What Age Does a German Shepherd Become Aggressive

What Age Does a German Shepherd Become Aggressive? 15 Facts

Have you ever thought about how a dog decides what her job is? German Shepherds seem to be confident and determined in everything they do.

Everyone learns to respect an Alsatian’s business end. When does it happen?

When exactly does a German Shepherd start to act mean?

Aggression can be seen in different ways, and Shepherds show it at different stages of their lives. As early as six or eight weeks, a dog can show signs of dominance.

But around puberty, personality traits become fixed. Dogs that were not violent as puppies may start to act protective as they get older.

Some Shepherds may not get mean until they are two years old, while others may be mean from the start. Others, on the other hand, go through tough training and learn when to be aggressive.

We’ll talk about when Shepherds naturally become hostile and what other things can change their behaviour.

What Age Does a German Shepherd Become Aggressive?

Between 3 and 6 months, a German Shepherd starts to act out. This gets worse during the adolescent stage, which lasts from 6 months to 2 years and is marked by the development of sexual maturity and changes in hormones.

This aggressiveness is a natural part of how their hormones develop, but it gets worse when they aren’t trained well, hang out with the wrong people, or don’t get any direction.

Make sure that your GSD knows how to interact with other people by the time he or she is 14 weeks old.

This helps stop people from doing bad things. It is easier to stop people from being aggressive than to deal with them when they are adults.

What Age Does a German Shepherd Become Aggressive

Aggression is one of the most common problems with how animals act in veterinary operations.

The Science Behind German Shepherd Aggression

Many people don’t agree on whether German Shepherds are more violent than other kinds. First, though, let’s see what research says about this.

The American Veterinary Medical Association did a thorough study to find out if some dog breeds are more likely to be aggressive than others.

They found that certain breeds, like the German Shepherd, Pit Bull, Rottweiler, Jack Russell Terrier, Chow Chow, and a few more, were the most likely to bite.

But it’s important to remember that these breeds are also more common in the United States.

There will be more German Shepherd bites when there are more German Shepherds than other breeds.

Most dog bites in Canada are caused by Siberian Huskies and other sled dogs, probably because they are the most common breeds there.

In Rome, Italy, it was found that Mastiffs were the most likely to bite. But they are one of the most popular dogs in that region.

Also, bite reports and how popular different breeds were went hand in hand. The more bites a breed has, the more popular it is.

So, bite statistics don’t seem to be able to tell us which breeds are more dangerous. It seems to have more to do with how popular the breed is than with how aggressive they are.

Behavior tests show that small dogs, not big ones like the German Shepherd, are the most likely to be aggressive.

These bites, on the other hand, are often not reported because they don’t usually need treatment.

Most dog bites on children are caused by small breed dogs like Chihuahuas and Lhasa Apsos.

The difference between the number of bites reported by children and adults is most likely because children need treatment after being bitten by a small breed while adults do not.

There are different ways to judge the behaviour of a German Shepherd. This means that the breed is likely to be very different from one to the next.

In other words, some German Shepherds are much more likely than others to be aggressive.

Again, training and getting to know people are important factors. It’s also important to get your dog from a breeder you can trust. In the end, genes do play a role.

What About Stressors to German Shepherds?

A German Shepherd isn’t always mean or mean-spirited when it acts aggressively.

Instead, it’s probably because they have a lot of stress or even fear.

When dogs are upset or scared, they often try to bite the thing that is making them upset or scared.

Lack of Stimulation

German Shepherds need to be stimulated both mentally and physically all the time.

They like to run around and play outside.

These dogs have a lot of energy that needs to be used up or it will be stored.

Dogs will act out if they have a lot of pent-up energy or are bored because they don’t get enough mental stimulation.

They may act out by doing something wrong, or they may act out by doing something mean or harmful.

Lack of Relaxing Time

On the other end of the spectrum, if your German Shepherd doesn’t get enough time to relax, he or she may get tense and act out.

When dogs are overstimulated and don’t have time to calm down, they may act violently.

Dogs can sometimes be hard to calm down because of where they live.

If you live in an apartment with noisy neighbours all night, you probably aren’t the only one who has to deal with it.

Even dogs need to sleep, and if they don’t get enough sleep because of their environment, they might get stressed out and act out.

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Lack of Positive Attention

Like any other dog, your German Shepherd wants to be loved by you.

If a German Shepherd doesn’t get enough love and positive attention from its owners, it may get sad, angry, or hurt and act out.

Keeping your dog happy means giving them love, pets, and positive attention.

Also, pets can help your dog calm down when other things might stress him out.

Inconsistent Rules

Even the smartest dogs, like the German Shepherd, can be confused by mixed signals.

This also has to do with getting good training.

A strange thing happens: you scold your dog for begging at the dinner table (though scolding and punishment are not recommended forms of behavioural training).

Your dog has no idea what you are saying and keeps begging.

To get them to stop bothering you, throw them a small piece of food.

Your dog received both a positive and negative message as a result of what they did here.

But since they got what they wanted, they will keep doing the thing you don’t want and will be surprised if you still react badly.

Your German Shepherd will get more and more confused over time, which could make him angry.

If you keep giving them what they want, they will become more violent and confused.

Any Personal Triggers Your Dog Has

This is very important if your dog has ever been hurt or abused.

Some dogs are scared of certain sounds in nature, like car horns, flashing lights, or even thunder.

These “triggers” will make your dog feel stressed right away and put him or her in “fight or flight” mode.

If they have a natural tendency to fight, this can lead to aggression.

You can’t keep your dog away from every trigger, but if you know what they are, you’ll know what to expect from your dog in these situations.

If you can, try to stay away from any of these things.

Aggression Types and Behavior Chart

Aggression TypeBehavior
FearMakes your dog feel distressed or uneasy; they’re reactive
TerritorialMakes your dog overprotective of what he perceives is his home; they guard their property
PossessiveMakes your dog defend his resources from possible threats; this includes feeling possessive over people and is known as resource guarding
FrustrationMakes your dog react if restrained when aroused
RedirectedMakes your dog frustrated by an inability to reach an object or person who causes its aggression; they lash out at the closest object
SocialMakes your dog hostile when there is a lack of communication in the social relationship
DominanceMakes your dog challenge your authority and seek control of you and the situation
PainMakes your dog snap and bite when they are in pain; they may think you’re causing their pain

When it comes to describing how violent your German Shepherd is, the name doesn’t mean as much. When using a reward-based method to solve the problem, it doesn’t really matter what kind of aggression is going on.

What matters is that your dog thinks something is bad and doesn’t like it. You are in charge of making things better for them.

Signs Your Dog is Experiencing Fear or Stress

Stress and fear are two of the first signs that something bad is going to happen.

But what if you don’t know if your dog is worried or stressed?

This section will teach you how to read your dog’s body language so that you can figure out what makes your dog angry.

Here are some of the most common signs that your dog is scared or anxious:

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Stiffened body posture
  • Lowered head and tail
  • Horizontal lip retraction
  • Ears to the side or back and down
  • Yawning or licking lips
  • Crouched body posture
  • Submissive urination
  • Deliberate slow movements or freezing

Typical Overlooked Stress

Aside from things that make your dog angry right away, there are other stressors in life that you might not notice.

What Age Does a German Shepherd Become Aggressive

Some GSDs are aggressive because of these things. Making your dog comfortable by meeting all of their basic needs and changing their environment can sometimes help keep them from being too aggressive.

Keep an eye out for these things that stress your dog out, and change how you act and what you do to make his environment less stressful.


  • Punishment
  • Boredom
  • Barrier frustration
  • Lack of chew toys
  • Insufficient relaxation or sleep time
  • Other animals harassing your dog
  • Lack of positive attention from you
  • Inconsistent or unclear behavior rules taught by you
  • Insufficient physical or mental exercise
  • You give incorrect attention during arousal behaviors

A healthy exercise plan for a German Shepherd could help make up for a lack of exercise. Make sure you give your high-energy breed the energy it needs every day in different ways.

Boredom that comes from not having enough mental stimulation can also be fixed. Read this article to learn how to improve the behaviour of your German Shepherd by giving it mental exercises.

Motherhood, hypothyroidism, and physical pain all make stress and angry outbursts worse. Even though childbirth is over, there are still other health issues that need to be taken care of.

Before you try to treat aggression on your own, you should talk to your vet because it may be caused by a health problem.

What Are Your Dog’s Triggers?

Triggers are actions or behaviours that happen right away and cause or encourage your dog to act aggressively.

Find out what bothers your dog by watching their body language and the way they act in their environment.

Here are a few examples of triggers:

  • Small children’s behaviour is hard to predict.
  • Noises that are loud or strange
  • Bikes, scooters, and skateboards
  • Strangers they have never met before
  • Overstimulation or being too excited
  • When another dog or person acts in a way that is threatening,

Once you know what makes your German Shepherd angry and can read their body language, you can help them become less aggressive by keeping them away from those things.

How To Make My German Shepherd Less Aggressive: Step-by-Step

This procedure includes a full training program meant to teach your aggressive German Shepherd new or different ways to act.

This means figuring out what’s causing the problem, getting rid of any stressors, and coming up with a consistent training modification plan that fits your GSD’s end goals.

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1. Eliminate Any Overlooked Stress

Change your environment to get rid of any sources of stress that might be making your dog act mean. Use the above list of stressors to help you figure out which ones you can deal with.

2. Identify Your Dog’s Triggers

Write down what makes your dog angry and try to avoid that while you’re training. Keep track of the things that make your dog act mean.

3. Avoid the Trigger While Working on Training

It’s important to stay away from things that used to bother your dog. Choose a different way to walk them, don’t let them meet strangers, and take away all their toys if these things are triggers.

4. Create a Training Modification Program

Talk to a behaviourist or use a home behaviour modification program to make your dog less aggressive.

Even though it is best to get help from a professional, I understand that not everyone can afford to do so.

What Age Does a German Shepherd Become Aggressive

5. Use Safety Precautions to Prevent Injury

Use a muzzle, a headcollar, or something similar to get your dog under control in public. Biting accidents are best prevented before they happen, and head collars are the best way to keep control during training.

Gentle Head Collar

This control tool gives small corrections and keeps the dog from jumping, lunging, or pulling. The head collar isn’t painful and won’t make your German Shepherd choke, but it will give you more control over him.

Your German Shepherd’s aggression won’t go away just because it has a head collar.

But it does make things safer and easier to control. If you need more confidence, put the head collar on your aggressive German Shepherd before you go outside.

Aggression Treatment

If you want to train a German Shepherd to be less aggressive, use the whole treatment plan given below.

When you use all of the treatments, you and your dog will get better results.

The chart below shows the training stage and what can be done to help stop people from acting aggressively.

Depending on the problems your dog is having and how bad they are, the training could take many months.
Treatment StepAction
Safety firstAvoid triggers, use a muzzle, use treats and not force to get your dog moving in the right direction (away from the trigger), keep your dog on a short leash outdoors
Create a safe areaPlace your dog in a correct fitting crate, exercise pen, or use pet-safe baby gates to keep them away from the trigger areas, give them safe chew toys to keep them occupied
Relationship buildingUse reward-based training, don’t use aversive punishment, work on basic obedience skills to help them build trust and confidence in themselves and you
Meeting daily needsMake sure they’re getting the required amount of exercise, offer them mental enrichment to avoid boredom so they use their mental skills
Management toolsUse pet-safe baby gates to keep them away from triggers inside the home, walk with a head collar for better control outdoors
MedicationsAntidepressants, speak to your vet for other options
Counterconditioning and desensitizationIdentify triggers, slowly expose to triggers, use rewards to change emotional responses from negative to positive

Don’t just focus on one thing about how aggressive your German Shepherd is. Instead, use a strategy that looks at all parts of everyday life.

Using the “Say Please” or Nothing in Life is Free Technique to Regain Control

Nothing in Life Is Free (NILIF) or “Say Please” training is a great way to give your German Shepherd a sense of control and order again.

It’s easy to do every day and helps you regain your position as leader, which can help with your German Shepherd’s aggression problems.

In a word, the NILIF approach says that for your dog to get everything it wants in life, it has to do what you say.

Your dog will know what to expect from you if you teach him that rewards only come when he asks nicely and does something calm, like sitting. When your dog does what you want, he gets all of the rewards, like food, treats, praise, and affection.

What’s most important is…

Teach your dog basic obedience skills to show him what you expect of him, and then use these skills in your daily life.

Aggression Problem & Solution Help Chart

Avoid penalizing your dog for inappropriate behaviour.

Corrections on the leash and punishment-based tactics do not address the underlying issues.

They rarely provide long-term advantages and are extremely transient. Instead, employ positive reinforcement to encourage and reward desired actions.

Here are some issues to look out for and treatments to help keep your German Shepherd from becoming violent.

Other dogsUse counterconditioning and desensitization to associate the other dog with something positive (like a high-value, tasty reward)
A threat to resources like toys and foodUse hand feeding, remove toys and chew left out, work on (NILIF) “Say Please” method of training
Doorbell ringingPractice desensitization methods, associate the doorbell with positive experiences
Passers-by outside the living room windowMinimize exposure by using closed blinds, keeping the dog out of the room
Trips to your vetUse counterconditioning to associate the vets with positive interactions by going to vets and offering rewards (don’t book an appointment just stop in to say hi for a brief period), you can also live with this behavior if it’s low-level stress
Car ridesUse counterconditioning and desensitization, offer rewards for getting near the car or stepping through car back doors and exiting to begin
Nail trimsTeach the dog to use a scratch pad, use desensitization methods if you need to use nail clippers or grinders
Medical conditionsSeek vet treatment, use natural and holistic methods, use massage

Rather than assuming that your German Shepherd has just become hostile, look for the aspects of her life that bother her. Their hostility has a root cause that must be addressed.

German Shepherd Aggression Prevention

When you’re wondering why your German Shepherd is getting violent, there are several factors to consider.

However, once you understand your dog’s triggers, you can help your GSD progress. To assure success, follow a comprehensive training plan.

Aggressive German Shepherds pose a threat and a safety risk.

Your top focus is safety. for both you and your dog.

What Age Does a German Shepherd Become Aggressive

Never give up!

Your perseverance and patience contribute to the success of your GSD!

The proper thing to do is to keep your dog from harming any person or animal. If you’re still concerned, use training that promotes a healthy, steady German Shepherd and seek professional aid.

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Will German Shepherds Attack Their Owners?

There is no proof that German Shepherds are more likely than other breeds to bite their owners. German Shepherds, like any dog, will defend themselves if they are threatened.

If a German Shepherd’s owner is excessively abusive with them, they may try to defend themselves by biting.

However, this feature applies to all breeds. No dog will submit to injury if he believes he can defend himself.

Again, we strongly advise socializing this breed at an early age. The majority of bites, including those intended for humans, are motivated by fear. Unless you intentionally scare your dog by “over punishing,” the possibility of a bite is exceedingly unlikely.

If they do bite you, it’s probably because you did something scary, whether or not it was scary to us.

Dogs, for example, are frequently terrified of umbrellas. As a result, they are employed in temperament testing.

Socialization is necessary to keep your dog from being afraid of things like umbrellas, which may force them to “defend” themselves from the threat.

If you happen to be the one with the umbrella, this isn’t going to go well.

At the same time, you should become acquainted with good dog training. German Shepherds require training, but the training must be scientifically supported.

Positive reinforcement training is the most effective because the dog is unlikely to react negatively to treats.You don’t want to instill fear in your dog.

After all, dogs bite things that frighten them!

For dozens of years, dominance training has been disproven. Even wolves do not exhibit “dominance” behaviour in the way that most people think of it. It can also cause your dog to respond negatively, prompting him to bite.

Are All German Shepherds Aggressive?

The short answer is no! German Shepherds, when properly taught and socialized, are among the sweetest dogs on the market.

German Shepherds aren’t always as they appear in movies.

They aren’t always very tough and ready to go on an attack.

They, like many other large dogs, crave lots of love and attention from their owners.

A German Shepherd is a good choice if you want a gentle but energetic dog to add to your household.

They may be a little too boisterous for young children, but older children may enjoy playing and being rambunctious together.

In reality, German Shepherds may be particularly calm and compassionate around their families.

The majority of the aggressiveness in a typical German Shepherd is learned, and if properly trained, your dog will not be so aggressive at all.

The most “hazardous” thing they could do to you is choose to sit on your lap at random.

Why Are German Shepherds Not Good Pets?

German Shepherds can make wonderful pets for the right home. However, there are many instances where they would make awful pets.

Here are some reasons why you should avoid getting a German Shepherd:

  • You’d rather not deal with training. German Shepherd dogs necessitate extensive training. Not only do these dogs require training, but they are also incredibly bright. If their minds are not stimulated, they will turn destructive in order to have fun. As a result, even when they have mastered all of the basic commands, you should continue to train them.
  • You don’t want to spend time looking for a good breeder. For any dog you intend to buy, you should look for a qualified breeder. It is very crucial for German Shepherds. Unfortunately, good breeders might be difficult to find. Because these dogs are so popular, there are many breeders. However, this does not imply that they all adhere to stringent breeding norms.
  • You don’t want to risk having health problems. Many individuals feel that purebred dogs are healthier than mixed-breed dogs. However, the inverse is true. Purebred dogs, like the German Shepherd, are predisposed to a number of hereditary problems. Hip dysplasia, among other issues, is widespread in this breed. They can happen to any dog, so if you don’t want to pay hundreds of dollars in vet bills, don’t get a German Shepherd.
  • You don’t want to waste time grooming. German Shepherds shed heavily. In some circumstances, they must be brushed on a daily basis. At the very least, you’ll need to brush them a couple times a week. You should not adopt a German Shepherd if you are unable to make this commitment.
  • You are unwilling to accept possibly dangerous dogs. There are numerous reasons why you should not have a German Shepherd puppy. If you adopt the first puppy you see, you are unlikely to get a dog with a good temperament. You should only adopt from a breeder who prioritizes temperament. Otherwise, you risk having an aggressive dog who guards resources and dislikes youngsters.
  • You are not interested in socializing. German Shepherds require a lot of socialization. If you don’t, they may become afraid and assume that everyone is a threat to their territory. They must be introduced to a variety of people in order for them to understand that not everyone is a threat. You want them to defend you and your family from terrible people, not everyone else.
  • You don’t want to be tied down to them for the next 15 years. German shepherds often live for 10 to 14 years. However, 15 years is not unusual. Please do not adopt if you are unwilling to commit to your dog for this length of time. When you move, have your next child, or get married, you should not consider getting rid of your dog.

Final Thoughts

German shepherds are capable of being hostile. Every canine does. These dogs, however, can be easily educated to accept others into their territory with the proper socialization and training.

They’ll never be as friendly as a Labrador retriever, but that’s not the point of a German Shepherd.

However, these pets come with a lot of responsibility. You must commit to intensive training and socialization.

This is not a breed to get just because; you should plan to put in hours per week. Aggressive German Shepherds frequently have owners who do not.

Before you acquire a German Shepherd, think about whether you really want one. Your actions will have a major impact on whether or not they get aggressive.

Princy Hoang
See more articles in this category: Dogs

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