German Shepherds are commonly used as guard dogs due to their protective nature. If yours is not aggressive then you might be wondering why.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might be the case, what you can do about it and whether or not you should.
So, why is my German Shepherd not aggressive? Possible reasons are that it has not been trained to be aggressive, it is naturally friendly, it doesn’t think you are in danger or that it has been trained to be friendly.
There are actually a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why it might be too friendly. Depending on the cause, there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd is not aggressive and is too friendly
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd is overly friendly will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I’ll mention why it might be the case and what would make the individual reasons more likely.
It has not been trained to be
The reason why it is not aggressive is likely to be that it has not been trained to be aggressive. German Shepherds are naturally a more protective breed. However, if they are not trained to be protective then it is not guaranteed that they will be. If you have not trained your German Shepherd to be protective then it would be likely to be the reason.
If you have not trained it to be protective and you want it to be, consider enrolling with it in a dog protection class in your area.
It is naturally friendly
While it is to be expected that it will not be aggressive if it has not been trained to be, it could also be the case that it is friendly by nature. German Shepherds are often portrayed as being aggressive dogs by nature but that is not always the case and many of them are naturally very friendly dogs.
If you have tried to train it to be more protective but it is still friendly with people that it does not know then it would be more likely that it is naturally friendly. However, it might also be the case that there was a problem with your training method.
It has been trained to be friendly
While it might be naturally friendly, it might also be the case that it has been trained to be friendly. This would be more likely if it very rarely shows any signs of aggression and if it has had previous owners. It could also be the case that you have inadvertently trained it to be friendly by rewarding it when it is friendly.
It doesn’t think that you are in danger
The reason why it is not so protective could be that it does not think that you are in danger. This would be more likely if it has not seen you around aggressive people before. In this case, it still might be the case that it would protect you if you were to be in danger. I have written more about whether or not your GSD would protect you, in the past, here.
Things to consider
There are many things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd is too friendly. Below, I’ll show you some particularly important things to consider.
If it has always been friendly
It would help to consider whether or not your GSD has always been friendly.
If it was more aggressive as a puppy but it is friendly now then it is likely to be because you have trained it to be friendly either by design or by accident. As will be mentioned below, this would not be a bad thing.
If it has always been friendly then it would be more likely that it is naturally a friendly GSD. However, it could also be the case that it doesn’t think that you are in danger when you are around other people.
If it becomes more aggressive in certain situations
There are certain situations where German Shepherds will often become a lot more aggressive such as when a stranger is in its home. If you have not had guests at your home then it might be the case that it would be more aggressive in that situation.
If it has been friendly in situations where many would not be then it would be more likely that it is naturally friendly, it thinks you’re not in danger or it has been trained to be that way.
Being too friendly is not such a bad thing
While it might be nice to feel like your German Shepherd would protect you when you need it to, having an overly protective German Shepherd is much more problematic than one that is overly friendly.
Since your GSD is overly friendly it is easier to control, less likely to develop behavioral issues and friends will be more comfortable around it. These are good things and it is important to consider that training your German Shepherd to be more aggressive could be putting these benefits in jeopardy.
It is normal for dogs not to be aggressive or overly protective
Even though German Shepherds are portrayed as being highly aggressive, in reality, it is not unusual for them not to be aggressive or even protective. I have written more about whether or not your German Shepherd would protect you here.
Even if it is not aggressive it is still a deterrent
Another thing to consider is that even if your GSD is not so aggressive, it would still act as a very big deterrent. So, just by having your German Shepherd around it would still be protecting you inadvertently.
How to get your German Shepherd to be less friendly
There are many things that you can do to get your German Shepherd to be less friendly. However, it is important to consider that having an overly aggressive German Shepherd is not a good thing so it is important to be very cautious when training it to be less friendly.
Below, I will mention some options that you have.
You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.
Train it using the panic word method
The panic word method focuses on training your German Shepherd to become protective when you say a certain word.
To train it to learn the panic word you would do as follows:
Get some treats that your dog likes
- Give it a small treat so that it knows that you have treats
- Wait for it to bark by teasing it with the treat if necessary
- Reward it when it barks or when it shows a sign of barking
- Continue to do the above each time you show it the treat say the command word so that it learns that the command word means to bark
You can watch the video below to see how it is done
Use positive reinforcement training to get it to protect your home
You can also use positive reinforcement training to get it to become more aggressive when strangers are at your home.
You can do this by
- Walking it around the perimeter of your property while rewarding it with treats to teach it to learn that it is its property.
- Rewarding your German Shepherd for barking when someone comes onto your property
You can watch the video below to see how it is done
Train it to learn who is friendly
When training your German Shepherd it is important to train it to be well behaved around people that it knows. To do this you would reward it when a friendly person is around you both and it is being well behaved.
It is unlikely that you will be able to get your GSD to behave exactly the way that you want in one training session. This is why it is important to train it consistently so that you can get noticeable results over the course of weeks and months.
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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.