German Shepherd Dog Aggression
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The most common non-medical problem that dog owners ask me about is aggression toward people and other dogs. There is enormous variation in aggressiveness or assertiveness among dogs. Certain breeds such as chows are famous for this quality; but there is wide variation within any breed as well. Experiences in puppyhood influence aggressiveness as adults but genetics also plays a key role in this problem. Owner temperament is also a very important factor. The size of the dog involved determines the seriousness of this problem. Toy dogs can be almost cute when they growl and posture but large dogs are quite dangerous.
The dynamics of dog bites is not well understood by the public. Few people realize that the dogs involved tend to be family pets and not strays. Also, more than two-thirds of dog bites happen to people who are acquainted with the dog. More than half the dog bites occur to the very young and the very old and almost half of all bites to children are on areas of the face. Almost half of the claims made against homeowner’s insurance policies are due to dog bites.
Healthy mature dogs do not normally become aggressive. I can detect predisposition to aggressiveness in puppies as early as seven weeks of age. When I do detect signs that a pup will be an aggressive biter or a fear biter I caution the breeder or new owner that this particular puppy will need special care and training.