Are German Shepherds good with other dogs?
There’s no straightforward answer as it varies from dog to dog. Each German Shepherd will have its own set of preferences and responses to different situations. So, some German Shepherds can be reserved or even aggressive towards other dogs, while some would get along with them just fine. That said, a properly trained and socialized German Shepherd will generally be able to get along well with other dogs.
Are German Shepherds Aggressive Towards Other Dogs?
Again, it would depend on the specific German Shepherd. For instance, one that lacks training and socialization will be more likely to exhibit aggressive behavior towards other dogs. In contrast, those that are well-trained and have had prior experiences with other dogs will be more likely to act appropriately.
Note however, that German Shepherds aren’t innately aggressive, and so any form of aggression may be brought about by a variety of factors. Thus, if you plan to have another dog alongside a German Shepherd, you must understand the possible reasons as to why a German Shepherd may become aggressive. That way, you’d have an idea of how to address and correct the behavior.
And so, let’s look into those reasons.
Why Are German Shepherds Aggressive Towards Other Dogs?
Lack Of Socialization
Socialization is the process of introducing your dog to a variety of sights, smells, and sounds for it to develop familiarity with the world that it lives in. Properly socializing your German Shepherd will allow it to become comfortable with different interactions, including those involving other dogs.
And so, socialization is important if you want your German Shepherd to get along with other dogs, as the lack of it may lead to aggression due to fear and overprotectiveness.
A German Shepherd that lacks socialization will be unfamiliar with the different interactions that occur in its environment. And when faced with the unknown a German Shepherd may exhibit fear aggression, a fight or flight response when a dog feels threatened.
Similarly, the lack of socialization may also lead a German Shepherd to become overprotective and aggressive when it feels that its territory is being invaded.
Past Experiences And Trauma
A German Shepherd’s past experiences may also affect how they behave towards other dogs. For example, a German Shepherd that was rescued from dog-fighting operations will most likely view other dogs as enemies or threats.
Dogs are pack animals, and with that comes a social hierarchy that fosters dominance. In a pack, only one can be considered the alpha or the leader, and a German Shepherd may instinctively try to assume that role. And so in the attempt to assert dominance, a German Shepherd may end up exhibiting aggressive behavior towards other dogs.
Chronic pain or certain medical conditions such as hypothyroidism and neurological issues may induce aggression in German Shepherds. So aggression may also indicate that a German Shepherd is sick or hurting.
How To Make Your German Shepherd Good With Other Dogs
German Shepherds are smart and adaptable. And so despite the variety of factors that lead to aggression, they can still learn to get along with other dogs. You simply have to provide them with the proper training and socialization or address the causes of their aggressive behavior.
Address Possible Medical Issues
Before everything else, make sure that your German Shepherd isn’t affected by any medical condition that leads to aggression. So, the first step would be to take it to the vet.
Doing so will allow your vet to provide you with an actionable plan to address any diseases or pain your dog may be experiencing, and thus help prevent aggression caused by underlying medical conditions.
Be The Leader Of The Pack
To address aggression due to dominance, you must establish yourself as the calm and assertive leader of the pack. Doing so will allow you to set the boundaries and rules for your German Shepherd and you would have better control over its actions, including how it interacts with other dogs.
Socialization is how your German Shepherd learns to become comfortable in interacting with different people, pets, and situations. It will remove your dog’s unfamiliarity with its environment and prevent it from becoming fearful or anxious from any form of interaction. This then prevents the development of overprotective or aggressive behavior, making it more likely for your German Shepherd to get along with other dogs.
With that said, here are simple ways to socialize your German Shepherd:
Take Your German Shepherd For Frequent Walks
The fundamental idea of socialization is to introduce your dog to different sights, sounds and smells. So, what better way to do so than taking your dog outside for a walk?
Not only do walks cater to your dog’s exercise needs, but it’s also a great opportunity to let it encounter different social situations. As you let your dog explore, it will have a chance to meet different people, pets, and simply develop a familiarity with its surroundings.
Note, however, that these walks will not be as simple as they sound, especially during the initial stages of socialization. There will be cases wherein your German Shepherd would react undesirably, and thus these walks will require you to observe and correct your dog’s behavior.
When that happens, be sure not to punish your dog by scolding or pulling on its leash. Instead, remove your dog from the stimulus to let it calm down, and praise it if it maintains calm and proper behavior.
Take Your German Shepherd To The Dog Park
After socialization through daily walks, you can then try to work your way up to taking your German Shepherd to a dog park. Remember, though, that even this is a process and that you would have to take things slowly.
Start by letting your German Shepherd observe other dogs from a distance and gradually lessen that if your dog shows the ability to stay calm. If your dog ends up interacting with another dog without issues and in a friendly manner, be sure to reward it with treats and praise to reinforce the behavior. Else, if your dog gets scared, anxious, or aggressive, calmly move it away and let it calm down.
Repeat this process consistently until your German Shepherd becomes fully comfortable interacting with other dogs.
Aside from socialization, do also consider enrolling your German Shepherd to obedience training. This will teach your dog to follow commands, which will allow you to keep your dog under control when interacting with other dogs. You may even teach your German Shepherd to ignore them.
Consider Professional Help
If all else fails and your German Shepherd remains to have behavioral problems, you could always opt to take it to a behaviorist.
Behaviorists are experts when it comes to pet behavior and psychology. They will be able to come up with proper recommendations on how to correct your dog’s behavior, which you can then work on alongside a veterinarian.
Are German Shepherds Good With Other Dogs?
How a German Shepherd acts towards other dogs depends on a variety of factors such as socialization, training, and past experiences. And so, there’s no saying if an individual German Shepherd would get along with other dogs, as each dog is different. That said, if you raise your German Shepherd well and provide it with proper training and socialization, then it can most definitely be good with other dogs.