If your German Shepherd is afraid of everything you will probably be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be the case and a number of things that you can do to stop it.
So, why is my German Shepherd afraid of everything? A common cause is not socializing with other people and dogs when it is very young, it could also be timid naturally or someone might have mistreated it. If it started suddenly, it would worthwhile to see what a vet thinks.
There are actually a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be afraid of everything and there are a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd is afraid of everything
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd is afraid of everything will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd might be afraid a lot and the signs to look for.
The first reason why a German Shepherd might be afraid of everything is that it could have been mistreated by its previous owners.
This would be more likely if you adopted your German Shepherd from an animal shelter. However, it could also be the case if you bought it as a puppy.
Someone has been mistreating it
Another possible reason why it might be afraid of everything could be that someone that it currently lives with or sees often has been mistreating it.
This would be more likely if your German Shepherd spends a lot of time around people other than you.
Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you
It was not able to socialize as a puppy
A common and the most likely reason why your German Shepherd is afraid of everything is that it was not able to socialize with other people and pets as a puppy.
When they are puppies they will naturally be very curious and this is the time where they learn about the world most. If they do not get the chance to interact with people or dogs then it will have a large impact on what they are like as adults.
You are in a new location
Being in an unfamiliar environment is another possible reason why your German Shepherd is scared.
This would be more likely if you have moved home recently. However, it could also be the case if new people have been around it a lot as well.
It is ill or injured
Being ill or injured is another possible cause for your German Shepherd being afraid of things.
This would be more likely if it was not always afraid of everything but it recently started to develop the behavior. This would be even more likely if it started doing it after something happened that might have caused it to get ill or injured. It would also be more likely if it has been acting unusually in other ways as well.
In this case, if you think that it is ill or injured then it would be worthwhile to take it to a vet to get an expert opinion.
Some German Shepherds will be naturally a lot more outgoing than others. It could be the case that your German Shepherd is just naturally timider.
This would be more likely if you know that it was able to socialize as a puppy, it has not been mistreated and if it has always acted that way.
Things to Consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd to be less afraid it would help a lot to understand what the cause is.
There are a number of things that you can consider, when trying to figure out the cause, that I will mention below.
If it is always afraid or if it is only afraid at certain times
Considering whether or not it only gets afraid at certain times would likely help a lot.
If it only seems to get afraid at certain times then it would be likely that it has something to do with what is going on around it at that time.
If it always seems to get afraid of things then it would make it more likely that it has something to do with being mistreated when younger or not being able to socialize when it was younger.
Who is around when it gets afraid
Considering who is around when it gets afraid would likely help a lot in determining why it does it.
If it seems to only get afraid when certain people are around then it would be a sign that it has been mistreated. However, it could also be a sign that it was mistreated by someone else when it was younger and it is less trusting of people as a result.
It is not unusual for German Shepherds to be afraid of things such as thunder
If your German Shepherd tends to be afraid of things such as sirens, fireworks or thunder then it would not be such an unusual thing and not something to be too concerned about.
How old it is
It would also help to consider the age of your German Shepherd.
If it is a puppy then it will be normal for it to seem to be slightly timid at times. However, it would help to make sure that it gets lots of interactions with other people and dogs so that it learns not to be afraid.
If it is not a puppy then it would be more likely that it was due to one of the reasons mentioned in the first section above.
How to get your German Shepherd to be less afraid of things
There are a number of things that you can do if you want to get your German Shepherd to be less afraid of things that I will mention below.
Allow it to meet new people and dogs
If your German Shepherd does not meet other people and dogs very often then, naturally, it will be more distrusting of them. In this case, it would help to allow it to interact with other people and dogs if possible.
See a vet or a certified dog expert in your area
If you are unsure of why your German Shepherd gets afraid of everything it would help to see a vet or a certified dog expert in your area to see what they have to say about it.
Reward it when it is not afraid
Positive reinforcement training can be very effective when you are trying to get a dog to adopt a certain behavior.
By rewarding your German Shepherd with treats or attention when it shows signs of not being afraid of things that it normally would be you should be able to get it to be more confident.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Avoid punishing or rewarding it when it does become fearful
While positively reinforcing the behavior that you want can be very effective, it can also work the other way. If you punish or reward your German Shepherd when it shows signs of being afraid you might be reinforcing the behavior.
Instead, it would be better to avoid reacting when it does show signs of being afraid and to wait until it stops being afraid to reward it with your attention.
Take it to new locations
One way to get it used to new stimuli would be to take it to new locations often. One way to do this would be to walk it on a different route than you normally would.
Let it socialize as a puppy
While it may not be possible now, for future reference, it would help a lot to make sure that any German Shepherd puppies you get in the future are able to socialize with other dogs and people regularly.
Most Recommended For German Shepherds
Best German Shepherd Training Program
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.
Best German Shepherd Guide
Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.