Preventing dog bites

Thankfully, the GSDs I have owned have been great animals. Aura even has a temperament title. She is protective, yet i can take her to a playground. So what causes German Shepherds to bite, and how can bites be prevented?

teethAlmost every time a dog bites, they bite out of fear. During the first 8 weeks that we have puppies here, we take extra precautions to make sure they are never rewarded in any way when they show fear. However, the consensus on the “fear stage” is really in weeks 8 – 12. The pup has left the pack, and left mom, and will absolutely show fear. It is very important not to nurture a dog when it shows fear; doing this creates lifelong issues. A confident dog is a happy dog.

When I owned Fina, I made a mistake. Fina was our previous GSD. She was a great, harmless dog. But when I was crate training her she would whine. I made a terrible mistake; I laid down beside her crate and let her chew on my hand. I thought it was cute, but it turns out that I was communicating to her that it was ok for her to be scared. As it turns out, humans and dogs are very different creatures. As an adult, she would misbehave if i left her alone. If I took her on vacation and left her in the house, she would try desperately to escape. She would end up only being happy if she were left at home (in or out) or with me. A similar situation could happen with dogs. I have seen it with small breed dogs a hundred times. I suppose it is easier to think a small dog is harmless or even cute when it is misbehaving. Maybe I am biased, but I’ve been bitten my dogs 3 times, all in the ankle, by small dogs. One of the dogs really ripped apart my jeans and left blood pouring down my leg into my sock and shoe! The first thing the owner did was pick it up and start petting it. Ahhhhh! That is probably the worst thing they could have done. They mine as well have given the dog a treat and sent her over to attack my other ankle!

the proper discipline varies for different people. Some like to hold their mouth shut. Other people yell NO and pop their dog on the nose. I personally remove their mouth from me and hand them something that they can bite. of course, smacking them will work and is effective. A lot of people do this and it works out just fine for them. However, if you expect any sort of potential protection from your dog you will not hit them. this actually makes the dog afraid of humans, and the goal is to have a confident dog. There is a fine line there, if the dog is not afraid of humans, they must be confident and fearless. Accomplishing this is not as easy as it sounds and most dog, unless professionally raised, will end up afraid of something, even if it is thunder or water.

Before selecting a breed be sure to figure out how you are going to exercise, discipline and reward your dog, and follow through with your decision.

According to a Los Angeles Dog Bite Attorney the most commonly reported dog bites come from:

  • caucasian shepherd
  • pitbull
  • German shepherd
  • rottweiler
  • husky
  • doberman pincher
  • chow chow
  • wolf hybrid
  • boxer

It is unfortunate to see German Shepherds on that list. Actually, it is unfortunate to see ALL of the dogs on that list, but I suppose there has to be a list, and that dogs will inevitably end up on it. the wolf hybrid is an interesting one- I have only seen a handful of them yet they are a common biter. Hmm..

Anyways, I hope this article helps someone someday.

Thanks!
Len
Hektor Haus

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