Dog Aggression in German Shepherds – Training Strategies

german sheperdGerman Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds in the world, and for good reason. They are athletic, strong animals with a remarkable intelligence. These traits are why the breed has become one of the signature choices for military, police, therapy and drug-sniffing dogs. They seek duty, activity and purpose. If a dog is not trained to channel their energy, mental and physical, into purposeful activity, this can manifest as nervous or aggressive energy. Early and meaningful training can help to make sure your German Shepherd is happy with their duties in your household and that dog aggression is not a problem.

It is important to note that while German Shepherds may be aggressive, it is not a widespread problem of the breed. Selecting a German Shepherd does not mean you picked out an aggressive pet—your behaviors and interaction with them will help shape their energy and prowess. Before selecting this breed, make sure you do the research to know that you will provide your new pet with a purpose.

Some common ways dog aggression manifests in the breed are:

+ Lunging
+ Biting or snapping
+ Barking or growling
+ Fighting with other dogs or creatures

German Shepherds were bred to be a guard dog so there are numerous situations in which their aggression will manifest. If they see people approaching them while they are eating, a dog may be immediately suspicious of whoever encroaches upon their personal space. Similarly, if this breed sees something that they do not recognize, they will respond with aggression; one of the traits that has made them such a reliable guard dog. Finally, a sense of fear or danger will cause a German Shepherd to respond negatively and bite or bark out of anxiety rather than aggression.

While the German Shepherd has a smattering of aggressive episodes in its breed history, these tendencies can be counteracted by quality K9 training. German Shepherd training can be difficult at first but once you assert your dominance as the master, training your dog can be easy as they want to please you.

Consult with your local veterinarian, humane society, breeder or ASPCA chapter in order to determine a professional K9 trainer to meet your needs. Often, the humane society offers free or low cost training in order to keep all animals in their community happy and health. While it’s critical to adhere to your trainer’s protocol, here are some pointers in starting to train your dog:

+ Your German Shepherd will need to recognize that you are its master—until it does that, you’ll experience opposition and flippant behavior
+ When your dog behaves well, positively reinforce it with praise, food or treats
+ If your dog displays aggressive behavior, correct it immediately and calmly with the appropriate physical and verbal commands like scruffing their neck. Yelling, physical abuse or humiliation is not appropriate and should never be used as a training tactic
+ Make sure all members of your household or family are involved in learning commands and training your German Shepherd, this will help to keep your dog from becoming a one-person dog
+ Exercise your German Shepherd regularly; these animals need vigorous activity daily in order to keep their energy under control, which will help with managing negative behaviors like dog aggression.
+ Take your German Shepherd to obedience class at a minimum.

These animals should be mentally and physically engaged in order to keep them safe during dangerous times, and also to keep your loved ones and strangers safe around your dog

German Shepherds are wonderful dogs with incredible intelligence and strength. Keep their minds and bodies engaged with exercise and regular training to minimize any dog aggression and you will raise happy, well-rounded dogs

german shepherd

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