If your German Shepherd seems to be sad you might be wondering why and what you can do about it.
This post will show you a number of reasons why it might seem sad and how to make it happier.
So, why is my German Shepherd sad? Possible reasons are that it is not getting enough exercise, is depressed, is ill, wants attention, has a poor diet or that it was mistreated.
Sometimes, dogs will seem sad to people when they are not actually sad this could be the case with your German Shepherd. There are also a number of things that you can consider when trying to understand why yours might be.
Why your German Shepherd is sad
Each of the different reasons why it is sad will likely come with a number of clues in the way that it does it.
Below, I will mention a number of reasons why it might be sad and what would make them more likely.
German Shepherds can get depression like people do and it might be why it seems to be sad. This would be more likely to be the reason if it suddenly started acting differently after something might have caused it to become depressed such as someone moving away or another dog passing away.
In this case, it is likely that it will begin to improve over time especially if you give it extra attention and exercise. It would also help to reward it when it shows signs of being happy and to avoid rewarding it for showing signs of being sad. If it persists for more than a few months then it would help to take it to a vet.
Related post: Why is my German Shepherd afraid?
Not enough exercise
German Shepherds are a breed that are meant to get a lot of exercise daily since they were bred to be working dogs. Generally, it is recommended for them to get an hour of exercise per day. When they do not get that much exercise it can cause them to develop behavioral issues including being sad.
If your German Shepherd is not getting much exercise, at the moment, then it would likely help a lot to make sure that it does get exercise daily.
Related post: Ways to exercise your German Shepherd.
It could be the case that an illness is causing it to seem to be sad. This would be more likely if it started being sad suddenly and if it has been acting differently in other ways as well.
If it does seem like illness might be the cause then it would help to take it to a vet.
It wants attention
The reason why it seems sad might be that it is not getting enough attention. This would be more likely to be the reason if it seems more sad when you have not given it much attention and if it is much less sad when you do give it attention.
In this case, it would help to try to give it attention throughout the day in the form of exercise, training and by playing with it.
It might be the case that something in its diet is causing it to be fatigued. This would be more likely if it suddenly started being sad after you changed its diet. You can look here to see what foods you should and should not be feeding your German Shepherd.
If you are unsure of what food to get for your German Shepherd, consider getting dog food designed specifically for German Shepherds. You can get a GSD specific dog food on Amazon here and one for GSD puppies on Chewy here.
It was mistreated
The reason why it is sad could be that it was mistreated. This would be more likely if you recently adopted it from a shelter. In this case, it is likely that it will improve over time. But you can help it by feeding it right, giving it attention, exercise and training and by avoiding rewarding it when it is sad.
How to tell if your German Shepherd is actually sad
It could be the case that your German Shepherd looks sad when it is actually not sad and it actually feels fine. Below, I will mention some signs that your German Shepherd might show if it actually is sad.
It eats less
If your German Shepherd suddenly starts eating less and it doesn’t seem to be ill then it would be a sign that it is because it is sad. However, this could also be due to other things such as the weather being much hotter or having done less exercise.
It is less active
Being less active would also be a sign that it is sad. Again, this would be more likely if it started doing it suddenly and it is not due to things such as illness, hot weather or not having access to water.
It avoids you
If your German Shepherd has suddenly started avoiding you then this could be a sign of it being sad. It could also be a sign that you mistreated it if it started doing it after you were aggressive towards it.
It sleeps at different times
If it suddenly started sleeping at different times or it suddenly started to sleep a lot more then it could also be a sign that it is sad.
It’s displaying compulsive behaviors
Suddenly displaying compulsive behaviors such as constantly licking itself would also be a sign that it is sad.
Things to consider
When trying to figure out why your German Shepherd is sad there are a number of things that you can consider. Below, I will mention a couple of particularly helpful things that you can think about.
What happened when it started being sad
It would help to consider what else happened at around the same time that it started being sad. By doing so you will likely get some clues as to the cause.
For example, if it started being sad after you changed its diet then it would be likely that there is something wrong with its diet. Whereas, if it suddenly started being sad after you stopped giving it as much attention then it could be a sign that it needs more attention.
When it is not sad
It would also help to consider if it is always sad and what is different when it is not sad.
For example, if you notice that it is only sad when it has not gotten any exercise then it would be a sign that it needs more exercise. Whereas, if it is sad when a certain person is around then it might be a sign that it does not like that person.
How to get your German Shepherd to be less sad
There are a number of things that you can do about your German Shepherd being sad. The best thing for you to do with your German Shepherd will depend on why it is sad. However, I will mention a number of things that you can do below.
Ensure that its diet is right
Since a poor diet might be contributing to it being sad it would help to make sure that it is eating the right foods. You can look here to see examples of what it should and should not be eating.
If you are unsure of whether or not its diet is the cause then it would also help to discuss it with your vet.
Take it to a vet
Since illness might also be the cause of it being sad it would also help to take it to the vet to rule it out as a possibility. It would also help to take it to a vet if it has been sad for more than a few months and you can’t figure out what else might be causing it.
Give it exericse
As mentioned above, it is important to make sure that your German Shepherd is getting exercise daily. You might find that just walking your German Shepherd is not enough for it. In this case, it would help to do other things to wear it out as well such as to play fetch with it. If you don’t have the time to exercise it then consider getting a dog walker to do it for you.
Give it attention
It could be the case that your German Shepherd is sad because it is not getting enough attention. It would help to try and give your German Shepherd attention throughout the day by playing with it, exercising it or training it. When giving it attention, be careful not to reward it for being sad.
Reward it when it is not sad
To get your German Shepherd to be less sad it would help to reward it when it is not sad. By doing so you will be able to teach it that not being sad will get it things that it wants. You can reward it by giving it more attention or treats.
Avoid rewarding the sadness
As mentioned above, it is important not to reward it when it is sad otherwise it might learn that being sad gets it things that it wants. Instead, it would help to reward it when it is not sad. You can also reward it when it shows signs that it is being less sad and then to gradually require more and more from it.
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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.
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Our favorite: The German Shepherd Handbook (on Amazon) - Shows you all you need to know to keep your GSD happy, healthy and well-behaved.