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another pet question

i have been reading that german shepherds randomly lunging at happened in the town next to ours where they were having a grad party and the dog didnt know this person and just lunged at husband also heard it on the news this morning .these are just random attacks.i have a shepherd and could honestly see her doing this.she is very random as to who she likes and who she doesnt.i never let her loose though.not even at the dog this a trait in the breed?are they just being protective???whats up with this?by the way she is usually a very nice dog and likes MOST people...

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Asked by raineydays377 at 8:21 AM on Jun. 19, 2009 in Pets

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Answers (10)
  • It is my experience that any dog will lunge at someone they do not like, IF they have not been properly trained and/or socialized. I have a Catahulua (a type of cattle dog) that wasnt socialized, and gets very nervous around new people. Dogs only have so many ways to express low confidence, and one of those is to snap and bite. To help this, invite multiple people over and have them feed her treats until she associates people with food. The "guard dog" breeds have more trouble than any with this, bc most people don't want to socialize these dogs, and think they can only do their job if they are aggressive, which is really not true! I always say, I've never met a bad dog, just bad owners!

    Answer by Emuu at 8:59 AM on Jun. 19, 2009


    As this article says, German Shepherds aren't Golden Retrievers, they are intelligent and strong. It sounds as though they need a knowledgeable owner and training. I googled German Shepherd lunging and found several interesting articles, including a good one by a rescue group that talks about common myths about German Shepherds.

    Answer by Bmat at 9:00 AM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • My rule of thumb is, if my dog doesn't like you, you are not welcome around me or my children. Dogs have a better sense of people than we do most times. I also have a German Shepherd, she is 13 now but even in her day, she never was aggressive towards anyone that she didn't need to be aggressive towards.

    Answer by kustomkrochet at 9:01 AM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • My hubby's childhood dog was a White German Shepherd and to my knowledge (and knowing her the last 5 years of my life), she never lunged at anyone at all. She didn't like me at first b/c I stole all her time away from my husband and she would come around us and kind of grumble every once in a while, but she never attacked me.

    Answer by tangleballlover at 9:08 AM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • German Shepherds were bred as guard dogs. (Believe it or not, it was a tax collector who cross bred a number of dogs to create the Shepherd so he would be safer when going to peoples' houses to collect taxes from them.) Part of the Shepherd's natural instinct is to be protective of its people and even its territory. Extensive training and socialization can be used to teach the dog how to behave around a lot of people, but it has been my experience that few people who get any kind of dog really know how to properly train them. If adequate training hasn't been provided, especially to stronger breeds, the animal will resort to instinct or emotion in deciding how to react.

    Answer by Intrepid at 11:51 AM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • It is not characteristice of the breed to lunge at people. This is a result of not enough proper socialization as a young dog. It is correctable for those that seem to have this issue with proper training and good socialization. It is okay to be aloof around strangers but is never okay to be protective to the point of lunging towards any individual that has shown no intent to harm you.


    Answer by equusvetgal at 12:35 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • i've had 3 german sheppards in my life, growing up, and none of them have ever lunged at anyone..or shown any sort of my golden retriever on the the other hand, he barks and growls and goes at every stranger, especially males!! and he goes crazy when my daughter is playing with strangers at the happens with every breed

    Answer by alexis_06 at 12:42 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • my sil has 2 and the male has bitten both of my sons. not real bad but it made them know not to come near him. weird too cause if they really do know people better then people do then they would know there are not the ones to bite. if they ever bite my kids harder i will sue for medicals bills. so far nothing to worry about but they do put him up now when we have family parties at their house. i like germans though and so does my oldest. when he gets back from his mission were giving him.

    Answer by melody77 at 5:36 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • I used to work in a house and the family there had a german shepherd. He was an amazing dog who had been properly trained. He was VERY protective of the house and the family, but was so well trained that he knew what was acceptable. He wouldn't lunge at anyone, he would "hold" people in place till he was called off. I never saw this but he was trained to do so.

    Answer by AmandaH321 at 11:51 PM on Jun. 19, 2009

  • I agree with equusvetgal. I have a rottweiler who is personal protection trained, but the rest of the dogs, including a german shepherd, are not lungers. They are MY dogs, it is MY job to protect them, not the other way around. It is dangerous to encourage an untrained dog to protect you.

    To kustomkrochet, who said "My rule of thumb is, if my dog doesn't like you, you are not welcome around me or my children. Dogs have a better sense of people than we do most times."

    A dog's sense of smell is so much keener than ours, and some people are just naturally afraid or nervous of dogs. When they see a dog, their body begins to change, the chemicals change and the dog can detect that, and will react to it. It's not always a bad person that your dog is lunging at, it could just be the person is nervous around your dog...and to tell the truth, if your 90 pound dog was lunging at someone, I would be nervous, too.

    Answer by Kauna at 10:22 AM on Jun. 20, 2009

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