Welcoming a new baby into your family is a thing of great delight. Still, if you have an existing German Shepherd as a pet, you’ll wonder if they’ll be compatible with this new family addition.
It’s always advisable that before you buy a pet, you need to check out how family-friendly they are. Statistics show that many dogs get home every year due to conflicting home circumstances.
Do German Shepherds get along with babies? If you own a German Shepherd and you’re wondering if it’ll relate well with your baby, continue reading, as this guide will cover all you need to know about German Shepherds and their compatibility with babies.
German shepherds are dogs of devotion and are usually protective of their family members. Well, you may wonder if this protective nature makes them an asset or a liability for babies.
It would interest you to know that German Shepherds are a product of their environment. They’re a unique breed of dog that socializes well with its owners.
But before we continue, let’s quickly check out a few things every German Shepherd owner should know about this unique dog breed.
What To Know About German Shepherds
They Are Highly Trainable
Just like every other breed out there, German Shepherds are highly trainable. Owners can teach them to interact and relate with babies safely.
However, it’s not advisable to leave babies alone with any pet, regardless of how pleasant and friendly the pet may be. Therefore, supervising your babies’ interactions with any pet is very necessary.
They Are a Loyal Breed
One fantastic feature of the German Shepherd dog breed is their loyalty to owners and household members. German Shepherds tend always to protect those who socialize with them.
So once you socialize your pet around your baby, the dog always needs to protect the baby.
Recent studies show that German Shepherds are very effective at protecting babies against a threat from external bodies.
They Have Unique Needs
Owners of German Shepherd must understand that German Shepherd is a unique dog species that takes a longer time to mature, unlike other breeds. They usually develop fully after three years.
Studies show that German Shepherds usually play rough when they’re young since they’re not fully acquainted with their strength, increasing the risk of injury to babies.
If you’re thinking of getting a German Shepherd that isn’t fully grown, you must ensure you spend ample time training it to reduce the risk of hurt on your baby.
How Do German Shepherds Socialize?
German Shepherds have a flock mentality that makes them teachable. To help your German Shepherd socialize well with your baby, you must help them realize that your baby is a new addition to the family and is a fellow member of the pack.
German Shepherds possess a strong protective instinct that makes them overprotective of their owner and other family members.
A well-trained German Shepherd isn’t a threat to babies. On the contrary, they’re the perfect family dog. Studies show that the German Shepherd’s protective trait comes from their wolf ancestors. Once you make them realize that your baby is part of the family, you have nothing to worry about.
You can train your German Shepherd to have in-group and out-group distinctions. Then, you breed them to understand and differentiate members of your family and outsiders. And since your baby is a member of your family, you can rest assured that your baby will be safe around your German Shepherd.
What To Do To Make Your German Shepherd Understand That Your Baby Is Part Of The Family
They’re several things every German Shepherd owner must know to enable them to groom a harmless relationship between their German Shepherd and their babies. Here are a few things to do:
Properly Introduce Your Baby To Your German Shepherd
German Shepherds aren’t as intelligent as humans, so we should always have that in mind when trying to relate with them. In other words, German Shepherds don’t like to be surprised by too much new information all at once, so you must be careful how you introduce your baby to your German Shepherd.
Different German Shepherds have different levels of exposure when it comes to children. Some may perceive children as tiny creatures with random sleeping schedules, while others may perceive them as something else.
How To Safely Introduce Your German Shepherd To Your Baby
Properly introducing your German Shepherd to your baby is the bedrock for a solid and lasting relationship between your German Shepherd and your baby.
You must endeavor to control the interaction if you wish for a successful dog introduction to your new baby.
Before introducing your dog to your baby, ensure that your dog is in the right frame of mind, and one way to do this is by simply taking your dog on a walk.
While walking with your dog, have other family members bring the baby into the house. Endeavor to leach the dog during the introduction to help you retain control.
Another essential thing to avoid is jerking the dog away from the baby too suddenly or forcing them to get close to the baby when they aren’t ready.
You could also consider feeding your dog a special meal treat before continuing the introduction. Dogs usually sniff humans, so allow the dog to sniff the baby from a distance and gradually bring them close.
One thing you must keep in mind during the introduction is never to neglect your dog’s needs. Dogs only behave ill-headed when they feel neglected or abandoned.
You must cultivate the habit of taking your dogs on daily walks to help them maintain a calm mind. In addition, you need to showcase a relaxed leadership posture so your dog would know you’re in charge, which would help it relate better with other family members.
Do Not Get Angry With Your Child In The Presence Of Your German Shepherd
Dogs always have the instinct to be hostile to anybody they perceive as a threat to their owner or family members. What protects your infant is that your dog sees them as part of the pack.
You mustn’t test the depth of your German Shepherd’s intelligence by doing things that would make it consider your baby a threat.
German Shepherds are pretty smart but may not fully understand the nuances that make us tolerate our loved ones when they misbehave.
The last thing you would want your German Shepherd to do is to consider your baby a source of trouble for you; This would lead to him classifying your baby as an enemy, which may result in aggression in the long run.
Express A Degree Of Caution when Expressing Your Affection For Your Baby In The Presence Of Your German Shepherd
We’re humans, and it’s only normal for your baby to come first on your scale above your pets. But you should understand it’s important to restrain from being performative with your affection for your baby in your pet’s presence.
That’s because it may make your German Shepherd jealous and insecure. Maybe that sounds funny, but trust me, German shepherds show many emotions.
Humans have always been social and tribal since the inception of time. We often think about ourselves and our families before anything else. However, in certain situations, self-preservation outweighs social responsibility, which is often the case with dogs.
Showing affection for your baby is natural as humans, but you must make sure you express such gestures so that your German Shepherd doesn’t start feeling jealous or insecure.
Things To Do Before The Baby’s Arrival
German Shepherds get jealous when they feel someone else is trying to take their place in their owner’s life; hence you must avoid and curb anything that would lead to jealousy between your German Shepherd and your baby.
Before your baby’s arrival, you must put certain things in place, like establishing boundaries and setting new routines for your German Shepherd.
Since German Shepherds are intelligent and highly trainable, setting new routines won’t pose an issue. However, you must keep your anticipated schedule before your child’s arrival and get your dog accustomed to these schedules.
German Shepherd doesn’t like to be choked up with new routines all at once, so you must take out time to carefully get them accustomed to the routine change.
You can establish clear boundaries on where your dog can go within the house. You can also take the dog into the nursery and allow the dog to sniff around the room without the baby present.
Train them to understand that they can only enter the room when you’re with them. Then, using a baby gate or screen door at the nursery, you can also apply caution.
Since dogs aren’t as intelligent as humans, doing a sturdy gate would help keep them entirely out. You should also make sure you establish boundaries for the baby’s belongings. For example, the baby’s toys and belongings should be off-limit to the dog to prevent them from accidentally biting or destroying it.
Your dogs should also stay off the limit from the babies’ furniture. Dogs tend to sit and lie on things, often seeing them as their own since they feel it’s their territory.
Always reward your dog periodically for calm and submissive behavior; this would help them keep up with what behavior is okay and what isn’t.
Getting your dog accustomed to baby sounds is also very vital. Several times their reaction may be more of curiosity, but doing this would significantly affect how they relate with your baby.
Allowing your dog to smell a blanket or other piece item belonging to the baby would also help them get accustomed to the new scent incoming. You can also allow them to interact with other babies under this should occur under your supervision.
Things To Consider If The Baby Comes Before You Decided To Get A German Shepherd
Recent studies show that the German Shepherd is a popular dog breed because of its family-friendly trait. They also stand out as one of the best breeds if you’re considering getting a dog that relates well with babies.
If you’re considering getting a German Shepherd after the arrival of your baby, then you most probably would be wondering if you should get an adult or a puppy, breeder, or rescue dog.
Most people would often opt for a puppy, but you must remember that caring for a baby while also trying to train a puppy might be tasking.
Getting a puppy might be a good option if you don’t see this as a constraint. German Shepherds are usually rough when they’re young, although, with proper training, they can be highly obedient.
Most German Shepherds outgrow their wild traits as they grow. You should also consider the individual dog’s personality and socialization level.
If you’re considering purchasing a German Shepherd from a breeder, you should opt for breeders who use sound, professional practices because these are more likely to have sound temperaments.
You should restrain from getting a dog from a shady breeder who breeds a dog of questionable personality. Another good option to consider is rescued dogs.
Rescue dogs are lovely, but it’s best to consider rescue dogs who have previously lived with a foster so you can evaluate their safety around babies.
Since the dog is a newcomer in the family, you’ll need to spend ample time training them to know members of the family and does that aren’t part of the pack.
Once a German Shepherd is trained correctly, it’s less likely to act out against a baby. Exposing your dogs to baby sounds is also an excellent way to train your German Shepherd to relate well with your baby because once they’re acquainted with these sounds, it’s less likely to trigger their prey drive.
So, in a nutshell, getting a German Shepherd dog after your baby’s arrival isn’t bad. But you must consider all the factors and options stated above to help make a decision that would be beneficial to you.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will The Arrival Of A Baby Influence The Attitude of My German Shepherd?
Welcoming a newborn baby into your home is delightful. But this isn’t often the case in all homes because while you and your family rejoice over the new addition to the house, your German Shepherd may see your baby as a challenge and a threat.
Dogs are creatures of habit, and just like humans, dogs also get jealous when they feel their place is threatened. Welcome a new baby into your home would mean you’ll have to set new routines and boundaries for your German Shepherd.
German Shepherds tend to adapt to mee routines quickly, but it’s expedient that you handle this sudden change well to avoid triggering jealousy in the heart of your German Shepherd.
The arrival of a new baby won’t affect the attitude of your German Shepherd as long as you are patient enough to train them that your baby is a part of the home. However, your dog’s chances to cope with your baby depend on how well you handle the introduction process.
Is German Shepherd A Family-Friendly Pet?
Absolutely yes! German Shepherds are lovely and make a great family pet. They are a breed of highly trainable and loyal dogs, which can be traced down to their herding background.
German Shepherds have a Shepherd mentality, which is the reason for their overprotective and guarding instinct. They are strong and easy to interact with.
German Shepherd possesses all traits that make them the perfect family pet ranging from their love for long walks to their Shepherd mentality and loyal characteristic.
Their size might be intimidating, but this dog breed is soft and gentle. They have an intelligent IQ, and most importantly, they are easy to train.
Does The German Shepherd Get Jealous?
German Shepherds are very intelligent; like humans, they get emotional and jealous. So regardless of how temperamental your German Shepherd is, it might develop jealousy issues.
A poorly handled introduction is one of the key triggers of this jealous trait in German Shepherds. They often express this in the form of aggression and acting out.
Other factors like your German Shepherd’s temperament, friends and relatives, and other pets could also play a vital role in determining if your German Shepherd gets jealous.
German Shepherds are highly protective of their owner and what they feel is theirs. So once you see a German Shepherd getting aggressive over anyone who gets close to his owner, he’s most definitely jealous.
They often fear the possibility of losing attention and care; hence they may see a new baby as a threat.
Can My Stress Level Affect How My German Shepherd Relates To My Baby?
Well, the truth is anytime you feel nervous or worried, your dog naturally picks up this negative energy and acts on it.
Earlier, we discussed how getting angry with your baby in front of your dog can send off a wrong signal and affect how your dog relates to your baby.
You should avoid getting anxious and nervous in your dog’s presence, so this negative energy doesn’t rub off on them.
Learn to be calm whenever you’re with your German Shepherd because once your dog senses and sees you acting calmly, they’ll realize there’s nothing to worry about.
What Can You Expect from Leaving A German Shepherd Around Your Baby?
German Shepherds generally would treat your baby the way they would their puppy, but it’s generally advised that you shouldn’t leave your German Shepherd with your baby unsupervised.
Babies usually grab and pull things around them to explore how to use their hands. While most German Shepherds with proper socialization may tolerate holding and stretching, leaving your baby alone with them is still not ideal.
Dogs aren’t as intelligent as humans, so they should never be substituted for a babysitter, regardless of how smart they appear.