If your German Shepherd doesn’t like other dogs you might be wondering why and what can be done about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might not like other dogs and what you can do about it.
So, why does my German Shepherd not like other dogs? Possible reasons are that it didn’t socialize as a puppy, another dog was violent towards it, it’s being submissive, it’s overly protective or it might naturally not like other dogs.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd doesn’t like other dogs. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd doesn’t like other dogs
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd might not like other dogs will likely come with a number of clues.
It didn’t socialize as a puppy
A common cause of German Shepherds not liking other dogs is not getting enough socialization with other dogs as a puppy.
This is because a German Shepherd will be naturally curious when it is a puppy and it is the time period where it learns about what to trust and what not to trust. If it does not get to socialize with other dogs as a puppy it will not get to learn to trust other dogs.
This would be more likely to be the cause if you know that it did not get to socialize much as a puppy or if you adopted it.
Another dog snapped at it
It might be the case that another dog was aggressive towards it and it caused your German Shepherd to stop trusting other dogs. This would be more likely if you know that another dog snapped at it or if your German Shepherd stopped liking other dogs suddenly.
It’s being submissive
The reason could be that it is naturally submissive around other dogs. This is something that would be less common in German Shepherds but it can happen.
This would be more likely if it likes dogs that are not so aggressive or that are smaller than it.
Signs of submissive behavior can include lowering itself to the ground, laying on its back or hiding itself behind you.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
It’s overly protective
German Shepherds are very protective dogs and they are used as guard dogs for this reason.
It could be that your German Shepherd is trying to protect you or its territory from other dogs. This will likely stem from a lack of socializing with other dogs from an early age but other signs would barking and growling at other dogs from a distance as well.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
It has been reinforced
It could be the case that you have inadvertently reinforced the behavior. This would be more likely if you tend to give it things that it wants when it does not like other dogs such as a treat or positive attention.
It could also be the case that it is naturally not very trusting of other dogs.
This would be more likely if it was able to socialize with other dogs as a puppy but it didn’t like them either and if it is also afraid of other people, that it does not know, as well.
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to like other dogs more it would help to have a good understanding of what is causing it. Below, I will mention some things that you can consider.
When it does not like other dogs
Considering whether or not it always doesn’t like other dogs or if it only seems to do it at certain times or in certain environments could help.
If it only seems to do it when you are in a certain location, with it, then it would suggest that it is something in the environment that is causing it to act unusually. One possible reason could be that it was mistreated by another dog, in that location, in the past.
If it seems to not like other dogs in all locations then it could be that it was not able to socialize as a puppy or it does it naturally. However, it could still be that it was mistreated by another dog especially if it was not always like it.
When it started doing it
If your German Shepherd didn’t always dislike other dogs and it only started to do it suddenly then it would help to consider what happened when it first started doing it.
It could be the case that another dog was aggressive to it which has caused your German Shepherd to be less trustful of other dogs. It could also be that your German Shepherd has gotten an injury that has caused it to start acting differently.
How old it is
It would also help to consider the age of your German Shepherd.
If it is still young then it could be the case that it has not had enough positive interactions, yet, with other dogs in order to learn that most of them aren’t dangerous. In this case, it would help to continue to let it be around other friendly dogs and to positively reinforce it when it is well behaved around them.
If it is older then it would be more likely that it was either mistreated or it did not socialize enough when it was younger. Even if it is older, you will still be able to do the things mentioned below.
How to get your German Shepherd to like other dogs
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to like other dogs more that I will mention below.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Let it socialize with other dogs
The first thing to try to do is to allow it to be around other friendly dogs as often as possible in a controlled environment.
If it does not get the opportunity to be around other dogs very often then it will be more difficult for it to learn not to be afraid of them.
An effective way to get your German Shepherd to dislike other dogs less is to do positive reinforcement training.
This is where you positively reinforce behaviors that you want to see.
To use this to get your German Shepherd to like other dogs you will want to reward it with treats or attention whenever it does something that shows signs of liking other dogs.
For example, if your German Shepherd normally hides behind you when it is around other dogs but one time it does not or it was hiding and it comes out then you would reward it with a treat.
Another thing you can do is to reward it with treats whenever you are near other dogs and it is being well behaved. By doing this you will be able to get it to associate other dogs with positive things.
You can watch the video below to see how a dog trainer was able to train a German Shepherd to behave a lot more naturally when around other dogs. She uses a number of positive reinforcement techniques in the video showing how effective it can be.
Avoid encouraging it
While positive reinforcement training can be very effective it can also work against you. This is because if you reward your German Shepherd when it does not like other dogs it could be reinforcing the behavior.
Instead, it would help to reward it before it starts to show signs of not liking other dogs and to stop when it does.
Get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer
If you can’t figure out why your German Shepherd does not like other dogs or you can’t get it to stop then one option you have is to get help from a dog behaviorist or trainer. By doing so you will be able to get expert help tailored to your particular German Shepherd.
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Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient dog, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.