Skip to content

How to Stop German Shepherds from Nipping at Your Ankles

German Shepherds are one of the most popular breeds of dog but they can also be the most mischievous. Nipping at ankles is one of their most common behaviours and can be a source of frustration for owners. In this article, we’ll discuss the reasons why German Shepherds nip at ankles and how to stop them from doing so.

Why Do German Shepherds Nip at Ankles?

It’s important to understand why German Shepherds nip at ankles in order to better address the problem. German Shepherds are naturally curious and active animals, and they are often drawn to the movement of people’s feet. This is especially true for younger dogs, who are still learning about the world around them.

Nipping at ankles can also be a sign of playfulness. Because German Shepherds are such intelligent and active dogs, they naturally crave physical and mental stimulation. If they don’t get enough of it, they may resort to nipping at ankles as a way to get attention or to pass the time.

In some cases, German Shepherds may nip at ankles out of fear or anxiety. If a German Shepherd has had a negative experience with a person or an object, they may nip at ankles as a way to protect themselves.

How to Stop German Shepherds from Nipping at Your Ankles

The first step in stopping a German Shepherd from nipping at your ankles is to understand why they’re doing it in the first place. Once you’ve identified the reasons, you can begin to address the problem.

Provide Mental and Physical Stimulation

If your German Shepherd is nipping at your ankles out of boredom, it’s important to provide them with adequate mental and physical stimulation. This can include taking them for regular walks and providing them with interactive toys to keep them occupied.

Train Your German Shepherd

Training is an important part of any dog’s life, and it’s especially important for German Shepherds. Teaching them basic commands such as “sit” and “stay” can help them learn to control their impulses, including the impulse to nip at ankles.

Redirect Their Attention

If your German Shepherd begins to nip at your ankles, it’s important to redirect their attention away from the behaviour. This can be done by giving them a treat or a toy, or by engaging them in a game.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is an effective way to teach a German Shepherd not to nip at your ankles. Whenever the dog behaves appropriately, reward them with treats or verbal praise to reinforce the behaviour.

Remove Triggers

If your German Shepherd is nipping at your ankles out of fear or anxiety, it’s important to remove the triggers that are causing the behaviour. This can include people or objects that the dog finds intimidating.


Nipping at ankles is a common problem for German Shepherd owners, but it doesn’t have to be. By understanding why German Shepherds nip at ankles and taking the right steps to address the behaviour, you can help your German Shepherd learn to control their impulses and live a happy and healthy life.

Related articles