Hello German shepherd puppies lovers from Banffy Haus:
In this article we discuss other issues regarding mouthiness in German shepherd pupies such as the proper way of redirecting and the damage caused by improper reaction to little sharp teeth clamping down on tender skin. Also, I will discuss when one can expect it to tone down, if ever, and when the mouthiness is just too much and may be an indication of something else.
In this second article on “Mouthy Puppy: Help Part I” I will discuss:
2. Improper reaction
3. When the mouthiness will likely tone down
4. When mouthiness is too much
Improper dealing with mouthiness can cause a dog to either lose their motivation to use their mouths, thereby constraining protection drive, or, in the extreme, lead to submissiveness. So it is a good idea to do this right. The first and best way to deal with more benign expressions is to redirect the mouthiness to an acceptable alternate object, such as a bone, toy, ice filled teething ring, etc. I have had great luck with older dogs using kongs and antlers. With younger dogs the redirect is even more critical as they are less confident and more easily affected.
Improper redirection includes hitting the dog in the mouth, shoving your hand down their throat, clamping their teeth on their tongues, pinching their cheek on their teeth. Mouthiness is natural I find these too direct and extreme for some dogs. And these methods can lead to loss of protective drive, or worse lead to submission or avoidance.
One other way to deal with it if you at a wits end is to do what mother does to correct a puppy. Just grab the puppy by the scruff of the neck (the loose skin) and lift the front two paws off of the ground and shake saying “phooey” or another word reserved for correction. And do this only for the specific circumstances where their behavior might harm themselves or someone or something which is quite vulnerable (children, expensive couches that you can’t move out of the way.
Normally this behavior begins to abate at about 9 months to 1.5 years old. Also, you will have learned to manage it by then. There are situations where mouthiness is really a misnomer for aggressiveness. If the dog is constantly lunging and not just chewing, and, the behavior is accompanied by barking and other physical manifestations (hair up), guttural deep growling, this may be another issue. This might be dominant aggressive behavior that must be dealt with before the dog grows up, and clearly and effectively.
I hope this was useful to you.