Getting my puppy to no longer nip and bite

So, I have a black German Shepherd(possibly mixed)who is around 6 months old. Now, I want to teach him to stop nipping and biting before it becomes truly troublesome. Unfortunately, I have no idea where to begin. I've tried in the past, and each time did not go so well. All he does is jump on me and try to nip at my hands. Granted, there are times when he'll follow me around the yard with no problems. The yelping like a puppy method doesn't work, because...I have no idea how. I'd want to say the ignoring method worked, but I haven't had the time to really implement it. I mean, as soon as he starts nipping and biting, I go away. But, when I go back, he's back at it again. Should I just get him more toys to chew on, and if he starts to nip and such, replace my hand or foot or whatever with a toy? As well as the ignoring method? I know there is the crating method, but his crate is already too small for him. Are there any other methods that are actually effective? It just seems like everyone seems like an expert nowadays, so I have no idea who is right and who is wrong.

Have you tried just saying "no"?

To be honest my dog honestly doesn't give a shit when I say "no" to her. Very occasionally she gets over-excited while we're playing and starts nipping, but she immediately stops when I "yelp". It's really not hard. You just have to make a weird high pitched noise and they get the message.

Yes, I have tried saying no, along with stomping my foot on the ground. I've tried yelping, but it never sounds right.

Discipline works wonders in my opinion. You may have to tap them/hit gently but firmly whenever they do it. Some dogs train easier then others in my opinion, but it's worth a shot. A slight tap and a 'No! Bad!' was able to teach my aunts puppy not to bite. :)

superbatranger:
Are there any other methods that are actually effective?

Yeah, there are, but none of them are a patch on taking your dog to obedience and training classes.

Beyond that, if you want to find the most appropriate method, you need to identify why the dog is behaving the way it is first. Everything else flows on from that.

superbatranger:
I'd want to say the ignoring method worked, but I haven't had the time to really implement it. I mean, as soon as he starts nipping and biting, I go away. But, when I go back, he's back at it again.

You don't need to actually leave, just turn your back for a few seconds or something. In fact it's probably better if you don't completely leave. You want the dog to do the same thing several times in a row, so that the repetition allows him to make the connection between nipping your fingers and you ignoring him. You should also try to let him know when he's being good, even if it's just for a split-second (clicker training may be a good method for this, sense it allows for very quick feedback). If the dog gets ignored when he nips you, and then as soon as he stops he gets a reward, then after a few repetitions he's going to start to learn that not nipping is what you want. It might take some time for the lesson to click in his head, and awhile longer for good behavior to become habitual, but it will happen.

Should I just get him more toys to chew on, and if he starts to nip and such, replace my hand or foot or whatever with a toy?

That's an excellent idea. Teaching dogs what TO do is always easier than teaching what NOT to do (the list of things you don't want your dog gnawing on is much longer than the list of things you do want him to gnaw on).

I know there is the crating method, but his crate is already too small for him.

Personally, I wouldn't use the crate as a training tool (I'm assuming this means putting the dog in the crate when he's being bad, like a time-out). To me the purpose of a crate is so that the dog can have his own "room" where he can feel safe and be alone if he wants, as well as being a place you can put him where you know he'll be safe if you have to leave him alone and don't have any rooms that are puppy-proof.

Also, make sure your dog is getting plenty of exercise. Maybe take him for a long walk first to drain some of his energy, and then spend 10-15 minutes deliberately training him on not biting your fingers.

RhombusHatesYou:

superbatranger:
Are there any other methods that are actually effective?

Yeah, there are, but none of them are a patch on taking your dog to obedience and training classes.

Beyond that, if you want to find the most appropriate method, you need to identify why the dog is behaving the way it is first. Everything else flows on from that.

Well, part of me thinks it's out of wanting more attention. Granted, I work 5-6 days a week, and usually I'm dead tired when I get home. I still try to play with him as much as possible. Would a spray bottle of water be effective?

superbatranger:
Well, part of me thinks it's out of wanting more attention. Granted, I work 5-6 days a week, and usually I'm dead tired when I get home. I still try to play with him as much as possible.

As BrassButtons said, sounds as if he needs daily walking to burn off excess energy. I would also recommend the both of you going to obedience and training classes. Shepherds do better under more structure (this is true of most dogs) and often excel at advanced training because they enjoy the challenge. They are a working breed, after all.

Would a spray bottle of water be effective?

I don't put any stock in spray bottles with dogs. You want to let a dog know it's done something wrong not irritate it or give it something it can mistake for a new game.

Really, if all you want to do is stop your dog nipping, all you have to do is when it's nipping put your hand right in the dog's mouth and firmly (but gently) grip it's lower jaw and apply slight downward pressure. Then lock eyes and give the dog a disapproving "no". They catch on quickly about human hands not belonging in their mouths.

If daily walks and lots of play doesn't solve your problem, I had a friend whose dad got their dog to stop biting by putting hot sauce on their hand and having them bite it. After a few times the dog got the message pretty quickly.

Well all I can recommend is get lots and lots more toys for him. Keep telling them no firmly, really yell until they get the point. Give more toys and make a point to show him that the toys are for nipping. He's only a puppy, give him as much attention as you possibly can.

IMPORTANT: if you have to give him a tap, DO NOT HIT HIM ON THE NOSE! It ruins their noses badly and can ruin their sense of smell horridly when they are older. Give him a tap on his behind. Only a light one though.

It's just teething which will go away on its own with time. But shouting no or maybe administering a light smack on the nose or head should send the message.

renegade7:
It's just teething which will go away on its own with time. But shouting no or maybe administering a light smack on the nose or head should send the message.

This is what confuses me. Some say it's normal to still teeth at his age, and others say it can lead to problems later on. Who the heck is right?

superbatranger:

This is what confuses me. Some say it's normal to still teeth at his age, and others say it can lead to problems later on. Who the heck is right?

It's a bit of both. Yes, it's normal for puppies to chew on a lot of thing while teething. However if you let them chew on whatever they want, then they will grow up believing that they're allowed to chew on whatever they like. Adult dogs don't chew as much as teething puppies, but they don't stop chewing on things either. Your dog will probably be chewing on things for as long as he has teeth, so it's important to teach him what he should and shouldn't be chomping on. Especially when the current list of "things to chew on" includes your fingers. The sweetest GSD in the world could really mess your hand up doing that.

In my opinion it doesn't seem too much of an issue, in my experience puppies are always biting and chewing on things, as long as its just play biting there isn't too much of an issue I don't think. I tend to just play with my dogs letting them chew on my hands, of course they are merely playing and have never done more than scratched my skin a little (their teeth are quite sharp). Then again, this is a German Shepherd and all my dogs have been smaller breeds so you would probably be more keen on playing fetch with the dog than with your hands. Just sternly tell the dog no and direct them away from what they're biting.

I realize that saying no does absolutely nothing. Hell, even shouting it does not work. He just keeps nipping and biting. It's getting frustrating, to be quite honest. I really hope the "using toys to direct him away from my hands" tactic works, because I honestly have no idea what else would work. I still love him though, especially when he runs up to me. It's too adorable.

superbatranger:
I realize that saying no does absolutely nothing. Hell, even shouting it does not work. He just keeps nipping and biting. It's getting frustrating, to be quite honest. I really hope the "using toys to direct him away from my hands" tactic works, because I honestly have no idea what else would work. I still love him though, especially when he runs up to me. It's too adorable.

He's probably interpreting your shouts of "no!" as playful barking. (Or to quote Hyperbole and a Half: "Sounds! U R making sounds! We're sound-making buddies!")

Also, how much time have you spent consistently trying any training tactic ("consistently" in this case means you do it, without fail, every single time he nips at your hands)? It's possible that you simply haven't given any of them enough time (or that you haven't been consistent).

BrassButtons:

superbatranger:
I realize that saying no does absolutely nothing. Hell, even shouting it does not work. He just keeps nipping and biting. It's getting frustrating, to be quite honest. I really hope the "using toys to direct him away from my hands" tactic works, because I honestly have no idea what else would work. I still love him though, especially when he runs up to me. It's too adorable.

He's probably interpreting your shouts of "no!" as playful barking. (Or to quote Hyperbole and a Half: "Sounds! U R making sounds! We're sound-making buddies!")

Also, how much time have you spent consistently trying any training tactic ("consistently" in this case means you do it, without fail, every single time he nips at your hands)? It's possible that you simply haven't given any of them enough time (or that you haven't been consistent).

I'll admit I haven't been the most consistent person. Sometimes I come home from work so tired that all I have the energy to do is feed them. I am gonna try to use one tactic at least once a day.

 

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