The German Shepherd breed is known for their aggressive behaviors and tendencies. In fact, they are often touted for this behavior and it is utilized to make good, strong guard dogs. This does not mean that you want to encourage this aggressive behavior as it can be incredibly dangerous. Your canine could end up hurting someone or someone else's dog. This could lead to your canine getting put down and land you on the hook for huge monetary damages, not to mention land someone you care about in the hospital. German Shepherds are considered good guard dogs but if they are not trained guard dogs, then you need to curb any aggressive tendencies.
The Root of the Behavior
German Shepherds are quite an intelligent breed, which means that you should be able to train them fairly easily. While they are showing aggressive behaviors, it is important that you contain them, keep them on a leash, and away from potential targets for their aggression. Anytime you are dealing with an aggressive canine, it is almost certainly better to leave the training to the professionals whenever possible. An aggressive dog is a very real concern and should not be taken lightly. When trying to predict aggressive behavior, the body language is where you want to start. A canine who is about to attack will show it in their stance, they will bare their teeth and growl or bark in a very low pitch. These are all warning signs that they are about to attack.
It is essential for this type of breed to get enough daily exercise. Being cooped up gives them far too much pent up energy and it gives them no way to release any stress or anxiety. They can also be extremely overprotective, and it is important to remove them from any environment where they might perceive you or those close to them to be in danger. For instance, if you have children and they like to rough house with their friends, your canine might not perceive that as the fun and friendly game it is supposed to be and consider your child to be in danger. If they perceive that danger, they can be extremely overprotective and attack the other child. This is a disastrous situation. To make sure your canine is not going to attack anyone in the future, there are measures you can take and training you can do. Canines who are intended to be guard dogs need attack dog training to make sure they do not just attack for no reason.
Encouraging the Behavior
The problem with having an aggressive German Shepherd is their strength. If you have a Chihuahua that likes to attack, well who really cares. They do not have the power or strength to likely break the skin or cause any real threat. Your German Shepherd is another story entirely. The pure bite strength of a grown German Shepherd is enough to break a bone and cause very serious physical injuries. This breed is also prone to becoming very territorial and possessive. If they feel like they are being invaded or have unwanted guests, this can lead to an aggressive outburst.
This can also stem from past trauma or abuse the dog has received. Your best course of action is to train them from a young age. The earlier you get started, the more success you are going to have. Socialize them at an early age. This means you should bring other canines around when they are young, have other people at the house, and make sure they do not feel like they are the only canines and you are the only person allowed in their territory. Even a young German Shepherd may react poorly to visitors, but at this age they will not have the power to do any real harm and they will get used to having company.
Other Solutions and Considerations
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to make sure your canine does not have aggressive and destructive outbursts. A professional trainer is certainly the best step you can make and can end up saving lives as well as saving you from huge lawsuits. Canines going through old age or chronic pain may also become more prone to aggressive behavior. Just like a person would, if hurting all the time, your dog may become irritable and more likely to lash out. If this behavior has only come around lately due to underlying medical conditions, contact your vet to see if there is anything that can be done about the pain they are in.
A full-grown German Shepherd has the bite strength superior to most other canine breeds. They are highly protective and loyal dogs, but these traits that have so many positive benefits can turn quite wrong quite quickly. Make sure your dog is getting the training and attention he or she needs to keep everyone safe.
By a Malamute Husky lover Robert Potter
Published: 03/29/2018, edited: 01/30/2020