Dog Problem Decision Tree


So you've got a German Shepherd problem? We've come up with a "decision tree" to help you drill down your concern and (hopefully) find a solution much quicker. Be aware that the solution may not be what you are currently looking for, but it is the solution that you need, long-term.

The unique MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG Dog Problem Decision Tree! Or you may jump straight to the individual branch that meets your current concern:

What dog problem have you got?
New Puppy?
Puppy Joys?
Puppy Food
Puppy Games
Puppy Toys
Puppy Problems?
Puppy Behavior
Puppy Socialization
Puppy Training
Owner Training
Puppy Health
Puppy Care
Adult Dog?
Dog Problems?
Dog Health
Dog Care
Dog Behavior
Behavior Training
Dog Socialization
Dog FUN?
Socializing with other dogs
Dog Games
Dog Toys
Senior Dog?
Older Dog Joys?
Meeting old friends
Playing Games
Older Dog Problems?
Dog Health
Impaired Senses and Mobility
Rescue Dog?
Rescue Dog Joys?
Rescue Dog Problems?
Separation Anxiety

Most reported German Shepherd behavior problems are down to missed socialization at puppy age! In particular this is true for the TOP THREE reported German Shepherd problems:

German Shepherd Aggression
German Shepherd Barking
German Shepherd Biting

As time permits we may add further dog problems here later. Yet all dog problems are dealt with in the MYGERMANSHEPHERD PERIODICAL anyway.



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 18 Site Comments, ZERO SPAM Add one


    For some dog owners, poop eating is a dog problem too.

    Eating own feces and other animals' feces, and even human feces, is 'pretty' normal behavior for many dogs when they get a chance (coprophagia).

    Poop-eating can be caused by:
    - inappropriate training attempts (eg the dog sees you picking up his/her feces, and this conflicts with the dog's possessive behavior; or say your established potty routine is unsuitable; etc)
    - dietary imbalances (much more likely when puppies eat poop)
    - genetic fault (similar to pica, which too is disputed to be genetically caused)
    - boredom (seeking your attention!)
    - stress! (see the Prime Secret about Dogs)

    All the above hint at the prevalence of relief remedies. Only once you have exhausted relief remedies should you consider deterrent remedies:
    - dog commands (likely "LEAVE IT")
    - taste-deterrent diet (eg one garlic clove per meal)
    - enzyme supplements (eg Prozyme)
    - etc

    A more comprehensive answer I have provided in Q&A 2.


    Tim, thank you for the help. I think Bleu may have picked this habit up from her mom, mimicking her habit of cleaning up the den. I don’t think she’s bored as she is not left outside without supervision and she has a few toys outside to play with. She’s on IAMs puppy food and it appears she’s thoroughly digesting the food. I compared the ingredients of Prozyme to the GNC and Simply Nourish brands, which did not work. Is there a reason why Prozyme would work and not the others? It got rave reviews on-line from other pet owners that used other deterrent methods. We also covered her poop with hot sauce which deterred her for a short time until the sauce dried. Maybe she has a hankering for hot food!

    Thank you again,
    Bethann and Bleu Belle

    P.S. I posted a question in a blog on another part of the website but when I looked for responses, I could no longer find the page. I apologize.


      >Maybe she has a hankering for hot food!
      Yes maybe :-)
      But it's not funny: Poop eating bears also the risk of ingesting all sorts of Worms & Co. You'll get a Periodical on that later.

      I think I found all your comments now. We moved the site, and I am just about to catch up on all the old comments (= from the old site)...


    Test, test. My last reply didn’t show up on the website. Not sure what I’m doing wrong.

    Now I see my reply from the previous day. Strange.

    Bethann and Bleu Belle


      Bethann you don't do anything wrong, it's just that we moved the entire site to a new host this past week. I only now get a chance to copy out your comments from the old site and I just pasted them into the new site here. Hope this helps you.


    I have a serious question and problem. I have a 5 year old black German Shepherd that I've had since she was a puppy. My mother is the pack leader to my dog. Stormy (GSD) has been chasing her tail since she was a puppy. It only just started to get serious though. She votes her tails causing blood and chases it. She recently has bitten a piece of fur of her tail and it is raw. She continues to chase her tail. (I know it's a anxiety issue.) Anytime we try to get her to stop chewing on her poor tail she gets aggressive.. too aggressive. She has already bitten a kid this year. She has bitten my mom, and now me. We've tried lots of things, toys, muzzle, and other things to stop the chasing of the tail. We were thinking of getting a cone, but I'm not sure. I've had a German shepherd before. Any suggestions on how to stop the chasing of the tail?


      Great: You learned to post on a relevant page for the benefit of everyone, incl. yourself (doh!) ;-)

      Unfortunately, frequent tail chasing like you describe is NOT out of anxiety, no, sorry Savannah. It's a hereditary fault in some GSDs - those that should NOT have been bred at all! :-(

      "Anytime we try to get her to stop chewing on her poor tail she gets aggressive" - Aggression is NOT hereditary though. Your dog's aggression can be eliminated through the right training approach. But you won't learn the right training approach from wildly posting questions on websites you find, this should be obvious, it requires learning/reading the right training approach. Nothing of value in life comes without a bit of effort.

      "She has already bitten a kid this year. She has bitten my mom, and now me" - I am surprised how much you bear! I would have acted much sooner - before the first kid was bitten. Biting a child is totally unacceptable!!

      So, you have three options:
      1) Give up and put the dog down (sounds harsh, but it is a viable option in your case - and frankly the one that almost any other dog owner would have pursued already)
      2) Start studying RIGHT NOW: Feeding Routine, Bite Inhibition, Attention-Seeking, Sedatives(!), and the entire concept of accepted Pack leadership!
      3) Leave all as it is, and wait to be prosecuted when your dog bites the next person - the one who sues you and will make you poor and ashamed...


        My dog is not agressive! She is the sweetest thing that's the weird part. When she bit the kid my little brother was walking her and found his friend. We assume his friend did something that startled her. She nipped him on the finger but that's all. Luckily his mother understood. We don't want to put her down, I believe there is a solution for any dog. I'm going to be going to school to become a vet so o figure this is good experience.
        Of course my dog is terrified of little children and older people. Mostly little kids because their hyperness. A dog decided to try and attack stormy once. She stood her ground but showed no aggression. She is a very good dog. She would never hurt someone intentionally. The time she bit me, I should of been more careful. I know a lot about dog behavior, but I haven't seen this. I don't plan on giving up on her. I could tell every detail but it wouldn't help.


        You must be a very weird person: a) No thank-you!?, b) YOU wrote: "Anytime we try to get her to stop chewing on her poor tail she gets aggressive", and now you write: "My dog is not agressive!" - make up your mind before you waste my precious time, okay?

        I was willing to help you, and I did, but you are so fixated on yourself that you don't appreciate the helping hand people lend you. :-(
        Now instead of getting ever more hyper, I would study my prior full reply if I were you. Because the best solution is right in there!


    My GSD 2 1/2 eats his poop, drives me insane. I've tried the stuff that is supposed to deter them, but it doesn't seem to work. My lab used to be obsessed with eating goose poop but grew out of it. Does the poop obsession go away?


    I have a7 year old male GS dog who I have feed dried food to with small amount of tinned to moisten twice daily for past 5years . Suddenly he won't eat it Changed dried food ate the change once, gave him tinned ate that a few times and stopped. Took to vet who said go back to original dried food leave it down. Have tried for 4 days he is not touching it Does not appear ill. Is looking for food Please your help


    We have a GS male we rescued at approx. 4 months. He was grossly underweight and has several genetic issues but seems to be fine now (physically). He is now neutered and 4-5 years old. While he has never been aggressive towards people, and is very social with people and other dogs, he is very destructive at home, even when left alone for an hour after a long walk and some serious ball chasing. If i'm gone more than 4 hours I pay someone to come take him out. I hate to create him every time I go out, but his love of molded plastics is killing me. Two cell phones, three pairs of RX glasses, remote control, etc. I run him 2-3 times a day and walks. Please help.


      Unless you say what "genetic issues" he has, I can't know, but I doubt this is a genetic issue, Sara.
      Sounds all like a) he has still too much energy when you leave him (remember you got a herding dog!), and b) he seems not to like that you leave him (called Separation Anxiety).
      You mention it only today, suggesting the past 4-5 years he didn't do this.
      a) Consider what has changed for him recently, and address that, b) go more slowly in your leave-him-alone training so that he can accustom to longer and longer times, c) lock risky items away, d) provide his favorite SAFE toy while away (find out).

      Yeah, I wouldn't crate the dog either, ours have always had free run of the house, and they never destroyed anything. But: they are (of course) fully house-trained, as per my own book.


    Thank you so much. I will try to take him with me more (when cool enough to do so) when i run errands, If he will be a good boy and wait in the car for short periods. If he starts chewing up my car I'll have to come up with a plan C. I forgot to add that when I leave him home "alone" he is here with our other dog, a 5 year old female lab mix. She is a very calm well behaved dog and he seems to easily accept her as leader, though he outweighs her by 40 lbs. I would/could never take her and leave him. I fear he would have a nervous breakdown, good-bye sofa! I'll also try to repeat the leave alone training more definitively.

    He was this way as a puppy, and while I was frustrated, I was constantly reminded GS puppyhood is a lot longer, think 2 years, not 6 months. He seemed to improve at about 3 years, so I got hopeful, but we have lost ground. I'll work on trying to figure out what may have changed in the last few months.
    Thanks again!


    This list is a great stating point to dig deeper, well done. It is this list how I've found several answers to questions I wasn't aware I have. First adult dog, then via rescue dog tx


    please I need your help. my 8weeks GSD is not eating well as expe
    cted of him and he purges, which medication should be proscribe to him

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