My 9 month old German Shepherd snarled, growled, showed his teeth and had his hair up today when I grabed his collor??

He up until now had never shown aggression towards me or anyone else. He is usually a very loving dog especially towards me since we are together all the time and I spoil him all the time. I dont understand why he suddenly turned on me. He is fine now but I am nervous he will do this again since he really scared me. What should I do??? Please help!!!

Asked by Winston on Dec 1st 2009 Tagged germanshepherd, suddenaggression, owner in Behavior & Training
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Ok, I know this isn't the question that was asked, but I just want to defend the GSD's of the world from the previous post.
GSD's are not an aggressive "breed".
They are sweet, loving, loyal, gentle, smart, smart, smart dogs.
They are not aggressive because they're German Shepherds. My previous dog, a stunning GSD, was the biggest 95lb sissy there ever was. He had one issue--cats.
I've met more aggressive labs and small dogs than GSD's in my life time.

Maybe Winston wasn't feeling good that day when you grabbed his collar. It could be a number of things that caused his behavior.
Grabbing a dog by the collar can get this type of reaction and even though Winston is your baby, grabbing the collar doesn't always go over well.
Did you grab it when you were mad? Was it aggressive on your part?
Maybe Winston was super focused on something and the grabbing of the collar startled him.
I'm just making guesses here trying to throw out any idea.

Mikey answered on Dec 1st.

Other Answers



All I can say is that your dog needs alot of training. just email me at my dogster account and i can help you and your puppy.

Member 842505 answered on 12/1/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


German Shepherds need a STRONG hand as told to a "student" in a handling class after his dog proved to be totally uncontrolable by him. He and his GSdog were thrown out of class. He was a very "sweet and loving dog" too as long as everything went his way. when he wasn't allowed to "eat" that little dog who barked at him, he was a whirlwind of fury.
I am relating what the instructor told the owner, several times BEFORE the final incident, "German Shepherds need a strong hand, they need to know you mean business".
In my opinion, they are a breed where agression is an asset, including aggression to humans (police work). Those breeds that are bred for aggressive tendencies carry the trait just as sporting dogs carry the hunting/pointing instincts and herding dogs carry their capacity for learning herding. That is why we have breeds and breed characteristics.
Know your breed, know your dog. Now you need to get to know a trainer for your dog, and at 9months, better make it soon!

Member 901737 answered on 12/1/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I would be very cautious giving advice about an aggressive dog who I don't know personally or have had the chance to observe.

Any dog breed has within it individuals. And the individual personality of a dog needs to be taken into consideration when training that dog or trying to correct behaviors. Otherwise, you risk making things worse or ingraining more fear or issues that you didn't have to begin with.

A firm hand suits some dogs, but dogs who show aggression often have fear issues and gentle, positive reinforcement works much better with these types of dogs.

I wouldn't go by breed at all. And I would hire a trainer who can see him in person, in real life to help you figure out the root of the problem and set you on a course of correction that is best for HIM, not dogs in general.

Sometimes we need a total stranger to look at our dog and tell us what we could have never seen otherwise. It's one of the best investments I can think of.

Good luck.

Jack answered on 12/1/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I have a serious problem classifying German Shepherd Dogs as aggressive, and I can tell you from hands on experience working with a state police training group that police officers RUN as fast as they can from aggressive dogs!!! They will not accept any dog into their program that shows aggression... any bite work the dogs need is trained into them. I know this because I was the one wearing the sleeve and convincing the dog to bite me. If a dog is naturally aggressive it is too dangerous to work as a police dog. Furthermore, I agree with Jack stating that the breed of this dog is irrelevent... the dog needs some work with a behaviorist, not a simple trainer who will kick the dog and handler out of their class. Any trainer I know would never excuse a problem dog from a training class... that team obviously needs help more than most of the other teams in the class. If it is too disruptive for a regular class, they would see the dog and handler at a different time.

Member 641257 answered on 12/1/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 3 Report this answer


Could you do me a favor and go to forums, click on breed specific, then go to the german shepherd on the scroll box, then when you click on german shepherds it takes you to the german shepherd forum. There are some nice doggies to talk to you about this.
I thank the last two posts in pointing out that about my breed.
What your dog did is not neccessarily a bad thing, what is the reason for the situation?? Food, toys, what is the circumstances surrounding the incident.??
If you are scared this is not going to help the dog and you to communicate.
I do not do any breed slamming and I appreciate it if you can post there so we can go into more detail to help you and your dog.
thank you.
Some dogs not just a certain breed does not like grabbing the collar and also the situation must of been tense for your dog. The dog reacted probably not againist you that is what happens alot people do not understand dog language and what to see in the situation at hand.

Dieta answered on 12/1/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 2 Report this answer


You admit you spoil him. In which case he sees you as the subordinate pack member who's job it is to provide, protect, and obey, and never challenge the leader of the pack unless you want a fight.

In short, it was not aggression, but dominance.

Get your "pack" in order. Links to a better, balanced relationship with your dog as the follower:

P.S. If you are afraid of him, he will try it again. You must commit to banishing your fear or you may as well re-home Winston now. My dogs have never "talked back" to me like that without consequences, and they don't do it a second time. I'm prepared - as all dog owners should be - to take a bite and NOT BACK DOWN from my own dog. That does not mean hitting I have grabbed puppies by the scruff, but I use my "big dog voice", never abuse.

Pepper answered on 12/1/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer


Sounds like a misunderstanding to me. People and dogs speak different languages. Read The Other End of the Leash by McConnell and Culture Clash by Donaldson for a better understanding of dog language.

Our German Shepherd had a lot of behavior issues as a puppy. Fortunately, we found a knowledgeable, reputable trainer who uses humane methods and positive reinforcement. No leash-jerking, yelling, or physical force of any kind!

I agree with those who say that the collar-grab may have startled Winston. My trainer does a fun exercise called "gotcha!" that breaks it down, step by step, so the dog learns to enjoy a collar grab. Start with a "sit" position, and give a treat for allowing a hand to approach his neck. Slowly work up to the hand touching, but not grabbing, the collar. Then gently hold the collar, using treats and praise. Finally, after many repetitions at a slow pace, you can move more quickly to grab the collar, and the dog will still be happy and looking for the treat. GL!

Katie answered on 12/1/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 1 Report this answer

Miss Priss

Dog Whisperer group at Yahoo can help :

Please stop by this group for Wonderful and Free help - many pros are here at the Dog Whisperer group - yahoo: They will help....
*you will get many tips here:

Hope this helps....

Miss Priss answered on 12/3/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer