The Importance of Understanding Aggression in your Dog | The German Shepherd
Many families seek out German Shepherds as pets because they know that they are fierce “protector” dogs and think that the more aggressive a dog is, the better he or she will serve as a family protector. This is a big mistake. While a good German Shepherd is loyal and obedient, ready to be aggressive when the situation calls for it, a German Shepherd who cannot control his or her aggression – or is hostile and violent towards family members and friends – is not a good choice to have around the house, especially if there are young children at home; children, unlike adults, may not be experienced enough to recognize the signs of a dog who is about to get angry and snap or bite.
In general, however, German shepherd dogs are not dangerous if handled well. But there are some signs of aggression that potential owners must watch out for and curb, as much for their dog's sake as for their own and for the safety of others around them. German Shepherds are no more or less aggressive than many other breeds – but they are bigger, and their jaw power is extremely powerful, which means that the same aggressive behavior from a German Shepherd is far more dangerous than a bite, nip, or attack from a tiny Yorkie. Owners should be careful therefore to make sure German Shepherds – like all dogs – learn what is and is not acceptable behavior early on. The main issue with German shepherds is a lack of socialization – German Shepherds are trained guards and protectors, which means that they are naturally suspicious and wary of the unfamiliar. If you are careful to socialize your dog early on – getting him or her used to both other dogs and people – then you radically lower the chance of your dog ever acting out or becoming aggressive.
Also keep in mind that a dog is never too young to learn basic positive/negative commands. Your German Shepherd may not yet understand words like “sit” and “stay,” or even the meaning of “yes “ and “no” but nevertheless he or she will recognize your body language and vocal intonations – make it clear early on that biting or snapping is BAD and that – for example – kissing and cuddling are GOOD and you will have a well-trained dog from an early age. It is much easier to learn good behavior early on than to unlearn bad behavior – although it is not impossible – so get your German Shepherd started young.