and we read your advice regularly."
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