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Categories: Puppy Biting/Chewing

Q. My 14 week old puppy has a biting problem. I’m trying to figure out if this is aggression or prey drive. Do you have any suggestions?
Hi Cindy,

My question is related to a 14 week old German Shepherd Puppy, who has a biting problem. He is constantly chewing on hands, feet, arms, etc., and occasionally nips at the face. I can’t figure out if this is an aggression problem or an over stimulated prey drive that needs more of an outlet. Regardless, it needs to stop before he gets uncontrollable. I’m trying everything (e.g., stiff correction, redirection, treats for positive behavior, exercise, putting him in submission, etc.), but all of these seem to only have a temporary effect. I’d raised many GSD’s and never had a puppy with this much drive/aggression. There has been progress... just not as much as I expect. Am I on the right track… just need to be consistent and more patient… or are there obvious things that I’m overlooking?

Thank you.
Jamie

A. It’s not possible for a puppy this young to have real aggression. This is simply very strong prey drive.

I’d use marker training and get this pup engaged with me in a way that he can be reinforced A LOT for good behaviors. This training will also give him an outlet for all of the energy and drive he has. I’d also keep this puppy on a leash at all times, and would not put myself (or anyone else) to be bitten. So much of successful puppy raising is managing their environment and access to situations and people. I try not to let my puppy repeat and practice behaviors I don’t want.

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