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Aggressive Behavior in German Shepherd Dogs
German Shepherd Breed
Aggressive behavior in German Shepherd dogs can come from many causes. It might be due to a dominance related issue between you and your dog over his environment, or it might be a trigger that was never properly dealt with from when he was a puppy, i.e. an attack by another dog. Whatever it is that is causing your German Shepherd dog’s aggression, however, you need to address it as soon as possible. The results of prolonged aggression can not only be scary, but dangerous if not quickly taken to task.
Aggressive Behavior in German Shepherd Dogs - The Source
German Shepherd Dog aggression can start at a very early age - as young as 6 weeks old. This is a crucial age when a German Shepherd puppies. At this age they 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 German Shepherd dog turns 14 weeks of age and can extend even further beyond that.
This means a couple of things. Firstly, you should never remove a German Shepherd puppy away from its litter before 8 weeks of age. You should also never use harsh discipline with the German Shepherd puppy between 8 and 10 weeks. Also make sure the German Shepherd dog is very gently treated during this time. Hitting, yelling or other harsh punishments at a young age can breed aggressive behavior in German Shepherd dogs over time. Never, ever punish!
The best way to let your dog know that a particular behavior is not tolerated is to do an isolation exercise. Gently grab your dog by the collar and take them to the bathroom or a room where they don't have their doggy bed or eating bowl - somewhere unfamiliar - and leave them there until they calm down. By the way, do this without saying a word or acknowledging them. And act the same when you let them out. You may have to do this a few times.
A German Shepherd dog needs to have been properly socialized with people and other dogs by the time he reaches 14 weeks old to avoid any future aggression issues.
Actual aggression can be triggered by any number of factors. Heredity and genetics are certainly big factors – some breeds can be more aggressive than others – but it is by no means a hard fast rule. Additionally, German Shepherd dogs that have not been neutered or spayed are more prone to have aggressive tendencies - most calm down quite a bit and some not so much after the process has been done.
By far, however, the most important factor in creating aggressive behavior in German Shepherd dogs is their environment. A German Shepherd dog, or any dog for that matter, that has poor living conditions, harsh masters, no socialization, or that has been frightened or attacked by another dog is far more likely to be aggressive as it ages.
Aggression can grow from the need to establish a pack pecking order. Biting, posturing, and other aggressive tendencies are often the result of a dog testing for dominance. You’ll need to establish dominance at a young age and maintain that position throughout your dog’s adolescence to ensure it doesn’t get a chance to take control of the household. Training German Shepherd dogs early on to know who the Alpha Dog is (you and every human) in the household can eliminate many of your dogs behavioral problems, including aggression.
The best way of looking at this is your German Shepherd dog acts aggressive because he feels he needs to protect you and his environment - if he thinks he is the Alpha dog. Everything that threatens his environment or puppies (you and other humans in the household) will cause him to get excited, thus the bark or other aggressive behavior. Therefore, if you let your dog know that you are the one in charge and you are the protector, then your dog won't have the pressure or anxiety of having to protect the pact.
Stopping and Controlling Aggressive Behavior in German Shepherd Dogs
If your German Shepherd dog exhibits aggressive behavior after 14 months of age, when it has reached sexual maturity, especially after it has been altered, you should address the problem immediately. First, as mentioned above, make sure you have established yourself as the pack leader - the Alpha Dog, as mentioned above. Don’t reward your German Shepherd dog for aggressive behavior, even if it is scared (especially in this case).
Train your dog to respond to your commands, control feeding and walking times, and make sure your dog has a strong leader in the house. If you defer to your dog or allow it to take liberties in your home, it will exhibit stronger aggression toward others.
If your German Shepherd dog is defensive-aggressive, they may strike out at a person in fear. These dogs may not have been properly socialized. Keep them away from small children (which they may see as direct threats) and attend a training German Shepherd dog session or seek a behaviorist who can slowly acclimate your dog to a social atmosphere.
Aggressive behavior in German Shepherd dogs is a huge problem that many owners have, but it can be controlled, even as your dog gets older. If your German Shepherd dog's aggression ever advances to violence, consider hiring a professional to intervene before someone gets hurt and your dog is held responsible.
Visit www.TrainingGermanShepherdDogs.com and learn more about this wonderful breed.