German Shepherd Aggression: Reasons & Ultimate Solution

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The aggressive traits and actions of the German Shepherd breed are well-known. In fact, they are frequently praised for this behavior, which helps them create effective, powerful guard dogs. This does not imply that you should support this aggressive behavior because it might be quite risky. Your dog might end up injuring someone or another dog. This might result in the euthanasia of your dog, put you on the hook for substantial financial losses, put a loved one in the hospital, and more. Although German Shepherds are regarded as good guard dogs, you must control any aggressive instincts if they are not trained guard dogs.


Why Does A German Shepherd Suddenly Become Aggressive?

Your German Shepherd may be aggressive for a variety of reasons, and each one will probably be accompanied by a number of telltale signs.

I’ll list some potential causes for your German Shepherd’s aggression below, along with some telltale signs to watch out for.


  • Previous owners

Your German Shepherd may be violent for a number of reasons, including possible mistreatment or abuse from past owners.

If your German Shepherd was adopted from a shelter, this would be far more likely. It might also be the case if you purchased it from someone when it was still a young animal.


  • You’re being overly sentimental about it

You might experience too much emotion yourself, which could lead to your German Shepherd acting aggressively.

The German Shepherd will notice if you start acting more emotionally reactively. It can feel like something is wrong as a result and turn hostile.

This would be more likely the cause if it only acts aggressively in circumstances where you react violently to it yourself. Additionally, it would be more probable if you frequently yell at it and move frantically in close proximity to it.


  • You’re too aggressive towards it yourself

You might be acting too aggressively toward it yourself, which is another thing you might be doing incorrectly.

If you are violent toward it, it may result in behavioral problems like aggression. This is due to the fact that it will respond negatively to your actions, develop a mistrust of you, and possibly not comprehend why it is being punished for acting aggressively


  • You have been rewarding the behavior

As will be seen below, positive reinforcement training can be a very successful method for teaching your German Shepherd how to behave.

If your strategy for urging it to quit acting aggressively is to reward it with items it enjoys, it could backfire on you.

It would be very beneficial if you stopped rewarding your German Shepherd with cookies or other appealing items when it is hostile. Below, we’ll talk more about this.


  • A lack of training

It is more possible that your German Shepherd will behave in ways that you do not want it to if you have not given it any training.

This is because it won’t be aware of the behaviors you want it to exhibit and will instead act in accordance with its inherent desires.


  • Protecting territory or its owneris

German Shepherds are a breed that is naturally very protective. It is more likely that your German Shepherd is acting protectively if it tends to get more hostile around other people or dogs while they are present.


How Does an Aggressive German Shepherd Behave?

An aggressive German Shepherd comes from a completely different psychological foundation than an aggressive one. While a dog’s dominant behavior serves to establish dominance, fear is nearly always the driving force behind violence.

Consequently, even though it may seem that way, when a German Shepherd acts aggressively, it is not aiming to establish itself as the dominant party.

Instead, the dog is traumatized and acting aggressively because of a primitive instinct or a learned fear from a previous event.


What Are Different Types Of Aggression

  • Possessive: Dogs once had to defend their food sources and dens from other wolves. Modern dogs occasionally develop this basic habit, becoming possessive of their food and bones and snapping at anyone who approaches.
    These dogs are common; everything seems fine until you get close to their meal or bone. They are the first to alert you of your proximity, even if you might not be aware of it.
  • Fearful aggression:This usually happens when a dog feels the need to defend itself but is unable to do so. Most dogs who display this kind of hostility will retreat and leave the situation if given the chance. But if they find themselves in a tight spot, they could believe that resorting to violence is their only option.
  • Defensive aggression: The difference is that the defensively aggressive dog won’t retreat as its first response, thus it still arises out of fear. It would prefer address the situation before it gets to that point rather than allowing itself to become cornered.
  • Aggression due to pain: A typically calm and kind dog may suddenly and without warning become violent if they are in pain. If the dog sees anything as potentially uncomfortable or if it has an underlying medical problem, this may occur.
    This is one of the reasons dogs frequently bite veterinarians. The dog is merely reacting and not actually thinking.
  • Territorial aggression: A dog’s instinct to defend an area they perceive as belonging to them is what causes them to act aggressively in this way. Most likely, this is the residence they call home, as well as the land around it.
    A territorially aggressive dog may merely bark at strangers trying to enter the house or property, but occasionally they may do more than just bark; they may actually bite the person, regardless of who they are.
  • Predatory aggression: A dog’s prey drive is intimately tied to this sort of aggression. Many dogs will instinctively pursue anything they believe is escaping.
  • Protective aggression: When a member of their family is in danger, dogs, particularly German Shepherds, will occasionally exhibit protective violence.
  • Frustrated aggression:  When denied what it wants, a dog may act aggressively out of frustration. For instance, some dogs may turn aggressive out of frustration if you try to confine them while they are aroused and want to socialize with another human or animal.


How To Train Aggressive German Shepherd


German Shepherds are generally not aggressive canines. The German Shepherd should never be overtly aggressive, despite the fact that they are wary of strangers and take their time warming up to humans.

Even if it isn’t obvious at first glance, a German Shepherd’s aggressive conduct has a legitimate cause. Fear, worry, tension, and pain are all frequent causes of dog aggression. Decide who or what your German Shepherd is aggressive toward as your first step.



Dogs rarely launch surprise attacks. Typically, there are numerous red flags that people have overlooked. Recognizing these warning signs will enable you to act quickly while teaching your aggressive German shepherd.



When training an aggressive German Shepherd, safety must always come first. Depending on how aggressive your dog is, you may want to consider a head halter or a muzzle. It is more beneficial than you might realize.



You can prevent some of your German Shepherd’s triggers. To avoid seeing many people or dogs, you can go for walks during the quieter hours. It also functions to put a barrier between the triggers and the dog.



You must schedule brief sessions while training your German Shepherd to feel secure around their triggers. Dogs, for one, have a short attention span. Another reason is that your German Shepherd is more prone to act aggressively the more bored or frustrated they become.



You won’t be able to train your aggressive German Shepherd overnight. It will require a lot of effort and endurance. Increasing the trigger’s intensity too quickly could result in an angry reaction and undo all your previous hard work.



When dealing with an aggressive German Shepherd, yelling or using physical force is never a good idea. Because they are already outside their comfort zone, your German shepherd will get more agitated under further stress. Punishing your dog for snarling or snapping is also not a good idea.



The German Shepherd can bite harder than the majority of other dog breeds when it is fully mature. They are very devoted and protective dogs, yet these qualities, which have so many wonderful benefits, may easily go awry. Ensure that your dog is receiving the instruction and care required to keep everyone safe.

Anthony Lopez

Anthony Lopez

German Shepherds Are Awesome!

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