If you are planning on getting a dog, there are a lot of things that you need to consider, especially if you plan on getting a big dog, and you have small children. One of the main questions connected to this is, ˝Will a German Shepherd attack a child?˝
This is a completely normal question to ask yourself. A German Shepherd is a big dog that has an intimidating presence. Dog attacks should never be taken lightly, and you need to do all the research.
These beautiful dogs are considered to be amazing family members, and they have a lot of layers to their personalities that just make them great dogs that a lot of people love and praise.
If you want to find out more about this topic, you should continue reading this article because there is a lot to unpack.
Will A German Shepherd Attack A Child?
As a present or future dog owner, you need to know that dog behavior will depend a lot based on what we teach the dog, and how we treat them, and this is no different with a German Shepherd dog (GSD).
German Shepherds, or any other dog breed, will not become aggressive and show signs of aggression unprovoked. There always needs to be a reason for the way they behave.
There is no direct way to answer this question, but we will try to explain it as detailed as possible. There is always a possibility of a German Shepherd attacking a child. Yes, this sounds really scary, but hear us out.
Whether a GSD will attack a child or not depends on the dog owner and the child itself. A lot of things need to be going on or done wrong for this breed to attack a child.
They are known as gentle dogs that adore their family members, and they will protect them with all of their heart and strength. They are known to sense a weaker energy and know how to behave, or in other words, they know that they need to be gentle with kids.
There can always be a stigma for dogs like these, especially since German Shepherds are known to be police dogs and military dogs. Because of this, some people might think that German Shepherds are aggressive and dangerous.
To help you out, we will list some of the ways you need to prepare both the dog and the kids for a meeting.
How Do You Prepare A Child To Meet A German Shepherd?
It is very important to prepare for the interaction between a small child and a large dog. You never know what can happen, and you need to know that it is not always the dog’s fault. If a child provokes or even hurts the dog, he or she will most definitely defend itself.
Luckily, there are some things that you can teach your child in order to make sure that nothing bad happens.
A German Shepherd dog attack is no joke so as dog owners and parents, we want to make sure that no accidents happen. Here are the things that you need to teach your child in order to make sure that the meeting between them and the dog goes smoothly.
1. Don’t Let Them Get Into The Dogs Face
Kids love to get into people’s faces. This is their way of showing love. Whether it is trying to kiss you or just being close to you, every child will, at some point or another, get into your face.
This is no different with dogs. They will try to get as close as possible to a dog’s face to show them they love them. This can be really cute, but on the other hand, it can be very dangerous, especially if the dog is not used to that type of contact.
If the dog does not feel comfortable, it will most likely try to defend itself, and sometimes it can end up biting.
Make sure that the kids don’t get too close to the dog until a real bond is made. Even then, you should avoid your kid being in the dog’s face.
2. Make Sure That The Child Is Gentle
Kids have various ways of expressing love and happiness, and sometimes it can get a little rough. We, as parents, or people who are surrounded by kids, know that they mean only the best, and that is just a way of expression.
Dogs, on the other hand, sometimes cannot understand why a young child is pulling on their ears, tail, etc.
It can be overwhelming for the dog. They will most likely try to avoid the child and get away from the situation first, but if the child is persistent, it can get dangerous.
You need to be extra careful with older dogs that are having a first-time interaction with a child. These dogs may not be aggressive dogs, but in an attempt to defend themselves, they can react a bit angrily.
3. Don’t Let The Child Shout In The Dog’s Ear
One of the reasons why kids may feel the need to touch and shout into a German Shepherd’s ears is because they are big and placed upwards. It almost seems like an invitation for the kids to come close and speak loudly into the dog’s ear.
German Shepherds are known for many things like being amazing service dogs, guard dogs, and family pets, and they have a lot of patience, but there is always a limit.
Sometimes, the loud noise of a child right in their ear can trigger their defense, which can end up poorly. German Shepherds can cause serious injuries so always be present and make sure that the kids do not trigger the dog.
Even if the dog has had proper socialization and has a protective instinct towards children, during playtime, if the child shouts in its ears, it can cause a lot of confusion for the dog.
4. Teach Them The Dog’s Body Language
This, of course, is not something you can teach a new baby or a really young child. This is something more for older children who can understand some things.
Dogs cannot speak so they cannot clearly communicate with us what they are thinking and how they are feeling. They will use their body as a way of showcasing their emotions.
You can always look at their ears and tail position. It can sometimes be difficult for we older people to correctly understand what our dog is feeling at every given moment, let alone for a child.
But, there are some things that are quite obvious, and that a kid should know. This way, you will not need to be that tense when the kid is interacting with the dog because they will know as well if the dog is showing signs that it is not happy or even if it is angry.
5. Teach Them To Stay Away From Food And Water Bowls
This is very important because dogs get very protective of their food and water bowls. A lot of German Shepherd owners will have no problem teaching their dogs that they should never react when someone is touching their food or water.
But, you need to be aware that accidents can happen, the dog can get annoyed, and it can snap on the child.
If there is no need for the kid to be touching these bowls, then you need to make sure to teach them that. If the kid is older and he wants to give the dog some food or change the water, that is totally fine, but start with it gradually.
The dog needs to get used to that as well. But, as we already said, in most cases, you will not have a problem with this situation with your German Shepherd since they are truly patient and amazing family dogs.
6. Don’t Allow Rough Play And A Lot Of Chasing
We already mentioned that a child can be a bit rough towards a dog, but not in a way to hurt them – quite the opposite. They will show them love that way.
When kids play, they also tend to forget that they are playing with a dog, and they can get a bit rough. What does this mean? Well, they can start pulling the dog, climbing on the dog, etc.
Chasing is also something that you need to supervise, but even better, try to avoid. German Shepherds are big dogs, and they have childlike personalities. While chasing, they can accidentally injure the child.
They are also herding dogs, and the chasing can trigger them into herding the child or children. This does not mean that they will hurt them, but if they get into work mode, they might be a bit rough.
How To Prepare A German Shepherd To Meet A Child?
Dogs like German Shepherds and Rottweilers can be thought of as dangerous dogs because of their appearance. For some people, bringing a child close to this type of dog is not considered a good idea.
We can understand that, but you need to look into the breed more, and you need to put in a lot of work to make sure that you raise a good dog.
When it comes to preparing your German Shepherd to meet a kid, it depends a lot on the age of the dog. Some people might think that there is also a difference between a male and a female German Shepherd, and that they react to kids differently.
This is not necessarily true, but it can be thought that female German shepherds have the maternity instinct, and that they will bond with the child easier and quicker.
Here are some things that you need to do:
1. Proper Socialization
This is one of the most important things that you need to do with a German Shepherd puppy. Socialization is the key to your dog getting used to a lot of things, including children.
If you don’t do the socialization right, you can end up with an aggressive German Shepherd, and trust us… it is not easy to socialize an aggressive dog.
Dogs need to be surrounded by different sounds, environments, kids, people, and other dogs. If you think that you cannot socialize and train your dog properly, you can always hire a professional dog trainer.
2. Provide Them A Safe Space
It is very important for every dog, including German Shepherds, to have a safe space where they can go when they feel overwhelmed, upset, or scared. This is also a good thing when it comes to their interaction with a child.
If they feel like the child is being too much, they can just go to their safe space. You as a dog owner will notice that, and will make sure to teach your child that when it sees a dog go into that safe space, leave it alone.
It can be a crate, their bed, or just a corner in a house where they feel the most comfortable.
3. Give The Dog The Right Vaccines
A dog can carry some diseases that can be transmitted to people, including kids. One vaccine that is super important is the vaccine for rabies.
When you are up to date with their vaccines, you will at least know that your dog is healthy, and that nothing can compromise neither the dog nor the child.
It is always important to be present when the dog is interacting with a child. Even if the bond between them is amazing, you can never know what might happen and who might snap.
Supervision is the key when the introduction is happening for the first time. You need to assess the situation. Make sure that the dog always approaches the kid first, and read the dog’s body language.
If you sense that something is off, you need to stop the introduction and continue with it another time. It is never a good idea to force the bonding experience if either the dog or the kid is not feeling it.
German Shepherds can look very intimidating, and because of that, some people might think that they are dangerous, especially to children. The most natural question that can pop into our mind is, ˝Will a German Shepherd attack a child?˝
There is no definite answer to this question since a lot of factors are included. One of the biggest factors that can prevent this from happening is you, the dog owner.
You need to make sure that you do all the right things with both the dog and the child or children. Both parties need to respect the other one.
Boundaries need to be set, and when it comes to dogs, a lot of socialization and training needs to be done.
We hope that some of the things we listed will help you create the perfect bond between your dog and your child.