Social Question

Harper1234's avatar

Are German Shepherd dogs considered vicious pets?

Asked by Harper1234 (854points) February 17th, 2019

Wanted to hear from anyone who has owned a GS as a pet.
We are considering getting one and all I have ever heard was negative comments about them, We have plenty of pasture to
run and no children. Tell me about this breed of dog.
Any health issues they seem to have?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

20 Answers

rebbel's avatar

Excellent obeyers, I’ve heard and read.
That’s why police uses them.
And fine search and rescue dogs.

kritiper's avatar

They get hip dysplasia when they get old and usually have to be put down for this.
Give them lots of love and introduce them to everybody so they will show no fear or hostility to strangers.
DO NOT teach them to shake hands! You will regret it!
Teach them to speak and when they want out or in, say “Speak.” Even through the door when they want in. Once they learn this they will never scratch at the door.
Include them in everything you do, like your own child. They want to be involved.
I always thought mine was not very smart but I didn’t give him enough credit. He was very smart!!
Once they do something, they will continue to do just that. From the start, if they do something that you don’t like or want, correct them.
Be firm and unyielding in their training! Always be the Alpha! You are the leader of the pack, not the dog!
Feed them a good quality dry dog food so they don’t get fat and their teeth stay clean.
If you take them for walks, don’t forget the path you take. If your dog ever gets loose, he/she will probably follow the same route.
It takes 3 or 4 years for them to grow out of their puppy stage, so be patient! Once they get into their older years, they will be absolutely wonderful as a pet!

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would have hesitated greatly in the past to have one because of their reputation for aggressiveness. But then Dakota dropped into our lives like a gift from heaven. Almost every dog I’ve had in my life was just awesome, but Dakota took the cake for intelligence and gentleness….and protectiveness. GSDs are very, very intelligent and Dakota was no exception. You could almost have a conversation with her.
She was extremely gentle, but very, very protective of any being she considered “hers.” I saw her get pissed 3 times in her life and OMG. It was like Cujo. She wouldn’t hesitate to kill if necessary, but she would make damn sure it was necessary first. She’d check new people out when they came over and never found someone she didn’t like. She NEVER threatened anyone just to be an asshole. In fact, she avoided senselessly aggressive dogs if she could.

If there was a kid around she wouldn’t be far away. This picture sums her up best, I think.

I could just go on and on. We had to let her go about a month ago, and it still hurts. If I were to get another dog, I’d look for a shepherd again. But, as with any dog, I’d sit with the whole litter for a bit and just see what happened (except Dakota came to us as a 2 year old.) I’d reject any that seemed to aggressive, even if it was “so cute.” I’d also weed out any that barked a lot.

Zaku's avatar

My grandpa has a GS mutt mix who was wonderful. Very smart and friendly and loving and enthusiastic. High energy. Loved to play. Liked to try to escape the back yard.

longgone's avatar

German Shepherds tend to need a lot of mental stimulation and exercise. To be happy, the average GSD probably needs two to three hours of walking, off-leash, every day. Working lines need even more.

They can be great dogs if you’re experienced and gentle. They are known for behavior issues if you are too hard with them or can’t give them the stimulation they need.

Sadly, they come with almost a guarantee of a ton of health problems unless you’re willing to find a very good breeder. Which means an expensive puppy. Or, put another way, a cheap puppy is likely to need lots of veterinary care. ED and HD will make it impossible for your dog to walk in bad cases, and that can happen in dogs younger than a year.

Are you planning to adopt a new dog soon? Since you just posted a question about not having the money to euthanize your dog, I hope that’s not what you want to do.

LadyMarissa's avatar

My shepherd was NOT aggressive; however, he was very protective!!! He NEVER even offered to bite anyone; but, he also allowed no one to approach my car if I was alone. Although he didn’t bite, he snarled & growled like he was going to eat you alive…at least when we were in the car he did. Walk into my house & he’d lick you to death!!! It is IMPERATIVE that you establish yourself as the alpha from day one..not because he’ll be aggressive; but he needs set boundaries & structure. They are extremely intelligent dogs. Mine loved Hardees cheeseburgers. IF I said I was going to Hardees, I couldn’t get into the car without him. At one point I started spelling Hardees so I didn’t have to say it out loud. After my 2nd time spelling, he figured out where I was going so spelling it out no longer worked!!! He was also smart enough that he learned how to open the back door & let himself out when he needed to go to the bathroom. That was often a plus!!!

Before I adopted the shepherd,I had a vet tell me that he strongly suggested that you adopt a male especially when there are children involved because female dogs tend to be much more aggressive than the males do. I know you said there are no children there, but I always worry about visiting kids.

Now, I’ve told you about all the good things, let me tell you the sad side. Shepherds are prone to being born with hip dysplasia which eventually cripples them to the point of having to be put down. Mine was 10 y/o before I knew it was time. His brother didn’t make it past 6 months. Of course, I didn’t put mine down just as soon as I found out that he had dysplasia. His brother’s owner chose to put his brother down immediately so they didn’t get attached. Mine didn’t require a lot of exercise; but, many do!!! With the open area you have, it should be able to get plenty of exercise.

I loved my shepherd He’s been gone for over 30 years & I still miss him & YES, I’d jump at the chance to get another!!!

longgone's avatar

Just as an aside: Dogs do not live in a hierachical structure. There are no alpha dogs. There aren’t even alpha wolves. This myth was propagated by David Mech, who has since spent decades trying to explain that he made a mistake in his research. He studied wolves in captivity, and then extrapolated from that. But: Just like we don’t raise our kids based on the unhealthy patterns we might observe in a prison, we shouldn’t raise dogs assuming they are imprisoned wolves.

In the wild, wolves are raised gently. They live in families. When a pack is low on food, the puppies get to eat first. There is no forced submission, just voluntary respect, given freely because the parents are benevolent and experienced.

kritiper's avatar

As with almost all dogs, it depends on the person who raises the dog, and how the dog is treated by that person.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Well, Dakota was pretty much treated like shit for the first two years of her life, but it didn’t changer her personality deep down.

Response moderated (Spam)
snowberry's avatar

If the parents have a bad personality, the puppies could inherit the same. It’s a combination of training from an early age and inheritance.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And another thing, the guy who bought Dakota originally bought her because she came from a long line of viscous guard dogs. He wanted a viscous guard dog. She was too intelligent to be mindlessly viscous, though, so he got rid of her. She could guard like banshee tho. And did, with intelligent dedication.
How we even wound up with that angel is so far beyond me. There will never be another like her….everyone here has seen her picture, right? Wait…she’s part of my profile pic!

Brian1946's avatar

It’s my understanding that if you heat up a viscous dog, they’ll be more fluid. ;-)

Dutchess_III's avatar

Vitimous! Viceous! Vicisous. . How the hell do you spell it??!! Vicious << Jezz. Had to google it!

mightym's avatar

It depends how you treat a dog. Be kind but firm. NEVER EVER HIT A DOG. Treat the dog like she is family because that is what he/she is.

When the dog is a puppy, please socialize him/her. Take her/him to classes. This will make the dog a well adjusted animal, not fearful and a fear biter.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I spanked all my dogs on the butt for crappin’ in the house. I never had a mean dog, and I WAS treating them like family! I never had a mean child either.

mightym's avatar

I’v never hit any of my dogs and none of them have evver crapped in my house…

Dutchess_III's avatar

How odd. Were they house trained when they came to you @mightym? I’ve house trained lots of cats and dogs.
My current cat is a miracle. We have had her since she was 5 weeks old. She has never pooped in the house, except when she had a litter box when she was a baby. I mean, she house trained instantly when it came time.

longgone's avatar

@Dutchess_III In my time as a dog trainer, I got to know a lot of puppies. When a pup leaves a responsible (!) breeder’s home at around eight weeks old, he will usually show obvious signs such as whining or turning in circles when there’s no ‘bathroom surface’ in sight. It’s easy to then lead him to the appropriate place.

The puppies from backyard breeders, pet shops, and puppy mills usually just go wherever. That’s because they have spent most or all of their time enclosed in a small space such as a crate or pen. When there’s no bathroom area with a distinctly different surface, young dogs just don’t learn this skill.

Swatting dogs is a great way of teaching them to be scared of human hands.

Answer this question




to answer.
Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther