German shepherds are the second most popular breed of pet dogs in America, according to the American Kennel Club. What if a dog owner says "My German shepherd puppy attacks me"? When a German shepherd puppy attacks unexpectedly, environmental, genetic, and biological factors are probably responsible. If a German shepherd does attack, they can be much more dangerous because they are large, muscular, powerful dogs.
German shepherd temperament
German shepherds have a partially deserved reputation for attacking suddenly. Due to aggressiveness traits passed through bloodlines, undesirable temperaments were handed down from generation to generation. Experts, at one time, identified this trait as a tendency for biting out of fear.
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Through selective breeding programs and education of owners, this dangerous temperamental element has largely been eliminated from purebred German shepherds. For dogs that still may have the undesirable temperament, at what age do German shepherds get aggressive? The answer is as early as 3 to 6 months old. The behavior is apt to increase between the adolescent stage — usually from 6 months to two years of age — due to hormone fluctuations.
German shepherd training
The type of training this breed receives is largely responsible for their behavior. Some German shepherds are the victims of abusive owners who keep them as attack dogs, train them poorly, and encourage them to bite. When these dogs get an opportunity, they attack. German shepherds should only be trained as guard dogs by experts. Home obedience training for your pet is vital for both the dog's, and the owner's, safety.
Exercise, confinement, and boredom
As the American Kennel Club notes, German shepherds are energetic dogs that require regular exercise. These dogs were bred for herding livestock and have a lot of energy to burn. Confinement in small spaces, or tethering, causes boredom and territorial behaviors such as attacking people who venture close.
German shepherd attack owner
There are sometimes news headlines saying "German shepherd kills owner." Uneducated owners of German shepherd dogs play a large part in causing attacks. Certain human behaviors take on a different meaning from a dog's point of view. For instance, when people stare directly into a dog's eyes, walk straight up to the dog, or pet its head with a hand descending from above. Dogs see these gestures as threats, and some will attack.
While aggressiveness is somewhat normal for the German shepherd dog based on their breeding as mentioned, it is elevated during the formative months and years. It can become much worse due to lack of socialization, poor or inadequate training, and a lack of leadership and guidance by the owner.
Handling an attack
It's crucial to know what to do if your dog bites you or another person. First, remain calm. Make sure you are safe by putting the dog in a separate room (calmly, and without anger — this isn't the time for punishment). See a doctor for your injuries, unless they are very minor.
Afterwards, get proper training from a behaviorist or other professional trainer. Dogs can be worked with, and it's helpful to learn what triggers a particular dog. Use common sense and always take precautions no matter how much you love your pooch. As a safety precaution, never leave small children alone with even well-trained German shepherds.
Dogs biting each other is common and usually comes from them being territorial. It's best to know your state's laws, and be ready to handle expenses, such as reimbursement for veterinary bills, medications for the injured dog, and other fees if the pet has to stay in a hospital.
The shepherd's intelligent, loyal, and protective temperament makes it an ideal service animal or military k9. These dogs, with the right stewardship and an outlet for their natural energy, can make great family pets.