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Why Are German Shepherds So Aggressive

Myth #1 Do German Shepherds Attack Their Owners


Many myths about German Shepherds are related to their aggression level.

Historically, in movies and television especially, we see examples of German Shepherds behaving badly.

This myth is likely supported by the common use of German Shepherds as police and military dogs.

These dogs tend to act aggressively, and have been known to unintentionally injure their owners. But is this action an actual attack or is it just a case of mistaken identity?

Fact: German Shepherds do not attack their owners any more frequently thanmany other breeds of dogs. In many cases of injury caused to owners by GermanShepherds, the dog is not at fault or the incident was not a case ofaggression.

This doesnt mean however that GermanShepherds havent been known to attack their owners. Many well documented caseswhere a GSD has attacked their owner, there is a known history of abuse.

;In these instances, the dog has attacked its owner out of fear or as a way of protecting itself in a scary situation.

German Shepherds, like most other dogs will take any action necessary to protect themselves when they are feeling threatened, even if the threat is their owner.

Do German Shepherds Get More Aggressive With Age

Hitting, yelling or other harsh punishments at a young age can breed aggressive behavior in German Shepherds over time. A German Shepherd like other breeds of dog needs to have been properly socialized with people and other dogs by the time he reached 14 weeks.

Signs Your Dog Is Experiencingfear Or Stress

Stress and fear are some first signs of aggression.

But, maybe you arent sure when your dog shows stress or shows fear?

This section helps you learn to recognize your dogs body language to help understand your dogs aggression triggers.

Herere the most popular signs your dog experiences fear or stress:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Insufficient relaxation or sleep time
  • Other animals harassing your dog
  • Lack of positive attention from you
  • Inconsistent or unclear behavior rules taught by you
  • Insufficient physical or mental exercise
  • You give incorrect attention during arousal behaviors

You can correct the lack of exercise through a balanced German Shepherd exercise routine for health. Be sure youre meeting your high-energy breeds energy needs every day in a variety of ways.

Boredom, due to lack of mental stimulation, is also correctable. Read this guide on using mental stimulation exercises for German Shepherds to improve their behavior.

Motherhood, hypothyroidism, and physical pain all contribute to stress and hostile episodes. While motherhood passes, other medical conditions need treatment.

Talk to your vet before trying to address aggression on your own as an underlying medical condition may exist.

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Why Is My Dog Being Aggressive All Of A Sudden

1 Your suddenly aggressive dog may have an injury or an illness thats causing major discomfort and stress. Some possible causes of pain include arthritis, bone fractures, internal injuries, various tumors, and lacerations. Other illnesses may affect your dogs brain, leading to seemingly unreasonable aggression.

Are German Shepherds Aggressive How To Deal With Such Behavior

How to Train a German Shepherd to Attack
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Not every dog is aggressive, and not every dog is calm and snug as a bug. But, are German shepherds aggressive? Can you tell if your Rex is showing signs of aggression? Is it even possible to fight aggression?

The beloved dog breed, the German shepherd, is no stranger in showing signs of aggression. However, this doesnt mean such behavior is in their nature. To stop it, we have to know whats causing it.

An aggressive German shepherd could be quite a challenge to live with. Thats why its of the utmost importance to learn how to identify and recognize aggression in every form.

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Aggressive Behavior In German Shepherds

There are many causes of aggressive behavior in German Shepherds. It might be due to a dominance related issue between you and the dog, or it might be a trigger that was never properly dealt with from puppyhood such as an attack by another dog. Whatever it is that is causing your German Shepherds aggression, you need to address it as soon as possible. The results of prolonged aggression can be not only scary, but dangerous if not quickly taken to task.

German Shepherds are intelligent dogs that are very strong and athletic; they are used for guard dogs, police dogs, drug- and bomb-detection dogs, therapy dogs and loving family pets. German Shepherd owners need to know what theyre doing with such a strong breed of dog. Unfortunately many owners get a German Shepherd without having done their homework first. ;This is often where the problems start, and very sad, mixed-up, and often aggressive German Shepherds are at times abandoned.

How Do You Get Your German Shepherd To Stop Aggression Toward Other Dogs

Preventing dog attacks is a priority to avoid any damage your German Shepherd may cause other dogs or the people around trying to stop the attack.

Consider the following to help your German Shepherd with better behaviors around other dogs.

  • Counter Conditioning using treats and rewards to positively associate other dogs with good things your Shepherd likes and enjoys
  • Desensitizationtraining having your German Shepherd around other dogs in short spurts to get them used to other dogs
  • Shaping your dogs behavior rewarding tiny steps toward good behaviors
  • Training competing behaviors teaching your dog basic commands so you have a different behavior that competes with their aggression or attacking;
  • Visiting your vet a checkup can rule out any underlying medical conditions
  • Finding an animal behaviorist a dog behaviorist can help you build a program to treat the aggression
  • Getting the right exercise aggressive dogs do better with their behaviors when their physical fitness needs are met

Its important to remember to stay calm and to not yell, jerk, or cause your dog any more anxiety than they already have around your other dog.

Instead, stay focused on signs that your dog is about to become aggressive to other dogs or attack them.

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The Bite Of A German Shepherd

Theres a saying that when a German Shepherd bites you, shes in it for the long haul. An aggressive 70-pound dog pouncing on you can get quite ugly fast.

Think broken bones, damaged muscles, deep lacerations, bruises, scars, and expensive medical bills. Although uncommon, it can sometimes lead to the victims death.

German Shepherds have a bite force of 238 PSI , compared to humans with a bite force of 162 PSI.

In fact, the American Animal Hospital Association lists the German Shepherd as one of the six breeds with the most dangerous bites, based on a US study.

Therefore, training your GSD to inhibit her bite is mandatory as it not only rewards you with a well-behaved dog, but also ensures your safety as well as the safety of the people around you.

A crucial step towards correcting this nasty behavior is to first understand why German Shepherd puppies bite.

Before we move on, take a look at some important and useful information that weve written for you in the following 2 articles:

Most Common Aggressive Behaviors


Aggressive behavior has a different pattern with each dog. The aggression can be exhibited in mood swings or intolerance towards other animals. Some of the most common aggressive behaviors include:

constant barking even if you say NO

chewing on the furniture or other belongings

chasing or barking at other pets living with you

growling or nipping as you approach to touch him

growling or barking when you have food

Also Check: How To Train German Shepherd Not To Bite

Your Dog Growls Or Nips At You When You Try To Touch Him

Your German Shepherd should never nip at your or growl when you try to touch him. This is a distinct sign of aggression and it may lead to more dangerous behavior in the future.

When your dog growls at you or nips when you try to touch him, hes telling you that youre a threat. He doesnt trust you and thats not good for either of you if your dog doesnt trust you, itll be more challenging to train him.

If your dog nips and growls when you try to touch him, take him to training lessons as soon as possible. You dont want this behavior to evolve into full-on biting, especially if your dog will be around children.

Signs Your German Shepherd Is Bored

Raising a dog is quite a responsibility, and while some pets just need food and shelter, dogs require positive engagement, socialization, and exercise. German Shepherds are a large breed with lots of energy, and if you dont find productive outlets for this energy, youll have an aggressive dog who is poorly socialized and frustrated.;

We often overlook our own boredom but doing the same with our canines is unfair. The consequences of boredom vary, and you should watch out for the following signs that indicate that your German Shepherd is bored.

Your Dog Chews and Digs a Lot

While chewing things and digging soft earth are natural tendencies among canines, if you notice a spike in such behavior, you can be sure that it is because your girl wants to alleviate her boredom.;

In case youve never adopted a dog before, you may talk to a friend who has dogs and ask them to observe whether the frequency with which your German Shepherd digs or bites is typical for her age/breed. Please note that youll need to train your dog to avoid such behavior, even if this is not excessive. You can check out this article, German Shepherd Behavior Problems: Tips That Actually Work! for greater insight into this topic.

Your Dog Pants and Claws Sans-Stimuli

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How To Stop German Shepherd Aggression

Whenever your German Shepherd shows an undesirable or aggressive behavior, you must contain him and stop the behavior. But how do you actually stop or prevent this from happening in the first place?

If youre a novice owner, here are some things you can do to prevent and stop the dangerous behaviors from developing.

Can 2 Female German Shepherds Live Together

Why are German Shepherd Dogs aggressive?5 Reasons & solution.

Will two female German Shepherds get along? Two female German Shepherds can get along; however, the German Shepherd breed is known to develop same-gender aggression. There are several excellent characteristics of female German Shepherds, but trying to place two together can often result in misbehavior and fighting.

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What Are Your Dogs Triggers

Triggers are immediate actions or behaviors that increase or begin the act of aggression in your dog.

Determine what sets off your dog by watching their body language signs listed above and noting their environment.

Some triggers include:

  • Threatening behavior from another dog or person

Keep track of triggers so you can work with your dog to lessen the behavior.

Once you determine your dogs triggers and understand your dogs body language, you can help your German Shepherd become less aggressive by keeping them away from those triggers.

Get The Right Amount And Type Of Exercise

You might not realize your dog is underexercised until theres a problem with their behavior.

Some German Shepherds that have attacked other dogs are in need of the right amount of exercise in addition to the previous training.

German Shepherds need at least 2 walks a day which last 1 hour each since theyre a high-energy working breed. Exercise also decreases stress and anxiety and can give your GSD a positive outlet for their energy.

But, its not just about the amount of exercise you give your aggressive German Shepherd, but the variety and type.

Try a few different ideas from this German Shepherd exercise routine to offer your dog the opportunity to try something new.

Plus, if your German Shepherd is acting aggressively toward other dogs, you might find yourself neglecting their walks out of anxiety or fear. So, give them exercise in other ways to keep their stress levels low.

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He Feels Overprotective Of You

Sometimes, your German Shepherd wont be aggressive toward you but he will antagonize other people. In these cases, he may feel overprotective and act out of line, assuming its the right thing to do.

If this is the case, your dog needs more training. He needs to learn whats a threat and what isnt after all, you cant have your dog barking at your family members or chasing your other pets.

The idea is to change your dogs perception of a threat. They need to learn when protective behaviors are necessary and when its safe to relax.

A professional trainer can help you teach your dog these basics. Once he learns to differentiate between threats, family members, and guests, hell change his aggressive behaviors accordingly.

Work With An Animal Behavior Therapist


For people that may have complex psychological issues, a therapist can help to unravel the ball of yarn, so to speak. The same applies with your dog.

You may be surprised at what a professional dog behavior expert may be able to accomplish with your dog and you together.

So if you feel that your dog is aggressive, take a step back and do not get frustrated. Go through the proper channels, speak with your veterinarian, and speak with a behaviorist.

Chances are there will be a hopeful future.

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Why Do German Shepherds Pee When Excited

Excitement urination in dogs is especially associated with puppies, and its expected that they will grow out of this behavior with age.;

When you scratch your GSDs belly, arrive home from work, or a visitor greets them, all these can cause them extreme excitement, and your puppy may pee small amounts of urine. Of course, this is a problem if your pup is on the carpet or lying on your new couch!

According to UCDavis Veterinary Medicine, excitement urination in dogs may also be triggered by a few other causes:

  • Accidental reinforcement this means that you sympathize with and excuse your German Shepherds inability to always hold their urine, and they begin to use it as a way to find sympathy from you.;
  • Bladder sphincter this is a bladder dysfunction that comes with decreased bladder control.
  • Genetic predisposition your dogs parents were predisposed or had the condition.

Excitement urination should be differentiated from urine-marking which is a behavior problem. Dogs will spray to mark their territory or communicate their belonging to you. You can learn how to deal with German Shepherd spraying here.

The Source Of Aggressive Behavior In German Shepherds

Dog aggression can start as young as 6 weeks of age, a crucial age when a German Shepherd puppy should be socialized with other dogs and given the necessary training that keeps them from biting other people. This period of socialization lasts until the dog turns 14 weeks of age and can extend even further beyond that.

This means several things. First, never take a puppy away from its litter before 8 weeks of age. Never use harsh discipline with the puppy between 8 and 10 weeks and make sure the dog is very gently treated in that time. Hitting, yelling or other harsh punishments at a young age can breed aggressive behavior in German Shepherds over time.

A German Shepherd like other breeds of dog needs to have been properly socialized with people and other dogs by the time he reached 14 weeks. This socialization will avoid any future aggression issues.

Actual aggression can be triggered by any number of factors. Heredity and genetics are certainly factors some breeds can be more aggressive than others but it is by no means a hard fast rule. Additionally, dogs that have not been neutered or spayed are more prone to aggressive tendencies.

Read Also: When To Neuter A German Shepherd

How Do You Punish A German Shepherd

How to Discipline a German Shepherd Puppy Learn How to Discipline a German Shepherd Puppy the Right Way. Use reward-based training. Ignore jumping when your pup wants attention. Redirect bad German Shepherd puppy behavior. Use time-outs appropriately. Ignore the unnecessary barking. Keeping your pup from nipping and chewing.More items

Use Daily Leadership Skills


Use daily interactions as an effective way of teaching your dog about leadership.

For example:

  • Feed your pup only after youve eaten and have them sit before their meal.
  • Dont let your pup sleep in your bed if youre experiencing aggressive biting issues, as this may teach them they rank as high as you on the leadership scale.
  • Have them sit before you take them for a walk or exiting a door.

While these dont directly stop your puppy from biting, they help communicate with your dog your leadership. If your dog sees you as a confident leader, theyre likely to respect your discipline more.

You can learn how to get your dog to start behaving by reading Easy German Shepherd Training at Home .

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The Puppy Might Be Overstimulated Fearful Or Anxious

Sometimes puppies lose control of their bite because of overstimulation. Overstimulation can happen during playtime, or when your puppy has become cranky due to teasing.

Your GSD puppy may also bite out of fear. Your puppy has but 2 defenses to run away or to bite. If your puppy feels cornered, then biting is the defense that she will most often resort to.

Why Do German Shepherds Lay Down To Eat

Some people will say fatigue, aging, pain, and injury are reasons for this German Shepherd behavior. While these are valid, there is one reason that seems to be a more logical explanation of why your GSD lays down to eat.

In their wild nature, before we domesticated them, dogs had to hunt their food and protect it from intruders. This meant that keeping sight of their prey from the hunting stage to when the prey was ready to eat was important. Hence, dogs lie down to eat so they can see who is approaching from the front while they enjoy the fruit of their labor.;

Below is a photo of my German Shepherd displaying this dog behavior.

What is most interesting is that a dogs natural laying position while eating is better for his health.

Feeding your German Shepherd from his usual bowl can affect your dogs oral and spinal health. This is because eating involves not only a dogs teeth but also other bones and muscles.

Eating the unnatural way can cause misalignments in these bones and muscles and disrupt the bodys acidic pH, which explains the health risks to the spine and the tartar, gingivitis, and loose teeth.;

Next time your German Shepherd eats lying down, just smile and say, Well, my dog is being natural today!

For a more in-depth article on this behavior, check out my article, 5 Reasons Why German Shepherds Lay Down to Eat.

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