What is a German Shepherd Temperament with Children & Babies?
A dog finds happiness as much as it gives to a family that loves and cares. German Shepherds have come a long way through history, first serving as sheepdogs, then as work dogs, aids, and even in the military; today, most people keep GSDs as companions or family dogs.
If you own or think of getting one of these adorable, playful, energetic, intelligent, and loyal pooches, you must have plenty of questions or concerns regarding their care. Since they will be interacting with family members, one of the most critical concerns is whether GSDs are good with children.
Children are happy, little versions of us; they love to be free and often disregard boundaries, are oblivious of rules, or more likely to unintentionally offend. Before introducing a new member to your home, it is a good idea to determine whether they will relate well with your current members.
German Shepherds are also large dogs and have plenty of energy. Before allowing their plays with your little ones, you should figure out how best to teach them proper and friendly interactions; supervision is also necessary in such cases.
The German Shepherd with Kids
Every dog has a unique personality, as we do; therefore, they may react to situations differently and behave in varied ways often. German Shepherds are good with children; they are friendly, playful, intelligent, loyal, and protective. From the surface, their qualities may seem like everything a family would look for in a dog.
However, like most other living beings, German Shepherds are affected by their environments. Depending on how you or your child(ren) handle them, the qualities that make them great can work against you—their protectiveness can get intense for various reasons. Their high energies and playfulness may also not always be good things; they can injure babies or small children. They also have a very strong bite force.
Understanding your pooch is an excellent first step towards a successful relationship. As you introduce the dog to a new environment, make it feel loved and safe; it will reciprocate. Train the dog positively, providing the support it needs. When it feels happy and free, this dog can make a terrific friend.
Socializing a dog from an early age makes them more aware of their surroundings and the people or things in it; they connect in positive ways and can at times feel and appreciate the impacts of such interactions. There are plenty of ways that you can ensure their socialization.
Whenever you are going out for a walk, hike, or chill in the park, you can have your German Shepherd. To make the process more effective, you can have your little one(s) with you and if it is possible, let them play and have fun.
Over time, your GSD will develop a positive reaction to new faces, as long as there is no sign of danger or threat. This is an intelligent and protective breed; they can note with ease strange faces, to which they tend to be wary. They can also turn sensitive to games from new children or the presence of other pets.
When creatures interact, whether directly or indirectly, they impact each other’s lives. Every interaction can cause happiness to your pup or make it protective; it will depend on its environment and how you have raised and handled it—show them that they do not face constant threats from the outside world.
It would help if you also considered obedience-training your pooch as a puppy. Like your child(ren), dogs need to learn right from wrong; you should also teach them to take instructions, behave respectfully, and interact in the best ways they can. This allows for peaceful co-existence within the family.
German Shepherds are apt and intelligent dogs; they quickly take up new lessons and remember instructions within a short training span. Therefore, with consistency, they should be obedient and behave desirably in no time.
Unlike most other dogs, GSDs are not complicated to train. They enjoy learning are take a short time at it. You may also notice that they want something new often, so introduce relevant lessons and instructions that will make living with your pooch smooth and enjoyable.
We have noted that German Shepherds are full of energy and may not always be a good thing, especially when they are around small children. Therefore, it is a good idea to put their energies to positive use; take them through physical exercises and mental stimulation every day for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.
Exercise is right for your GSD’s muscles, bones, and general health, following that the dog is suited for work and demanding duties; thus, regular body stimulation helps them remain fit and prevent disorders such as obesity, to which this breed is prone. Overeating causes obesity, and exercise is one way to avoid it, keeping your dog healthy.
Physical exercise is also good for the dog’s mental development. As your pooch runs around or joins you in some physical stimulation, its brain works most parts of its body. Ultimately, it becomes active and happy. Mental stimulation is another way to keep your dog busy and its mind growing.
The GSD’s intelligence sparks some excitement in the dog whenever it comes to learning, solving mental problems, or finding things. While you may not spend as much time on mental exercises over the physical, you will note the huge impact that every session has on your pooch.
Nevertheless, exercise is a good bonding time. While you can take your GSD through every step of their daily stimulations, it is a better idea to have your child(ren) with you as they will learn how best to play with your dog, and their interactions will also breed more familiarity.
What happens when they do not get active enough? Most dogs, like the German Shepherd, turn destructive when they are not well-stimulated. Boredom can lead them to undesirable behavior, which may not be best for kids to hang around. Too much energy, as we have noted, can also lead to rough behavior.
Kids with the German Shepherd
We have mostly discussed how you can improve your dog’s cohabitation with your family members, strangers, and other pets. It is also vital that we look into ways to improve your children’s interaction with dogs, particularly German Shepherds.
Earlier, we noted that children might, in their freedom, disregard boundaries, and rules. Sometimes, they are oblivious of how far sensitivity goes and can thus be obtrusive of your GSD’s personal space. As we would not appreciate an obtrusion of our space, some dogs do not take well to contacts that come too close.
One of the pieces of advice you can pass to your little one(s) is on how to pet a dog. Due to their inexperience and insensitivity, kids tend to be rough and unaware of it; this can cause discomfort to your German Shepherd. As the unease grows, further interaction can lead to risks of injuries.
Children of different ages have different ways of handling pooches. Older ones may often be gentler and more respectful. Since you would want them to play together and hopefully be friends at the end of the day, it is good to maintain their relationships by teaching your kids the best way to handle their pet friends.
Training is a critical part of a dog’s development. When done from an early age, a German Shepherd could acquire desirable behaviors and carry itself respectfully through interactions with the family. Of the things you can train your pooch are instructions and obedience.
But whose instructions should they take and who should they obey? Every family member has a voice; your pup should learn to listen to each, regardless of their age or body size. When passing instructions or obedience-training your dog, it is a good idea to have your children with you. This way, they will understand better ways of instructing the GSD, and your dog will, in turn, learn unconditional obedience.
Children love it when you involve them in duties or house chores. Caring for and grooming your furry friend counts as a chore. Since the GSD’s coarse and thick fur may require daily to weekly brushing or de-shedding, your children can join you in keeping up with this requirement.
We have also discussed a German Shepherd’s need for regular exercise and training. You can take the walks and hikes with your children alongside their pet friends; whenever possible, allow them sufficient time to play (remember to keep a close eye). Older children can even help with feeding your pup and cleaning (remember to supervise or do them together).
Along with the ways you can improve your child’s interaction with a GSD, there are a few things that you may want to ensure they do not do around, with, or to the dog. Some actions can trigger a German Shepherd’s instincts, making it protective, and depending on who did what, the dog can also get aggressive or sensitive.
One of the don’ts to pass to your little one(s) is the obtrusion of personal space. Teach your children the importance of respecting personal space as you would not appreciate it if someone appeared before you and did something that would cause discomfort in the course of their games or for pleasure.
While some photos on the internet will show children getting as close as lying on the German Shepherd or holding them playfully, you should be careful about the distance between them. Your pup can get irritated over discomforting action or behavior, turning its company dangerous.
Something else your kid(s) should avoid is rough play. We have noted how children can get when they want to play; they are often unaware of their roughness, which they may find fun. Among more, teach them the right way to hug the GSD—squeezing can irritate your pup and lead to injuries.
Also, show them how to pet without causing discomfort. It is best if your children understand that your pooch has feelings, and while it is okay to have fun with them and spend time with them, their behavior will determine how well their relationship thrives, which affects your GSD’s interactions.
Your children should keep a safe distance from dogs when they are having their meals. Unlike most other pets, dogs tend to be protective of their food; the German Shepherd is protective and can thus be a little extra on keeping off potential threats from its meal.
Such food aggression can lead to bodily harm if your children get too close. Therefore, your children should not approach a feeding German Shepherd. If you intend to feed the dog(s) with the help of your young one(s), it would be a good idea to keep a close eye on how close to each other they get.
Other times, children can get too playful and end up aggravating the GSD. While the dog likes to play every once in a while, it may not appreciate certain games and teasing. Therefore, caution your children from discomforting behavior or teasing.
Summarily, you will notice that most “don’ts” we have discussed require your child to respect their surroundings and the animals in them. Once they can appreciate pets and respect their personal space, your German Shepherd may have an easier time interacting and even playing; with time, they can become the best of friends!
The German Shepherd was first a sheepdog before it was bred for its intelligence, aptness, energy, friendliness, and loyalty. Over the years, the dog has found its way into many homes, filling families with love and life. While the dog has an easy-going character, its size and protectiveness, among a few other factors, necessitate supervision of its interactions with your children.
It helps to understand your pup. Train it from an early age to relate well to all family members and friendly strangers. It is also a good idea to obedience-train them, teaching instructions and better habits that will ease their interactions.
German Shepherds love children and enjoy playing with them. Besides supervising them, ensure your little ones are respectful and do not get too close nor play rough.