If you’re the owner of a German Shepherd, you’ve probably noticed that they can sometimes be difficult to train and don’t always listen to what their owners ask of them.
This post is all about the 12 most common habits that German Shepherds do on occasion, and what you can do instead to try to avoid these behaviors.
These habits can range from destructive behavior to excessive barking, so learning how to stop them early is key.
1) Destructive Behavior: This includes chewing up furniture, shoes, plants or anything else that they find around your house. German Shepherds are natural chewers, so giving them something to chew on is always a good idea.
Invest in some quality dog bones or toys and be sure to replace the toys every few weeks to keep their interest.
If you don’t want them chewing up your shoes, try spraying some bitter apple on them to discourage chewing. If all else fails, try a crate or kennel for your German Shepherd puppy until they outgrow the chewing phase of their development (most German Shepherds grow out of this at around 5 months old).
2) Excessive Barking: The stereotypical image of a German Shepherd Dog is that of the barking police dog. German Shepherds love to bark, and it’s usually only ever out of excitement.
For any naysayers, studies have shown that barking (from dogs) is a sign of happiness in dogs .
Barking is simply their way of communicating back to you that they’re happy.
To avoid excessive barking, you can try using a grumbling or deep-toned ” No.” to show your German Shepherd that the behavior is inappropriate. You can also try spraying a water bottle in their direction if the situation requires it.
Vocalization is often a way for German Shepherds to practice their communication skills, so working on this may be necessary.
3) Aggressive Behavior: This can manifest in many ways. Some dogs may growl at people or other animals, some may even bite or attack their owners without warning.
This is a very dangerous behavior and should not be tolerated.
The best way to combat this type of behavior is by punishing the dog whenever aggressive actions are taken.
Try using a grumbling ” No.” to start, or even the water bottle technique.
Aggressive behavior should not be allowed, and dogs that exhibit this problem should be put through behavioral therapy as soon as possible.
4) Lacking Discipline: German Shepherds are extremely intelligent and often pick up on what they like to do by observation.
If you don’t set boundaries for your German Shepherd for things like jumping or getting excited when someone comes in the door, they will simply continue to do these behaviors over and over until you stop them.
Setting down rules for your dog is the key to avoiding issues in the future.
To do so, you can spray the dog with a water bottle whenever aggressive behavior is displayed.
This will teach them that aggressive actions will only lead to bad things happening to them.
5) Chewing on Their Leash: Leash chewing is another one of those annoying habits that some German Shepherds display from time to time. Try using a bitter apple spray or trying the water bottle approach here as well.
If you have a German Shepherd, you know that they LOVE to roll around in the mud puddles and enjoy being out in the yard with their fur matted up.
Simply brush them every other day to make sure no dirt gets into their skin or eyes while they’re out playing.
6) Being Overly Excited Whenever Someone Comes Over: German Shepherds are natural guard dogs, which means that they love to be around people.
If you have a German Shepherd, it’s likely that they’re going to be excited whenever someone new comes over. This is perfectly normal in most cases.
What you want to avoid is having your dog jumping all over the person or constantly barking at them. A little bit of barking is okay, as long as it’s not a nuisance and doesn’t go on for too long.
7) Jumping Up On People: Some German Shepherds like to do this when they’re excited. It’s generally never a problem, as long as they stop jumping on you once you’ve asked them to.
Try telling your German Shepherd to ” Sit” or ” Down” while you’re petting them or greeting them. The command should work the first few times until they learn the new rule and follow it from there on out.
Jumping up should never be allowed, and if your dog does this, slap their snout or spray them with a water bottle each time they jump. This will usually do the trick.
8) Excessive Grooming: The way German Shepherds wash themselves is simply amazing. They’ll lick themselves all over and then spend several minutes licking their “mud-glands” before they go back outside to play.
If your dog is spending way too much time grooming itself, you might want to pay close attention to its health. Excessive grooming can also be a sign of anxiety or stress in dogs.
Try brushing your German Shepherd at least once every day. This will help keep them looking clean and happy as well.
9) Chewing on Bone Treats: Dogs love the taste of anything they chew on, but it’s important that you don’t give them something that’s too big for them to handle or something that might cause them harm. One of the best treats for German Shepherds is a good bone treat.
When your dog is chewing on the bone, they’re likely to stop if you tell them ” Hey, that’s enough!” or ” That’s not a good chew toy.” They’ll also learn not to chew on your stuff.
If you want to give your dog a treat, give them a tiny piece of something that they can’t break off and then reward them for chewing on it instead of edible treats.
Some people like to use dental bones or peanut butter for this purpose. They are safe and healthy!
10) Playing Rough: Just like human children, some German Shepherds like to play rough. This can be prevented by teaching your dog to play gently. It’s the only way to do this – play with your dog gently, then when they start playing rough, simply say ” No” and stop playing.
11) Being Afraid of Thunder: Some German Shepherds are afraid of thunder. This can be prevented by working with a trainer to desensitize your dog to loud noises in the same way that people do.
12) Running Away: German Shepherds are high energy dogs. If they get outside and are off leash, they’ll run away faster than you can imagine. Simply keep your dog on a leash at all times if you have to take them outside.
If you don’t have a yard to keep them in, then consider adopting out the dog to an individual that does have a yard that’s big enough for the German Shepherd to run around in.
German Shepherds are truly amazing dogs that have so many positive traits. It’s up to us to teach them right from wrong and make sure we’re giving them a happy, healthy life. If you follow the above instructions, you’ll have yourself a well-behaved German Shepherd!
If you have a German Shepherd, what other bad behaviors have they displayed? Leave it in the comments below!