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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone! This might be a little long and I apologize for grammar errors (english is not my first language)

I got a 5 month old puppy (avatar pic) as my vet told me she’s a German sheperd mix. She’s also the first big dog we have since our collie died of old age (15 years old), he died 7 years ago.
Even so when we had our collie we adopted him when he was 5 months old. When i found her and took her to the vet she told me Lupi was between a month and 45 days old.

Like every puppy she loves to play and it’s not completely aware of her size, she can be clumsy and overly excited but so far she has never bitten me or anyone else including my other dogs and cats.
She does jump a lot which I’m working on her to stop (mainly cause my grandma lives with us and I don’t want my dog to make her fall)

I’ve had friends over at my house and she at first stays back but afterwards gets close to them so they can pet her. She’s very smart, I already taught her several tricks and she knows when my tone is to scold and when is to praise.

She’s also protective when she saw someone in our backyard at night she began barking until that person got closer to her and she saw it was my sister. Also when I took her out for a walk late at night, a guy started walking behind us and she began barking at him.

Today early at the morning came the handyman to fix our roof. He had not been here in quite a while and had never seen Lupi and for some reason he was instantly terrified despite the fact that she wagged her tail and had her tongue out at him when she saw him.

While he was working she did followed him, still wagging her tail. At one moment he asked me to please take the dog inside and I obliged cause I knew he couldn’t do his work with a puppy following him everywhere.

Afterwards my mom told me the handyman said to her that he was scared of the puppy and that he knew that when Lupi would grow into adult size she was going to be a mean dog because she’s a german sheperd mix and that we should keep her tied up.

I, of course got angry at that statement. I grew up with dogs since I was a baby, I care for each of them and I firmly believe that a dog is not naturally mean, they become mean because they were mistreated.

My grandma however agreed with the handyman partially saying that everyone would think she’s mean given her breed and size. So there I decided to do a little research and of course I found the ones that agreed with me and the ones that agreed with the handyman.

Some say that german sheperds are naturally aggresive because they are gueard dogs, other say that if they are raise to be guard dogs they can be temperamental.

Then i started remembering encounters with German sheperds, the first time I was bitten by a dog was by that breed. He belonged to my neighbour and everyone else where we lived agreed he was a mean dog (he even killed the pekingese that belonged to my mother back then which made a whole other story with my neighbours)

I don’t know much of him because after that bite I stayed away, but my mom told me years after that the dog was raised to be aggresive, he wasn’t fed properly and she never saw the owner pet him or generally care for him.

Another is my cousin’s dog, she’s the most adorable dog ever.
She’s always had german sheperds so I asked her and she told me the first german sheperd they had was very protective and with a mean character towards people outside the house.

So my question is, is my dog gonna become aggresive because of the breed that’s mix in her?

I don’t really believe it, I also can’t see my dog biting someone yet she still a puppy but statistics say that German Shepherds are the breed third most likely to attack a person.

And that just brings a bunch of other questions, the main one is will a dog attack someone out of the blue?
Would love to hear opinions!
 

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First of all, if your dog is a mix then any traits from her mix will be weaker than if she was a purebred. But I will still tak about German Shepherds because it's what you asked. Shepherds are naturally protective, so they are not friendly to strangers unless you introduce them and let them know the stranger is a friend. If left untrained and never shown new people coming over are friends, then most dogs of any breed will be mean. Judging a dog by its breed or size is absurd. Your puppy has never attacke dangone right? She's just being a good, natural protector. They are very loyal to their master.

Tying up a dog is the *worst* possible thing you could do next to hitting her. Tied up dogs go crazy and can be VERY nasty because they feel so trapped and frustrated and unhappy. Even nice dogs can go crazy when tied up. Do not do this no matter how big or 'scary' she looks.

German Shepherds are powerful dogs that can be trained to be attack dogs, and they have some predispositions toward aggression more than other dogs. That doesn't make them all mean dogs. Along with being guard dogs they make great dogs for the blind, disabled and to visit people in the hospital. They can be gentle with children and great family pets.

Don't listed to your grandmother or people visiting. Keep training your dog to be polite, introduce her to lots of nice people, and you will show them that your puppy is a good dog. If you want her to not bark at new people, work on telling her to sit when they come and give her a treat when people arrive. If guests agree allow time to give her food too so she learns guests are very nice and bring her treats.

Good luck!
 

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Also I want to add that dog breed bite statistics are nonsense. They typically report the dog's breed as it is reported in the newspaper, and newspapers very often get the breed wrong. If you talk to any dog expert they will tell you that you are right and it's not a breed that makes a dog dangerous.
 

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No German Shepherds are not naturally aggressive or mean dogs. No breed of dogs are, even those who are commonly used for guard work.

German Shepherds were not even originally used for guard or police work, they were originally bred for herding. Many of them are protective of their families and homes so they have come to be used for guarding and police work.

What I would do with your boy is introduce him to as many people as possible. Make sure to introduce him to all types of people, children, elderly, men, woman, different ethnic races, people wearing different things like hats, dark glasses etc. People carrying different things walkers, bags, umbrellas etc. You also want each introduction to be a good, happy, experience for him, if he's acting scared then that is not good. So pair his seeing people with nice treats, a favorite toy, whatever he loves, so the learns that people mean great things happen to him. Make sure to do that everywhere, on the street, in your yard, in your house, where ever you can so that he also matters it does not matter where he sees people, they'll always cause good things to happen.

As Traciek88 stated, tying him up all the time is one of the worse things you can do. It does cause dogs to become neurotic and mean. They get defensive because they know they are vulnerable and that they cannot escape so they learn to act vicious in the hopes that they'll scare everything off and they will attack if someone ignores the warning and gets to close.

Nearly every dog will give some type of sign before attacking, Usually they escalate the warnings, first they'll show they are not comfortable with what is going on by lip licking, keeping their eyes averted, whale eye (whites of the eyes show), yawning, submissive grin and others. When those are ignored they'll growl, and bark. Then they may bare teeth, and snarl next while raising their hackles and giving a hard stare. Then it's likely to be lunging and hopefully a warning bite and not a full blown bite. If an owner ignores the signs that the dog is uncomfortable, and punishes it for barking and growling the dog can learn to not do those, BUT they will then go to snarling and biting. The last are dogs that are said to "bite out of the blue", even those dogs generally show some type of warning, in the way they are holding their ears, slight lip lifting, or tongue flicking, stiff body, and hard stare, before biting. Also some dogs will go through their warnings very fast, while others are more long suffering.
 
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@harleyboysmom would be a good person to talk to about this.

No dog is "naturally" aggressive, but they sure can have assertive/guarding traits since that is what they are bred for. If not well-trained with a good impulse control he certainly can become a biter, particularly if not well socialized to all types of movement, people, and animals. I've seen my fair share of shepherd, rotties, and border collies become fear biters because their owners don't take the time to train them or socialize them.
 

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In my experience, GSDs are more likely to go bad and become aggressive than other breeds, because they were bred to be protection dogs in part. They're not naturally friendly to strangers. Most of this can be avoided with proper training though, and your dog won't become aggressive simply because she's part GSD.
 

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I had a GSD who passed last year. She was wary and aloof but not aggressive at all. She would bark to alert, often giving one woof and letting the boys do the rest. She was always on what we called patrol, at night. Keeping an eye on things. But barking at strangers or noise is a dog thing, not breed dependent. Socialization is key with any dog and I think why so many believe GSD's are mean or aggressive comes from a couple of things. The are used for guard and police work. They have erect ears(stupid but true, many people see erect ears and think aggressive). Also many people get them and mistreat them, wanting a mean dog. I've seen the same thing with pit bulls being mistreated for being happy and outgoing. If you dog has a lot of GDS traits then she may become more aloof as she gets older and not solicit attention from strangers or want to play with other dogs. Or she may be really outgoing. But I will bet she won't be aggressive.
 
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I have a German Shepherd/Husky mix and a working line German Shepherd. Neither of my dogs have ever bit anyone. To be honest, I think in general German Shepherds are overbred, badly bred, and aren't novice dogs. I think sometimes people end up with a GSD that isn't of the soundest temperment and aren't knowledgeable enough to address their dog's issues.

If you are ever worried about having guests over with your dog- crate the dog. Environemental management can prevent accidents from happening. I also like to train a "go to your mat" behaviour. My dogs lay on their beds and aren't allowed to pester guests. They get a tasty KONG treat and are happy to chill out.
 

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All good points here. GSD's are naturally protective, naturally very brave and assertive, and high(er) energy. This combination, when not approached with proper training and socialization, can quickly spiral into aggression and reactive dogs.

I also think that GSD's are over bred and the result is that many are very badly bred . The other issue is that since they are so intelligent and brave, they do make good police dogs. People see this and get one to be a "guard" dog without actually training it to be a guard dog the proper way, instead cultivating fear aggression and anxiety until the dog is "mean"....this only further creates the stereotype that GSD's are mean. Bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you look at REAL (i.e. properly trained) police and guard dogs, they actually are not aggressive at all. Instead they are highly trainable and intelligent dogs that are performing disciplined tasks. A police handler can call off a Police K9 mid-bite...a truly aggressive dog does not have that level of self-control or discipline.

Now it is true that because of their natural protectiveness and assertiveness, GSD's need more socialization than the average happy-go-lucky labrador type dogs. They need to be taught proper manners and social conduct.

Listen to previous posters and DO NOT tie up your dog is expect her to be aggressive and therefore keep her away from people. She needs lots of positive interactions with people to keep her as friendly and outgoing as she seems to be now. As she ages she most likely will become more aloof as her puppy curiousity disappears so use this time wisely to teach her and help her develop proper social skills.
 

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Since your dog is a mix, any traits that a purebred would have had would be lessened.

Second of all, German shepherds do not have predisposed aggression, nor do any other dogs. With the right socialization and training, your dog should be fine.
 

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Since your dog is a mix, any traits that a purebred would have had would be lessened.

Second of all, German shepherds do not have predisposed aggression, nor do any other dogs. With the right socialization and training, your dog should be fine.
 

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A well-bred and well trained GSD is not aggressive. However, they are extremely protective, high energy, and alert. Most lines have extreme prey drive as well. They need to be socialized early on so they can recognize friendly and unfriendly people.
GSD's are common in Schutzhund (protection dog). I would say that about half of the dogs at my Schutzhund club are GSD's and they are INSANE dogs. Before training, they can be seen pacing and whining in their kennels, eager to get started. They are hard dogs, nothing fazes them. They can and want to work for hours.
I would like to point out that the GSD's I am describing are the minority. These dogs are bred for drive and temperament. And since yours is a mix, I doubt you will have any serious issues with him. Just make sure you take him lot's of places, just like you would do with any young dog.
I have had GSD's in the past and always slightly surprised how common these dogs are in a family setting, considering how high energy and protective they are.
 

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First off, your dog is a mix and wasn't bred to work like GSD usually is. Socialize him well, work hard on training, and I am sure your dog will turn out just well.
Now, back to the question. GSD's are not meant to be aggressive. That will completely ruin their purpose as they are meant for protection. German Shepherds are one of the most common breeds in protection sports. Aggressive dogs are not allowed in any protection ring. They need to bite and let go on command and aggressive dogs won't do that.
A well-bred working GSD will have a stable temperament, high energy, high prey drive, and the ability and will to work. Many are nippy, and some lines are nervous wrecks when they are not allowed to work. The temperament of the GSD varies widely among breeders. The "original" or working GSD, the way the breed is meant to be, does not make a good family pet.
From personal experience, I have always found the American show lines to be the most mellow, but they also have the most health issues. German show lines have a much nicer build but not quite as easy going. American working lines and German working lines are the one's that are the "extreme" depending on the breeder. These are the one's I work with, and honestly, very few would do well in the average family setting.
In conclusion, it all comes down to the breeder you choose. :thumbsup:
 

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As has already been pointed out, GSD are often used as seeing eye dogs and other sorts of assistance dogs. If GSD, as a breed, were naturally aggressive, they could hardly do that sort of work or the herding work they were originally bred to do. In addition, GSD are active in therapy work as well--a GSD is one of two dogs featured on the logo of Therapy Dog International that is required to be worn by both handlers and dogs when they are visiting, and the woman who started our local chapter of TDI has handled GSD for years, both in therapy work and in obedience. Her current GSD is gentle and lovely, and my smaller dog has actually rested his head on the GSD's paws without any objection from the GSD.

So, no, I would not say that GSD are naturally aggressive. It depends on the individual dog's temperament and how that dog is handled. Good for you, by the way, for noticing a habit you don't want in your dog--jumping up, especially given your grandmother's situation--and taking the time to work with her on that while she's still a puppy. Training is very important for any dog and too few people take that into consideration. Remember that it's also possible that your grandmother and/or the handyman had a bad experience with a particular dog, or know someone who has, and that may have made them predisposed to be fearful of the breed in general.

By the way, I think your dog is very nice looking, and I wouldn't be the least bit fearful of her myself.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you guys for amazing responses, already saved several of them to tell my grandmother hehe.

Do not worry I would never keep her tied up.
I asked the question because after i did a little research I was amazed by the amount of people that really do believe GSD are naturally aggresive.

I even had a bad experience with that breed (my neighbour's dog) but i never believed it was because of his breed.

I guess one of the things that I don't want to happen is people around where I live think that my dog is mean when she's so sweet.

Would love to hear even more opinions on the matter.
 

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One of the most loyal and sweet dogs I've had,aside from my current dog, was a gsd/Akita mix, Macai. We made sure to socialize him and let him get used to as many people as he would like ( he was very friendly and curious). We took him everywhere and he was great with our kids. He was protective of us but he also seemed to know I was handling whatever situation it was. I wish you luck, and I wanted to say you have quite a cute pup!

Gone but never forgotten,Macai ❤

View attachment 178002
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One of the things you might consider in terms of convincing others that your dog is not dangerous is a good training course. I don't know what's available for such courses where you live, but if you can train your dog to answer reliably to any number of commands, maybe even teach her some tricks if she's so inclined, you'll be able to show that you have control of her and she isn't dangerous. As an added bonus, the training will help form a stronger bond between the two of you.

I don't mean that your dog has to be an obedience champion, but even if you can get her to answer to the basics--come, sit, stay, heel, leave it, down etc.--and can demonstrate her obedience to others, that will help immensely in convincing them she's not dangerous. I have at least one person who now loves my dog (see avatar for photo of dog) who's generally uneasy around dogs because he will respond to her when she uses his commands, so she feels like she's in control of the situation. She likes the fact that he'll do silly tricks like shake and roll over for her as well. If you can't get to a basic obedience class, there are books available and videos on places like YouTube. Perhaps some of the other posters here who do more advanced obedience work than I do,could recommend some for you.
 

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Tricks seem to totally change people's attitudes. If you can teach her how to wave, play dead, roll over, or chase her tail, you'll see a huge difference in what people think of her.
 
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One thing that seems to muddy discussions like this is that a variety of behaviors are described as 'aggressive'.

My mother brought in a GSD-Belgian shepherd mix before Christmas. The puppy is not aggressive but she has a truck-load of traits that can make her a difficult dog if not trained and handled properly.

- guarding instinct. Both BSDs and GSDs were and are bred to guard and protect their houses and people. I don't know about GSDs, but BSD's purpose along herding was to guard the flock. In modern life the guarding instinct can be a nuisance, especially if the dog is also fearful or has poor training and socialisation.
- high energy level. Both breeds are bred for work. A bored and frustrated dog can find unpleasant ways to channel their energy.
- boldness. I don't have a better word for this because I don't know the translation for the Finnish word I wanted to use. Millanists call it dominance, but we know the theory is false. The puppy is everywhere! She is physical and does not hesitate to walk over you to get what she wants.
- insecurity and fearfulness. Typical flaw for both breeds. Whoever breeds for work, exludes dogs showing these traits from their breeding plans but show breeders, 'oh, he is just aloof', and 'oh, Bella must have puppies with Blacky from the next door' guys? A fearful dog sees threats were they aren't.
- nervousness. Look previous. A dog must know when it is time to rest and when it is time for action. Also, good nerves help recovering from little shocks of life.
- prey drive. The puppy is waking into car chasing, tugging and fetching. Car-chasing? No, thanks. Tug and fetch? Go for it!
- dog aggression. GSDs have a reputation for barking, growling and lunging on leash. I don't know why they do that, but I have seen them too. Probably frustration or insecurity... And the puppy has shown signs she will join the club if this is not addressed.

GSDs are supposed to be working for their handlers so it should not be too difficult to control a dog like this. Was the puppy mine, I would like her to be confident and trust my judgement. That is acquired through proper socialisation and training and handling the dog with respect and fairness.
 
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