German Shepherds have a naturally intimidating appearance. This will easily make anyone mistake them for unfriendly dogs, but are German Shepherds friendly?
First off, all dogs can be friendly if you can devote the required attention. However, German Shepherds are police favorites, and war dogs shouldn’t be friendly, right?
Well, in this article, you’ll learn if a German Shepherd is the best choice if you’re in for a friendly dog. Also, you’ll learn how to train your German Shepherd to be friendly, if it is worth it in the first place.
Are German Shepherds Friendly To Their Owners?
Before getting any dog, you’ll want to be sure it won’t go chasing you around the house whenever you try to play. Will a German Shepherd foot the bill?
Fortunately, German Shepherds are very loyal dogs. When you form a bond with them, they’ll become too protective of you, and you’ll never have a reason to hate them anymore.
A German Shepherd will never intentionally hurt its owner and everyone it recognizes within the family.
While this sounds all good, they might go overboard sometimes. If you don’t properly socialize your German Shepherd dog, it might act aggressively towards strangers.
And no, that doesn’t mean it’s not friendly; it’s just trying to protect you. The dogs’ obedience won’t make this much of a problem, as you can shout a command to get the victim out of trouble.
Also, with proper socialization, they can learn to tell intruders apart from friends.
Are German Shepherds Friendly to Strangers?
Okay, German Shepherds pose almost no threat to their owners. But what about strangers?
Should you worry if your neighbor just brought in a German Shepherd?
First off, German Shepherds can be very intimidating. Without proper training, they might not be as good to strangers as you want.
As they’re naturally protective, they are more alert and always ready to strike. Whenever German Shepherd dogs notice any stranger, they might jump into action, even if that stranger doesn’t sound like an intruder.
While they might not be naturally welcoming to strangers, you can train them to be. Well, socialized German Shepherds tend to be well-behaved, and they’re better at telling strangers apart from intruders.
If you have your friends come around frequently, you’ll want to enroll your dog in some training classes. You don’t want to lose a friend just because your beloved dog thinks she meant to harm you.
Why your German Shepherd is Unfriendly
You’ve seen many people get along with their German Shepherds. You’ve even seen some videos of them keeping their cool with cats around, but why is yours different?
While German Shepherds might be very friendly, some circumstances may lead to a twist in their nature. If your German Shepherd is unfriendly, it must be due to one of the following factors.
- Their protective instinct
German Shepherds are natural protectors. They were initially bred to herd cattle, and a herder will also work to make sure the sheep are safe.
Whenever they sense any threat to you or anyone they know, they naturally take it upon themselves to eliminate that threat.
This defense won’t be necessary on most occasions. If your German Shepherd doesn’t do well to control its protective instincts, it might come across as unfriendly.
- They might be ill
If your dog is feeling pain, it can’t directly tell you that. Ill German Shepherds won’t be as fun to be with as perfectly healthy ones.
If your naturally friendly dog suddenly becomes hostile, you might want to visit a veterinarian. The same also applies to pregnant female German Shepherds.
- They’re not properly socialized.
To keep a friendly German Shepherd, you should introduce it at a very young age. Not only that, but they must also socialize with people and other animals as they grow.
When German Shepherd dogs don’t socialize properly, they’ll quickly get anxious around everyday things, sometimes also being unfriendly to strangers.
With their intimidating size, you don’t want them to randomly attack friends for no reason. So consider getting a young Shepherd, or get another breed.
How to Improve Your German Shepherd’s Friendliness
Is your German Shepherd hostile towards your friends?
That doesn’t mean you should cast it away, old sport. Some tips will help you train your dog to become friendlier and less intimidating to strangers.
- Train them properly
German Shepherds are alpha dogs. They’re used to being pack leaders. If they grow on their own free will with this mindset, you’ll have to contend with a formidable boss.
Otherwise, you’ll need to train your dog to obey commands from everyone in the family. If this sounds like a daunting task, you can use the services of a professional dog trainer.
One reason why your dog might not have a welcoming attitude towards strangers is that they never socialized properly.
In the case of socializing German Shepherds, they will be better off as puppies. It’s always easier to introduce your young puppy to a friend than to show up with a fearful, large dog that won’t stop its 1,000 decibel-loud bark for a second.
This doesn’t imply that you cannot socialize adult German Shepherds, but you’ll have to do a little bit more work. Using the services of a professional trainer shouldn’t be a bad idea.
- See a vet regularly
While you may think your dog is unfriendly, it might be uneasy due to illness. Every once in a while, take your German Shepherd out to see a vet check its health.
Having a healthy dog is the first step towards having a friendly dog.
German Shepherds are large, powerful, protective, and at the same time, trainable. You can make them do whatever you want if you’re patient, knowledgeable, and willing to give what it takes.
But, are German Shepherds friendly?
It depends on how you train them. If you want a friendly dog, a German Shepherd is a perfect one, and if you want otherwise, then why not?