Having a dog is a great responsibility for anyone. A young student, fresh out of college, can use a dog as a source of companionship. Indeed, they are very helpful animals. Not only can they keep one happy, but they can help make a new house guest more comfortable—they’re generally friendly animals.
However, that’s not always the case with the German Shepherd. Reputed for being as dangerous as a Pit bull or Rottweiler, they pack easily over 100 pounds worth of muscle and have a strong jawbone and bite. With canine teeth and cuspids, one does not want to be on the receiving end of a German Shepherd’s bite. For indeed, it’s not just the bite itself that the dog will deliver, but it will also drag the person around, which can deepen—and, tacitly, worsen—the bite.
This is not to suggest that German Shepherds can’t be cute and cuddly, especially when they’re puppies. But placing a young one around the dog, or letting the young one hang out with the dog along might be a mistake one will never live down—with others, and certainly with oneself.
How to get a dog to stop biting:
- Get a muzzle
- Get a professional dog trainer
- Try “The Flip Trick”
Those are just a few of the ways one can reduce the amount of biting a person’s dog may do. A muzzle is much more than a physical restraint. It is also a psychological stunt mechanism that challenges the dog’s alpha-male behavior. Many dogs consider themselves to be “the alpha male,” and although some may consider this ironic give they’re on a leash and are fed by a human, that doesn’t stop dogs from wanting to prove their dominance. A muzzle will effectively curtail the biting in a physical way and also address a portion of the mental issue as well. It’s essential that you find a muzzle that fits the dog well, and that the dog is comfortable with. Otherwise, the dog may wrestle with it, and as this is an act of violence, undermines the point of trying to eliminate undesired behavioral tendencies of the dog. Canines are a very proud type of animal. Don’t let the pride get the better of the relationship you have with your dog.
The muzzle is an effective first step. But this can have some drawbacks. First of all, it may make your dog more subordinate than necessarily obedient. What is the difference between subordinate and obedient? An obedient dog responds to requests, commands, etc. in a responsive fashion. A subordinate dog is not a happy dog, which is not good. No one wants a dog to be unhappy, least of all one’s own dog, for then that particular animal is no longer fun to be around, and it’s also not healthy. Be careful with how you handle putting a muzzle on your dog. It can be very effective when used in moderation, just like leashes. However, a leash too can have a harmful effect—both physically and mentally—on the dog. Physically, it can wear down the dog’s neck. Mentally, it can change the psychology of the dog to become increasingly subordinate. A good dog owner does not want either of these things to happen.
Option number 2 is to hire a professional dog trainer who knows all the secrets of the canine brain; how the average dog thinks, what it wants, and the signals that a dog sends off. Professional dog trainers are experts in understanding a dog’s body language, from droopy eyes to a tail between the legs. Professional dog trainers can also point you to particular resources such as books on dog body language, or books on how to train your dog to bite less. These go into step-by-step processes on how to train your dog’s behavior to conform to certain parameters.
There are certain drawbacks to hiring a professional dog trainer. For example, costs can run into the hundreds or even thousands. Also, there’s no guarantee that it will work. After all, a dog trainer is a human, who is looking externally into the dog’s behavior, versus the dog grappling with issues internally (the presumed source of the biting). The dog has far more influence in the changing of its own behavior than the dog trainer. Thus, an argument follows that dog training is an inaccurate science. Perhaps one day nanobots will be well enough developed that they’ll be able to enter the dog’s brain and tweak it ever so slightly to reduce aggression and increase docility. However, that’s probably not going to be the case for a while. There are also ethical questions to be raised, but that’s a separate conversation.
The idea of the “Flip Trick” is essentially also emphasizing the reduction of the dog’s self-perceived dominance over others. According to a well established magazine called the Dog Owner’s Guide, when you want to tone down your dog’s dominance, you essentially after having been bitten, flip it over on its back and say “no” in a strong voice. This will effectively reduce the frequency of bites, as well as change the psychology of the dog.
This can be a very effective trick. However, it does have its drawbacks like any other form of dog training. It can cause the dog to become servile or excessively subservient. This is not a good thing. This should be avoided at all costs. If it even appears that the dog is not responding well to the training, then it should be ended immediately.
There are a wealth of other possibilities. Dog training comes down to what works best for the dog in question and the owner as well. Financial limitations can be frustrating, but bear in mind that there a plethora of options available to you. A muzzle can be bought for less than 5 dollars at the local pet shop. And also, books on dog owning can be bought for around 20 dollars or so at the local bookstore. It depends on what works best for you.
The time period is estimated to be between 5-8 weeks. That’s how long it’ll take for your puppy to adjust to the new rules and adjust his or her behavior. It’s a fairly simple process. Simply teach the same lesson over and over again, and eventually he’ll catch on. It should a positive, friendly, and repeatable command, or request that the dog needs to follow. If it’s anything but that, evaluate whether you’re making the right decision for your dog and the relationship you have with him. For indeed, it’s easy to become frustrated with a puppy. However, one needs to remain friendly, for that is the best way to deal with dogs.
Some of the signals that dogs send off when they’re adjusting their behavior are essential to look for. These signals include ears being pushed back, head between the paws, and looking up at the owner, rather than jumping up and trying to dominate. “Jumpers” are often puppies rather than adults, for as dogs get older, some will get arthritis, broken bones, etc. and won’t be able to leap up and greet their owners. This will not stop them from trying to bite you, however, if you don’t train them early. Dogs need to be taught human manners, rather than dog customs. This is one of the essential ingredients in a successful relationship between a man and his dog. Regardless of the extent of the biting, in its severity (how harsh a bite), its frequency (how often), or in its meaning, it’s important to deal with it in a preemptive and proactive fashion. Preemptive means you deal with it before it becomes an issue. Proactive means that you are actively seeking out solutions to the matter as soon you as you recognize it. And indeed, it can be helpful to work with the entire family when disciplining and changing the behavior of your dog. Encourage your entire family to say “no” to biting. Make sure your fellow residents know how to put the muzzle on the dog, and try doing this at home first before taking it to the dog park. This is essential to a successful preemptive action against the rebellious acts of the dog. Then, proactively seek out other solutions while addressing the biting with the muzzle. The muzzle should not be a permanent solution. It is a temporary one.
Muzzles are effective, but are naturally uncomfortable for a dog. This is mostly because of the fact that the dog uses its nose very frequently, and may find it difficult to smell with the muzzle attached to its mouth. Thus, make sure to have the entire family try on the muzzle, and make sure that everyone knows how to use it. Also, it’s important to note that just because the muzzle is attached doesn’t mean the dog can’t scratch with its nails, and this can be particularly harmful for younger students or offspring. These are just a few of the choices available to you. Choose what’s most effective, and remember: preemption and proactive actions are essential.