Kristen asked in PetsDogs · 1 decade ago

HELP! My German Shepherd has getting very dog aggressive and I don't know how to correct it?

Alright, I have a six month old pure German Shepherd male, neutered. We've had him since he was about three months old. He was very shy, didn't have much socialization with dogs. We took him in Petsmart & Petco a lot and he quickly got accustomed to dogs. He showed no signs of aggression at all. Then all of a sudden, maybe a month ago he started barking at other dogs and small children. At first it was just a little bark and then we'd distracted him and he'd be fine. We thought he was just saying hello in doggie language or being playful. Slowly it progressed and now he is barking feriously at other dogs, like he wants to rip them to shreds. He's like that with small children too. Normal people he's fine to and is friendly etc.I just don't understand what triggered it and how we can fix it.


Oh, and I forgot to say that we take him to Petsmart obedience classes he finished beginner with a Male Jug & Female German/Chex Shepherd Mix. No aggression at all, just playtime. He got slightly aggresive to OTHER dogs in petsmart toward the end of the classes (it was eight weeks old). We now enrolled him in Intermediate Classes in Petsmart and there was a Male Pit Bull enrolled too. He barked and act so aggressive, we thought if the lease slipped off our hands he was going to kill him. It scared us so much. The trainer said it might be triggered either by two things. 1. Our outside dog who was aggressive to him when we first got him but now they seem to be buddies. Or 2. Our neighbors dog across the street who barks JUST like he does now. They have never met because our dog is always on a lease outside and the other dog is trained not to cross the street (Invisible fence?). But the trained didn't really say how to help the behavior other then use 'leave it'.

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favourite answer

    I had something similar happen to my GSD when he was 5 months old...he became aggressive towards other dogs. the reason behind this is because he wasn't as socialized as he needed to be (he was my first GSD). what I have learned is that GSD's require a ton of socialization in ALL situations and it needs to be positive...this is not something that you do for a few days or is ongoing for the rest of his life. today I take mine everywhere I go and I always have special treats in my pocket when he behaves accordingly.

    I am sorry but petsmart and the like are a big waste of your time and money. what you need to do is look into a shy/aggressive training class offered by a certified trainer...what they will do is teach YOU how to redirect him in a positive way and to look at his body language and signals he is emitting before he gets aggressive. I took mine to such a class and it worked wonders for me...I learned a lot. when we encounter strange dogs now, I know where his comfort zone is as to how close they can be just by reading his signals and I use the "watch" command to get him totally focused on me. I agree with "sjm" he was nuetered too early. I personally waited against my vets advice to get him nuetered until mine was 2 yrs old.

    GSD's are extremely loyal and protective of their family and because of their intelligence they can sense through the lead when You become tensed up in situations. this is something that you need to control at all costs. GSD's are not naturally aggressive they learn this through their owners and the mishandling of a remarkable dog. I have never in my dogs life had to raise my hand to him in correction, all it takes is for him to know that you are the alpha and the tone of your voice and your own body language. I may not be as experienced as some people on here...just offering my 2 cents from the experiences I have gone through.

    Source(s): GSD owner
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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It is NOT the breed. I think a bunch of fish breeders have just invaded the dog site. Poor breeding may be one cause. More likely, the early neutering has created a "fear based" aggression. The more success he has, the more aggressive he gets. Being aggressive toward other dogs and small children is easy...and gets the response he's after. "I bark, snarl, etc....they go away". Every time he succeeds at this, he will feel more successful and become more aggressive. What he needs is a good "butt whoopin". Neutering young is always a mistake...and the resulting behavior is often misinterpreted by young, inexperienced trainers. Looking to Yahoo is for the most part, pointless. Go get a trainer. Don't use any "Franchise" or "Chain" trainer....get someone that has had their hands on a few thousand dogs. No amount of book reading, videos, classes, etc. are gonna teach anyone squat. This is VERY common in working dogs that are neutered young. The thought is to prevent dominance, and what is created is fear (not always...but VERY often). A dog with weak nerves is dangerous. Do not let him have success with this behavior.

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  • 4 years ago

    German shepherds are not aggressive dogs, they are very protective, but not aggressive. Dogs are not naturally aggressive, either people make them that way, or the breeding was poor, meaning they did not make sure the two dogs they bred had excellent tempermants and that their ansectors did as well. Your shepeherd is only a puppy, he is not fully matured yet, but is showing you part of what his maturity will bring. My best friend has a solid white german shepherd who acts scared at times. She'll bark when you ring the door bell, but when you come in, she'll crouch and run, but come back to greet you while still crouched and tail wagging. You need to make sure to socialize and train your puppy everyday to ensure his well being and attitude towards things. Puppies take alot of time, effort and commitment to train, socialize and care for them. It's a big responsibiliy. But yes, it could also be your size. The puppy was intemmidated. Just like if an elephant charged at me, i'd surely be intemmidated! :) I hope i've helped some!

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    First of all you need to learn about triggers, thresholds, counter conditioning and desensitization. You'll find info here

    Don't think in terms of stopping the behavior you don't like, but training for the behavior you want. Do not punish the dog. Do not force the dog to deal with things that cause it to react. You don't want the dog to practice the inappropriate behavior. This is going to take time, patience and training. Find a trainer to help you, read some good books. The site above has a link to great books.

    It's not unusual for dogs to go through different fear stages in their lives. If the dog was not exposed to lots of kids or other dogs, in a way that made the dog feel good, it may not be comfortable with them.

    The dog is likely being fear aggressive and you want to change not just the behavior but the feelings your dog has toward the things that bother it. You want those feelings to be good. You do this by associating wonderful things with kids and other dogs. Usually this is tasty little food treats.

    The book Click To Calm can give you some ideas, as can The Cautious Canine, and Feisty Fido

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hmmm... your best bet is to consult with a certified dog behavior consultant -

    It's common to see "behavior problems" arise from 7 mos - 3 yrs of age.

    Barking and intense behavior could be interpreted as reactive/aggressive - it might be that he is hyper-motivated to want to go assess and investigate or it may be that he is nervous around unfamiliar dogs - especially if he hasn't had a lot of off-leash socialization. Children: are a huge trigger for dogs - they are unpredictable and not respond to warning signs.

    It's very important that you don't physically correct, discipline or punish the "display" This could make things worse and not better.

    I suggest that you have this issue evaluated by a professional.

    There are very good solutions to finding help for you.

    Yahoo Groups as a support list - k9aggression


    He might have personal space issues - proximity sensitive - direct eye contact or social behavior from the other dog might trigger a reaction -

    If he was already a "shy" pup he is probably more sensitive to things in his environment - just predisposed to being sensitive about stuff.

    German Shepherds have been studied as far as their behavior responses and they aren't a very stable breed. I would have to do some digging to pull up the research papers -

    Journaling is important. Write down all the incidents, what happened prior to the behavior, what the behavior looked like, how long it lasted and what it earned the dog - either access or distance.



    The Dog Aggression Workbook by James O'heare

    Fiesty Fido by Patricia McConnell

    The Cautious Canine by Patricia McConnell

    How to Right A Dog Gone Wrong by Pamela Dennison

    Control Unleashed by Leslie McDevitt

    Source(s): I specialize in dog aggression I'm a Certified Pet Dog Trainer
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  • 1 decade ago

    You know, my dog had recently become aggressive and I couldn't figure out why either or what to do.

    For me, though, I discovered that I had (without realizing it) allowed my dog to think he was dominant.

    Are you doing any of the following things?

    Allowing your dog to wake you up in the morning

    Letting your dog lead the way out of the door for a walk or lead the way back inside or basically not follow behind you when he is on the leash?

    Are you allowing your dog to sleep in your bed with you?

    Are you not making him sit and wait while you get his food prepared?

    If you aren't doing simple things for the dog to understand you are his leader, he will think he is your leader and therefore feel the need to protect you. He's trying to protect you from other people.

    If you were doing any of the things I listed, just stop doing them. Give the dog a time-out when he acts aggressive and lovingly praise him when he calms down. Never let him boss you around, lead the way on the leash, or have any type of control over you.

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  • 1 decade ago

    German Shepherds are aggressive by nature.

    Some dogs are just like that, like my dog she was loved being around other dogs but then she just kinda snapped and acted the same way as yours did.

    All we did was when she started to growl or show her teeth would say NO in a stern voice,straighten her leash and put some tension in it

    I hope this helps

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  • 1 decade ago

    Mine is the same way.It's weird,because she was raised with other dogs and gets along fine with them.She also loves kids and other people and is extremely tolerant and gentle with cats. It's only strange dogs that set her off.She has improved though,and the last time we encounterd a dog during a walk,she didn't bark at all. Have you tried a Gentle Leader? That's what I walk mine with.Good luck.

    Source(s): Have had dogs all my life.
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  • 1 decade ago

    It's the breed. They are a working dog. They were never created to be companion dogs. They need to work. I always say that guard dogs should only go to places to work not as pets in the general population, but people don't like that idea.

    Get a trainer is the best suggestion anyone can give you. Your dog needs a job to keep him busy and to use his genetic drives properly.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Keep him AWAY from little children and if he barks at other dogs while your taking him out for a walk pull the leash back (not too hard) and say NO!

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