“Bad Dog” Behavior: Your German Shepherd Owner’s Guide

German Shepherd dogs are known for their intelligence, loyalty, and courage. Unfortunately, they can also be stubborn and difficult to train. They have a strong prey drive that often leads them to chase after animals in the yard or neighborhood. And when they get older, many German Shepherds develop aggressive behaviors due to fears of being left alone or territorial behaviors around the home. This blog post will help you understand these challenges so that you can better prepare yourself before bringing home your own German Shepherd dog!

Training Problems

Intelligence is generally associated with German Shepherds, but it may also lead to training issues. They quickly learn which behaviors get them what they want and often become very stubborn in order to test their owners. It’s important to be consistent with your commands and rewards and to start training your puppy as early as possible. Typical training problems you may see in your German Shepherd are:


German Shepherds learn very quickly, and they will train their owners to give them what they want. As soon as your German Shepherd knows how to sit for a treat or dinner time is near, you can expect it to begin training you! You may see this behavior when the dog starts barking at strangers who come to the door, doesn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, or refuses to come inside.

Prey drive

Having a high prey drive means that they are often very interested in chasing small animals, such as cats, squirrels, and rabbits. If you have a pet cat or live near a park with wildlife, it’s important to train your dog not to chase these creatures. Otherwise, he may end up getting injured (or worse) while trying to catch them.

Easily Distracted

German Shepherds are easily distracted and often won’t listen to their owners if something more interesting is going on. This can be a problem when you’re trying to train them or when they’re off-leash and not responding to your commands. One of the best ways to help your German Shepherd focus is to keep training sessions short and fun.

Destructive Behavior

One of the most common complaints about German Shepherds is their destructive behavior. A lot of this has to do with their high energy levels and need for plenty of exercise. If your dog isn’t given enough exercise, it can wreak havoc around the house. They love exploring their surroundings and chewing on whatever is available. For example, if your dog isn’t allowed to be on the couch, they may chew the pillows while you’re away. Pillows aren’t the only piece of furniture that is in danger though, a bored German Shepherd may also chew on chair legs, baseboards, or even doors. To prevent your pup from displaying destructive behavior, follow these simple tips:

Provide your dog with plenty of chew toys. Give them something to occupy their time while you’re at work or away from the house. Make sure that they are getting enough exercise during the day as well so that they don’t display hyperactivity when left alone for long periods of time.


Aggressive behavior is one of the most common concerns among new puppy parents, but it’s important to understand why this happens before addressing it head-on. As mentioned above German Shepherds can become destructive if bored, but this frustration can also lead to aggressive behavior. Generally, German Shepherds are good around dogs and small children if they are socialized properly as puppies. However, if they are not socialized well, they can become territorial around their home and family and may bark or even attack people or other animals who come too close. To help curb aggression in your German Shepherd, follow these tips:

Socialize your puppy as early and often as possible, to reduce fear of other animals or people. Make sure they are getting enough exercise during the day so that their energy is not pent up when left alone at home. Vary situations where you leave them alone in order to prevent boredom. Teach children how to behave around dogs, so that they don’t inadvertently provoke an attack.

Territorial Behavior

One of the most common causes of aggression in German Shepherds is territorial behavior. This often starts when they become older and start to see their home as their territory. They may bark or growl at people or animals who come too close, and in some cases may even attack. It’s important to keep your dog on a leash when outside of the house and to always be aware of his surroundings so that you can avoid any potential issues with unleashed dogs or neighbors who inadvertently walk near your home. A few tips to preventing territorial behavior are:

Always keep your dog on a leash when outside of the house. Do not allow him to interact with any other dogs while you are out walking, and avoid dog parks or areas where there may be lots of unleashed animals who walk by your home often. Teach children how to behave around dogs so that they don’t get too close without being noticed.


Owning a German Shepherd can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By understanding the most common behavior challenges, you can better prepare yourself for the unique needs of this breed. With patience, love, and training, you and your GSD can enjoy a happy life together!