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You might be thinking why and what you should do about your German Shepherd’s violent behavior if it is currently happening.

This article will explain the causes of your German Shepherd’s aggression as well as some solutions.

Therefore, why is my German Shepherd acting aggressively? Common causes include mistreatment, an overly-reactive owner who, in turn, drives the German Shepherd to behave similarly, unintentionally encouraging the behavior, or being in pain.

There are several explanations as to why your German Shepherd can be acting aggressively, and there are several things you can do to change it.

Why Is My German Shepherd Becoming Aggressive?

It can be alarming and sad when your GSD mysteriously starts acting aggressively toward you. German Shepherds are devoted, and frequently reliable family dogs, so when they suddenly become violent towards you, it can be challenging for everybody concerned.

The German Shepherd Dog may suddenly turn hostile toward humans if it gets sick, if it gets hurt, or if it is defending something or someone it believes to be of significant worth.

The German Shepherd may also exhibit abrupt aggression toward us in an effort to evade punishment, which may occasionally be reserved just for one family member.

Your GSD’s sudden aggression is abnormal; there is typically a cause for the attitude, and it can be both positive and negative. There are ways to stop it from happening again, whether this is your first experience with it or it has happened a few times.

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1. Because He Isn’t Properly Socialized

german shepherd acting aggressivegerman shepherd acting aggressive

During their formative years, German Shepherd puppies will engage with the outside world, and understand what to respect, and also, what not to. 

They could grow up to be distrustful of humans and other dogs if they don’t have much contact with them.

The smartest thing you can do is start socializing them with other dogs and people at an early age. Your chances of success increase the sooner you begin. Early socialization is important.

This implies that when they are still puppies, you should introduce them to other dogs, have other people over, and ensure they don’t feel as if they are the only dogs, and that only you are allowed in their domain.

Even a puppy German Shepherd might be unfriendly toward guests, but at this young age, they lack the maturity and strength to actually hurt anyone, and they become more easily accustomed to people than adult GSDs.

If you are aware that your German Shepherd did not have a great deal of interaction with other dogs when it was younger, this would be even more likely to be the cause of its aggression.

Despite the fact that this is the root of the problem, there are still things you can do to address it, as will be discussed in the sections that follow this one.

2. Because He Is Territorial 

Protective aggressiveness is another name for territorial aggressiveness. When an individual arrives in what a dog considers to be its home territory, which can extend beyond the boundaries of their yard, the dog will act violently. 

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For instance, if you routinely take your dog for walks down your neighborhood, the entire street can be under their paws.

Territorial aggressiveness is typically directed against individuals or pets that the dog is unfamiliar with. Because of this, some dogs will bite or attack a stranger.

German Shepherds are a breed that are inherently highly protective. It would be more probable that your German Shepherd is acting protectively if it seems to get more hostile when there are other humans or dogs nearby. 

This would be particularly true if it only tends to be done in particular settings, like the house. A German Shepherd that is overly protective might be frightening because these canines are so focused and brave.

Their actions not only expose their owner to liability, but also run the risk of making them socially awkward. Unfortunately, a number of these canines are put to death, abandoned in shelters, or forced to live by themselves on the streets.

Positive reinforcement training will probably work, especially effectively if you believe it is acting in a protective manner. Also, your dog should be aware that you are the dominant member of your family, a.k.a., your pack.

3. Lack Of Activity And Exercise

Growling German Shepherd in the forestGrowling German Shepherd in the forest

German Shepherds are energetic dogs that were bred to be so. They may exhibit behavioral problems if they are not getting sufficient exercise. 

This is due to the fact that if they do not exercise enough, they will be required to look for another method to burn off their extra energy.

Whether male or female, a German Shepherd should, on average, work out for at least one hour per day. It is possible that your German Shepherd’s aggressiveness is being influenced if it is not getting enough exercise.

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This breed needs a sufficient amount of daily activity. They have too much bottled-up energy from being cooped up, and they have no means to let any tension or anxiety out.

They can also be incredibly overprotective, so you should keep them away from any situation where they could think you or your loved ones are in danger.

For example, if you have kids and they enjoy wrestling with their buddies, your dog would not see that as the playful game it is meant to be, and might think your kid is in danger. It may become incredibly overprotective and harm the other youngster if it senses a risk.

This is a terrible predicament. You may take precautions and teach your dog to ensure that it won’t attack someone in the future. Attack-dog training is necessary for canines bred to serve as guard dogs to prevent random intruders from breaking in.

4. He Is In Pain

They might be easy to potty train; however, they aren’t the best at expressing their feelings. Aggressiveness in dogs may also increase as they age or experience chronic discomfort. 

If it is hurting often, your dog may get irritable and more prone to strike out… much like a person would. 

Dogs frequently conceal their suffering, and express it in many ways. Your German Shepherd may be acting aggressively because it is experiencing some sort of pain.

If something recent occurred that would have contributed to it being in pain, this might be more probable to happen.

Dogs employ aggression as a form of pain management. Therefore, even the softest of dogs can become hostile when they are hurt. Regardless of whether you are administering first-aid to a dog’s wound, an ill or injured dog may attack without warning.

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Dogs that are hurt frequently bite or attack people who are physically close to them in an effort to stop the agony. 

The Dog Humane Society claims that training devices that can cause suffering, such as choke collars and electroshock collars, can make a dog more aggressive.

Contact your veterinarian to determine whether this is something that can happen due to the discomfort your pet is experiencing if this behavior recently appeared as a result of underlying medical concerns.

5. You Might Have Been Rewarding That Behavior

German shepherd barks on the streetGerman shepherd barks on the street

As will be demonstrated further down, training your German Shepherd via positive reinforcement can be a very successful technique in order to encourage it to act the way you wish.

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

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

By teaching your dog that treats only start coming when he politely begs with a calm response, like a sit, you can help it become more accustomed to this consistent behavior. 

All stimuli, including food, treats, attention, and praise, are earned by your dog by having the desired behavior.

Teach your dog the fundamentals of obedience so that you can use this training in your everyday routines and reinforce your expectations. 

Final Word

When my German Shepherd showed some signs of aggression, my immediate response was to find the trigger of its aggressive behavior.

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Those triggers may be from different backgrounds and behavioral patterns. Therefore, the important thing to remember is to try to understand the body language of your German Shepherd dog in order to find the root of the problem.

There are plenty of possible reasons behind aggressive behavior; however, these five given examples are the ones that are the most common when it comes to German Shepherd dogs.

GSDs are a high-energy dog breed, which means that they need to be both mentally and physically challenged every day in order to stay healthy and happy.

The most common source of unwanted behaviors either comes from extra energy that is not exploited, or when the dog is not properly socialized.

Consulting with specialists who have been learning all their life about these subjects is the best thing that you can do for both yourself and your German Shepherd. Those specialists include: a veterinarian, a dog trainer, and a behavioral specialist.

Read more about: Least aggressive dog breeds

By Andy Marcus

Hello, my name is Andy Marcus, and I am a passionate dog lover and enthusiast. For me, there is nothing quite like the joy and love that a furry friend can bring into our lives. I have spent years studying and learning about dogs, and have made it my mission to share my knowledge and expertise with others through my website. Through my website, I aim to provide comprehensive information and resources for dog owners and enthusiasts. Whether it's training tips, health and nutrition advice, or insights into dog behavior, I strive to create a platform that is accessible and useful to everyone who loves dogs.

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