If your german shepherd is jumping and biting you or people around you then you need to fix the issue as quickly as possible.
While in most cases, this is harmless and generally friendly behavior, it’s still inappropriate. Especially if it’s happening with children.
So keep reading to find out why german shepherds jump and bite, how to fix it, and whether you should worry or not.
Why Is Your German Shepherd Jumping And Biting?
There are a few different reasons that your german shepherd may be jumping up and biting people. The good news is that the most common reason they do it is actually quite a nice reason.
It’s How They Greet People Naturally
If your german shepherd is jumping up and biting (but the biting isn’t hard) then it’s because they’re greeting you.
You have to remember that german shepherds are a lot lower down than you are, so to get as close to you as possible they tend to jump up. While they see this as appropriate, like a lot of dogs they don’t quite realize how big they are.
Just remember, it’s far easier for your german shepherd to get your attention when they’re on two legs, close to your face, instead of when they’ve got all four paws on the floor.
That Still Doesn’t Explain The Biting
Okay, now you know why your german shepherd is jumping up at you, but why is he biting?
A dog’s mouth is like their hands, so when they’re biting you, in most cases, it’s because they’re trying to explore.
However, if the dog seems aggressive when they’re trying to bite you, then that’s due to behavioral issues.
They Want To Play
Another reason that your dog may be jumping up and biting you is that they’re playing. When they’re growing up with their litter, they’ll spend a lot of time jumping all over each other and gently biting.
While this is fine with other dogs, as your german shepherd gets older it’s going to become a lot less appropriate and possibly dangerous. So it’s definitely something they need to learn not to do.
(This is much more common in puppies. As well as jumping up they may also bite your ankles too.)
How To Tell When Jumping And Biting Is A Sign Of Aggression?
While in most cases your pup jumping up isn’t going to be a sign of aggression, it’s important to spot the signs early.
Afterall, german shepherds are big dogs, and if they do ever attack someone they’re going to do a lot of damage as well as risk being put to sleep.
Positive Body Language
If your German shepherd is happy to see someone before jumping up at them, there’ll normally be accompanying body language. This can include:
- Excited Crying.
- Excessive Tail Wagging.
- Running In Circles.
- Being Full Of Energy.
- Dropping Down On Their Front Legs
We’ve all seen the tell-tale signs of a happy dog and those are what you should be looking for if your dog is jumping up and biting in a non-threatening way.
Negative Body Language
However, if your dog is showing negative body language before jumping up and biting then you have a problem. Negative body language includes.
Growling: This may be when someone touches them, as someone approaches them, or if your dog starts walking towards them. (What to do if your german shepherd is growling at you, or growling at your family.)
Snarling: Similar to growling, if your dog starts to bare their front teeth at someone, before jumping up and biting then it’s definitely aggressive in nature.
Barking: While dogs can bark when they’re excited, they can also bark when they’re aggressive. Barking of this kind will normally accompany other signs of aggressive behavior.
If your dog is jumping up and biting in an aggressive way then you should take them to a dog behaviorist as soon as possible. Signs of aggression in any dog need to be dealt with quickly, however, this is especially important with dogs like german shepherds who can do serious damage.
How To Teach Your German Shepherd Not To Jump Up And Bite
A dog that jumps up and bites needs to be trained quickly. While it may start out innocently enough, if you don’t remind your german shepherd that their behavior is unacceptable then they can quickly start to get out of hand.
Show Them The Behavior You Expect To See From Them
The first method is to show your dog exactly what you expect from them. To do this you’ll need to do the following:
- Get your dog to jump up at you. You can do this by offering them treats that are just out of reach, or if your german shepherd is really used to jumping up, raise your hand higher than they can get to without jumping. (Just remember, at this stage don’t reward your dog by giving them the treat or stroking them.
- Once your german shepherd jumps up and bite your hands use a voice command (such as ‘no’, ‘ah ah ah’ or whatever you choose. Cross your arms and don’t stroke them or give them a treat.
- When they drop down, and they’re waiting patiently you can then give them the treat and stroke them and give them lots of praise.
- Take a step back and repeat the first three steps again. If you keep doing this for 5-15 minutes every day your dog will quickly learn that jumping up and biting aren’t acceptable behaviors.
Pretend You’re In Pain
If your german shepherd is biting a lot when they’re jumping up then this is definitely the method you’re going to want to use. In fact, this is a great method to use any time your german shepherd is biting in a playful way.
- The first thing you’re going to need to do is to get your dog to jump up at you again. If they do this on their own great, if not use the same method as before.
- However, this time when your german shepherd jumps up and bites you, let out a yelp or cry of pain before turning away and not facing them.
- It’s important that you don’t give them any attention until they’ve calmed down completely.
- If your german shepherd tries to follow you, keep turning until they’ve stopped and calmed down completely.
- Once they’ve calmed down completely, you can then reward them with your attention and treats.
This method works so well as it’s similar to what their litter would do if they were bitten too hard and they don’t want to play anymore. It’s a great way for teaching your german shepherd bite inhibition as well.
Remember, to do this every time your german shepherd jumps up and bites to show them that the game will stop being played any time they do that.
Go To Their Level When You’re Ready
This is another great trick that you can use in combination with the other two. Just like the others, repetition is key. Here’s what you need to do.
- Anytime that your german shepherd starts jumping up at you, ignore them. And if necessary turn around to face away from them.
- When they’ve stopped jumping up at you, face them again and go down to their level.
- Once you’re at their level begin playing with them and making a fuss of them. However, make sure you only do it when you’re at their level.
- If your dog knows how to sit, then over time you should tell them to sit before you go down to their level. This is also going to reinforce that when they act calmly they get attention.
What To Do If Your Dog Is Jumping On Your Guests?
As well as jumping on your the chances are your german shepherd is also going to jump and bite guests you invite to your house. Not only is this embarrassing, but if they’re scared of dogs it could frighten your guests.
If you have guests coming over then you should pre-warn them that you’re trying to teach your dog to stop. And if they could, follow the training that you’re doing, by offering your dog a treat when they sit patiently and wait.
Lastly, if your guests don’t want to, when they enter, get your dog’s attention with treats if he starts jumping up. Once you’ve got his attention follow the guidelines above. Once your dog sits down patiently you can then give them the treat and attention.
(If you want your german shepherd to be a good guard dog, did you know it’s important to teach them not to jump up and bite?)
What’s The Best Way To Get Your Dog To Stop Jumping And Biting?
Of course, all of the methods mentioned above are effective at stopping your dog from jumping up and biting. However, this behavior often comes with a lot of other troublesome behavior.
The only way to stop jumping, biting and any other naughty behavior is to train your dog effectively. And that’s why you should check out Brain Training For Dogs!
Unlike other outdated forms of training (such as the alpha training technique), Brain Training For Dogs is based on scientific approaches to dog training that have been developed over a decade!
If you haven’t already you should definitely check it out! You and your dog will both be happy with the results!
(Read an in-depth review of Brain Training For Dogs.)
If your pup is jumping up then the training above will help you stop the issue from happening. Just remember, that your german shepherd isn’t being bad when they’re jumping up as it’s just their natural behavior.
Here’s a recap of all the main points you’re going to need to remember:
- German Shepherds often jump and bite as a natural greeting, and when they want to play. However, it can also be a sign of aggression.
- If it’s a sign of aggression there’ll be more negative body language such as growling, snarling, and barking.
- The best ways to stop your dog from doing this behavior is by showing them the behavior you expect from them, pretending they’ve hurt you, and only stroking them when you’re on their level.
- If your dog jumping on guests, make sure they don’t reward the bad behavior and if possible get them to act the same as you do!
- For lasting results when training your german shepherd you should get Brain Training For Dogs.
If you liked this article or you have any questions then make sure you leave them in the comment section below!