Having some issues with my GSD puppy nipping and growling?


My husband and I have a GSD puppy that we now know that we acquired a bit too early. She (her name is Sasha) was six weeks old when we got her and is now approaching eight weeks.

We have researched that sometimes when you get a puppy that young you are responsible for teaching it the "inhibited bite".

My main question is, what is the best way to do this?

To assist those of you who will answer I will tell you what we have tried that has not worked so far:
1. Yelping – This just seems to excite her more and makes her more aggressive.
2. Rolling her gently on her back until she calms down – Once again, this seems to either scare her or make her want to be more aggressive.
3. Saying "no" in a calm, firm voice – We are under the impression that she may not realize what that means yet.

What has started to work:
1. Praising her immediately when she stops after we tell her "no".
2. Going outside and letting her run around and encouraging her to follow us for at least 30-40 minutes.
3. Allowing her access to the backyard (it is fenced in with a high privacy fence so she is safe from neighbors and other dogs, yet still has lots and lots of room to investigate) from the screened in back porch where she normally stays, while we are gone at work during the day.
4. Redirection with a chew toy only when she has stopped biting us and calmed down.

I know that this is supposed to be normal puppy behavior, but we just want to make sure that it doesn’t become a problem in the future.

Also she sometimes growls when she is in sort of a "I’m going to pounce on you!" stance. (Whole body on the ground, front paws out, and head low, body tensed).

We do not have children, it is just us and her, no other pets either.

Also, I was wondering how many people we need to aim to "socialize" her with. So far we have only taken her to people and dogs that we know we would encounter at some point in the future (family, friends). The only dogs she has come into contact with so far are pets of close family.

We are planning to enroll her (and us) in some training courses in the future.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions/help!

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4 Responses to “Having some issues with my GSD puppy nipping and growling?”

  1. ladystang says:

    get a professional to help you learn how to train

  2. sam says:

    Everything you are doing under your what works list is perfect!
    You say she sits in a pounce like stance, well that just means she wants to play, grab a toy and show her ok we can play but not with my hands, arms, etc…
    And don’t necessarily wait till she calms down to giver her a toy, if its for praise then ok but if you want to redirect to show her what to do then show her a toy when she nips you and praise when she picks that instead.
    If the yelping doesn’t tell her oww but instead says more than don’t do it.
    It will take a little more work for no to be understood but praising when it seems to click for her will greatly help!
    As for socializing you want her to meet as many people and other animals of every shape sort and size. The more she see’s the more she’ll be used to as an adult.
    Yay for you on the classes, start of with a puppy kindergarten, she will learn a few basics as well as get a bunch of playtime with other puppies.

  3. ok says:

    OH MY GOSH ME TOO! His name is Rocky and he is now 10 months. But back to your question lol. Im guessing you didn’t know this. But GSDs are very vocal. Which means they kind of sound like they are talking. But it sometimes sounds like a growl. They go like this, Roo Roow Roo. Raaw! Raww! You know what I mean? Sometimes its hard to tell the difference between growling and "Talking". The nipping is because, GSDs are very playfull too. Especially when they are puppies. Its normal. So don’t get to worried about that. But when you finish the training your doing with her. (which is really good) if she keeps "growling" Keep in mind that GSDs are vocal. as I said. So really pay attention to when she growls and talks. Because you don’t want to scold her for no reason right?

  4. walking lady says:

    You’re on the right track, you need to persist. All puppies need to be taught bite inhibition by their owners, not only those that leave their mom and litter mates too young.

    Keep on yelping. For some puppies that’s not enough, so you either turn your back on her or even leave the room for a minute. What she wants most is your attention, and you’re taking it away. Very calm and quiet praise when you come back for good behaviour. Leave instantly when she bites. Re-direction to toys is great. Lots of exercise is also great, this is an extremely intelligent, high energy breed.

    As to socializing, you need for her to meet as many people as possible – kids, adults, old, young, people with glasses and hats, etc. Socializing also means she needs to be exposed to as many places as you can take her to – when she’s older – stores, ball games, busy streets, etc. You don’t try to do it all at once or she’ll be overwhelmed.

    And she’s plenty old enough to learn basic obedience and manners right now. Very young puppies learn quickly – you keep lessons very short and fun, with a ton of praise (and treats if you use them, but praise first).

    You’d be wise to get her into a puppy kindergarten class as soon as she’s old enough. Puppies can go to puppy classes after they’ve had their 2nd set of shots. That’s only the beginning – from there, you go to obedience, then get her involved in whatever dog activities you’re interested in.

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