Wednesday, February 6, 2008

5 Basic Instincts of German Shepherd Dogs

Versatility of Alsatians is beyond question! A well bred German Shepherd Dog is an all round canine companion of his master, although it's true that not all shepherds are equally versatile. If bred properly a German Shepherd puppy will grow up with all the desirable and mandatory instincts that would make it a real royal dog and truly a protective companion of his owner.

Captain Max Von Stephenitz
emphasized more on the working ability of the breed than the look. When it comes to the working ability (Schutzhund protection work) of the breed we need to know all about the 5 Basic Instincts of well bred German Shepherd Dogs. These five instincts are genetically inherited by a puppy from it's well bred dam and sire. Selective breeding is hence essential.

Wondering why I'm using the word "Well Bred" so frequently over and over again? Because breeding is that scientific art or artistic science (whatever way you look at it) that will give you a near to perfect dog, if not hundred percent perfect. So a good shepherd is the one that has a good parental lineage and have all or most of the the desirable features -- both structural and behavioral. These German Shepherd instincts are those behavioral aspects that cast a deep impact on the dog's character and behavior, making it a more useful companion. Two of these five basic German Shepherd instincts are known as Critical Instincts.

Here are the 5 Basic Instincts of a "Well Bred" Alsatian.

1. Booty Instinct: Also know as "Prey Instinct", this is one of the two Critical Instincts of a well bred Alsatian dog. This German Shepherd instinct makes the dogs chase moving objects like flies, moths, butterflies, mosquitoes, etc. and seize them. This is one of the most vital instincts for excellent Schutzhund protection work. The Booty/Prey Instinct is mandatory part of a shepherd's character, because it acts as the motivator of striking with speed and power. This critical instinct start to develop as the puppy reaches 6 months of age and eventually becomes prominent as it grows.

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2. Fighting Drive: Fighting Drive is the second Critical Instinct of Alsatians. This German Shepherd Dog instinct is also called Active Aggression or Offensive Aggression, which is another very important instinct desirable for of the breed. This instinct helps the dog to deliver "rhythmic & explosive barks" during protection. Each of such rhythmic bark helps the dog to get positively stimulated, and the dog give high degree service of protection. This is why the Fighting Drive instinct of German Shepherd Dog is important for the Schutzhund protection work.

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3. Self Preservation or Defense: Also called Reactive Aggression, this GSD instinct differs a lot from Prey Instinct and Fighting Drive Instinct. This GSD instinct (Reactive Aggression) helps the dog to develop inherent protective nature related to territoriality. This German Shepherd instinct denotes the degree of Sharpness, which is one of the most significant part of a well bred German Shepherd Dog character. Reactive Aggression Instinct or Sharpness is the catalyst of the two Critical Instincts, acting as the stimulating component of Booty Instinct and Active Aggression. Reactive Aggression Instinct of a well bred GSD also stimulates the Social Aggression Instinct.

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4. Pack Instinct: This non-critical instinct is found in almost all the canine breed of the world. But in a well bred Alsatian Pack Instinct is noticed more prominently, compared to any other breed. The Pack Instinct is another most important German Shepherd Instinct that is highly significant for the Schutzhund trial, because this instinct increases the trainability of the dog. Right blend of Social Aggression and Pack Instinct makes the dog stay closer to his pack members. Viewing from the dog's perspective, the pack members includes all the dogs that he lives with, his handler, his trainer, his owner and all the other members of his family. This stimulates the dog's protective behavior.

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5. Social Aggression: This non-critical German Shepherd Instinct also increases the degree of trainability -- especially for the Schutzhund protection services. Social Aggression Instinct makes the dog deliver "deep grumbling bark". Each of such barks stimulates the dog by generating power with him and he tends to express himself more dominantly. This is one of the most important determinants of a guard dog character.

Social Aggression is an exclusively a male instinct found in most canine breeds, but seen prominently in GSDs. Though this is a general desirable instinct for all the German Shepherd males, but this instinct remains dormant until the dog faces a threatening situation.

Apart from these 5 Basic Instincts, there are few more general instincts of Alsatians. Stay tuned to read more about the German Shepherd Instincts.

Buzz this


Unknown February 16, 2008 at 10:25 PM  

Hey, Bonnie Jones here! One more awesome post -- as usual. Keep it up.

Anonymous ,  January 8, 2010 at 4:13 PM  

Im worried about my dog we just got this greman shepherd an he already is trying to start crap with my other dogs hes only 9 months old we might have to get rid of him :(

Bill ,  November 11, 2010 at 1:07 PM  

We bought a 100% pure breed German Sheperd as a puppy back in 2003,We had him for 3 years and we decided to sell our home and move,Well when we moved into our new home,The Homeowners Insurance Company asked us if we had any pets,and i told them yes we have a German Sheperd,Well they then told me the German Sheperd is on the "Aggresive Dog List" and they couldnt insure me if i kept the dog.Well least to say i went BESERK"Well long story short, i had to let my mother inlaw take the dog so i could insure my home,I was devastated to let my pride & joy leave my side after 3 years.I just want to ask a few of you your opinions on some questions.
I would pick up my dog every weekend at my mother inlaws and take him to the park for hours on hours.well this lasted about 6 months,and then i didnt see my pride & joy for quite some time,well i told my wife i want him back and i dont care if the insurance company drops me,this sheperd is safer than lots of humans,way smarter too,thats why i cant understand him being on an aggresive doglist,again its how you train your dog from a puppy to adulthood.I put so much time in training my sheperd and he is "ONE SMART AND PROTECTIVE DOG".he is not only amazing around me,but totally amazing around my little ones,especially my 19 month old baby boy,he wont let anyone get close to that baby when he takes a nap on the floor,my sheperd lays right next to my baby.well after not seeing my dog for months and my wife went to pick him up at my mother inlaws,as soon as she pulled in our driveway,i was outside and my wife said as soon as he noticed me his eyes were glued to me,he jumped out of her truck and immediately came to me and sat in front of my legs,He has never bitten anyone in 7 years but my question is,do you think if i or a family member in my home was being bodily harmed, would he attack the person?my question is:do you think he remembered me as it was yesterday i seen him? how long can a sheperd remember someone? i have heard different time periods from people? well just want to say i would never,ever let him leave my side again.i think sheperds are the smartest dogs today, As they are used by almost every law enforcement agency around the world.

Anonymous ,  November 11, 2010 at 1:10 PM  

how long do you think a sheperd would remember you,without seeing him for a year? do you think he will or will not remember you after that long?if not what is the timeframe a sheperd would remember you?

Aringsburg November 11, 2010 at 9:36 PM  

I am honored to get your story and your question to be answerd.

Well, I must say that you have studied your "Pride and joy" perfectly. He is obviously one of the smartest dog breeds in the world.... that's beyond any doubt!!! Now when it comes to aggression, I will say that shyness is a negative feature in a Shepherd's character. Little bit of aggression is his basic instinct, and is desirable until it crosses the desirable limit. But this kinda aggression - viz Social aggression and Reactive aggression are basic things, which should not be considered while formin a list of aggressive dogs. GSD is a working breed and every single element of his character is highly desirable insofar the working ability of the breed is concerned. If we talk about overly aggressive Shepherds it different in all ways, because over aggression is a result of unplanned and unscientific breeding strategies, which should NEVER stigmatize the breed of German Shepherd Dog. If well breed and well maintained and well trained, a German Shepherd Dog cannot be as aggressive so as to enlist the breed under the category of AGGRESSIVE DOGS... NO WAY! German Shepherds are royal dogs and they should not be challenged - especially by stangers. They are very very protective by nature (its their instinct, which is a desirable feature), and hence they will never be too friendly with strangers instantly.

Now your next question about their memory. Bill You Shepherd will remember you till the last drop of his life. Three years of staying together is really a big time. I guarantee he won't forget you. He will still love you in the way he used to do during those golden times his staying with you.

If you or a family member in your home was being harmed, chances are there that he will attack the person. This is where the role of his protective instinct comes to play. He will always protect his pack, which include you, your wife, your baby, your other family members and his trainers and handlers.

It is advisable to put him to obedience training session. Get him trained by a professional trainer. As you said he is already 7 years old do not stress him to learn things. Go slow. GSDs are highly intelligent dogs. He can grab things easily and throughout his life. Many people may have different schools of thoughts. But the fact is He can grab things easily and throughout his life.... although may be a bit slower in older age as compared to a young.

Do visit our GSD Specialty Portal This is a portal that I run for people like you who loves GSD and looking for more information on the breed. You can find amazing chapters on German Shepherd Dog, written by me and my team including vets, trainers, dedicated owners, canine behaviorists, GSD breeders and so on....

Thank you
Great time ahead

GSD Information November 11, 2010 at 9:46 PM  

@ Anonymous

Please check out the comment that I have posted for Bill. Still I feel honored to answer your question also separetely.

A man who has been staying with the breed for years will say that your shepherd will remember you till his last breath. The timeframe is his life!

Thanks and Regards

Anonymous ,  April 17, 2012 at 2:42 PM  

Why would any dog aggression be desirable?
Do you live in a jungle?
I have 2 dogs and consider them family members and ready any time to protect them (from any dog or human) not expecting nor needing vice versa.
Sorry but my opinion is that only people with a kind of complex like (any) aggression in dogs and aggressive dogs.

German Shepherd Puppies April 26, 2012 at 9:35 AM  

@ Anonymous... nice debate sparked. Why would any dog aggression be desirable?
Do you live in a jungle?

No we don't, but still dog aggression highly desirable to a correct degree. every animal should have a desirable level of aggression like for you and me. I think even you, despite being a human, living in a society, instead of jungle, will turn aggressive if someone attacks you or if your train ticket is stolen. without aggression, we cannot make war dogs, guard dogs, or attack dogs or anti-terrorist dogs.

Anonymous ,  April 29, 2012 at 4:36 PM  

You seem to mix up defensive and aggressive, isnt it?
Or, you might be speaking as a law enforcement officer?
Maybe "sports" hunter?

Sane humans are capable of controlling their defensive acting, dogs are not.
Aggressive dogs can attack another animal or human because they misunderstood something or simply because of their predator instinct. So your analogy doesnt have much sense.
What would be a purpose of "war dogs" ?
Have you ever heard of an anti-terrorist dog action ?
Especially interesting is what exactly are "attack dogs", and who needs them?
If you meant police dogs, i don't like such a role for animals, nor i heard about some police dog attack action, but however they live in a controlled environment where cannot hurt another creature.

Dogs are our friends and family members who shouldn't be any aggressive.
Protection has to be provided by those capable of understanding situations, means us.

Unknown August 4, 2013 at 11:25 PM  

Cairo the seal dog enough said (terroist hunting dog)

Anonymous ,  March 24, 2014 at 8:26 PM  

I have a question. We are getting a 2ish year old GSD. I have a 5 year old son. If we play wrestle or anything like that, will he attack me thinking that I am attacking my son?

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All you need to know about German Shepherd Dogs. Read out what I have to share with you regarding the amazing German Shepherd Dog breed. Are Alsatian dogs and German Shepherd Dogs same? Who was Max Von Stephanitz and What is SV? Also learn a bit more in depth on German Shepherd Dog training tips, German Shepherd puppy care tips, German Shepherd Dog behavior, German Shepherd instinct, German Shepherd Dog standard and history of German Shepherds.

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