If your German Shepherd has been acting out you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you why your German Shepherd has been acting out and how you can stop it.
So, why has my German Shepherd been acting out? Possible reasons are that it is ill or injured, has something wrong with its diet, has been mistreated, is stressed, a change in its schedule, it needs exercise or you might have been reinforcing the behavior.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd has been acting weird. There are also a number of things that you can do to stop it depending on the cause.
Why your German Shepherd is acting out or weird
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd has been acting out will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
In the following sections, I’ll show you a number of reasons why it might have been doing it and what will make them more likely.
Illness or injury
The reason why it has been acting out could be that it is ill or injured. The illness or injury could be causing it to be in pain or to be frustrated which could be causing it to become agitated. This would be more likely if your German Shepherd has been acting unusually in other ways as well.
If it does seem like illness or injury might be the cause then it would be helpful to take it to a vet.
A change in its diet
It could be the case that something in its diet is causing it to behave differently. This would be more likely if it suddenly started acting out after you changed its diet. You can look here to see what sorts of things you should and should not be feeding your German Shepherd.
If you are unsure of what food to get for your German Shepherd, consider getting dog food designed specifically for German Shepherds. You can get a GSD specific dog food on Amazon here and one for GSD puppies on Chewy here.
Someone mistreated it
It could be the case that someone mistreated it and now it is behaving differently due to things such as anxiety, fear or anger. This would be more likely if you know that someone recently mistreated it or if it acted out when someone was being aggressive towards it.
It could be the case that something is causing your German Shepherd to be stressed that is causing it to act differently. There are a number of things that could cause it to be stressed but examples could be another dog passing away, moving homes or its owner leaving.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
A change in its schedule
It could be that its schedule has changed and it has caused it to start getting frustrated. This would be more likely if it started acting out after things such as a change in the timing of when it is fed, walked or given attention.
It needs exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that is meant to get a lot of exercise daily. When they do not get much exercise it can cause them to develop behavioral issues including acting out. Generally, it is recommended for them to get an hour of exercise per day. If yours is not getting that much exercise then it would help to make sure that it does.
Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.
You have reinforced the behavior
It might be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to act out. This would be more likely if you have been giving it things that it wants when it acts out such as treats, attention or toys. It could also be the case if you tend to punish it when it acts out since it could actually be considered as a form of attention.
Instead, it would help to rule out all of the other possible causes and to give it lots of positive reinforcement training so that it behaves the way that it should.
How to get your German Shepherd to stop acting out
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to stop acting unusually that I will mention below.
Make sure that it is not ill
Since illness or injury could be causing your German Shepherd to be acting out it would help to take it to a vet. This would be especially the case if it has come on suddenly and it has been acting unusually in other ways as well.
Make sure that its diet is right
It would also help to make sure that it is eating the right foods. You can look here to see what you should and should not be feeding it.
Avoid negative reinforcement
Negative reinforcement is where you reinforce behaviors that you do not want to see by rewarding it when it does things that you don’t want. Instead, of giving it things that it wants when it acts out it would help to train it to behave the way that you want it to by using positive reinforcement training.
Give it lots of exercise
As mentioned above it is important to give your German Shepherd lots of exercise. You might find that just walking it for an hour a day isn’t enough. In that case, it would help to wear it out even more by doing things such as playing fetch with it.
It would also help to train it to be less likely to act out at you and at other people. You can do this by desensitizing it to other people and rewarding it for being well behaved.
You can watch the video below for more tips on how to do so.
If you can’t get your German Shepherd to stop acting out then it would help to get the help of a dog trainer or dog behaviorist in your area who will be able to give you expert advice tailored towards your specific German Shepherd. This would be especially important if it has been acting aggressively as well.
Things to consider
There are a number of things that you can consider to help figure out why your German Shepherd is doing it.
Consider when your German Shepherd started acting strange
It would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it started acting out.
It could be the case that something happened at the same time that will tell you a lot about why your German Shepherd has been doing it.
Things that might have happened could include:
- Its diet changed
- It stopped getting as much exercise
- Someone mistreated it
When it does not act weird
It would also help to consider what is different when it does not act out.
Things that might be different could include:
- A certain person not being around
- Getting a lot of exercise
- You approached it differently
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Best German Shepherd Training Program
Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
Best German Shepherd Guide
Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.