How To Get Your German Shepherd To Like People
Understanding your German shepherd is the key to raising them to grow up to be a confident dog that likes people. Since they are very intelligent, yet naturally reserved, socialization is one area that is crucial to their development.
One of the reasons German shepherds can be standoffish is that they were bred to be herding dogs, which also includes protecting and guarding livestock. Since your German shepherd probably doesn’t work on a ranch, they will make it their job to protect you.
They are also very loving, courageous, strong, smart, loyal, and energetic. They were bred to work, which is why they excel in law enforcement and the military. But, they also adore being your best friend, their most important job of all.
Because they are so awesome, you probably want to introduce them to everyone. But the traits that make them so special also come with a lot of responsibility. It’s important to give them the right training while they are puppies.
According to the American Kennel Club breed standard, German shepherds come with a “certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships.” This is ingrained in the breed.
Together, all of their traits are why German shepherds can easily become wary of strangers. Even socialized dogs may not be overly warm and friendly but should know how to behave and be trustworthy when meeting new people.
Socialized dogs grow up to be confident. They are not fearful. They enjoy having new experiences. And, you can enjoy taking them because you know your dog will be safe to have around.
However, it’s worth a mention that aloofness and being naturally protective are not the same as being aggressive. Naturally protective dogs are alert and watchful of potential threats while aggressive dogs may perceive anything as a threat, become reactive, and bite.
Your German shepherd may be protective but should never be aggressive or react inappropriately. Even personal protection-trained dogs are not aggressive, just the opposite. Aggression is a serious behavior problem. If you think your dog is aggressive, you should consult with a trainer or behaviorist.
How to teach your German Shepherd to Like People
First, you need to understand that all German shepherds are different. Some are much friendlier when meeting new people while others may prefer to remain standoffish. This is natural to the breed and part of their unique personality.
However, the best way to teach a German shepherd to like people is to train and socialize them from the time they are a puppy.
How to Socialize your German Shepherd
Socializing your German shepherd puppy means that you will expose them to as many new age-appropriate experiences as soon as possible. You will want to keep these encounters positive and always protect them from having a negative experience.
This is important for preventing the development of fears and anxieties, which can be hard for them to get past. You can make socialization safe and fun through encouragement, lots of praise, treats, and controlling their environment.
Since German shepherds have strong personalities that grow into large dogs, socializing them is not negotiable. Sadly, shelters are full of great dogs whose owners have failed to train and socialize them but that isn’t going to happen to you.
To socialize your puppy, you’ll want to expose them to:
• Different types of flooring, soil, grass, concrete, etc.
• Things around the house, like the vacuum and broom
• Rides in the car
• New places with new smells and noises
• Positive interactions with new people
• Introduce them to friendly dogs and animals
• Training Classes
• Touching of paws, ears
• Grooming tools
• The vet
By letting your dog experience all these things, your dog will grow up to be self-assured. They’ll know how to behave in all sorts of environments, which builds their confidence. They’ll know how to meet new people in new places.
By socializing your German shepherd, you’re giving them the gift of lifelong self-assurance, which helps prevent all sorts of destructive behaviors from ever developing such as:
• Destructive behavior
• Fear-based behaviors
• Inability to relax
• Separation anxiety
• Resource guarding
Socialized dogs are a joy to own and are much happier. They can go anywhere with you and get to have adventures that are impossible for unsocialized dogs. They are more comfortable meeting new people but should never be forced on anyone or forced to accept unwanted touching.
No matter how friendly, they are still German shepherds and deserve a certain measure of respect. Always remember their natural instinct is to be protective and watch out for you. Sure, they may enjoy meeting new people, but they will always have your back.
We hope that you found this article helpful. As always, please feel free to share with your friends.
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