Behaviors That Sometimes Lead To Aggression
Reactivity: Reactivity is commonly confused with aggression. Dogs that are reactive overreact to certain stimuli or situations. Genetics, lack of socialization, insufficient training to learn self-control, a frightening experience, or a combination of these can cause reactivity, and fear is typically the driving force.
Reactive dogs have certain triggers, such as men with beards or hats, small children, or situations when the dog feels trapped on a leash. If a reactive dog approaches you, the best thing you can do is give him space. Do not approach in an attempt to greet him. If you have a reactive dog, working with a trainer to try behavior modification techniques that will address the cause can prevent escalation to aggression.
Fight or Flight:Fear is the most common cause of aggression. Normally when a dog is scared and feels threatened, he chooses to run from whatever is frightening him. In situations where a dog is trapped or cornered and cant flee, he may fight to protect himself. Fearful dogs may not give any warnings other than their body language. Bites are typically quick snaps and may occur when the person is leaving and has his back turned.
Resource Guarding Dogs tend to guard things they believe hold great worth. These items can be toys, food, bones, sleeping areas, and even people. This tendency comes from the fact that dogs descended from ancestors that were wild and had to protect their resources to survive.
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.
What Causes A Dog To Suddenly Become Aggressive
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.
Month Old Female German Shepherd Is Becoming Agressive
Hi, We rescued a german shepherd female when she was 2 months old and she is now 4 months. When someone comes to the door or a stranger comes up to her she is very aggressively barking and looking like she want to bite them.She is great around our toddlers and most other dogs. It is just strangers and her home. When we walk her she is good.We took her to basic training a couple of months ago. We are afraid she is going to bite someone. We are a young family and don’t have extra money for one on one training.She is not spayed yet, do you think her personality will become less agressive after the surgery?Will she grow out of this aggressive stage?What can we do. We are afraid to keep her.Thanks,
Common German Shepherd Behavioral Problems And Personality Traits
Over the years working as a dog trainer, Ive probably worked with as many German shepherd dogs as any other breed.
Most often, they are an incredibly loyal breed, are devoted to their owners, and have really sweet and fun personalities. And so, to those of you who love the breed and wouldnt consider anything but a German shepherd in the future, I understand!
Yet, some people are terrified of them and feel they are dangerous dogs to own.
To those of you that are wary of German shepherds, I understand where you are coming from, too! First off, they are very large dogs and can come off very intimidating.
Second, their instinct to protect their family or property is strong and can lead untrained German shepherds to becoming very protective, aggressive, and scary dogs.
The keyword here is untrained, as any untrained dogregardless of breedcan have the same problems.
Over the last decade I really feel like Ive come to understand German shepherds and have personally fallen in love with this breed. Ive also realized that theyre so misunderstood due to poorly trained German shepherds often ending up in the news and how they are portrayed on TV and in the media.
For this reason, I wanted to write todays post in hopes that, if you are someone who fears this breed, are looking for help and direction with your dog, or you know someone who is wary of German shepherds, then this honest truth about this lovely breed might change your mind.
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Most Common German Shepherd Behavioral Problems
Before we dive into the most common behavioral problems associated with German shepherds, I think its important to look at where the breed has actually come from.
Over the last century, German shepherds have been used for tracking, search and rescueespecially for the police and protection and guarding. So, its no surprise that a lot of the issues are in this exact area.
They have been intentionally bred for traits such as fierce loyalty, intelligence, and strength.
This leads to one of the first common problems for German shepherds, which revolves around aggression and the need to protect. Its very possible that an untrained German shepherd would be likely to bark or lunge at other dogs or people, especially on his own property.
Its not at all that this type of dog is being mean or nasty. In fact, from the dogs point of view, he believes hes just doing his job of protecting his family or territory.
Its a very, very common problem, and, at the end of the day, it is what the German shepherd has been bred to do a lot of the time.
The good newsthis behavior can be untrained. Or even better yet, if youre working with a German shepherd puppy or a young German shepherd, you can easily avoid this behavioral problem. And in case you are wondering, this does not automatically mean, that if you ever really do need help, that they wont rise to the occasion!
Once again, with some basic training and a good sturdy harness, this behavior can be easily prevented.
What To Do If Biting Becomes Aggressive
Although puppy mouthing is normal, there can be cases where biting can signal problems and possibly even aggression.
How can you tell if a puppys temper tantrum is a warning sign or just playful mouthing?
Well, its not always easy to tell the difference. Look for physical differences in your pup. When play fighting, your puppys overall demeanor should be relatively relaxed.
If your puppy is having a moment of aggression, their body may stiffen when snarling, and bites will typically be more painful than during regular play.
Also, if your GSD puppy is biting out of fear or frustration, you may need to take action. These types of behavior are not something your pup will just grow out of.
If youre worried that your new puppy may be exhibiting signs of aggression, contact a qualified professional for advice.
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Why Is My Puppy So Aggressive
Today, I want to focus on whats classified as play aggression. This includes all the behaviors considered typically aggressive puppy play. These behaviors will either intensify or weaken with maturity and training, so its important to learn how to stop aggressive behavior in puppies early. They turn into life skills for canines as part of their typical species behavior. Even wild animals exhibit some of these behaviors in their play.
With puppies play fighting is an important part of their development. Just as lion cubs learn to pounce on prey. Bears learn to wrestle and bite at each others muzzles to protect their territory as adults. Whether or not your teacup Chihuahua will ever need to rely on her hunting or defense skills, she will likely practice them quite a bit as a pup! So what do these behaviors look like? Here are some aggressive puppy signs you might be worried about.
How To Discourage Biting Behavior
While the German Shepherd puppy biting phase is a rite of passage, there are some ways you can discourage bad biting behavior without harsh discipline.
- Say Ouch! whenever your puppy bites you, even if its not hard. This is one of the most effective ways to teach your German Shepherd bite inhibition or how to be gentle with her teeth.
Think about when your pup was rolling and playing with their brothers and sisters if your GSD was too rough, their sibling would let out a yelp. Thats the language that puppies understand, so use this to your advantage.
This trick worked great with Allie! Just make sure to be consistent until your pup gets the idea and learns to master the power of her jaws. Also, if your furry pal is just mouthy but NOT using her teeth, dont scold her. Puppies will be puppies!
- Redirect the biting to an appropriate toy. For example, when your fuzzy friend latches onto your ankles, give a little puppy-like yelp, and then whip out a toy and encourage your dog to chew on that instead.
Tug-of-war is the perfect game for the puppy biting phase. This is a non-contact game that satisfies your pups urge to use its mouth.
If your puppy is teething, heres a pro tip. Use a frozen KONG toy filled with peanut butter to help with your pups teething woes.
As a bonus, lots of playtime will expend some of your German Shepherd puppys energy!
A Strong Intelligent Breed
The German Shepherd breed is an intelligent, athletic, and strong breed. This is why they are used as police dogs, bomb detection, guard dogs, therapy dogs and family pets.
This is a strong breed both physically and mentally. The problems start when owners do not recognize these traits and they land up with a mixed up, aggressive German Shepherd.
Start training early to avoid aggressive behavior
German Shepherd Puppy Biting Is In The Genes
If you’re already the lucky parent of a German Shepherd puppy, you’ve probably noticed that your GSD puppy is particularly nippy.
And you’d be right
Some owners loving refer to their German Shepherds as land sharks. And it’s true, to begin with.
Of course, that’s until they have learned that biting human limbs is off-limits.
German Shepherds have extremely high prey drives, so they love anything that moves fast!
Anything from balls, garden critters, to other puppies, and unfortunately your hands, feet, or even your pants can become a target.
And the faster you try to move your hand, foot, or something else away, the faster your puppy will move to catch it.
To top it off, your German Shepherd puppy is from strong herding stock so chasing and gathering’ moving objects is pre-programmed into their genes.
Being a herding breed their job is to ensure the flock is contained at all times, and to deal with the wayward sheep by gripping them at the back of the neck, above the hocks, or the ribs.
Keeping in mind what your puppy was originally bred for will be really useful as you work on bite inhibition.
Before we look at how to take charge of your German Shepherd puppy biting we should first understand a few key things about biting
How Do You Discipline A German Shepherd Puppy
Make sure that you discipline your dog with positive reinforcement and not negative actions.
Whatever you do, dont get mad and yell at your dog, and dont hit your dog. These aggressive reactions will not stop your puppy from doing whatever it did that upset you in the first place, but they will cause your dog to stop trusting you.
Boredom Is Dangerous How Do You Amuse An Intelligent Dog
The intelligence of a German shepherd is well known and used in forces. Theyre the best police dogs out there and love challenges. But, what should you do when they begin to feel unchallenged?
Boredom causes aggressive behavior as much as the next factor.
If your dog was a delight to live with but now is aggressive towards other animals, family members, possessions, etc., then hes most likely developed aggressive behavior.
The key to solving it? Get him lots of toys, challenges to pass, mind games, mental stimulation, and socialization with other animals and people.
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How Tall Is A 5 Month Old German Shepherd
Age Weight Growth 4 month old German shepherd 19.0kg 55% of total growth 5 month old German shepherd 22.9kg 66.57% of total growth 6 month old German shepherd 26.1kg 75.52% of total growth 7 month old German shepherd 28.4kg 82.36% of total growth
When your German Shepherd puppy is 3 weeks old, he will be a little more perky than he was the week before, though he should still be napping frequently. You need to keep your puppy entirely on his mothers milk as he is not ready to wean at this point.
You will need to make sure you are feeding your puppy the right type and amount of food to succeed. Whether you have a 4 week old, 6 week old, 8 week old, 10 week old, 12 week old or anything in between German Shepherd puppy, we have you covered.
How To Get Your German Shepherd To Stop Barking Howling And Whining At Night
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to be less noisy at night that I will mention below.
Make sure that you are feeding it correctly
Since diet might be the reason why it gets loud at night it would help to make sure that it is eating the right foods. You can look here to see what you should and shouldnt be giving it. Feeding it earlier in the evening would likely help as well.
Give it exercise
As mentioned above, German Shepherds are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise daily. If your German Shepherd does not currently get much exercise then it would help to make sure that it does. You might find that just walking it isnt enough in that case you could train it to play fetch to wear it out even more.
Make its sleeping environment comfortable
It would likely help to make sure that its sleeping environment will allow it to sleep as easily as possible. You can do this by reducing how much noise it lets in, turning the light off, keeping it cool and making it comfortable.
Try crate training
Crate training is where you teach your German Shepherd to learn to be comfortable inside of a crate designed for dogs.
If you crate train your German Shepherd in the right way it will give it a space where it can feel safe. This will give your German Shepherd a space where it will be able to feel secure at night without you being around.
Train it to be less anxious without you
You can see more on how to do this in the video below.
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My Personal Experience With German Shepherds
As with any breed, theres the whole range of different personalities and characters and temperaments that you can come across. But today, I want to share what my general experiences with German shepherds has been like.
I can confidently say that the breed description given to German shepherds is pretty accurate. I have encountered many German shepherds who are physically and mentally strong, courageous, and often have a hard time backing down.
Of course, not all German shepherds fit this description. Ive come across many who are very fearful and nervous. But mostly, Ive seen the confident, strong-willed shepherds.
Whats fascinating to me with German shepherds is that, despite a strong personality, they do seem to want to work alongside you. They all seem to have a deep desire to connect with you, work for you, and do a great job.
Its almost like they want to be your partner rather than work independently. However, this means, if youre not sure what youre doing, they will very quickly step into the driving seat, which is a problem. You really dont want your German shepherd in charge of making the decisions!
Thats where theyre not a dog for everyone, because German shepherds play this game of Whos in charge, me or you? at a very high level. I call it the dog code.
Since then, Ive fallen in love with German shepherds. I could certainly see myself ending up with one in the future. And yes, I would fully trust this breed around my kids, my wife, and my other dogs.
Growling And Nipping As You Approach
No nipping and no growling thats the rule for a well-behaved GSD. You cant even imagine what could happen next if you let such behavior pass.
This behavior means he sees you as a threat, and hes warning you to back off. He doesnt trust you. If your dog behaves in such a way, you should never leave him with kids. You cant trust him either.
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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: