German Shepherd the dog that is misunderstood and categorized as aggressive. But trust me I have seen in most instances the owners are the ones to blame.
You might be a dog owner troubled by your pet’s behavior, or you might be a potential owner looking to get an answer before you make the final call. One thing I can assure you about German Shepherds is that you can always train or untrained their behavior.
Your life can become worse if your dog becomes overprotective. The aggression develops mainly if he sniffs danger surrounding you and your family.
Although that’s the first reason we love German Shepherds, it can become a nightmare when they see danger where there is none.
We will go through everything starting from the reasons behind such aggression and what you need to do.
I’m sure most of your doubts regarding German Shepherd’s aggressive behavior will be cleared.
For those who are new to German Shepherd dogs, you can read our article German Shepherd This will give you the basic knowledge about the breed, their history, and personality.
German Shepherds are aggressive: It’s a mistaken belief partially true, mostly false!
Why it’s partially true? Because they can become aggressive with mishandling and ill-breeding
Why it’s mostly false? Because they are naturally stable and attached pets.
You are lazy, keeping your GSD mostly at home and sometimes even keeping him alone. Now you know where the problem is!
But why are they considered as aggressive dogs? It’s very unfortunate that poor ownership and inaccurate stats of GSDs causing injuries have given them such a negative image.
But if you have handled dogs before you should know that they have no natural tendency to bite to attack. All most all dogs don’t have this trait unless they are made to learn.
So if you feel GSDs are very aggressive, then they are as aggressive or not aggressive as any other out there. In fact, Dachshund and many small breed dogs are more aggressive than German Shepherd dogs, which not a lot of people know about.
Now I’m Going to ask you a few questions: And if you think any of the answers is a ‘no,’ then you should consider changing your decision to get a German Shepherd dog or puppy.
#1- Why do you want a GSD? Do you know the exact reason and do you have a purpose?
#2- Do you have enough time to train him and make him run?
#3- Maybe you live in an apartment or a flat. Are you committed to giving him ample exercise time every day?
#4- Is your neighborhood’s climate suitable for the dog?
#5- Do you have the financial ability to maintain your dog’s nutrition and seek expert advice?
#6- Do you know how to train your German Shepherd Dog?
If you have a ‘yes’ for all of this question, then no one can hold you back.
German Shepherd dog’s common aggressive behavior
German Shepherd dogs can undergo mood swings and different levels of temperament if mishandled. To know the aggressive symptoms in detail, we compiled a list for you.
If any of these behaviors are present in your dog, then you should put a SERIOUS EFFORT in untraining that behavior.
German Shepherd foods can also be responsible for their aggressive behavior or stable personality. Proper nutrition and proteins are essential to keep them motivated for good behavior. Never keep them hungry for too long. They are loyal dogs but they are animals too! You can’t take chances on that!
#1- Barks when told to stop
Your GSD barks louder after telling him to stop. I would say it’s a MINOR aggressive intent.
#2- Growls after told to stop biting
Your GSD Doesn’t give a damn if you prevent him from chewing or biting something at your home. Instead, he growls at you. This is a MODERATE level of aggression that can increase further.
#3- Trying to harm your children
Your GSD might start chasing your children or in any other way to harm them. I would say it’’s a MAJOR ISSUE and time to take serious training programs.
#4- Bites hard
Your GSD is biting your hand or any part of your body with intentional force. That’s MODERATE aggression’, but I would say dangerous.
#5- Growls upon touching
You touch your sweet GSD, and he starts growling. If this happens, you should know that your dog is not in a good state. Although it’s a MODERATE aggressive behavior, you still have enough time to change it.
These are just some aggressive behaviors to prove the point that German shepherds can become aggressive but doesn’t mean in any sense that they are aggressive.
Something is there that you are doing wrong or your breeder didn’t do a good job.
Why do German Shepherd dogs get aggressive?
Image Source PixabayBefore we get into understanding the reasons behind their aggressive nature, you should clearly know about the different dog drives.
It can seem I’m getting more into technical issues. But believe me, becoming a German Shepherd owner is no easy task.
German Shepherds are alpha-type beings. So, if you can’t make yourself an alpha leader of his pack, he will never obey you. You have to be always one or even more steps ahead of him, outsmart him and you can pretty much control him on your wall.
Even if you consider different variations of German Shepherds like the American Show line or Czech working line, you need to understand their core personality and nature first. If you think anyone of the types of German Shepherds less or more aggressive than the other, you are wrong!
Understanding dog drives: Prey Drive, Defense Drive & Pack Drive
You have seen your dogs chasing a ball thrown in the air. That’s their prey drive.
Dog drives are like internal systems that make the dog behave in a specific way or respond in a particular manner to an action.
All dogs have any one of the three drives or all of them naturally. This is their basic instinct.
If you want to become a good owner and rear a stable German Shepherd, you should know how the behavior mechanism works.
This is the natural instinct of a dog to capture prey. Breeders modify it to make him chase and fetch balls or any other stuff. Until he finds the object, he will keep on searching.
High prey drive is suitable for rescue dogs. But you don’t want your pet GSD to have it high.
This is the nature of GSDs that made us their fans. With defense drive your dog instinctively defends on and your family members from threats. Because he perceives you as a member of his pack.
Strong defense drive is good, but your dog should have equally strong nerves. With strong nerves, your GSD will not get scared easily.
But if he has a stronger defense drive, he may become overprotective and aggressive even when there is no existence of threat in a real sense.
This is the natural tendency of a dog to please the higher rank member of its pack (which is you by the way). So, your GSD will have a strong sense of being close to you.
# Higher pack drive will give you trouble going away from him.
# Lower pack drive means the dog will care less about you and your orders.
So, a balance is needed here too.
The reasons behind German Shepherd dog becoming aggressive
I have compiled a list of 4 reasons, but there can be more. This should give you a good idea.
You are not giving him enough exercise
GSD lives an active life. They naturally run around most of their time when left in the wild.
If you are not giving them enough exercise, they will become aggressive and snappy. Best is to go on a walk with them on a daily basis, and the least you can do is once every two days.
You should take your GSD to picnics, let him swim and run. Confining them indoor will only trigger their aggressive side more.
Because of their overprotective nature
German Shepherds are extremely protective of their owners and his family. So, if they detect a threat, they will start barking and show their aggressive side.
Sometimes it can become aggressive just to grab your attention.
You are dominating him
German Shepherds hate if you dominate them. Hence, you can see them aggressive if forced physically.
They take the position of alpha in their pack and so should you. It all goes down to how much you have mastered the dog training art.
Boredom makes them lot more aggressive
If you see your GSD biting furniture or barking without reason and showing aggressive signs, it might be because they are bored.
They need more attention and valuable time. Leaving them alone is the worst thing you can do and trigger more aggression.
The solution to German Shepherd Aggression
German Shepherds are the best dogs in terms of their loyalty and love towards their owners. Their heroic nature and an intelligent brain is a great combination that is hardly found in any other dog breeds in the world.
But their aggressiveness can be a pain for owners.
Let’s get down to the solutions. I think other than abandoning your dog (which is a terrible thing to do) there are 2 solutions.
Efficient Behavior Training at an Early Age
The secret of developing a good obedient German Shepherd dog is adopting appropriate behavior training when they are still puppies.
In the puppy stage, your dog has limited capabilities and small size. That’s the best time to teach him the right things. Enroll yourself in a GSD training program or surround yourself with knowledgeable dog owners.
If you see aggressive nature in your GSD in later stages of your life, don’t force him. Instead, use a positive reinforcement strategy to treat his condition.
Socialization at an early stage of their life
If you socialize your GSD from their early life, there is less chance of him showing overprotection.
Try to expose him to friends, family, and people you have in your life. Your dog will develop a sense of understanding of the world and recognize what’s threat and what is not.
Few Final words…
If you have applied the solutions already and it’s still not working, try getting some expert help from Dog training gurus.
I have tried to express in my best possible ways to tell you that German Shepherd dogs are not aggressive by nature. Rather our own failures and laziness are more reflected in their behavior.