How Can I Teach My Kids To Be Gentle With The Dog
If your kids are old enough to understand boundaries with the dog, then its important to start showing them the right way to pet them. Weve all seen the pictures and videos on the internet of babies and small children lying on top of the dog, riding the dog, or pulling their ears or tails. The general opinion is, Wow, what a good dog! This is wrong on many levels.
The dog may be good in that hes not openly hostile to this behavior, but that doesnt mean he should endure it. Consider if your child was exhibiting this behavior to another child at the park. Pulling their hair, lying on top of them, slapping them, or taunting them. Youd put a stop to that immediately. With the dog, he cant tell you he doesnt like this. Sometimes there are signs that maybe the dog would prefer this to not be happening.
Pay attention to very wide eyes, ears that are back and flat to the head, and an attempt to leave the situation. If these signs are shown and ignored, the next way the dog will attempt to stop this from happening is to growl. This will eventually lead to a bite. People are very quick to cart their aggressive dogs off to the shelter because they growled at the child, but what was the child doing before the growl? A dog is not a creature that has to endure anything your child wants to do to him. Hes a part of the family, and as such, he should be treated like one.
They Can Entertain Kids For Hours
What do German Shepherds and children have in common?
Energy! Lots of it.
That makes your German Shepherd great with kids. They can entertain your kids for hours!
Thats because your German Shepherd is a tireless dog. They can play for hours and hours and not get tired easily. And young children have the energy to match!
What better way to spend time than to play games that your German Shepherd loves. Playing fetch, catching a frisbee, or learning new tricks. They wont have a shortage of activities to do.
They can even play treasure hunt. Your kids hide the treats and your German Shepherd will find those. And with their excellent nose, they can easily find those treats!
Caution: Watch out how many treats you give your dog. You dont want them to get overweight.
If they get tired of treasure hunting, they can run around all day. This is good for your dog since they need lots of exercise. And this is good for you, too. Tired children means you have more time to rest.
Caution: Keep an eye on your kids and dog while theyre playing together. Your child may get hurt during a roughhouse.
Are They Good With Children
GSD males are 23 to 26 inches tall at their withers, which is the ridge between the shoulder blades and the tallest part of their body. Additionally, they weigh between 66 to 88 pounds. Females are 21 to 24 inches tall at the withers and weigh between 49 to 71 pounds. German Shepherds can and do, get along very well with children. However, one that has not been socialized and trained properly from an early age could show aggression to members of the household, regardless of that persons age. Proper training is a must if your dog is going to be around children of any age. Its also imperative that they get plenty of exercise many hours per day, or they risk exhibiting signs of misbehaviour.
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Teach Your Children To Be Shepherd Savvy
Your dog needs training so theylearn to regulate their behavior around your family. Fortunately, this breed is one of the smartest dogs in the world and responds well to obedience commands.
German Shepherds get along with children when both the child and dog take active and successful steps to live with one another. Success starts with adult planning, participation, and direction.
First, parents teach the GSD how to act in a controlled manner through home obedience, also known as German Shepherd lure and reward training. Second, parents must teach children how to control the trained dog.
Training is a family effort but must start with the adults.
They Are Great With Children
Youre probably wondering whether such a big dog is a good choice when you have small children.
While of course their size compared to babies and very young children needs to be considered, so that they dont accidentally do any harm, GSDs are actually an excellent breed to own when you have small kids.
They have an excellent balance of playfulness and protectiveness when it comes to younger children. Children want to be loved, entertained and protected and a GSD is perfect for this job.
When well socialized as a puppy, they have the patience and the temperament to be happy around kids of all ages. They genuinely enjoy the attention that they receive from children.
This means that as an adult you can let your GSD and kids entertain themselves. A GSD makes for a great babysitter. But this does not mean that you should leave your dog and child home alone!
And remember that proper training and socialization as a puppy is essential for a GSD if you want it to be the great family pet that we know and love.
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Other Factors To Keep In Mind
As with adding any new pet to your family, youll want to keep your children as safe and happy as possible. Below are some factors to keep in mind before determining if a GSD is a right fit for your family.
- GSDs are highly affectionate dogs and love to lick faces, which may scare some children.
- Because both small children and German Shepherds may possibly misunderstand each other, its important for there to be supervision when they interact.
- German Shepherds are large dogs who love to jump, which could cause some accidents to happen.
- While German Shepherds are good with kids, they may not be great around stray animals, such as squirrels or cats. Theyre breeding dogs with the desire to hunt prey in their blood, so be aware that they may try to chase other animals.
- German Shepherds shed quite a bit, and are not hypoallergenic . Theyll require grooming at least a couple of times per week.
Keeping Your Child Safe With A German Shepherd
Many problems between children and GSDs develop when neither understands the body language of the other. Small kids get over-excited, move rapidly and unexpectedly and scream in high-pitched voices.
GSDs may interpret these actions and noises as invitations to play. When infact the child might consider the dog interacting as a fearful event.
A GSDs attempts to befriend and play with a child might appear as an attack by the child, causing long-term mental trauma to the child.
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How Long Does It Take To Bond With A German Shepherd Puppy
Typically, it takes between two to three months for German Shepherd puppies to bond with, and become accustomed to their owners presence. This duration, however, isnt set in stone and can be considerably shorter by carrying out specific actions designed to build trust in your pooch.
German Shepherds are generally happy dogs that are known to create extremely tight bonds with their family members. And if you plan on getting a German Shepherd puppy, you should be prepared to devote a considerable amount of time and attention to the upbringing of this pooch.
Are German Shepherds Kid Friendly
In some ways, the German Shepherd and kids were made for each other.
They both have energy to burn.
And the German Shepherds ability to learn new tricks can be an endless source of joy for both of them.
Those that have been raised together will share a special bond as they grow.
This breeds calm, gentle nature can allow them to tolerate pokes and prods better than other dogs.
However, its essential to train your dog to interact safely with children.
That being said, its also important to teach children how to behave with dogs.
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Bringing A New Baby Home
If you already have a German Shepherd and are about to bring a new baby home, your dog can learn to love and protect your new little one, as well. German Shepherds of all colors are naturally curious about babies. They are full of new sounds and smells for your dog to discover. Some of these sounds may take some getting used to!
But if you teach your dog that this new little person is part of your family, he will accept and love the baby just the same as everyone else. German Shepherds tend to have a gentle and loving disposition when it comes to babies. As your baby grows, teach respect for the dog, as well. Gentle petting and respecting the dogs space can be something your child knows from day one. Always monitor your dog and baby and dont leave them alone together.
While a German Shepherd is known for being generally safe with kids, its never a good idea to leave any dog alone with a baby. Even what the dog perceives as gentle playing is not something a newborn can handle, so always be present when allowing your dog to interact with your child.
How To Introduce A German Shepherd To A Child
With proper socialization and training, a German Shepherd can be child friendly and enjoys the company of children very much as any other breed of dog, and hence its not a bad idea to have a German Shepherd with your family.
These family pets are curious beings as mentioned before and they love learning, so training them is not hard as you may think. A successfully trained German Shepherd can be your guardian angel and loyal to have your back at all times, but do make sure that you socialize them since they can be overprotective and may harm any person whos a stranger to them as a defense to protect its family.
In order to make them acquainted with the children, both of them need to understand each other. Small kids are often unpredictable with their noises and mood swings from time to time, and it may mislead the German Shepherd into interpreting them to be a call for play. Accordingly, the counteractions may frighten the children causing long-term mental trauma though they have no such intentions to harm them.
Therere a few safety measures to be considered while petting a German Shepherd :
Teach basic commands such as sit, come, don’t jump, etc so as to use those wisely when needed especially around children.
Before introducing the dog, mimic the behavior of a child so that the dog is well aware of childrens behavior.
Educate your children of the dos and don’ts around the dog since unpredictable chaos can make them aggressive if not perfectly trained.
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Is A Male Or Female German Shepherd Better With Kids
Female German Shepherds are not only smaller than males.
Theyre also less muscular and have a distinctly feminine appearance about them.
There are typically temperamental differences between the sexes as well.
Males are more dominant and prone to territorial behavior. They can be possessive of things like their toys and bed.
Male German Shepherds often bond closely with the person they spend the most time with.
Therefore, they can become possessive of them as well.
History Of The German Shepherd
The ancestors of German shepherd dogs acted as both servants and companions to humans for hundreds of years. Developed from old shepherd and farm dogs, the GSD we know today was first introduced in Germany in 1899. Captain Max von Stephanitz is credited with the breed’s beginnings.
During World Wars I and II, the word “German” was dropped, and the breed was referred to as the shepherd dog or the Alsatian .
Worldwide interest in the breed began rising in the early 1900s and the GSD was recognized by the American Kennel Club in 1908. In modern times it remains as one of the most popular dog breeds, currently ranking second in the AKC listings. Cross-breeding these dogs with Shiloh shepherds resulted in king shepherds.
There is recent controversy over the breeding of show dogs to have a sloping back rather than the straight back seen with working dogs. This practice has been criticized as leading to poor gait.
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How Sociable Are German Shepherds
Are they friendly with strangers?
Most German Shepherds are reserved with strangers. As the breed’s national club says, a good German Shepherd has:
“a certain aloofness that does not lend itself to immediate and indiscriminate friendships. The dog must be approachable, quietly standing its ground and showing confidence and willingness to meet overtures without itself making them.”
As you might imagine, this can be a fine line to walk. Without proper guidance from the owner, a German Shepherd’s natural aloofness can morph over the line to suspiciousness, distrust, and even aggression or fearfulness.
When you own an aloof breed, you need to socialize the dog thoroughly. This means a careful program of teaching him to pay attention to you and mind you in the presence of other people and other dogs. He doesn’t have to like them, but he must accept them.
One thing I should mention: many German Shepherds who bark and lunge at strangers or other dogs aren’t being either protective or aggressive. Rather, this kind of reactivity can be the dog’s attempt to hide his own insecurities behind a blustering facade.
There are also legal liabilities to consider when you acquire a German Shepherd. For example, your homeowner insurance policy might be cancelled or the rates hiked, because people are often quicker to sue if a “guard dog breed” does anything even remotely questionable.
Are German Shepherds good with children?
Are German Shepherds good with other pets?
German Shepherds And Young Children
Toddlers should always be supervised around any dog.
That goes double when youre talking about a large breed like the German Shepherd.
This study on dog bites found children aged five or younger were more likely to provoke animals prior to injury than were older children.
And even the friendliest, most docile animal can seriously hurt a tot unintentionally by knocking them over during an innocent encounter.
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Is A German Shepherd A Good Familydog
Yes, the German Shepherd is generally known as a gentle family pet and steadfast guardian. This breed has a history of patience and tolerance, both qualities that are sought after for families.
While the GSD takes to its family, the GSD is still aloof with strangers and is usually not outwardly friendly to those outside the family unit. For some families, this is a highly desired trait.
In general, large dogs are often a better choice than little dogs when your family includes small children and toddlers. Large breeds, like the GSD, are less likely to get hurt when accidentally stepped on or tripped over.
Look For A Known Child
The best choice for many families is to find a young adult GSD who previously lived successfully with children. This means the rescue or previous owner knows the German Shepherd is child-friendly through the dogs history.
Look for a dog who obviously LOVES kids! Not a dog who merely tolerates kids.
Check with your local German Shepherd Dog rescues or other dog organizations for adoptable adult dogs that show success with families.
The best GSD for kids is those GSDs who receive proper socialization, positive family-friendly training, proper amounts and the right type of exercise, and attention.
Dont underestimate how much time and resources your GSD needs!
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Will A German Shepherd Scare My Children
Not intentionally. This dog can be a little scary and overwhelming to small kids just because of their size and appearance. This breed is gentle with kids. Your dog will likely want to get near your children to smell them and get to know them.
Depending on how familiar your kids are with dogs, they might find this very intimidating. However, this is all part of socializing the dog with the kids and the kids with the dog. Just as your child will learn the dog is not a threat, your dog will learn the same about the child. If you have older kids, have them help with the dogs care and training. Its a great way to bond together.
The Importance Of Socializing Your German Shepherd
For you to truly have a German Shepherd that is well-adjusted, calm, good with people and other animals, and able to be around kids, proper socialization is a must. Socializing means introducing your dog to new people, places, things, and experiences.
This socialization needs to happen as early as possible while the dog is still young. If your dog safely enters into new situations with you and knows from a young age that it will always be okay, youll have a dog with a great temperament who trusts you to keep him safe. Showing your dog the world and making new experiences a regular part of his life will also help him gain confidence.
When dogs act shy or aggressive, its usually out of fear. Improper socialization creates scared and insecure dogs who hide behind aggression as a way to keep themselves safe. They dont know the world doesnt have to be a scary place.
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Are German Shepherds Good With Babies
German Shepherds have been known to do very well with babies. But, they dont always inherently know how to behave around them. Like any other dog, GSDs need to be taught how to treat babies. Luckily, German Shepherds are super fast learners and will quickly learn to be gentle with a new edition.
The biggest concern with a properly socialized and trained German Shepherd is not that they would purposely harm anyone in the family but that they often dont understand their own size and strength. With sturdy adults and older children, that might not be an issue. But their massive size and weight could easily hurt fragile babies and toddlers. No matter how well trained any dog is, its crucial not only to keep an eye on their interactions with babies but to also supervise actively.
Here is a cute video compilation showing just how loving and German Shepherds can be with the littlest of humans: