aggressive white German Shepherd

by will narango

I have a beautiful 12 month old white gsd who adores me but has shown aggression toward others. what can I do to socialize my dog w/o the fear of him biting people?

I realize now that I should have continuously socialized him from weeks old till now but i need help now. thanx.

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Feb 20, 2010
Don't let shepherds directly interact with strangers
by: BeSmarter

Ditto on Debbie's advice to work with a trainer -- shepherds have a breed inclination for stranger intolerance, and if not handled right, this will get worse. It won't get better on it's own.

Whatever you do, do not punish the dog for reactivity -- get him out of the situation as calmly as possible (put distance between him and the source of agitation) but totally ignore his reaction as much as possible. We humans tend to get annoyed and embarrassed by our dog's aggressive displays and want them to just knock it off already, however, if you yell or jerk on their leash, you are reinforcing the dog's agitation.

Think of it as a phobia in your dog: he genuinely believes the approaching stranger (or strange dog) is a threat, so he's sounding the alarm and warning the stranger to Stay Back. Research shows that actual chemical changes occur in the dog's brain, and often he is no longer even able to follow basic obedience, as to him, this is really and truly a life-threatening situation.

Jerking on his leash or yelling INCREASES the dog's stress and output of Fight Or Flight chemicals in his brain. From the dog's perspective, you're confirming that, Yes, this really is a dangerous situation and I'm right there with you in the anxiety zone.

So, job one is to stay calm, and then get your dog out of there, dragging him if you have to, but in no way acknowledging the display. Work with a trainer on minimizing the displays altogether.

The other thing we hardly ever see is that shepherds, and guardy breeds in general, should not be socialized like other dogs: you shouldn't allow, much less encourage, strangers to interact with your dog. He should be out and about, and SEE people in all their various forms and behaviors, but not experience them coming to engage him.

Guard-breed puppies socialized with stranger-handling, can actually become MORE aggressive as adults when their very breed-proper guardiness develops and they EXPECT all strangers to engage them. They become even more proactive in making themselves clear to STAY AWAY because they expect everyone to come toward them.

This is not an ill-tempered dog, just a misunderstood one, and what really sucks is there's almost no info out there on socializing guard-breed puppies -- all the literature tells us to maximize stranger handling and dog interactions, when the opposite is true for shepherds. They should SEE strangers and all kinds of other dogs, but only interact with a very few. Your goal is Neutrality toward other people and dogs -- not an expectation of engagement which can go bad either with over-enthusiasm or full-on aggression in adulthood.

More on this at (though it's a mixed bag over there, and I'd advise ignoring all the talk of e-collars. The puppy and socialization info is excellent.)

Nov 22, 2009
aggressive white German Shepherd
by: Debbie

You need to get a grip on this as soon as possible before something does happen and your German Shepherd takes a nip out of someone (or worse).

I would highly suggest 2 things to start: sign you and your German Shepherd up for a training class (tell the trainer about your dog in deep detail when you sign up for the class) and get your dog out in all sorts of new areas (on leash or in your vehicle) and locations where he can see people and observe them and learn that people are not going to harm him - but not in areas where people will have access to him - not in the beginning.

And then gradually introduce him to friends and others who are dog friendly once you have gone through the training class to teach him that people are his friends.

But I would definitely do the training class first so that you can learn what to do first when working with your GSD and what to look for in his mannerisms before he gets agitated to prevent the biting from happening.

It's not to late to properly socialize your GSD - here an article you might want to read too: GSD Socialization

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