If your German Shepherd is behaving overly aggressive towards you, then it’s time for you to put an end towards this overly destructive behavior once and for all.
Even though generic dog aggression has already been tackled in a past guide, a more specific and breed-based guide focusing on German Shepherd Aggression merits another comprehensive post.
After all, German Shepherds are strong, athletic and intelligent – they are most commonly associated with intense occupations such as bomb-detectors, watch dogs and guard dogs, so it is already obvious that a German Shepherd is one of the top breeds of dog all around.
However, if these positive traits take a turn for the worse when your German Shepherd starts acting destructively aggressive, you, the pet owner, are going to have to deal with a significant problem.
If you are one of those owners who believe that dog aggression is “normal”, you should go ahead and change that typical mindset right now. German Shepherd aggression is a result of bad training and deficit socialization so ensuring appropriate steps to prevent it from happening is the priority of every owner.
Here are the top three types of German Shepherd aggression:
#1. Breeding-based aggression
Your German Shepherd puppy should already be starting in socialization when he’s already six (6) weeks of age. However, when the owner or the breeder neglects this particular milestone, aggression can develop over time.
* Start socializing your dog with his surroundings at the age of six (6) weeks. If your German Shepherd is particularly advanced, you may even start as early as five (5) weeks. This period of socialization should until he becomes sixteen (16) weeks of age.
* Enroll him in a puppy school once you are sure that he already had his appropriate vaccinations and prophylactic medical treatments.
* Regularly walk him around the neighborhood so that he can meet different people with different backgrounds and different animals with different breeds.
* Take him jogging, hiking or running every day. Make sure to interact with him regularly.
* Never take your German Shepherd puppy away from his litter before eight (8) weeks of age. He will see you as a threat so he may start acting hostile towards you.
* Treat your puppy with gentle love and care during his eight (8) to ten (10) weeks of growth. He is more aware of his surroundings during this period. Also, he starts to make preconceived notions about everything around him during this age so it will do you good if you exhibit gentle behavior initially.
* In the subject of discipline, never resort to negative reinforcement methods such as yelling, scolding, hurting or punishing your German Shepherd. Doing so establishes you as a threat in his mind, so he’s more likely to attack you with aggression this way.
#2. Dominance-based aggression
German Shepherds have this intense need to establish a social hierarchy with regards to their “pack” – your dog also considers you as a pack member because even if you’re not really a dog, you’re still a member of his family.
When you notice that your German Shepherd frequently bites, growls, snaps his teeth and resists you, he may be in the process of testing his dominance.
* Make sure to establish the fact that you, the pet owner, are the “alpha” in the pack. Being the “alpha” basically means that you will be the most dominant personality among the other pack members.
* Never give a reward to your German Shepherd when he is exhibiting overly destructive aggression. Do not give him the treat that he wants. Other experts may even suggest that you ignore this behavior altogether so that your pet won’t even have the advantage of getting you to pay attention to him.
* Keep your dog away from other aggressive dogs. Aggression can be a learned behavior, so if your dog spends time with other aggressive dogs, he may subconsciously exhibit aggression as well. Prevent this from happening by socializing your German Shepherd with other well-behaved, confident and well-mannered dogs of this kind.
* Make sure that other family members are aware of your pet’s need for establishing a social hierarchy so that they won’t mistakenly appoint him as the “alpha” of the pack.
* When you notice that his behavior is disciplined, reward him with his favorite toy or favorite treat so that he will be encouraged to display this behavior repeatedly.
* You can also control German Shepherd aggression when you’re in public by walking him around the neighborhood with the aid of a leash. This way, your pet is made more aware that you are the dominant one in the relationship. You have to consistently put forward the impression that you are the one in control so that he won’t rebel against you.
#3. Anxiety-based aggression
If your German Shepherd is poorly socialized and if he is living under harsh conditions, he is more prone to acting anxious and scared towards strangers rather than fighting for his dominance.
This is because instead of possessing a healthy mindset, your dog will instead start viewing everyone and everything around him as threats to his safety. He may bite, growl, bark and snap at you out of fear.
* Make the training environment conducive to learning and developing by asking a few of your pet’s friends to be present during his training sessions. This way, he’s more likely to view the environment as something that is friendlier and warmer.
* Socialize him with dogs that are in the same age as him so that he will feel more comfortable in interacting with them.
* Keep your dog away from children if he is actively exhibiting aggressive behavior. Innocent children may approach your dog recklessly and your pet may react aggressively children may be hurt if you are not careful enough.
* Enroll him to dog obedience classes in order to help him establish his sense of self-worth gradually.
* If ever your pet is still exhibiting overly aggressive behavior, you should also consider hiring a professional dog trainer to guide you. If anxiety-based aggression is not dealt with appropriately, your dog may go out of control. He may even violently hurt a lot of people and fellow animals in the process. Start acknowledging and addressing the problem before it’s too late.
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