7 Reasons Your German Shepherd’s Aggressive To Other Dogs

It is not a German Shepherd’s nature to be aggressive, but it is possible to provoke one to behave that way. A German Shepherd is a big dog, and their naturally buff physique can have them inflicting a lot of damage with ease. They have the potential to be aggressive, which is why they make such strong military or police dogs. 

German Shepherds are able to be trained quite easily as they are very intelligent. If they are trained young, it is fairly easy to avoid bringing out their aggression. A responsible owner will make training a priority and will bring in reinforcements if necessary. 

There might be small signs of aggression that a German Shepherd might display as they are learning. They may occasionally bite at your furniture or play a little rough. Remember that there are usually reasons why your dog will act this way, but this does not mean they are dangerous and it is time to give up. 

Understanding what leads to a German Shepherd’s aggressive tendencies and knowing how to change that behavior is essential in making sure your German Shepherd becomes well-behaved. Doing so will not only make your life peaceful but will ensure your German Shepherd can be the happy, healthy, loving dog they are meant to be.

Below we will discuss how to understand your German Shepherd’s aggressive behaviors and how you can avoid them displaying these behaviors towards you, other people, and other dogs. 

Why Does Your German Shepherd Attack Other Dogs?

German Shepherds are naturally very protective animals. They are often used as guard dogs because they have a natural instinct to want to protect and defend their family. Despite how smart they are, German Shepherds cannot always differentiate between a real and perceived threat, so they may be prone to attack when it’s not necessary. 

It is not necessarily common for German Shepherds to attack other dogs. They are not prone to attacking other dogs just because they want to. There are reasons for them acting out, and thus, there are ways to avoid them being mean to other dogs.

They Need To Be Socialized Early

When adopting a young German Shepherd, it is vital to have them interact with other dogs as soon as possible. Arrange playdates with friends who have dogs, or take them to a dog park. If your German Shepherd learns at a young age that other dogs are fun, they will be less likely to get aggressive towards them.

If They Are Older, There’s Still Hope

If you adopt an older German Shepherd, socializing them with other dogs may be a bit more difficult, but it’s not impossible. Be sure they have their own safe space, and be sure they have an outlet to burn energy off without being around other dogs. Take things slow and be patient with your dog. 

There Are No Protective Measures In Place

If your German Shepherd is prone to trying to attack other dogs, they should be kept on a leash when there is a possibility they will run into one. That way, when they are showing those signs of getting aggressive, you are able to safely pull them out of the area. 

They May Be Trying To Protect You 

Your German Shepherd loves you deeply and believes it’s their duty to protect you. This may have them barking at strangers or other dogs and trying to keep them away. Gently letting them know that it’s okay and making sure the other person or dog doesn’t approach aggressively will help your dog warm up to them. 

They May Be Trying To Dominate

Your dog may be trying to establish dominance, either in a relationship with you or with other dogs. If another dog is not allowing them to be the alpha in the relationship, it may confuse your German Shepherd. If you have trained your dog early to see you as the dominant one, it could help them avoid trying to dominate others. 

They May Be Trying To Protect Their Resources 

If another dog is trying to steal your German Shepherd’s toys, they may not be too happy. It’s common for dogs to want to keep their things to themselves. Ensure both dogs have plenty of toys and a safe space like a bed or crate to go to, and you can avoid your German Shepherd getting aggressive towards your other pup.

They May Be In Pain

When an animal is in pain, they don’t know how to tell you. They may lash out at the easiest target because they are frustrated and upset by the pain. Look for signs of limping and see if they have trouble doing basic things or don’t like to be touched in a certain area. Take them to the vet if you think they may be hurt.

German Shepherd Police Dog on duty

How To Get Your German Shepherd To Stop Being Aggressive

For the most part, your dog will not behave aggressively for no reason. Trying to pinpoint why your dog is acting out is key to correcting the behavior before it becomes a habit. There are a few common reasons your German Shepherd may act aggressive, but they can be dealt with fairly easily. 

They Can Communicate In Their Own Way, So Listen

Because a dog cannot communicate with you verbally, it’s important to pay enough attention to your dog and look out for clues as to why they are getting aggressive. Remove the perceived threat, kindly reassure your dog that they are okay, and keep anyone or anything encouraging your dog’s behavior away from them.

Help Them Release Energy

German Shepherds have a lot of energy that can fester if they aren’t able to expel it. Be sure to give your dog plenty of exercise every day. Take them for walks or let them run around in your backyard. They should also have toys around the house to entertain themselves with when they are indoors. 

Teach Your Kids How To Interact With Them

It’s important to remember that the majority of dogs do not act out unless they believe they are being threatened. If you have kids, teach them how to properly interact with your dog. If your kids mishandle them, are rough with them, or don’t leave them alone when they are tired or busy, your German Shepherd might rightfully lash out.

Get Help If You Need It 

You can do as much research as you want, but you may need help training your German Shepherd, especially if they are older when you get them. Find a professional dog trainer to either give you some tips or give you additional training. The experts may notice something that you don’t that can help you deter your dog from continuing aggressive behavior.

Train Them To “Ask” For Something 

German Shepherds may get aggressive if they want something but aren’t getting it. Train them to perform a trick or action to get what they want. For example, train your dog to sit nicely at the door to let you know they want to go outside. Your German Shepherd will pick up these types of training quickly.

Management Tips To Keep Your German Shepherd From Attacking Your Other Dog 

Knowing the signs of your dog’s aggressiveness will help you get your dog out of the situation that’s bothering them before it’s too late. Aggressive dogs will usually start growling at a low volume and will show their teeth, and they may sit crouched to prepare for pouncing. 

Be Patient

You will have to put in a lot of time and effort to get your other dog and your German Shepherd to become friends. German Shepherds can be wary of other dogs before they are used to them. The younger you can acclimate them, the better. 

Socialize Them In Neutral Territory

In order to have the most success with your German Shepherd and your other dog, you want to slowly introduce them to each other. Keep them both on leashes and bring them to a neutral area, such as a park or the backyard. When they do something positive like sniff the other dog or kiss them, reward them and let them know they did a good job. 

Slowly Give Them More Freedom

As the two dogs get more used to each other, you can allow them to be together for longer periods of time. Make sure they both have a safe space to go to, like their own bed or a crate, when they get tired or are starting to get aggravated. 

Keep A Close Eye On Them

When your German Shepherd and other dog get to the playful stage of their relationship, you still want to monitor them. German Shepherds are big, and even if they are being playful, they may still be able to unintentionally hurt your other dog. Playing can turn into aggression fast as well, so look out for the signs and separate the dogs if it gets to that point. 

Use Positive Reinforcements

When your German Shepherd is being gentle and sweet to your other dog, which they probably will be most of the time, praise them for it; using positive reinforcements with your German Shepherd will not only make them happy, but it’ll let them know that being nice to your other dog is a good thing. They will feel more comfortable sharing their space with the other dog.

What NOT To Do For Your Aggressive German Shepherd 

If you have a German Shepherd as a household pet, you do not want to encourage their aggressive abilities to come out. While it may make you feel more secure to have your German Shepherd be a guard dog for your home, you shouldn’t attempt to train them this way on your own. 

You should only have your German Shepherd working for you if they’ve been trained by a professional, or they may act out.

Don’t Ignore Them

You must be sure that if you decide to bring a German Shepherd into your home, you are able to give them dedicated time with you. They love to be the center of attention. German Shepherds need interaction and stimulation, or they will get bored or depressed, which could translate into aggressive behavior. 

Don’t Make Them Sit Around All Day 

You have to make the time to bring your German Shepherd out for walks often. They also need space to be able to run around and get rid of their pent-up energy. When they get bored, they may act out. While German Shepherds are adaptable to their environment, they don’t like to be confined. 

Don’t Falter On Training

It is also important that, when training your German Shepherd, you stay consistent with your communication. Do not punish them for doing something, only to turn around and encourage the behavior, or vice versa. The only way they will learn is if you keep up with their training. 

Don’t Encourage Bad Behavior

Sometimes when your dog is misbehaving, they may be acting cute, and it’s hard not to just laugh. However, doing so will make them think that what they’re doing is okay. Even though it might be difficult, be sure to calmly but firmly reinforce to them that what they are doing is wrong. 

Don’t Encourage Aggressive Behavior 

Encouraging your German Shepherd when they are showing signs of aggression will not help curb their behavior. Gently but firmly telling your dog no when they are playing too rough or barking too much will let them know they can’t act that way. It’s nice to feel protected by your dog, but they need to know the appropriate situations where that action is necessary. 

Don’t Be Aggressive Back 

It may be hard not to lose your temper on your dog when they are acting up, but it’s one of the worst things you can do. Not only is it mean, but your German Shepherd will not take kindly to your aggression. If you aren’t respectful of them, they may see you as a threat and act aggressively.

Avoiding Future Attacks From Your German Shepherd With Other Dogs 

Knowing the difference between playfulness and aggression is key to understanding when your German Shepherd is taking socialization too far. Sometimes it can be difficult because dogs like to play rough with each other. However, it’s important that you are present during playtime so you can kindly take your German Shepherd out of the situation before it’s too late. 

It’s essential to understand that dogs don’t act aggressively for no reason. Dogs are also not inherently aggressive because of their breed. Training and a lot of love and kindness can help any dog overcome aggressive tendencies. 

Want To Train Your German Shepherd With Peace Of Mind?

If you haven’t trained your dog properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.

The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.

With Brain Training For Dogs, you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, that you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.

So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!

And in most cases, it’s still going to be:

  • Cheaper than hiring a professional.
  • Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
  • And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.

Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your dog completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.

And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!

So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!

(You can also check out a full review here to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)


It’s important to question your dog’s behavior in order to understand them completely. Remove barriers to happiness for them, and eliminate possible threats or reasons for them to act out. 

How Aggressive Are German Shepherds With Other Dogs?

A German Shepherd can be aggressive towards other dogs if they are not used to interacting with them. German Shepherds may not be trusting of other dogs before getting to know them. This could be especially true when adopting one if they had a troubled past. 

While German Shepherds do have traits ingrained in them that can lead to aggression, they will not act out for no reason. They will not be aggressive with other dogs because they are bad dogs but because they have been triggered by something.

Why Does My German Shepherd Attack Small Dogs?

Your German Shepherd is a giant compared to small dogs. This could intimidate a small dog, thus having them feel as though they need to be aggressive towards your German Shepherd. In turn, your German Shepherd may take that as a pending attack and will naturally want to defend themselves. 

German Shepherds are also used to being alphas, so they may see a small dog as something beneath them. A small dog can become an easy target for your German Shepherd if they haven’t been trained to take out their energy properly. This can be avoided by socializing them early and training them to be gentle and kind to other dogs. 

How Do I Diagnose Aggression In German Shepherds?

There will be telltale signs that your German Shepherd is beginning to get aggressive. These signs are common in most dogs. They will physically make themselves appear more menacing and scary.

Taking your dog to a veterinarian to ensure there are no health issues causing your German Shepherd to be aggressive is the first step, and accepting intervention from professional trainers should be the next. 

Training and socialization are two of the most important things to remember when trying to prevent your German Shepherd from being aggressive towards other dogs. You have to show them love and patience and take the time necessary to train them and give them an enjoyable life. German Shepherds are incredibly loyal, intelligent, and loving, and they deserve the time it takes to help them stay that way.