German Shepherds are second to the first of the most popular dog breeds in the U.S. This popularity is due to many reasons, including this animal being an excellent guard dog.
Other reasons include the German Shepherd having a complex temperament and looking impressive.
Because the German Shepherd has so many excellent qualities, people want to know are German Shepherds good with kids?
Here, we discuss this animal’s temperament and how it behaves around children. We also explore teaching children how to behave around the GSD.
Further, this article explores how children benefit from growing up with pets, the potential negative aspects of the GSD, and how to select the right pet for family integration.
German Shepherd Temperament
German Shepherd’ temperament depends on their environment and how owners choose to raise these pets.
Other than these factors, German Shepherds possess some familiar character traits that make them popular as guard dogs and pets.
Prospective GSD owners should know more about this animal before bringing them into the home environment. Here are several of the most prominent features of the German Shepherd’s temperament.
These features partially serve to answer the question of, are German Shepherds are good with kids?
#1 Courageous and bold
German Shepherds make excellent guard dogs because they have so much courage. These animals are sought after to work as service dogs because they are so fearless.
The GSD history is one of being a herd animal used to protect livestock because farmers understood that the GSD would fight off predators. To this day, this trait remains, and the GSD is fiercely protective of the people it loves.
GSDs have built a reputation for being extremely loyal to their owners. Although this animal tends to be a one-owner dog, familiarizing it with everyone in the home environment will ensure that it protects everyone in its family.
#3 Large and energetic
Because the GSD is so large, it stands to reason that it is also full of energy. Occupy the GSD with regular strenuous exercise, and it will maintain a healthy temperament.
When you bring a GSD into the home, understand that it is an intelligent animal. The German Shepherd needs as much of an outlet for its intelligence as it does for its high energy levels.
Entertain this pet with games and tricks that challenge its mental capacities.
Stimulate this breed’s intelligence with training, use a firm hand, and you will earn its respect. Once you earn the German Shepherd’s respect, you gain more control over its lively temperament.
This control is especially vital since the GSD can be a tad stubborn. The sooner you learn to manage the GSDs temperament, the more likely it will make an excellent family pet.
#5 Predator instinct
No matter how cute and adorable German Shepherd puppies may be, they will grow into powerful adults. And as cute as these dogs are, they remain animals with a strong urge to hunt.
Take control of the situation by regularly engaging this pet with challenging mental and physical exercises, and you will teach it to control this predator instinct.
How Do German Shepherds Behave Around Kids?
Are German Shepherds good with kids relates directly to their behavior around children? Despite the size of the GSD and its instinct to hunt, owners can train these animals to behave well around kids.
Some of the negative behavior that German Shepherds exhibit around kids without training include:
- Rough play
- Snapping at kids’ ankles
- Snapping in general when irritated with kids’ rough play
- Incessant, excitable barking when excited
- Bumping over of small kids
- Their predatorial drive
While none of these behaviors sound endearing around small children, German Shepherds possess many positive traits.
Take your GSD for professional training if you want to ensure your kids’ safety. Until then, are German Shepherds good with kids, is a query that requires a list of this animal’s positive traits.
German Shepherds also have positive behaviors around children, including:
- Being highly protective
- Being gentle
- Fun-loving and playful
- Fearless in their drive to protect kids from threats
- Highly trainable
- Strong resistance to rough play
- Child-friendly when well socialized and trained
The positive aspects of the GSD outweigh their negative behaviors around children. Where these positive characteristics win over negative behavior is through training.
Because German Shepherds tend to be somewhat stubborn, they need a firm hand with training to adapt their behavior.
Due to the loyalty of GSDs and their propensity to protect others as working animals, they are also incredibly protective.
These traits can create a sense of dominance in the GSD, so pet owners need to show this animal who is the leader of the pack.
Establish dominance as the GSDs owner without using aggression, and you will win over this beautiful animal.
Pet owners should train their GSDs at home to ensure appropriate socialization or preferably take them for professional training.
Training the GSD ensures obedience, which makes them controllable around kids. When owners learn how to control the GSD with verbal commands, they keep their kids safe.
Another aspect of–are German Shepherds good with kids–means teaching children how to respect this powerful, yet gentle, creature.
Teaching Kids To Be Responsible Around German Shepherds
A critical part of whether German Shepherds are good with kids relies on the dog’s temperament and the child’s behavior. Parents should take responsibility by teaching their kids how to interact with this animal.
Teaching children how to behave around this powerful but gentle animal is necessary to keep your children safe. Children that understand how to respect the GSD will also keep your pet safe.
Just as untrained kids are boisterous and willful, so are German Shepherds. As much as German Shepherds are child-friendly, they will eventually negatively react if children continue to tease them.
The outcomes will be unfortunate for everyone, including your pet unless you teach your children to be responsible around the GSD.
Apply these tips to your kids and GSD when they interact closely:
- Explain to your children which behaviors are acceptable and those that are not when playing with the GSD.
- Acceptable behavior includes asking for and waiting for permission to play with this animal, especially when young.
- Teach your children never to play with the German Shepherd unless there is an adult present.
- Tell your children never to pull the hair of the German Shepherd.
- It is never acceptable for kids to kick their pets.
- Kids should never disturb the GSD when it is eating.
- Kids must never pull the animal’s ears or tail or cause them pain in any way.
- Do not let your kids treat the GSD like a horse by climbing on its back. German Shepherds are prone to structural diseases such as hip and elbow dysplasia, and riding on them will pressure their spine and legs.
- Tell your children to avoid making loud noises around this animal as this behavior may cause an adverse reaction.
- Children should also not behave in a threatening manner by running at the GSD or scaring it (even in play) as the animal may perceive this as a threat and react accordingly.
- Kids should not encourage the pet to jump up. If it does, they should turn their back to the dog.
- Do not allow your kids to disturb your pet when playing with a toy, if it is in its crate or sleeping. German Shepherds also need alone time to rest and rejuvenate.
Apply these tips to find out whether German Shepherds are good with kids, and they can enjoy the many benefits of growing up with a GSD.
Benefits Of Kids Growing Up With German Shepherd
Finding out more about are German Shepherds good with kids means learning about how kids benefit from this relationship.
Pets enrich a child’s life as much as having a loyal, nurturing family helps a pet. There are at least five excellent benefits for your kids when keeping a pet in the home.
#1 Kids learn empathy
Empathy is the emotional ability to understand how others feel. Growing up with a pet and teaching children to respect this animal is an excellent way for kids to learn empathy.
Supervising child and pet interactions allow parents to teach their kids how to behave around the German Shepherd. Raising a child to be sensitive to the pet’s needs essentially helps socialize children.
Kids learn how to be sensitive to their pets and vice versa.
Sharing your home with a German Shepherd must involve mutual respect. Train your pet and teach your children acceptable behavior when they interact with this dog.
Respect is also a two-way street that demonstrates how good German Shepherds are with kids when treating them as valuable family members.
Kids need to learn their boundaries in the home and society, just as pets need to know their behavioral limitations. The value of this lesson extends to teaching children boundaries outside the home.
Raising children with a German Shepherd helps them learn positive behaviors and avoid adverse treatment of the animal.
In turn, children have a better understanding of how to say no to others who want to persuade them to do anything that falls outside their value system.
Healthy behavior and interactions between kids and pets are a powerful confidence booster for both. Pets learn how to behave around kids and other people.
Children learn that favorable treatment of the pet will get a positive reaction and the opposite.
Kids also learn how to manage themselves around strange dogs and to read the signs of whether they are safe or otherwise. The result is that your child builds self-confidence, which is valuable under any circumstances.
Large dogs can be intimidating, but teaching and training pets and kids help to ensure safety. German Shepherds understand who they need to protect and how.
Kids get to learn about their pet’s behavioral signals and when to back down or engage in play.
Children also learn the meaning of the GSDs different verbal communications, which also helps increase the safety benefits of living with this beautiful pet.
If you want an answer to whether German Shepherds are good with kids, you should understand this relationship’s negatives.
Unless you teach your pet how to behave around your kids, you could be in for a nasty surprise. As gentle as German Shepherds can be, they can become aggressive in the right circumstances.
Although it takes a lot for these dogs to react, repeatedly poor behavior can cause negative responses.
Parents should also teach the German Shepherd how to behave around children to avoid unfortunate consequences.
A few essential home training tips in socialization and obedience will also make your kids safe around this pet.
- Prevent your GSD from licking your child’s face, as this behavior can create fear in the child.
- Playtime between pets and kids can get rough. Rough play can end with the dog jumping on your child and mistaking their cries for encouragement to continue play. Ensure you are always present to manage such situations.
- Control the play between small kids and the GSD, as your pet can easily knock small children over, causing distress.
- More kids under five years are victims of dog bites, but dogs bite kids when parents don’t supervise their interactions.
- Kids can become fearful of the large GSD if owners don’t train them effectively.
Always supervise play between pets and kids. Explain to your children that dogs can also have good days and days when they don’t feel so positive.
Teaching your children to read the signs of dog behavior is vital to everyone’s safety. If your pet doesn’t feel like playing, is hungry, wants to sleep, or is unwell, ensure your kids know how to read the signs of their behavior.
How To Choose a German Shepherd For Your Kids
One way to choose a child-friendly German Shepherd is to home one known to be good with kids. A young adult GSD who has received training is the perfect match for kids in the home.
If you want a puppy and want to know are German Shepherds good with kids–then train your puppy and your kids to behave around each other.
Some people may say that a female GSD is better to have around small kids, but males make equally good pets. The best way to ensure that the German Sheperd is good around kids is training and supervision.
Are German Shepherds good with kids? We believe they are–within certain limitations. Teach your kids to respect these fantastic pets and train your GSD how to behave around children.
With sufficient effort and attention, you can bring a GSD into the family home and feel confident that everyone will be safe.