Why Is My German Shepherd Acting So Aggressive
German Shepherds are remarkably loving, loyal dogs. They attach closely to their owners and enjoy their company. They need a certain amount of social stimulation and affection to feel satisfied. If your dog doesnt get the engagement and interaction he needs, he may act aggressively out of boredom.
Factors That Trigger Aggression In German Shepherds
There are several factors known to lead to German shepherd aggressive tendencies. Some varieties tend to have higher hostility than others. In many cases, genetics and heredity are contributors, but its necessarily a hard and fast rule. German shepherds are generally often regarded as a breed with inheritance and genetics towards intense behavior.
With these in mind, the main things that can instill or aggravate aggression in a puppy is unwanted treatment and an adverse environment, such as:
- Poor and unsanitary living conditions
- Lack of socialization, with other dogs and people
- Fear of other animals, other dogs, even people
- Nasty and abusive owner
- A dog with some or all of these disorders is predisposed to be dangerous and hostile as it matures.
Many people ask the question are German shepherd aggressive? because of the factors mentions above. Continue reading to learn how to avoid aggression in your German shepherd.
Legal Challenges To Breed Specific L Egislation :
A number of different cases have come up over the past decade attempting to fight breed restriction legislation on constitutional grounds.
However, most of these arguments eventually fail in court. Below is one prime example that went all the way to the Supreme Court.
In 2008, in the City of Toledo v. Tellings, pit bull advocates tried to argue that Toledos laws about pit bulls were unconstitutional on several grounds.
Here are a few of the arguments that were made in court against the breed specific legislation:
- Void for Vagueness: Thepit bull advocacy group argued that the breed restriction legislation was toovague. In order to satisfy due process , a lawmust clearly explain which acts are allowed and which are prohibited. TheTellings case argued that it was too difficult to determine which dogs were pitbulls and which were not. However, the Supreme Court rejected this defense anddeclared that a pit bull can be identified by physical and behavioral traits.
- Substantive Due Process:This means that there is a constitutional limit to the controls that thegovernment can place on its citizens. Pit bull advocates believed that a lawgoverning dogs was not rationally related to the government interest. However,the Supreme Court found that the citys goal was to protect humans from dogattacks and that regulating pit bulls was directly related to that goal becausepit bulls cause a disproportionate amount of danger to people.
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Owning A German Shepherd Dog
Although German Shepherds have a strong bite, they can also be excellent companions. As with any animal, its essential to consider if the German Shepherd breed is the right fit for you. With proper training and socialization, German Shepherds can be loyal, sweet dogs.
German Shepherds can also be good first dogs as long as you can devote the time they need. In fact, my German Shepherd, Willow, is my first ever dog. They are easy to train, good with other people, good watchdogs, and have minimal health issues compared to some other breeds.
However, here are some essential things to think about:
- They need lots of daily exercise
- They require a ton of grooming
- Can be aggressive towards other dogs if not socialized
- May not be suited to apartment living
- They prefer to be inside dogs
Talk With Your Veterinarian
If you have tried everything within your own power to manage your dogs aggression and it has not worked, dont give up yet. Your vet may be able to help you isolate the issue.
As weve covered, it could be due to an underlying medical condition, or it could be some other issue related to old age like joint pain.
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How Is Bite Force Measured
As mentioned, the standard measurement for the bite force of a dog is calculated according to pound-force per square inch . It is the pressure resulting from a force of one pound-force applied to one square inch. The more pressure exerted, the higher the psi will be.
For German Shepherds, the bite force of 238 pounds per square inch is stronger than humans. In contrast, according to National Geographic, humans have a bite force of between 150-200 pounds per square inch. And the animal with the strongest bite force goes to the crocodile at a whopping 3,700 psi. Ouch!
Even though its pretty tricky to measure the bite force of dogs , scientists have experimented with various methods, including:
- A measuring device covered with flavored rawhide
- Sensors used to replace some of the dogs teeth
- Anesthetizing dogs and electrically stimulating the jaw
However, none of these methods were proved effective or accurate, and scientists decided the best way to measure bite force in dogs is by using their skull size and shape, body weight and taking into account their oral health.
Do German Shepherds Get Aggressive With Age
Many dogs do not come into their full personality until they end puberty and develop aggression at this age. However, German Shepherds commonly receive training early and develop aggression concurrently. The ages between six months and a year can be almost as critical for a GSDs socialization as the early puppy weeks.
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Trained To Be Aggressive
Some owners like to train their German Shepherd Dogs to be aggressive. A German Shepherd can be trained to be aggressive.
The problem is that if the GSD is poorly trained, then he will show aggression to anyone near him.
Aggression from stress usually gives a lot of problems to the owner. If the German Shepherd owner is not able to show his leadership to the dog then, he has to face its dogs aggression problems.
Your Dog Doesnt Socialize
You need to socialize your dog from an early age to encourage healthy behaviors, according to a report by the University of Pennsylvania.
If you dont, he may become aggressive toward you, other dogs, and other animals, making him a potential danger.
If you adopt an older dog whose previous owners didnt socialize properly, itll be harder to correct his aggressive behaviors.
It may require professional help, as poorly socialized dogs are more likely to act belligerent around other animals and pose a threat.
When you adopt a German Shepherd puppy, make sure he spends adequate time around other dogs. Take him to puppy play dates and dog parks where he can learn healthy interactions with others.
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If It Becomes Overly Possessive
German Shepherds are extremely overly protective when it comes to their family and owners. So, when they see a stranger coming in the house, they see it as a threat that could harm its family. Thats why a GSD becomes aggressive, starts barking and charging at the person. This is a common behavior problem of a GSD as it is a loyal dog and cannot see its family in danger.
Sometimes a GSD reacts aggressively with friends visiting your home. When you give a lot of time to your friends and your GSD feels neglected, it starts to bark or growl just to draw your attention.
Are German Shepherds Aggressive Towards Other Dogs
German Shepherds can be very protective of their territory and will be aggressive towards any intruder. It doesnât matter if itâs a human or dog GSDs will be hostile if GSDs feel invaded. But this only happens when the dog lacks proper training.
A well-behaved German Shepherd will be friendly towards other dogs and wonât see them as a threat. Thatâs why these dogs need to be socialized as early as possible. They need to be able to understand circumstances that require them to be aggressive.
German Shepherds should be taken to puppy classes and allowed to play with other dogs. They need to understand that itâs normal and safe to have other people and dogs around the house. As puppies, German Shepherds need to get comfortable with seeing other dogs.
Breed Restrictions And Your German Shepherd
One thing you definitely want to consider before getting a German Shepherd or moving to a new place with a German Shepherd is where you want to live.
If you plan to rent an apartment , your dog may not be welcome due to breed restrictions for apartments.
Allie and I are lucky where we live, German Shepherds are a popular dog breed. However, because breed restrictions are so widespread, Ive still encountered some places where breed restrictions are in full force.
Thisarticle will go over all you need to know about breed restrictions, includingthe most common places youll encounter them.
As a bonus, Ive included an aggressive breed list for renters to reference when looking for a place to live. While laws vary widely, its good to have a general overview of breed restrictions and how they affect you and your German Shepherd.
Do Dog Breed Restrictions Work
Most studies agree that breed specific legislation is not actually very effective at increasing public safety against dog bites or attacks. Here are several problems associated with breed restrictions and legislation:
- While specific breeds were bred for specific reasons , there is still something to be said for nurture over nature.
- Just because a dog is of a certain breed does not immediately make it an aggressive attack animal. There are plenty of people who own aggressive breeds and never have an issue with their furry pal showing signs of aggression.
- Where do mixed-breed dogs fit into this discussion? A mixed-breed dog may look like a banned breed, but it may not have the genetics of that breed.
- Can you ban a dog based solely on its looks? This ambiguity also makes these laws very difficult to enforce.
- There are also a lot of negative consequences associated with BSL. For example, people may abandon their dogs if theyre moving somewhere new where their dog is not allowed.
- This increases the number of dogs in shelters or left out on the streets. People may also try to hide their dog indoors and potentially even neglect their vet care to keep their dog a secret.
Unfortunately,it seems that these laws seem to do little to improve the safety of the public,not to mention the safety of the dogs. Instead, they create a false sense ofsecurity.
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How Does An Aggressive German Shepherd Behave
An aggressive GSD is coming from an entirely different place psychologically than a dominant one. While dominant behavior is exhibited by a dog to show everyone whos boss, the root of almost all aggression is fear.
So when a GSD displays aggressive behavior, it is not trying to show that hes the boss, although it may appear that way.
Instead, there is either a primal instinct or learned fear from a past experience that is traumatizing the dog and causing it to lash out with aggression.
Types of aggression
Myth #2 Are German Shepherds Friendly With Kids
This myth, like myth number 1, is likely the result of many years of popular culture portraying the German Shepherd as a scary dog.
Size may also be a factor in this myth as well, being that German Shepherds are large dogs, and can be a bit overwhelming for a tiny child.
The size of a German Shepherd combined with toddlers may be another factor in creating the myth that German Shepherds are not good with kids.
Strong, big dogs can easily knock over a tiny child, causing crying and tears.
Fact: German Shepherds are consistently scored as one of the most popularfamily breeds by the American Kennel Club. This high ranking has much to dowith their temperament as a loyal and kind family dog.
Like any other breed of dog, however, you need to be a responsible dog owner when you mix kids and German Shepherd pups.
German Shepherds benefit from good socialization, and lots of training when you add them to a family with young kids.
Likewise, its important to teach your kiddos safe behavior around all dogs, to avoid unintentional negative interactions.
If your kids are older, a great way to mix kids and dogs is to have your children assist with training your German Shepherd.
Because GSDs are highly intelligent, theythrive with training and focus, and including your kids will help your GermanShepherd acclimate to your whole family.
A well socialized and trained German Shepherd makes a great companion for kids.
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German Shepherd Aggression And Attack Warning Signs
Watch out for signs that your German Shepherd is getting ready to attack another dog.
These warning signs may include:
- a focused stare on their intended target
- raised hair on their back
- a stiff body and muscles
- pulling wildly and strongly toward the other dog
- showing their teeth or pulling their lips back
- and growling
You may even have to avoid your dogs stressors temporarily if your dog is becoming that upset.
So have a plan of action in mind, such as crossing the street safely to avoid another dog walker or choosing a new route to take your dog for exercise.
Give your German Shepherd the chance to choose a good behavior, instead of adding to their stress and causing them to attack unnecessarily.
What Not To Do For Your Aggressive German Shepherd
Some things can make your German Shepherds aggression worse. Its best to avoid doing the following which will slow your training.
Dont punish a dog for aggressiveness toward another dog in your home. Your dog will associate the punishment with the other dog and with you. This breaks down social relationships.
Dont allow your dogs to fight to work things out on their own. One of your dogs could seriously injure the other!
Dont set your dog up for failure. If you keep having issues with your German Shepherd attacking your other dog dont let them ever be together unsupervised.
Dont think its just a one-time event. Most likely, your German Shepherd and your other dog have issues with each other that youre not aware of. Thinking this is just a one-time thing could put your dogs in danger when they attack each other again.
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Discipline Your Aggressive German Shepherd In The Right Way
While your first instinct might be to harshly punish your German Shepherd for showing aggression, this could make matters worse.
Instead, youll need to learn how to have the right discipline techniques for a German Shepherd.
Discipline them the same way to ensure they understand that your actions will remain consistent and theyll know what to expect.
The best way to discipline an aggressive German Shepherd is to always have them on a leash and to direct them away from whats upsetting them. Dont jerk them on their leash, but call them to you and walk away without yelling or screaming.
Avoid getting them more worked up by not using harsh reprimands or physical violence or force.
Your job is to help your aggressive German Shepherd not encounter any stressors by anticipating what they react to and avoiding it. Plan ahead for what youll do when you see another dog coming your way.
Symptoms Of Aggression In German Shepherd
Aggressive behavior cannot be described by a single word or expression, Its a combination of various expressions under various circumstances. Some of the very common symptoms are as follows
Your GSD continues to bark and growl at you even after saying NO and started to bark even louder.
Your GSD snaps back at you if you try to refrain him from something hes doing.
Your GSD tried to harm other animals or human or chase while barking continuously
Your GSD bites you with force
Your GSD snarls at you showing the teeth
If you do notice some of the above-mentioned signs frequently its time to address it.
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Myth #3 Are German Shepherds Good With Other Dogs
A big dog, with an intense loyalty to their owner is likely the source of this myth.
Like with small children, a German Shepherd can be intimidating to other dogs, whether they are the sweetest dog or a bit on the irritable side.
Many dog owners assume that because they arelarger in stature, a German Shepherd isnt going to be a good match with othercanine members of the family or with friends pets.
Fact: German Shepherds can be testy with other dogs. And female German Shepherds seem to be more easily irritated by other dogs. That doesnt mean however that they are inherently bad with other dogs.
It just means that you will need to work a bit harder at socialization and training if you are selecting a German Shepherd. It is true that female German Shepherds seem to be a bit more feisty towards other dogs.
This may be a result of their intense loyalty and protective nature. That doesnt mean they arent good with other dogs, however.
If you are introducing your German Shepherd to a new dog, use good sense practices, like meeting in a neutral location like a dog park.
Also, make sure you keep your GSD on a leash until you are sure that they are comfortable with new dogs. This will allow you to make quick corrections to their behavior when necessary.
Surviving A German Shepherd Attack
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