Are German Shepherds considered an aggressive breed?
It’s a common belief that German Shepherds are aggressive and difficult to train. However, when you understand some of the traits of this breed, you’ll see that German Shepherds are not inherently aggressive, but with the right training, they can be a perfect pet.
Are German Shepherds inherently aggressive?
The problem with German Shepherds is that they’re natural guard dogs, which means they’ll instantly alert you of anything around them, like an intruder.
They also act aggressively when protecting their family and property. It’s this aggression that makes them a great guard dog.
People assume that a German Shepherd will attack anyone who invades his territory; however, that’s not always the case if he doesn’t know you’re there.
Why do people think German Shepherds are aggressive?
People assume German Shepherds are aggressive because they’re large dogs with stumpy legs, and they bark a lot. However, these traits don’t mean a dog is aggressive. This view is rooted in the nature of the German Shepherd.
What are German Shepherds like in nature?
German Shepherds are highly intelligent dogs and are known to be incredibly loyal.
They’re also very devoted and protective of their family, property and friends, which makes them perfect guard dogs.
There have been stories of German Shepherds saving their owner when a fire started nearby, or even chasing away a burglar (thanks Michael Vick).
The main problem with these traits is that they’ll attack without warning if someone invades their territory; however, that’s not always the case.
The importance of early socialization
Socialization is the process by which a child learns about social behaviors and social interactions (including interaction between people) in a positive manner.
There are two main types of socialization that are critical for dogs: early socialization (which begins at puppyhood) and adulthood socialization (which continues throughout life).
According to the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association, “socialize puppies to age-appropriate stimuli such as other dogs, people, places and things from an early age so they don’t grow up fearful or aggressive.
Possible reasons why our German Shepherd is acting aggressively
1. Lack of confidence
One reason why your German Shepherd is acting aggressively is that he’s lacking confidence. He does not trust people who approach him or other dogs that might threaten him (like his new owner).
This lack of confidence results from not being socialized with humans from an early age; however, human contact is crucial for a dog’s development.
In fact, unless you’re confident in yourself, your German Shepherd will never feel comfortable around humans or other dogs.
2. Behavorial traits
German Shepherds are known to have “instant” aggression (meaning they’ll act aggressively with no fear or hesitation).
This type of aggression is usually a result of the dog not being properly socialized with people or other dogs.
However, while this means that German Shepherds can be incredibly loyal to their owners, these traits also mean that these dogs would not be suitable for families with small children, as children are more likely to provoke an aggressive action from a German Shepherd.
3. Lack of enjoyment
Another reason your German Shepherd may act aggressively is that he’s not enjoying the activity he’s involved in.
For example, if you’re exercising your dog by running around the park with him, but he’s not enjoying it (because of a lack of physical fitness), then you’ll most likely see signs of aggression from your pet.
4. Inadequate training
Inadequate training is another reason why your German Shepherd may act aggressively towards people.
For instance, if he’s not trained properly, and he doesn’t understand your commands, then you’ll most likely see signs of aggression (like barking or growling) from him towards other people.
Some people believe German Shepherds are dangerous around children, however they aren’t; however, that’s not to say that they’re always suitable for a family with small children.
In fact, a study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania revealed German Shepherds can be aggressive towards kids (untrained dogs are more likely to act aggressively).
What can you do to make your German Shepherd less aggressive?
You should only train a German Shepherd if he has a high willingness to please and is able to understand what you want.
This will prevent him from developing behavior problems or being aggressive.
Socialization is important in this process too. When training, try to connect commands with things that the dog loves, like treats or walks.
As they get older, German Shepherds are very good at reading body language, so keep your body movements calm and consistent when training him.
Overall, the German Shepherd is not an aggressive dog, but there are reasons why he might act aggressively; however, most of these can be prevented.
For instance, if your dog is aggressive towards people, it’s likely to be a result of not being socialized as a puppy. You should begin socialization when your German Shepherd is a puppy and continue until he’s an adult.