This article looks at adult biting dogs.
How to Stop a Dog from Biting
To stop dog biting, best is to make use of the many means below to prevent dog biting in the first place, then there is no need to respond to dog biting. Prevention here is much easier than one may think, while responding to a biting dog is much harder than one may think!
So let's look first at what we can do to prevent dog biting altogether.
Dog bite prevention
The following are the key means to prevent raising a biting dog, and in particular a biting German Shepherd Dog:
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- Socialize, socialize, socialize every day of puppyhood, and thereafter every other day!
- Undertake some form of Bite Inhibition training every day
- Perform our renowned Feeding Routine every day
- Establish every family member as accepted Pack leader!
- Learn to read dog body language
- Avoid stress for the dog, particularly avoid conflicts in the Pack
- Minimize boredom for the dog - boredom is poison for dogs!
- Ensure that your dog is always well hydrated
- Provide a place where your dog can feel safe while sleeping
- Do not lock your GSD in a crate
- Do not chain your dog
- Do not agitate your dog with needless choke collar, electronic collar, or similar nonsense
- Aim for consistent feeding times
- Before you take your dog out for dog walks, perform SSCD inside the house
- Upon the first sign of aggression, perform the Collar Freeze or walk your dog away
- Occupy your GSD with daily tasks and training that challenge mind and body
- Being a herding dog(!) give your GSD at least 2 to 3 hours daily outdoor exercise
The more of this you actually do, the better! And be aware: A well exercised dog does not bite.
Now what if in your case dog bite prevention comes too late?
Then continue reading, how to respond to dog biting.
How to stop dog biting
If your dog already has a history of biting (even if only once yet), the more you do of all the above the better. Every point above still is just as valuable!
Now however you need to consider additional things. And being able to read dog body language is essential now in order to avoid further situations of dog biting. Because dogs don't bite out of the blue, they typically have communicated a whole series of warnings with their body language before they even consider to bite.
See it this way: Dogs cannot communicate in our language, everything they know about us and everything that determines their behaviour with us, they learn from watching our every movement and facial expressions. This allows the dog to sense our mood and feelings (or another person's) much better than people could do - because people focus on speaking, and we lost so much of the skill to quietly observe and listen.
The moment you start to consciously observe your GSD is the moment you start to understand your dog. It's a long way to go, but it's perfectly achievable for any person to understand dog body language with certainty. If you can read your dog's feelings just over half of the time, you are well on your way to stop dog biting as well as other forms of dog aggression. Besides, learning to quietly observe and listen helps to deal with people too, including other dog owners.
If you have children in the house, it is vital that your children learn to understand the German Shepherd body language too. The most obvious dog expression they need to understand to stop dog biting is of course the growling: When is growling a serious warning, and when is it something else? As long as the children cannot distinguish different forms of growling and read the dog's body language, they should not be left alone with the dog, and they should immediately leave the dog alone when the dog starts to growl in any way or shows other signs of discomfort.
Obviously dog biting can also occur without any prior growling at all, hence why understanding dog body language is vital for a dog with bite history, and why you shouldn't leave kids alone with the dog. A dog that behaves perfectly well when calm but gets aggressive when stressed, is not well-suited to look after children, or to be looked after by children (children produce a LOT of stress in dogs). Luckily, by their nature, German Shepherds have a high tolerance for stress, and even when they get stressed, GSDs have no tendency to bite (unless raised badly or suffering a trauma).