Many breeds, including the German Shepherd, have been known to exhibit aggressive behavior, earning them an unfavorable reputation. And people sometimes ask the question, are German Shepherd’s dangerous? Bad news for those of us who know and love the breed, as they truly are – both loyal and friendly when properly cared for and socialized. However such behavior is common across all dog breeds and the main reason dog owners look for help from their veterinarian or dog trainer.
While aggressive behavior can be a serious concern for dog owners, and happen for a variety of reasons, you can learn to recognize the signs of such behavior and prevent occurrences and accidents before they happen. It could also be said that correct training from the outset can remove or at least reduce such behavior.
Types of aggressive behavior in dogs
There different types of aggressive behavior exhibited in dogs – it will mean different things to different people, caused by a variety of circumstances and can be classified in several different ways:
- Possessiveness – your German Shepherd may feel they need to guard their ‘belonging’ whether that is their toys, food bowls or even you, their owner.
- Protectiveness – your loyal friend will be looking to protect their pack or family.
- They may be territorial and not take kindly to visitors.
- A dog that is fearful or anxious may display aggressive behavior if they feel threatened
- Hierarchy of the ‘pack’ may result in social aggressiveness
- A dog in pain will often display aggressive behavior – even the most gentle pet may surprise you, albeit with a gentle growling!
- Bitches on heat will raise temperatures all round, both from other bitches and of course intact dogs as their sex hormones being out aggressive traits.
- Your German Shepherd may decide that an attack is the best form of defence
and believe that being bigger and more intimidating will scare off another dog bothering them
Signs of aggressive behaviour
in your dog
It’s important as a dog owner that you recognize some of the basic signs of aggressive dog behavior. Some will be obvious, but others are more subtle and you can prevent situations building up by taking early action. Look for the following tell-tale signs which might start with a warning and build up to an attack:
- Growling and/or snarling
- Baring teeth
- Low guttural sounds – often heard as a pre-cursor to barking and growling
- Ear movement – your dog’s ears are often a measure of how they are feeling – interested or fearful.
- Tensing or stopping and being still or rigid
- Biting – in any combination which could include simply pressure to bites that wound. Biting can also be in combination with shaking – like the type you see in those police dogs training videos