If you’re contemplating getting a German Shepherd, or your neighbor moved in with one, you might have a crucial concern: are German Shepherds dangerous?
Let’s face it, all animals can be aggressive when they sense a threat, but some animals are aggressive by nature. Are German Shepherds one of the naturally aggressive dog breeds?
In this article, you’ll learn some of the natural behavioral patterns of German Shepherds. You’ll also learn how you can train them to be less aggressive towards strangers. I guess you won’t want a dog that will go around wreaking havoc.
Before answering the main question, let’s see the background story of German Shepherds.
German Shepherds History
As the name suggests, German Shepherds were initially bred to herd sheep. The first dogs of this breed came around in the 19th century.
German Shepherds are known for their obedience, agility, and intelligence. These traits make them desirable as military dogs, as well as effective herders for cattle.
While you may think that a herding sheep will be aggressive, that’s not the case with German Shepherds. German Shepherds are usually submissive to their owners and only react to threats.
How Dangerous can German Shepherds Be?
Let’s be realistic; every dog is dangerous. Choosing a specific breed all boils down to how tolerant the dog breed is and how aggressively the dogs react to threats.
German Shepherds are generally nice dogs when they’re well-trained. They can be very protective, making them very aggressive to strangers, including humans and other dogs. According to a study, German Shepherds were found to be one of the most aggressive dogs towards strangers.
If you own a German Shepherd, you should know that their aggressiveness depends on how well you treat them.
However, if your neighbor recently got a dog of this breed, you should keep away for a while; they get somewhat aggressive towards strangers!
If you have an aggressive German Shepherd and you’ll like it to be a little friendlier, we have some dos and don’ts for you.
Firstly, you’ll learn why German Shepherds might grow aggressive, and then you’ll learn how to decrease and effectively control the aggressiveness to reduce injury and death risks.
Why German Shepherds Might be Dangerous
Almost every word in this article has been to praise the calmness and submissiveness of these dogs. However, they’re still one of the most aggressive dogs to strangers!
Why is this? Why is your German Shepherd aggressive?
We’re here to give you answers.
- Inadequate socialization
German Shepherds are strong, agile dogs with a protective nature. They are always ready to fling from playful and happy to aggressive and protective in a second.
If they’re poorly socialized, they might mistake harmless persons as intruders and attempt to attack friends.
If a German Shepherd dog didn’t socialize with humans since it was young, it might be challenging for the dog to tell the difference between intruders and friends.
If you don’t want to get a dog bite, refrain from giving your neighbors German Shepherd a belly rub, especially if it appears tense and uninterested.
- Inadequate training
German Shepherds are authoritative dogs, and they often want to see themselves as the pack’s leader.
It is therefore important to train your dog to identify you as the leader to avoid reckless behavior. Ensure you have complete control over the dog’s actions, as a German Shepherd can go haywire without proper instructions.
- Lack of exercise
The German Shepherd breed is a very active dog breed. They need exercise to behave normally.
If you deny your German Shepherd dog its right to regular exercise, it can grow bored and uneasy, developing unhealthy habits. This might have disastrous consequences on the overall behavior of the dog.
If you don’t want to get fined for having a problematic dog, you should consider exercising your German Shepherd for up to one hour every day at least.
- External aggression
If you’ll successfully keep a German Shepherd, you’ll need to find an area without constant threats.
German Shepherds were bred for security, and they’re very strong and agile. If they sense or suspect any threat, they immediately switch into attack mode, making them somewhat dangerous.
If you have kids, you should consider training them on dealing with the dog so it won’t mistake the kids’ playful moves as attacks.
How to Train a German Shepherd for Safety
While German Shepherds are generally safe around persons and other animals, they do get aggressive sometimes.
Here are some things you can do to prevent your dog from flaring up each time you show up with another person or dog.
- Get a young one
A perfect German Shepherd is the result of years of getting used to. If you want your dog to be friendly to all kids and dogs around, you need to get a young, trainable one.
Old dogs are energetic, and they bark very loud. They can inflict injury while learning how to live with humans, and they are very good disturbers, thanks to their bark.
You don’t want a dog that doesn’t obey instructions.
- Socialize, socialize
German Shepherds need socialization to get along with people; separating them from the family won’t help in this regard.
If you don’t allow your dog to mingle with humans, it’ll likely develop undesirable behavioral issues, making it dangerous to keep.
You don’t want a dog that attacks your friends simply because it can’t tell if they’re an intruder. Your dog should be a part of your family. If you want a German Shepherd to behave like one, don’t separate it from the rest of the family.
- Neuter the dog
Female German Shepherds might be particularly aggressive during pregnancy. If you want a friendly dog throughout the year, you might want to consider getting a male German Shepherd, or better still, spay the female one you’ve got.
Male dogs also need spaying. Spaying will prevent their bodies from produce way too much testosterone that makes them more aggressive.
- Learn how to train your dog
German Shepherds are fast learners. You might be unknowingly encouraging negative habits in your dog.
Don’t reward your German Shepherd does something wrong. Don’t hit the dog or yell at it, and don’t encourage negative or disobedient behavior.
Also, you can get gifts for the Shepherd when it obeys your commands, as it will encourage it to continue on that path. Because German Shepherds are strong and fast, it is crucial to have them under control at all times.
- Consider neutering the German Shepherd.
Regardless of the breed, a mother will always be more aggressive. If you have infants in the house and you want zero aggressive behavior from the German Shepherd, you’ll want to consider spaying the dog.
Not only can spaying minimize the risks of unwarranted attacks, but it can also help the dog grow healthier, giving you a suitable companion throughout the year.
Why German Shepherds are not Aggressive
German Shepherds weren’t initially used for fighting, so they don’t have the attacking instinct of fighting dogs. However, you can train these dogs to be aggressive, and they’re good at it, thanks to their traits.
German Shepherds are intelligent dogs, and they quickly adapt to their environment. If they don’t feel the need to show aggression, they usually won’t show aggressive behavior.
However, there are some rare exceptions where a German Shepherd will show unwarranted aggressions to other persons and animals. You can easily discourage this behavior with appropriate mental and obedience training.
What makes German Shepherds friendly is their ability to learn when their behavior is unwelcome and make adjustments.
If you think your dog is dangerous, you might be treating it wrong. You can consider using the help of a professional dog trainer or getting rid of the erring dog; safety comes first.
Video Review: Are German Shepherd Aggressive?
In short, there isn’t a proper one-line answer to the question: are German Shepherds Dangerous?
It all depends on how you treat the dog. There is rarely a ‘dangerous’ dog breed. With a little more training and socialization, your German Shepherd can learn to live peacefully with others.
If you can’t effectively train a German Shepherd, you shouldn’t keep one, as their size and physical combat qualities make them more dangerous than other dogs when they’re aggressive.
Next time, understand that the amount of time you can devote to making them excellent dogs goes a long way in determining their aggressiveness.