Are German Shepherds Good Family Dogs? [are german shepherds kid friendly]
German Shepherds are good family dogs if your children are older and act mature. Because German Shepherds are large dogs that can be aggressive they are not the best choice being around young children. They can have a good demeanor though if properly trained from a young age.
German Shepherd dogs (also called GSD) are friendly, loyal, protective, and very intelligent. These same traits which make them very useful as police dogs also can make them a really fun and exciting addition to your family.
German Shepherds are considered good family dogs because of their calm nature and caring temperament. It’s easy to see why lots of families around the world have a preference for this large breed of dog because it is very loveable and beautiful.
They have a rich heritage originating in Germany in the late 1800s. German Shepherds are a very popular dog breed and loved by millions of people around the world.
Do German Shepherds Make Good Pets?
Families are better with dogs and a German Shepherd can be a great family dog. They can also be excellent companions for your children if precautions are taken.
Dogs can teach children responsibility. And they protect the family as a whole. However, not every dog will be a right fit for your family.
If you’re thinking about whether or not to add a German Shepherd to your home here are some good reasons to do so. So keep reading!
German Shepherds are Intelligent Dogs
There is a good reason the largest percentage of police service dogs all over the world are German Shepherds. They are very smart dogs and can quickly learn just about anything you want them to know how to do.
Learning tricks and commands are easy for a German Shepherd! They are very versatile. According to many studies they are one of the most intelligent breeds of dogs in the world only behind the Border Collie and the Poodle.
You and your children will have a wonderful time teaching the dog different tricks. Your German Shepherd will love learning new things and be happy and grateful for the frequent opportunity to socialize with you.
However, this high level of intelligence can also mean that they’re going to easily get bored if not getting attention. Therefore, a German Shepherd will best fit with your family if you can spend lots of time with them and keep their mind active.
German Shepherds are Loyal
German Shepherds are widely considered as being one of the most loyal dog breeds. Though German Shepherds do tend to be extremely loyal, their level of loyalty will vary with each individual dog.
German Shepherds are also one of the dog breeds with a high drive to protect their owners and their territory, provided you raise them well. Being a working dog, German Shepherds are eager to please their owners and experience joy in doing so.
German Shepherds are Excellent Guard Dogs
Having served as a military dog in World War I and II, German Shepherds are perfectly suited to be police dogs and rescue dogs. The obedience training for a military dog is highly specialized and intensive making them excellent for police work.
This training, that has been bred into their DNA, gives them an innate desire to protect their family. They have been known to save their family from potential danger by keeping a watchful eye on them, especially small children.
Their stature as a big dog also works to intimidate intruders or someone up to no good.
They’ll see you, your family, and other pets as part of their pack. This will drive them to do anything to make sure you’re all safe and okay.
There can be a negative side to this though. In this case, they are likely to bark more and growl at people, although this behavior can be avoided with proper training.
German Shepherd Guide Dogs
German Shepherds were one of the very first guide dogs. That is a distinct honor!
During World War I, a German doctor named Dr Gerhard Stalling came up with the idea of seeing eye dogs after visiting soldiers who had become blind during the fighting.
He decided to train German Shepherds to help these soldiers and opened a guide dog school in 1916.
German Shepherds Love Children
German Shepherds love kids, especially if they are given proper socialization training from an early age. They can be great at playing with children if they are introduced to them when they are young pups.
The important thing to remember is proper puppy training is essential along with love, caring, and respect for your dog.
The American Kennel Club says German Shepherds will be ‘gentle’ family pets but there’s a “certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.”
Do German Shepherds Love Being Outdoors?
German shepherds are naturally strong, athletic dogs. They love being outdoors and exercising. If your family loves the outdoors as well then German Shepherds are going to be a nice fit for you.
If you go on regular walks along the beach or through the woods then your German Shepherd is going to be right at home.
However, this doesn’t mean they’re not going to enjoy being indoors either. Once you make sure that they’re getting enough exercise throughout the day, then they’re going to be happy spending time indoors with you as well.
Are German Shepherds Adaptable?
One of the best things about German Shepherds is that they can easily adapt to any lifestyle. You don’t have to totally adjust your day according to your dog. German Shepherds can adjust themselves and to your lifestyle as long as you make them feel a part of it.
German Shepherd Traits
German Shepherds make wonderful companions. They have a great loving personality and have a friendly demeanor with members of their family.
German Shepherds are an active dog breed and need lots of exercise. Walking and playing with your dog every day will also help make you healthy!
Are German Shepherds Loyal?
Yes, German Shepherds are very loyal! However, they tend to be much less loyal if they are not raised appropriately.
If you do not give them lots of training, exercise, care, and attention, or if they are mistreated, it will cause them to be less loyal. Makes sense right? Would you be loyal to someone who mistreated you? Not likely.
This is why it is extremely helpful and necessary to figure out if you will be able to invest the time necessary to properly raise and care for your German Shepherd before getting one.
Remember, these dogs were originally developed to assist sheepherders with controlling their herds. The characteristics they were bred for include a high level of endurance, fearlessness, protectiveness, intelligence and loyalty.
This is due to the fact that they were required to work for long stretches of time alongside their owners and this demanded that they be extremely alert and protective of the sheep.
As a result of this, they are very active and don’t like it when they’re left alone on their own or in a confined space for too long. This tends to make them restless and less loyal.
Take a look at the following tips that will help you work around this possibility.
German Shepherd Training
German Shepherds are a breed that requires a great deal of training in order to ensure that they have direction and so that they know how they are meant to behave.
If they do not get adequate training, they will just act instinctively and this will make them much less responsive to your commands. Good training is also necessary so that they know what you expect of them.
One good method of training German Shepherds is through the use of positive reinforcement training. This involves encouraging the behaviors that you want to see by rewarding them when they display these behaviors.
It helps to begin with the basics such as the “come to you” command, “not to bite” and “not to run away” when the door opens. After this, you can then build up to more challenging tasks in more distracting surroundings.
German Shepherd Exercise Needs
German Shepherds desire and need a lot of daily exercise to be physically and mentally healthy. If they do not get enough exercise every day, it can make them behave abnormally and this will lead to them not being a good pet.
As a general rule, it is recommended that they get at least an hour of exercise per day, especially as adults.
If you are not sure that you would be able to give your German Shepherd an hour of exercise per day, it would most likely be better to go for a different dog breed that does not require as much daily exercise as they do.
Should You Punish Your German Shepherd?
It helps to avoid punishing your German Shepherd. If you punish your dog improperly when it misbehaves, it might not know why it is being punished and this could lead to it developing feelings of resentment. It could also cause it to be less loyal.
Of course, there will be times when a stern word is used to convey your displeasure with their behavior.
What you should try to do is reward your dog when they behave the way you want (i.e positive reinforcement training). This can redirect their focus when it is about to misbehave.
A German Shepherd as a Member of the Family
German Shepherds want to be part of your family and won’t be happy unless they feel that they are. They will see your family as part of their pack. If they are not included as a part of the family, it is very likely they will develop mental insecurities which you don’t want to happen.
It is essential that you include your dog in your life by doing things such as playing with it, giving it daily exercise, not leaving it alone for extended periods, regular training, and allowing it to feel part of the family just like everyone else.
Are German Shepherds Good With Kids?
One of the most critical questions families want answered is whether German Shepherds are good with kids? As with most dogs, yes, they can be great with children.
If your German Shepherd has been properly raised from a young age, then most of the time they’re going to be a great addition to your family. However, it helps to remember that there are always exceptions to the rule.
For the best chance at success, you’re better off buying a German Shepherd from a reputable breeder when they’re still a puppy. Once you’ve done this, make sure that you socialize with them from day one.
Rescue pets are great and you do the community a service by adopting. If you’re going to get a rescue German Shepherd though try your best to learn about the dog’s personality before just picking the one that looks the prettiest. Ask the shelter personnel if they’re good with children.
Are German Shepherds Good With Other Pets?
Do you already have a pet at home and are thinking about adding a GSD? If so, you’re probably wondering if your German Shepherd will be good with other pets.
Once again, this mostly depends on the socialization and training you give them. In the majority of cases, however, German Shepherds are good with other pets. You just have to be careful and always pay attention to how they interact.
Your best bet would be to start with a puppy if you already have pets in your home. However, if a rescue German Shepherd has a track record of being around other animals, it may be ok. Ask the shelter workers for help on this.
German Shepherd Negatives
As with most things in life, there’s no perfect family dog. With any dog breed you end up choosing, there are going to be some negative aspects.
Here are a few of the downsides to take into account when considering whether or not a German Shepherd is going to be a good fit for your family.
German Shepherd Health Issues
Yes, just like with any dog, Shepherds come with their fair share of potential health problems that every German Shepherd owner should be aware of. Here are a few common ones.
- Degenerative Myelopathy. This is a disease that attacks the spinal cord and can be fatal.
- Hip Dysplasia. This is a common problem for large dogs like the German Shepherd. It is hereditary and can be the result of poor breeding. Severe Hip Dysplasis can cause tremendous problems for your GSD to even walk.
- Bloat. This is where your German Shepherd has a problem with its digestive tract. Bloat could even cause their stomach to twist.
Do German Shepherds Need a Lot of Attention?
Yes, they do! Socializing needs to start as early as possible. Therefore, ensure you’re introducing them to as many people and animals as possible.
Without the necessary socialization, they’re more likely to be aloof and aggressive towards other people and animals.
Do German Shepherds Shed?
Another problem that comes with having a German Shepherd is that they shed for the entire year. This means that you’re going to have to do more cleaning to keep your home tidy. And lots of brushing on your puppy!
It would help if you also took note that many dogs shed all year. Therefore, this really shouldn’t be a deal-breaker for you.
German Shepherds High Prey Drive
Due to the fact that German Shepherds were used as herding dogs, they have a higher prey drive than many other dog breeds. They also like to herd.
This means that if you don’t socialize them and train them early on, they would most likely develop behavioral issues such as not listening to you and always trying to exert their own will.
And if you have young children they may end up chasing them around the house or yard, especially if they’re running and screaming! Something to keep in mind!
Do German Shepherds Get Lonely?
Due to their high intelligence levels and being active dogs, it’s not rare for German Shepherds to become bored quickly and feel lonely if left at home by themselves all day.
This boredom usually results in destructive behavior like chewing things up and destroying parts of your house.
If you’re going to leave a German Shepherd alone, you have to ensure you’ve given it a lot of exercise beforehand. Also, providing them with lots of toys to keep them entertained is a smart idea.
German Shepherds Bark
Ok, if you leave your GSD alone often, ignore them, or let them get bored guess what? They are probably going to start barking and not stop until you give them what they want! You have been warned!
German Shepherd Natural Instincts
German Shepherds are fiercely loyal and have very strong protective and territorial instincts. This can be an asset but it can also be a downside if you are not aware of these traits and don’t pay close attention to certain situations you put your dog in.
Yes, German Shepherds make good family pets as long as you are fully aware of the dog’s traits. People love them because of their loyalty, intelligence, and love for the outdoors.
Because of their nature you may have heard of them being called the Noble German Shepherd Dog! How cool don’t you think?
However, they demand lots of your time as they need to be adequately trained and socialized early. They will always like to herd, have a prey drive, get bored quickly, and have a strong guarding instinct.
When you’re introducing a German Shepherd to your family, fed them well, do away with punishment (use positive reinforcements instead), give them lots of love, create a space just for them, and teach your children how to treat them with respect.