German Shepherd Issues

German Shepherds are hardworking dogs who enjoy work.  They are one of the most intelligent of all breeds and they are usually easy to train.  They have long been used as police dogs, military dogs, assistance dogs for the disabled, and many other kinds of work because they are so intelligent, trainable, and reliable.  However, there can be some issues in the breed if dogs are not socialized well or trained properly.  German Shepherd issues can include separation anxiety, aggression, timidity, fear biting, and unwanted guarding behavior in the home.  Most of these problems can be avoided if a German Shepherd is properly socialized as a puppy and if the owner maintains a position of authority.


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Separation Anxiety, Timidity, Fear Biting

These issues usually occur in a dog that lacks self-confidence.  The dog may be very closely bonded to their owner, which the owner may even encourage.  However, if the dog lacks self-confidence he will feel panicked when the owner has to leave the house.  He may be afraid to meet other people.  And, if someone tries to pet him or if he finds himself in a new situation, such as going to the vet’s office, the dog may bite out of fear.


German Shepherds are a very loyal and devoted breed so they can become extremely attached to their owners.  Normally this is a good thing, but if a dog is not well-socialized then a German Shepherd can become too attached to their owner and it can lead to these problems with anxiety and fear.


The best way to prevent your German Shepherd from developing these issues is to make sure you socialize your puppy well from a young age.  Take your puppy places with you and let them meet friendly strangers.  Allow them to meet other friendly puppies.  One way to do this is by enrolling your puppy in a puppy kindergarten class or a puppy preschool class.  These classes are often offered by pet stores, kennel clubs, animal shelters, and dog trainers.  They’re a great way to socialize puppies and your puppy can begin to learn some basic manners.  Meeting other people and dogs will help build your puppy’s confidence.  Confident puppies are less likely to develop behavior problems as adults.


Many times the same places that offer these puppy classes will also offer some basic obedience classes later so this is a good way to find out about dog trainers and training options.


Do not take German Shepherd puppies, or any puppies, to dog parks.  Dog parks are rough and tumble places where puppies can be run over or intimidated by adult dogs or bigger dogs.  Puppies can easily be injured at a dog park.  They are also a place where diseases can be easily spread to puppies.


Aggression, Guarding Behavior

Other German Shepherd issues can include aggression and unwanted guarding behavior.  Aggression is not a normal breed trait, although German Shepherds can be trained for Schutzhund, or police work.  Trained attack work is very different from aggressive behavior in a dog and it is always under the owner’s control.  Aggression is undesirable behavior, whether it is directed at other dogs or toward the owner.


One way to prevent aggression, guarding behavior and other behavior problems in the home with your German Shepherd is to enroll with your dog in a good training class.  A well-trained German Shepherd is much less likely to have behavior problems than an untrained dog and the dog will know that you are in charge.  A dog that respects you and your authority in the home is less likely to show signs of aggression or try to guard food, toys, or other objects.



All breeds of dogs have their own issues.  German Shepherds are no exception.  Start socializing your German Shepherd early and enroll in a good training class.  Doing these things should solve most German Shepherd issues.