If you are thinking of getting a German Shepherd you might be wondering whether or not they are a dangerous breed.
This post will show you how dangerous German Shepherds tend to be and how you can prevent yours from becoming dangerous if you get one.
So, how dangerous are German Shepherds? When raised well, German Shepherds are normally very protective of their family and are only dangerous to people that are not a part of their family. However, when raised poorly, German Shepherds can become dangerous even around their family.
There are actually a number of things that can cause a German Shepherd to become dangerous. However, there are also a number of things you can do to prevent one from becoming dangerous, especially around you and your family.
Below, I will show you how dangerous they tend to be, how to prevent them from becoming dangerous and what causes them to be dangerous.
How dangerous German Shepherds are
When raised well, German Shepherds will normally be very protective of their family and not dangerous towards members of their family.
However, German Shepherds have been rated as being more aggressive towards other dogs and people outside of their families.
But, this study was based on survey data which may not be very reliable. Also, it found that there was a lot more variation in the dangerousness of different dogs of the same breed than there was between the different breeds themselves.
This would suggest that the way a dog is raised will have a much bigger impact on how dangerous it will be than the type of breed it is.
With that being said, German Shepherds can be very dangerous when they are not raised well towards strangers and even towards their own owners.
This study shows some of the common themes among dangerous dogs including not having positive human interaction, not being neutered and the owners being aggressive towards them.
Since German Shepherds are a large dog breed with a strong bite force, it does mean that they have the potential to be more dangerous than most other dog breeds.
This means that, before getting a German Shepherd, it is important to make sure that you will be able to spend time with it daily, that you do not intend to separate it from you or your family and that you will be able to devote time to training it regularly especially when it is a puppy.
How to prevent a German Shepherd from being dangerous
If you are thinking of getting a German Shepherd, there are many things you can do to prevent it from becoming dangerous around you and your family.
Train it from an early age
If you get a German Shepherd, it is important that you start training it from an early age.
By doing so, you will be able to reinforce the behaviors that you want to see while curbing the less desirable ones.
The training method that I would recommend is positive reinforcement training. This is where you encourage the behaviors you want to see by rewarding your GSD when it shows signs of displaying them.
I would also recommend that you follow the training tips outlined in this book so that you can keep it well behaved in many different scenarios.
Avoid negatively reinforcing the behavior
Negative reinforcement is where you inadvertently encourage behaviors that you do not want to see. If you give your GSD rewards when it misbehaves it could encourage it to do it more.
Instead, it is important to train it to behave the way you want it to, to avoid rewarding it when it misbehaves and to try to redirect its focus when it seems like it is able to misbehave by training it to do things such as to come to you on command.
Enroll it in behavior classes
It would also help to enroll with it in behavior puppy behavior classes when it is a puppy especially if it will be your first time getting a GSD. By doing so, you will be able to get in-person guidance on how to train your GSD puppy effectively.
Avoid being too emotional or aggressive with it
When training or interacting with your German Shepherd it will be important to interact with it in a calm manner. German Shepherds tend to be highly responsive to their owner’s emotions and they can become a lot more dangerous when their owners do not have control over their own emotions.
Treat it well
One of the biggest factors influencing how dangerous dogs can be is how they are treated by their owners. When dogs are treated well by their owners, it will make them much less likely to become dangerous. This means that it is important that you will be able to devote daily time to exercise it, train it and play with it.
Avoid separating it from the family
German Shepherds are meant to be a part of the family. German Shepherds can develop behavioral issues when they are separated from their family and they will be more likely to become dangerous.
This study shows that dogs that are separated from positive interactions with humans are significantly more likely to be dangerous.
Neuter or spay it
The same study mentioned above also shows that dogs that are not neutered are also more likely to be dangerous.
Follow a training guide
If you have not raised a GSD before, it would help to follow a dog training guide. This guide has been made specifically for German Shepherds and shows you how to train it to do important things such as to come to you on command and to stop barking when you tell it to.
What causes German Shepherds to be dangerous
Below are some things that can cause German Shepherds to be dangerous. I have written more about what can cause a German Shepherd to be aggressive in this post.
A lack of training
When German Shepherds are not given enough training they will behave the way that they feel like behaving. The way they feel like behaving is unlikely to be the way their owners want them to they will be more likely to be dangerous without much training. This is why it is important to give them lots of training as mentioned above.
Previous owners mistreating them
Another reason why a German Shepherd might be dangerous is mistreatment from previous owners. When buying a GSD it would help to make sure to take as many precautions as you can as mentioned in this post.
Being too emotional with them
One reason why a German Shepherd can become dangerous is being too emotional with it.
If you start behaving in a reactive way around a GSD, it will likely pick up on it. This could cause it to feel like something is wrong and to become aggressive. This is why it is important to interact with them calmly and to give them lots of training even as puppies.
Being aggressive towards them
If someone is aggressive towards a German Shepherd then it will make it much more likely to be dangerous because it feels threatened.
A lack of exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that is meant to get daily exercise. When they do not get enough exercise, it can cause them to behave abnormally and, sometimes, to become dangerous. Generally, it is recommended for them to get at least an hour of exercise per day as healthy adults.
When German Shepherds are young they will interact with the world and learn what to trust and what not to. If they do not get many interactions with other dogs and people when they are young then it may cause them to become untrusting of them.
If you get a GSD, it would help to give it as many positive interactions as you can with other friendly people and dogs. One way to do this could be to take it to dog training classes in your area.
Protecting their owner or territory
German Shepherds tend to be very protective of their owners and territory. If a stranger is in its home or threatening their owner then a GSD will normally become a lot more protective.
What the normal behavior of a German Shepherd is
German Shepherds are widely considered as one of the most loyal dog breeds with a high drive to protect their owners and their territory when they are raised well.
They are often described as being a one-person dog because they will often become depressed when they are separated from their owners. But, they actually tend to be very loyal to their entire family and not just their primary owner so it would be more appropriate to describe them as one-family dogs.
Since German Shepherds were bred to be working dogs, they are also eager to please their owners. As a result, German Shepherds tend to respond well to training and will normally adapt to roles that they are given quickly.