Are German shepherds sociable with kids?
You are not alone. This is probably the most common question that families with kids ask before adopting or buying a German shepherd.
The truth is, German shepherd dogs (GSDs) are known to be protective and loyal to their owners, and they are always calm when around the family members.
However, if the canine has not trained to be social from an early age, it is important to exercise caution if he is unfamiliar with kids from the family or outside the family. Plus, large adult dogs do not always mix with babies.
Are German Shepherds Good with kids?
Yes, German shepherds are generally good with kids, but there are a few things you should watch out before allowing your canine to play with your kids.
First, the temperament of your German shepherd depends on the home environment. The home should provide a safe environment that allows the puppy to have a good relationship with all family members, including the kids.
A German Shepherd exhibits certain desirable characteristics such as loyalty and braveness, which can be beneficial or even cause problems if the home environment does not allow them to show these qualities.
If your canine is taught how to socialize from an early age, he can be a loyal protector of your kids when you are away. For example, this German shepherd was shot multiple times while protecting his teen owner from burglars.
German shepherd Temperaments
The general appearance of a German shepherd does not portray a kid-friendly dog. From their muscular built and sharp eyes, the German shepherd is built for herding, which was its original function.
However, despite being a naturally big dog, a German shepherd is a calm and patient dog and can live well with kids. Small kids are unpredictable, and they can easily provoke a GSD when you least expect it. How the dog reacts to the provocation depends on its temperament, and how they has been trained.
A study by the American Temperament Test Society (ATTS) showed that German shepherd dogs have a relatively stable temperament of 85.3%. This exceeds the average temperament level of 83.4%. Out of 3383 GSDs that have been subjected to this test, 2885 dogs passed the test, and only 498 dogs failed the test.
The high temperament score means that GSDs are likely to remain calm when playing with kids. However, these dogs may develop certain behavioral problems such as separation anxiety when their favorite family members are away. When this occurs, the normally calm dogs may start being aggressive when provoked.
Traits That Make German Shepherds Good With Kids
There are certain characteristics of German Shepherds that makes them ideal for families with kids. Some of the characteristics include:
German shepherds are one of the most loyal dog breeds that you can count on to have your back if you are in trouble. This trait is borrowed from their original role of herding sheep, where GSDs developed the trait of working hard and obeying their masters.
In a family setting, German shepherds extend this loyalty to all family members, including the kids, who they interact with daily. Training your GSD puppy to socialize from a young age can teach them to show loyalty to the kids.
German shepherds are undeniably obedient dogs, and they follow commands with ease. If you teach them kid-friendly habits at the puppy stage, they will grow observing these rules to the letter.
That notwithstanding, GSDs are highly trainable, and they are capable of learning new commands quickly. They are known to start obeying commands on the first attempt with a 95% success rate.
Allowing your kids to participate in the training can boost their relationship with your puppy. Your dog will also learn to respect the commands given by the kids, and encourage obedience.
When it comes to protecting their human family, GSDs know when and how to react. Even potential criminals understand that they can’t mess with German Shepherds.
With their muscular built, weight 90 pounds plus, and athletic height, GSDs are built to handle and neutralize their targets. This is why they are used as guard dogs, police dogs, and in guiding visually-impaired persons.
Properly trained GSDs have a high adaptive intelligence that enables them to identify potential threats before they happen. If any family member is in trouble, GSDs can risk their lives to protect their owners from harm, while neutralizing any threats posed.
What Makes German Shepherds BAD for Kids
There is no doubt that German Shepherds make good dogs for families with kids. However, there are certain traits and behaviors that may make German shepherds risky in families with babies and fragile kids.
GSDs are naturally muscular and have big bodies. While this is a desirable trait when it comes to offering protection, it may pose a risk to kids.
Dogs may not know their real strength, and may unintentionally hurt their playmates. Plus, GSDs are pretty active dogs, and they may become excited upon seeing their human friends or other dogs, and cause injuries in the process of hugging or jumping on their friends.
Nevertheless, this trait can be managed at an early age, and GSDs can be trained to obey commands that restrain them from causing harm to kids or even other pets.
Babies and loud noises don’t go together.
Any time your German shepherd starts barking or howling, your baby may interpret that as a threat to them, and they will start crying. For small kids, the loud barking may scare them, and they will have a bad relationship with their pet.
Loud barking is an inborn trait, which is comparable to singing in humans. They can also bark loudly anytime they feel you are in danger, or to alert you when something is amiss.
Still, loud barking can be controlled through proper training. Train him to be calm by using certain commands, and they will obey anything the barking or howling goes overboard.