German Shepherds are one of the most popular and most loved breeds of dog. They are well known for being very intelligent, and have a history of working alongside the police. They are very trainable, and are naturally loyal and protective.
These dogs grow to a large size and are very strong. Due to their portrayal in films and television as ruthless police dogs, they have developed a bit of a reputation for being aggressive and sometimes violent. But this is not an accurate representation of this affectionate breed.
If you are considering getting a German Shepherd but don’t know whether they are a suitable breed for a family dog, then keep reading! We have put together some information about the breed, whether they are friendly or aggressive, and how they behave around children.
Can German Shepherds Be Friendly?
German Shepherds can be very friendly, but are more likely to be friendly to people they already know. They have a very protective nature which can make them wary of strangers.
This means it is incredibly important to socialize German Shepherds from a young age to ensure that they will be friendly when they meet new people.
Just like humans, dogs have individual personalities and some dogs are naturally friendlier than others. If you want to make sure that you get a friendly German Shepherd, observe the behaviour of the puppies before you choose one.
The friendliest puppies will approach you in a playful and confident manner and will show signs of affection, like licking. They will be curious, sniffing you whilst displaying happy body language like a wagging tail.
If a puppy is very shy or is huddled up in the corner, they probably have a nervous disposition. Whilst this can be endearing, it could cause issues as they will be less confident. This will make them harder to train, and they will be more cautious around new people or in new environments.
Are German Shepherds Good With Kids?
German Shepherds tend to have a calm nature and a caring temperament. They are protective and loyal with lots of stamina, which can make them a great choice for a family with children.
If you plan to bring a German Shepherd into a family with children, it is best to get a young dog so you can have full control over their training. They will need to be socialized properly from an early age to get them used to spending time with children.
You should discourage any behaviour that is overly boisterous, like nipping or jumping up. They will need to learn to be playful whilst being gentle, and this breed is definitely capable of this with the right training.
German Shepherds love to belong and to feel like part of the pack, so they enjoy being in a family environment. Be aware that German Shepherds do not fully mature until they are about 3 years old.
Up until this point, they will grow quite large but maintain a playful and bouncy demeanour which can be overwhelming for younger children and toddlers.
It is important to give your dog some quiet time to themselves away from the children, and to keep children away while the dog is having their food.
You should also teach your children how to properly interact with dogs- show them how to pet the dog gently and don’t let them pull it’s tail. If your children are old enough they can also get involved in the training process.
Do German Shepherds Like To Cuddle?
German Shepherds form very close emotional bonds with their owners. Once they have bonded with a human, they will be very affectionate. German Shepherds have been known to spend long periods of time snuggled up to their owner or even sat on their lap!
If you don’t want your dog on the furniture, they will be very happy to settle down at your feet or lean against your legs to feel close to you.
Even though German Shepherds are cuddly, it is best to let them come to you. They will enjoy being stroked and shown affection, but try not to invade their personal space. If you want to cuddle them, sit down close by and hold out your hand close to their nose.
If they are in the mood to cuddle, they will likely approach you and nuzzle your hand for attention.
German Shepherds can become clingy and demanding if you do not set clear boundaries when it comes to cuddles. They tend to attach themselves to whoever they perceive to be the pack leader, and will crave attention from that person in particular.
To avoid this becoming a problem, make sure that your German Shepherd spends quality time with all members of the family, including playing, training and cuddles.
Are German Shepherds Aggressive?
Even with proper socialization, German Shepherds have a strong desire to protect their owners. If they perceive someone to be a threat to you or your family, even a friendly German Shepherd could still show signs of aggression towards a stranger.
This is more likely to happen in the home, as this is the dog’s territory and they will want to defend it.
Fear and anxiety are the main causes of aggression in dogs, so making sure that you provide your dog with plenty of opportunities to meet new people in positive environments and situations is very important.
This will allow them to get used to interacting with strangers, so they are less nervous when people come to visit your home. If your dog has anxious tendencies, sticking to a routine could help to make them feel calm and less overwhelmed.
If you rescue or rehome an older German Shepherd, they may lack social skills or even have a traumatic past which could cause them to show signs of aggression. You will need to be patient and gradually build up their interaction with other people to discourage these behaviours.
Aggressive behaviour can also be a sign of pain. If your German Shepherd is acting aggressively and out of character, it is a good idea to take them to a veterinarian for a check up- they might be feeling unwell or injured and unable to communicate this to you.
It is important to build a good rapport with your dog. You should gain their respect, assert your dominance, and ensure that they will follow your instructions. This means that if they feel threatened and start to act aggressively, you can call them to you and give them a command to distract them.
Getting your dog to sit next to you and wait for their next command will help to take their attention away from whoever they perceive to be a threat.
Body language is also very important – you need to show that you are the leader of the pack. You can do this by keeping your body position in front of your dog on walks, when approaching strangers, or when you are standing talking to people.
If you position yourself between your dog and the other person, it reinforces your position as the alpha and they are more likely to follow your lead.