Most well-trained and socialized German Shepherds will not attack people. If you are approached or attacked by this breed, however, there are several ways to diffuse the situation. You can also reduce the risk of injury or damage. Read ahead to find out more:
How Do You Protect Yourself from a German Shepherd?
Your first goal should be to stave off an attack. If you are around a strange German Shepherd or one that appears to be aggressive, take the following steps:
Why Should You Stay Still?
Your first instinct when meeting a scary German Shepherd might be to run away. This is the worst thing to do in this situation. Running or even walking away quickly can trigger what is known as a chase reflex. This is the same instinct that will cause a dog to run after squirrels or cats.
This is why you need to stay in place. Face the dog and stand your ground. It is best to fold your arms over your chest as well. This will keep them in place and you can make sure not to antagonize the dog further.
The tricky part is to stay still when you are being charged, but this is what you should do. Unless you know you can get away from the dog before it reaches you, stay in one place.
In most instances, standing still long enough will take the wind out of the approaching dog’s sails. You aren’t providing them with an incentive to attack you so they may just back down and walk away.
How Can You Minimize the Attack Zone?
If you are attacked, you need to make sure that you give the dog as little as possible to grab onto. Moving slowly, turn your body sideways. Try to make it so that only one arm and leg is facing the dog.
If you have any objects such as an umbrella or backpack, slowly move them so that they can act as a barrier between you and the German Shepherd.
Without making any sudden movements, look around to see if there is anything you can use as a wall of protection between you and the dog. Don’t lunge towards the object but move towards it gently and easily. Even when picking it up, do so in a slow and fluid motion.
How Can You Move Away?
Stand still for a while and determine if the dog will move away. Do this for long enough and the dog should get bored and move away on its own accord. If this doesn’t happen, you need to get yourself out of that spot, but do so very slowly.
The key here is to not move towards the dog, but rather to move away from it. This way, you will make yourself seem less of a threat. Move backward, step by step, keeping your body at an angle. You may want to pause after every step and determine how the dog is reacting.
In case there is no reaction, you can continue to move but at a very slow pace. If they are getting excited, however, it is best to stop and remain in place for a little longer.
What Should You Do If You Are Attacked?
There is a chance that the German Shepherd may attack you regardless of whether you follow these steps. For example, you may be jogging past and the dog may leap onto you. In such an instance, try to do the following:
How to Create a Protective Barrier?
Look for something to place between you and your dog. This could be anything. For instance, if you’re wearing a sweater, try to take it off and dangle it in front of the dog. This may distract it and cause it to attack the object instead.
You can also look around to see if there is anything to use. Don’t move around too much, or make sudden movements, however.
How Can You Use Your Arms as Shields?
Curl your hands into fists so that the German Shepherd can’t bite your fingers and use your arms as shields. Take special care to protect your face and neck from the attack. Most bites to the forearms aren’t serious so they can take the brunt of the attack.
Try to make yourself seem smaller so that there is less of you to attack. If you are lying on the ground, make sure to curl up so that your major organs are protected. Make sure to tuck in your face and neck as well.
Why Should You Lean Into the Bite?
One of the most common mistakes is to jerk away from the part of you that is being bitten. When you do this, it causes the dog to clamp down even harder and can make their attack more aggressive.
Instead, lean into the bite, pushing your body part into the dog’s mouth rather than away from it. This can cause their grip to slacken and give you enough time to free yourself. At the very least, it will take some power away from the bite.
Why Shouldn’t You Fight Back?
When you are being attacked, your instinct is to fight back by punching the dog or thrashing around. This will only cause a more frenzied attack as you could cause the dog to become more excited and aggressive. By making yourself less of a threat and staying as calm as possible, you are allowing the dog to calm down as well.
Why Do German Shepherds Attack Their Owners?
You may have heard stories about German Shepherds attacking their owner and you might be wondering if this could happen to you as well.
German Shepherds tend to be calm and protective dogs so it isn’t normal for them to attack you. There are some circumstances in which your dog may turn on you, however.
This has a higher chance of happening with dogs that haven’t been socialized or trained properly. This is because they haven’t been taught to curb their natural impulses and give into them instead.
Such behavior can also be seen with abused dogs who are used to constant violence and aggression from their owners and need to protect themselves.
Dogs that are sick or in pain may lash out as well. They may not attack you as aggressively but may bite you because they are in discomfort or are vulnerable.
How Do I Stop My German Shepherd Attacking Me?
The best way to prevent your German Shepherd from attacking you is to reduce these instincts when they are a puppy. These issues can be addressed when your German Shepherd is an adult as well, but it is best to ward off this behavior when your dog is young.
Here is what you can do:
Why Should You Keep Puppies with Mothers for Longer?
German Shepherds have an instinct to bite as puppies. The easiest way to discourage them is to keep them with their litter until they are eight to twelve weeks old. This allows puppies to be on the receiving end of their littermates and to understand that it is painful. In turn, this reduces the chance of the puppies biting humans.
How Can Re-training and Socialization Help?
If you begin to notice aggressive behavior with puppies, you should double down on socialization and training. The sooner you do this, the less chance there is that these bad habits will have time to take root. Always use positive reinforcement and reward your puppy for good behavior.
You can socialize older German Shepherds as well, although the process can take longer. You should also revisit training to teach your dog proper behavior. When in doubt, get help from a professional trainer.
How Can You Reduce Resource Guarding?
German Shepherds may also become aggressive due to resource guarding where they are extra sensitive about their food, toys, and other belongings. The first thing to do is to make sure your dog is confident that their resources will remain their own.
This can involve feeding your dog on a regular schedule. If there are other dogs or animals in the house, let your dog eat in a separate room so that they don’t feel threatened. After this, you need to focus on desensitizing your dog to people’s presence around their resources.
Address the resource guarding the moment you notice it. The sooner you do this, the easier it will be to get your dog back on track.
These are some tips to follow to keep yourself safe in the event of a German Shepherd attack. There are also steps you can take to discourage aggressive behavior in your dog in the first place, reducing the risk of an attack.