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German Shepherd or Alsatian Dog is one of the most Versatility canine breeds in the world - this is beyond all controversies! A well bred German Shepherd Dog is his master's truest companion, although not all shepherds are equally versatile. If bred scientifically a German Shepherd puppy will grow up with all the desirable and mandatory instincts that would make it a true type royal dog and a perfect protective companion of his owner.
While working on the development projects of make a true type working dog, Captain Max Von Stephanitz emphasized more on the working ability of the breed, rather than the look. Insofar its capability as a protective working dog is concerned it is mandatory to have the 5 basic instincts of a GSD. Here are the 5 Basic Instincts of well bred German Shepherd Dogs that are genetically inherited by a puppy from dam and sire. Idea of selective breeding comes to play its role here. Responsible breeders try to retain the basic instinct of the breed through planned and scientific breed programs. Breeding scientifically will result near-to-perfect progenitors. Remember no dog is a 100% perfect dog in this world.
The 5 Basic Instincts of a "well bred" Alsatian dog have been broadly categorized into two categories, viz. Critical / vital Instincts and General Instincts. Both these types of instincts in Alsatian or German Shepherds are of utmost importance and aspiring breeders must keeping in forefront of their mind the importance of retaining them in progenitors while breeding German Shepherd Dogs.
1. Booty Instinct OR Prey Instinct: This is one of the two Critical Instincts of a well bred Alsatian or German shepherd dog. This German Shepherd instinct triggers the dogs character trait to chase moving objects like flies, moths, butterflies, mosquitoes, etc. and seize them. This is one of the most vital GSD instincts for excellent Schutzhund protection work. The Booty or Prey Instinct plays most vital role in acting as one of the most critical motivator of striking with speed and power, which is a mandatory part of a German Shepherd Dog characteristics. This critical instinct starts to develop as the puppy reaches 6 months of age and eventually becomes prominent as it grows.
2. Fighting Drive: Another Critical instinct in a well bred German Shepherd Dog is his Fighting Drive. This GSD instinct is also referred to as "Active Aggression" or "Offensive Aggression", which is as important as the Booty Instinct, because it stimulates the dog's working ability as a protection dog. This GSD instinct helps the dog to deliver "rhythmic & explosive barks" during protection. Each of those regular deliveries of bark helps the dog to get positively stimulated, which in turn helps him to give high degree protection service. The Fighting Drive instinct of German Shepherd Dogs is highly desired for the Schutzhund protection work.
Important Links to Relevant Chapters : Character Traits of Alsatian Dogs
3. Self Preservation OR Defense Instinct: The Self Preservation of Defense Instinct is also called "Reactive Aggression". This GSD instinct should not be confused up with Prey Instinct and Fighting Drive Instinct in German Shepherds. Reactive Aggression, as a typical Alsatian dog or German Shepherd Instinct, helps the animal in developing an inherent protective trait related to territoriality. This German Shepherd instinct denotes the degree of Sharpness of its behavior as a protective dog. This is one of the most significant part of GSD character and behavior. Reactive Aggression Instinct in GSD or Alsatian dog acts as the catalyst for the two Critical Instincts, viz. Active/offensive aggression and prey instincts, as it heavily stimulates the booty instinct and active aggression. However the Reactive Aggression Instinct of well bred German Shepherds also stimulate the Social Aggression Instinct.
4. Pack Instinct: This instinct is almost common for all pack animals including dogs, wolves, foxes, jackal etc. The Pack Instincts is not unique in German Shepherd Dog breed, but is commonly found in almost all the canine breeds in the world. In a well bred Alsatian dog the Pack Instinct is noticed quite prominently, compared many other other breeds. This is another most important German Shepherd Instinct that is highly significant for the Schutzhund trial, as it stimulates the inherent behavior of the dog to protect the pack members and act alike. Acting like all other pack members helps the dog to act in the way the handler or the owner wants him to act like. This in turn makes it easy for the owners/handlers/trainers to train the dog and teach him desired tricks. Remember... viewing from the dog's perspective, the dog considers his the owners/handlers/trainers as his pack members. Easy to train GSD (i.e the dog with desirable degree of Pack Instinct), backed by the correct blend of Territorial Instinct and Social Aggression makes the dog stay closer to his pack members. This stimulates the dog's protective behavior, which is one of the most important trait considered for Schutzhund.
5. Social Aggression: Social Aggression is another desirable German Shepherd Instinct. Like the other instincts of Alsatian Dogs Social Aggression also increases the degree of trainability -- especially for the Schutzhund protection services. Social Aggression Instinct makes the dog deliver "deep grumbling bark" towards any threatening situations, thereby proving its territoriality and dominance. This typical male German Shepherd Dog instinct can be considered as a warning signal to the threats or the strangers. Each of such barks stimulates the dog by generating power within him, which in turn helps him express himself more dominantly. This is one of the most important and desirable determinants of a guard dog character. This particular GSD instinct called "Social Aggression" is exclusively a male instinct found in most canine breeds that have been recognized guard dog breed. Found prominently in well bred male German Shepherds this instinct usually remains unexhibited until the dog is made to face a threatening situation. Social Aggression is profoundly backed by right degree of Territorial instinct in German Shepherd Dogs and in all other dog breeds used for guarding services.
It is probably due to some of these typical instincts that this majestic breed - the German Shepherd Dog has been stigmatized as one of the aggressive dog breeds in the world. This has given a hard blow to the breed's popularity, although Alsatian Dogs is still one of the most popular dog breed in the world. It is to be kept in the forefront of the mind that these instincts are typical for the German Shepherd Dog breed and has to be genetically engineered to the heirs through proper breeding. Without the right degree of such aggressions, a particular dog would be an incomplete German Shepherd. It is t be noted that German Shepherd Dog is quite friendly to the pack members including kids, but not so to the strangers, which is of utmost necessity for a perfect protection dog.