Will a German shepherd Attack an Intruder? How to Handle?

Want to adopt a German shepherd to protect your home and yard from intruders? Will a German shepherd attack an intruder? Will you have to train the GSD to do its duty?

Owning a guard dog to keep an intruder at bay is a good idea, and GSDs are well-known for this task. It doesn’t matter whether your GSD is trained or untrained, it will attack the intruder if it feels threatened.

However, it can become a boomerang if no intruders are ominous. Read on to learn why a GSD may attack an intruder, how to protect ordinary strangers, and how to let the dog attack the real culprit.

Will a German shepherd Attack an Intruder?

german shepherd attacking intruder

Under most circumstances, German shepherds protect their home and family when danger arises. Though they are very sweet dogs, they have the ability to attack if they feel threatened. However, whether GSD will attack an intruder depends on plenty of factors, including temperature, individual characteristics, and training.

By nature, German shepherds are the most protective breeds, and many people misunderstand their protecting ability. The reason is that German shepherds are mainly used in military and police departments across the world.

GSDs are very intelligent and have a keen ability to read people’s intentions. So, if you own a GSD, you can sleep soundly at night knowing that your dog is always on guard. But if you are an intruder, think again before targeting a house with a German shepherd.

In terms of training, a trained German shepherd will definitely attack an intruder. Even they can go to extreme measures to defend their owner and home from intruders. Though training a GSD takes time and money, it pays off when requiring security for home and family.

However, if you have an untrained German shepherd who is friendly to strangers, it is possible that it will not attack or even bark at intruders.

So if your question is, “Can a German Shepherd attack an intruder?” it depends on the individual dog and the training. Though GSDs are naturally protective, their attacking behavior is affected by their personality, temperature, and how they are connected to a home.

Why is a German shepherd Aggressive toward Intruders?

are german shepherd aggressive

As you already know, being protective is their instinct. Apart from that, the following are some potential possibilities that may encourage your GSD to be aggressive toward intruders or strangers:

Showing Dominance

German shepherd dogs are extremely dominant and love to control their territory. If they see an intruder approaching the house, they may begin barking and attacking.

Also Read: How To Stop a German Shepherd From Barking?


When German Shepherds reach adulthood, they develop massive bodies and an aggressive demeanor. Still, they may be afraid of intruders. And trying to attack the intruder can also be a way to show their fear to strangers. In most cases, German shepherds do so by getting misled by the intruder, which may encourage them to attack.


Your German shepherd can show aggression to the intruder due to the illness. Pain in the body and internal injury can be the source of becoming aggressive toward the unwanted person. In this case, consult a vet for a quick check-up if you notice this unusual behavior.

Also Read: Why Are Chihuahuas So Aggressive?


As mentioned, all dogs, including German shepherds, get a bit more temperamental as they get older. But at what age does a German shepherd start guarding? GSD typically starts guarding at the age of 6 months. At this age, they become more independent, alert to their surroundings, and capable of distinguishing between a threatening and non-threatening person and animal.

As a result, your German shepherd may start attacking the intruder to display its more protective behaviors. However, don’t fret. Though GSD gets more protective once it reaches adolescence, it won’t keep increasing with age unless you have a much older German shepherd.


German shepherds are also selfish by birth, which can’t be removed. If your GSD becomes aggressive toward an intruder or a quest, it is possible that your dog has become selfish for home and you. If your pooch doesn’t allow the intruder to touch its toys or accessories, it’s a clear sign of possessiveness.

Also Read: Why Do Dogs Love Lamb Chop Toy?


If your GSD doesn’t get enough exercise, you or your company, might feel frustrated. And being aggressive toward an intruder can be part of the frustration. In addition, your pooch may start growling, chewing, or biting if frustrated. In this case, socialization can help your GSD behave normally.

Also Read: Why Does My Dog Growl When I Hug Him?

How to Handle the Situation If the Intruder isn’t threatening?

It’s vital to understand that not all strangers are enemies. Some may visit the house for legal reasons, like a delivery boy. In this case, it’s your vital duty to handle the situation safely.

If a German shepherd notices that his owner accepts and warms up to strangers, he will act normally toward them. But they show a whole different scenario if someone comes to the house without acceptance.

So if anyone visits your house who isn’t your friend, gently hold the collar of your dog and say ‘on guard’ in a soft voice. Then leave the collar. Don’t let the visitor pet your GSD or let him talk to the dog. If the visitor wants to make friends with your pooch, don’t appreciate it. Instead, say “no.” Inform him it’s a guard dog and change the topic.

In addition, don’t give any information to the visitor. Remember, GSDs are highly intelligent dogs and quickly pick up who is a friend and who isn’t. This way, your GSD will keep guarding you. However, if your dog sits backward, you will not have to do anything extra.

But what if someone tries to bite your dog by throwing meat over the fence when your dog is in the yard and you are out of the house? In this case, use a password or signal and make your pooch wait for it before eating anything. Furthermore, teach your GSD not to accept treats or food from anyone who accepts her.

How train German shepherds to Attack Intruders?

german shepherd attack intruder

It’s best to let your German shepherd do its job. Your GSD will grow up with its instinct, which will come naturally. Unless you are training your GSD for protection work or you are in the sport of Schutzhund, your dog will return your love through protection. So give your pooch lots of love and attention. In this case, walking in a field together regularly is the perfect way to create a strong bond and trust.

However, if you live in a rural area or in a house where you get lots of intruders, you should give obedience training to your GSD. In this case, you have two choices:

1. Hiring a Trainer

If you are a busy dog parent and don’t have budget problems, hiring a trainer will be a preferable option for you. An expert trainer will precisely teach your GSD to protect the home and attack intruders.

Even an expert trainer will complete the training season quickly, thanks to his/her experience training hundreds of dogs. However, training a German shepherd dog is a bit costly but still worth it to ensure reliable protection of the house and yard. Ultimately, you’ll have a perfectly trained dog to sleep at night with complete protection.

2. Training by Yourself

Whether you have enough time or an insufficient budget, you can train your dog at home. However, you’ll need lots of patience, as training a GSD is a time-consuming process. You have to reinforce the behavior that you wish to see in your German shepherd.

Though it can be exhausting at the initial stage, this way you can create a stronger bond with your dog as well. What’s more? It will provide an excellent opportunity to learn a little bit about your dog.

In this case, you can find free or paid training methods for German shepherds online. Fortunately, a German shepherd is a popular dog breed, and there is ample training information available online.

Also Read: Why Does My German Shepherd Follow Me Everywhere?


1. Would a friendly GSD attack an intruder?

It largely depends on the individual. Compared to an untrained German shepherd, a trained one is most likely to protect its owner. However, it doesn’t mean an untrained German shepherd won’t protect you. GSDs are known for their protective nature toward their owners or lovable ones.

2. Can a German shepherd attack its owner?

In general, a German shepherd hardly attacks its owner. A GSD that grows up in a family with proper socialization shouldn’t attract its owner unless it is seriously threatened or provoked. Unburned energy can sometimes motivate a German shepherd to attack its owner.

3. Can you survive a German shepherd attack?

A German shepherd attack can result in serious injury or even a life-changing bite. They have massive body structures and are extremely strong, so they could seriously injure anyone.

Final Words

Though German shepherds are friendly dog breeds, they can attack an intruder as a way of guarding their territory and family. If you need a dog for such a role, train them properly before handling the duty. Otherwise, you’ll be liable if your GSD attacks or bites an ordinary visitor or intruder, and you may need to face legal action.

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