Why is My German Shepherd Puppy So Aggressive?

Pet Training


February 20, 2023

When most of us get a dog, we think of a loyal companion who will be by our side through thick and thin. The last thing that we want for them is to become overly aggressive and potentially dangerous. This is prevalent in some breeds more than others.

If you have a German shepherd puppy and it is becoming aggressive, it can be a sign for concern. Knowing why they become aggressive can be the first step toward helping them to become less so.

Why is My German Shepherd Puppy So Aggressive?

It is important to note that German shepherd puppies that show aggressive behaviors are quite rare. They are a naturally obedient, loyal breed of dog. If they are displaying aggression, it is because they learned the behavior from somewhere.

If you get them from a breeder and they display aggressive tendencies, it could have to do with how they were treated while with the breeder. Perhaps the breeder used more aggressive tactics.

That said, most German shepherd puppies are quite resilient, particularly during their adolescent years. When they have negative associations, they can have more aggressive behaviors that need to be trained out of them.

Asking “why is my German shepherd puppy so aggressive” is an important first question to ask. It sets the groundwork for recognizing this behavior and taking the steps to correct it. Which takes us to the next session.

How to Train an Aggressive German Shepherd?

The good news is that you can train that kind of behavior out of your German shepherd. If you have a puppy that is aggressive, it is a bit easier to train out those behaviors than it would be with a fully grown shepherd. Here are a few helpful tips to get through those aggressive behaviors and make them better listeners.

Know the Triggers

German shepherds are not traditionally aggressive dogs. They might be reserved when it comes to strangers, but they will warm up to just about anyone with time. There is usually a reason behind any aggressive behavior that they display. Before you can wonder, “why is my German shepherd puppy so aggressive,” you need to know the signs and triggers.

It can also be due to a lack of socialization, too much stress, anxiety, or fear, as well as pain that they associate with certain people or actions. Knowing what is causing that aggressive behavior in the first place is the best way to help change that behavior, which relates to the next tip quite well.

Know Their Body Language

German shepherds typically do not attack out of the blue. There are generally warning signs that precede an attack. Part of recognizing the aggressive behavior of your shepherd means knowing their body language and the signs that there may be a negative reaction coming.

Some of them are obvious—growling or snarling, showing teeth, snapping—but others can be less so. Excessive barking, a rigid body, yawing, or lurching can be signs that they are feeling aggressive and may act on it. It shows that they are definitely afraid, stressed, or uncomfortable.

Focus on One Trigger

If there are multiple triggers at play, keep in mind that they cannot all be resolved at once. You need to take one at a time and work on understanding and avoiding them. Maybe going for walks during quiet hours so that they aren’t around dogs or people.

It is all about placing barriers between your dog and those triggers. It is impossible to avoid all of those triggers, though. By working with your dog on one trigger at a time, it can be trained to learn that there is not a negative response coming. That alone can help them to respond in a better manner than they otherwise would.

Positive Reinforcement

Even with dogs who are not particularly aggressive, positive reinforcement is crucial. You want to let the dog know what they are doing right, not necessarily what they are doing wrong. Negative reinforcement can lead them to become fearful, exacerbating their aggressiveness.

Guide them towards the proper actions, rewarding them with treats and positive affirmation each step of the way. This will help them to become less aggressive and better understand what they need to do to earn the right response.

It is also helpful to keep the training sessions short. Too much at one time can trigger them, leading to aggressive behavior. Keeping things in short bursts can make learning more efficient and effective. You don’t want to overwhelm your dog and make them more aggressive because they feel overwhelmed. Going in more manageable chunks can definitely make the learning experience more tolerable than it would be otherwise.


Having an aggressive German shepherd puppy can be a frustrating and alarming experience. The good news is that recognition can lead to correction. By implementing the right training methods, you can correct that behavior and get rid of the aggressiveness.

German shepherds are a naturally loyal, smart, easily trainable breed. Recognizing the aggressive tendencies and working to get through them is essential as a dog owner. And with these tips, you can do just that.