If your German Shepherd puppy is scared of other dogs you’re probably wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why your German Shepherd puppy is scared of other dogs and what you can do.
So, why is my German Shepherd puppy scared of other dogs? Possible reasons are that it hasn’t learned to trust other dogs yet, another dog snapped at it or it’s being submissive because it sees them as a threat.
There are a number of things that you can consider when trying to figure out why your German Shepherd puppy does it. Depending on the cause there are also a number of things that you can do about it.
Why your German Shepherd puppy is scared of other dogs
Each of the different reasons why your German Shepherd puppy is afraid will likely come with a number of clues.
Below, I’ll mention a number of reasons why your German Shepherd puppy does it and the signs to look for.
It hasn’t learned to trust certain dogs yet
Since your German Shepherd puppy is still young it is likely that it has not yet learned to trust other dogs. When German Shepherds are puppies the other dogs that they would normally interact with would be the other puppies and their mothers and they will usually be nervous around other dogs since they might be a threat.
If your German Shepherd puppy doesn’t have other puppies to play with it is likely that it is naturally scared of the other dogs since it does not know them. In this case, it would help to try and socialize it with other friendly dogs as much as you can and puppies in particular. It is also likely that it will become less afraid of other dogs as it gets older.
Another dog snapped at it
It could also be the case that is afraid of other dogs because another dog snapped at it and it now doesn’t trust dogs. This would be more likely if it was not previously so scared of other dogs but it suddenly stopped after an encounter with other dogs.
In this case, it would help to socialize it with other friendly dogs as much as possible.
The reason could be that the puppy 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 is not afraid of 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 behind you.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid of everything?
Things to consider
Before trying to get your German Shepherd puppy to be less afraid of other dogs it would help to have a better understanding of what is causing it. Below, I will mention a couple things that would help to consider.
When it first started doing it
One thing to consider would be when it first started being afraid of other dogs.
If it was not always afraid of other dogs then it would be more likely that it is either afraid now because another dog snapped at it, the new dogs are unfamiliar to it or it wasn’t afraid before because the other dogs were other puppies.
If it has always been afraid of other dogs it is likely to be because it sees them as a threat especially if it gets afraid more around larger dogs. In this case, it would help to socialize it with puppies if possible or other friendly dogs.
If it becomes afraid around every dog
It would also help to consider whether or not it becomes afraid around all dogs or just some of them.
If you notice that it is only certain dogs in particular that it gets afraid around then it would help to consider if that dog snapped at it in the past.
How to get your German Shepherd puppy to be less afraid of other dogs
There are a number of things that you can do to get your German Shepherd puppy to be less afraid of other dogs 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.
Desensitizing it to other dogs
The first thing to try to do is to allow it to be around other friendly dogs as often as possible.
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.
However, before socializing it with other dogs it is important to make sure that it has the appropriate vaccines so you may want to check on that with your vet beforehand.
When introducing it to other dogs it would help to do so in a controlled environment with the dogs on their leashes.
You can watch the video below to see more tips on how to do it:
Another thing that you can do is positive reinforcement training. This is where you reward your German Shepherd for displaying the behaviors that you want to see.
You can use positive reinforcement training to get your German Shepherd puppy to be less afraid of other dogs by rewarding it with treats whenever it shows signs of being less afraid. You can also reward it with treats when other dogs are near it and it is not showing signs of becoming afraid.
So, for example, when on a walk you would reward it when another dog is coming the other way and then stop rewarding it when it starts to become afraid.
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 the behavior
While positive reinforcement training can be highly effective it can also work against you. If you tend to give your German Shepherd puppy things that it likes when it is scared of other dogs such as treats then it could be reinforcing the behavior.
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.