How to train a german shepherd to be a guard dog

Everyone else might be wary around your German shepherd, but you know he’s just cute and loveable inside. German shepherds are well known for being intelligent, loyal and at times protective. They’re also brave and alert. This all makes them the ideal guard dog. Nobody wants to try their luck with a German shepherd. So, you don’t need to train him to be violent, just a bark and a stare will usually do the trick. However, at the moment your German shepherd just wants to jump up and lick everybody. Turning him into an effective guard dog may not be so straightforward.

Succeed and you’ll have a reliable and efficient guard dog. German shepherds are the perfect breed for this work. So, get it right and you’ll be able to sleep easy at night with him on guard downstairs.

Defining Tasks

Training any dog to be a guard dog is challenging. However, German shepherds naturally possess a lot of the attributes you’re going to need, so hopefully, your job will be a little easier. You will need to use obedience training to ensure you have strict control. You’ll also need to find an incentive to encourage the right behaviors. You’ll also need to take steps to make the thing or things he needs to guard feel like they’re inside his territory.

Puppies should be switched on and learn fast. You could see results in just a couple of weeks. If your dog is older and not quite as receptive as he once was, then you may need a couple of months before you see consistent results. Get this training right and you’ll have a truly effective deterrent.

Getting Started

Before training can begin you’ll need to collect a few bits. You’ll need a long leash for one of the methods. You may also want to use a body harness to increase your control and reduce the strain on his neck.

You’ll need a decent supply of treats or his favorite food broken into small pieces. You’ll also need plenty of time. If you can dedicate 10 minutes each day to training you’ll see results much quicker.

Apart from that, just bring patience and an optimistic attitude and you’re ready to get to work!

The Day One Method

The Environment Method

The ‘Bark’ Method

Written by James Barra

Published: 12/19/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

More articles by James Barra

  • How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking
  • How to Train Your Older Dog to Walk Calmly on Leash
  • How to Train Your Blind Dog to Walk Down Stairs

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

This pix was taken about two weeks ago. I am wondering if he is okay for his age.

Again, the guy is just too stubborn to follow commands.

Hello Kingsley, What specifically are you concerned about? His size and musculature? At 18 weeks pup isn’t expected to fill out for several months. If you have any concerns with how pup is developing physically I highly recommend speaking with your vet. I am not a vet, and that would be more of a medical concern. If you are referring to pup’s lowered tail and wiggling he is doing by the appearance of the photos, a healthy, well balanced dog should be act excited and potentially a bit submissive around others in this stage. This is an important stage to socialize pup, even as a guard dog, because socialization will lay the foundation for pup understanding what’s normal in the world and not being fearful of people and reactive to all people – which later helps pup be confident enough to learn guard dog work and to be able to tell the difference between someone who is supposed to be around (like your family, guest, or the next door neighbor) versus someone suspicious. Socialization and obedience should be the priority the first year. More formal training often starts closer to 9 months, and most natural guarding instincts surface between 1-2 years of age when pup matures mentally and sexually (even when neutered). Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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I want my gsd to be a guard dog and be aggressive to strangers can u help?

German shepherds have proven time and again that they’re one of the most loyal breeds there is. They love working alongside their owners, and they’ll protect you fiercely when trained properly. These are just a few of the reasons why German shepherds are the second-most-popular pet dog in America, according to the American Kennel Club.

They’re also popular as guard dogs, whether in the home or on a larger property like a farm or warehouse. However, to become as skilled as these working pups are, proper German shepherd training is essential. But what exactly does that mean?

Here’s how to train your German shepherd to be a guard dog.

How to train a german shepherd to be a guard dogchristels/Pixabay

What does a guard dog do?

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of confusion around what a guard dog does, as many people associate them with attacking or aggression. This, however, is not necessarily the case. Although a guard dog is trained to watch for danger and alert their owners, they are not necessarily trained as an attack dog — they may be only a watchdog. Either way, the goal of the guard dog is to keep their family and property safe, either by barking or by physical action.

This article will focus on training your German shepherd to guard by barking, not attacking. Training any dog to do physical protection work should be managed by professionals who have firsthand experience handling and training protection dogs.

How to train a german shepherd to be a guard dogpohjakroon/Pixabay

How to train your German shepherd to be a guard dog

As with any dog training, it will be exponentially easier to begin when your German shepherd is a puppy. The younger the dog is, the easier (and possibly faster) she’ll be able to catch on to new behaviors — and the longer you’ll have to reap the rewards of your efforts.

Find the right incentive for your dog

Until guarding becomes a habit for your German shepherd, you’ll need to teach her what’s expected. Effective training, whether it be guarding or basic obedience, will include some kind of reward for your pup, whether it be a treat, toy, or some love. No worries if it takes some trial and error to discover just what motivates your dog — it’ll be so worth it!

Master obedience training and socialization

Before you can get to the nitty-gritty of guarding, you and your dog need to master the basics of obedience. If your pup won’t listen to “sit” and “stay,” how can she learn something more complicated?

A group class will help your dog practice obedience while gaining experience around other people and pets. It’s important to socialize German shepherds, especially ones who will be guard dogs, so they have a baseline idea of what counts as appropriate behavior whether they’re guarding or not.

Introduce your dog to what she will be guarding

For your dog to do her job correctly, she’ll need to understand what she’s going to be guarding. Your shepherd’s natural instincts will help a lot during this process, so you may have an easier time than you think on this step!

You can introduce your dog to her object or space in a variety of ways, but one idea stays the same: Helping your dog understand what’s in her territory will be the most important thing. If your German shepherd is meant to guard a person, she should first establish a bond with that person — she may become naturally protective. For pups who are guarding a house, taking them on a walk around your home’s perimeter will help hammer down the idea that your space is their space, too.

Don’t let your German shepherd bark at anything she isn’t guarding

Because guarding consists of watching and alerting, you want to make sure your dog understands not to alert for just anything. This will definitely take some time and practice, but consistency is key when getting your buddy to understand when to bark and when not to.

At this step, adding a few more commands to your repertoire may be helpful for both of you. Even your basic “no” command will go a long way in helping your dog understand and eventually anticipate the right situations.

Practice and reward desired behaviors

Perhaps the most important step of the process is practicing and rewarding the guarding behaviors you want to see. Of course, it’s best to catch your dog in the act of guarding naturally and then rewarding her handsomely, but that’s not likely to happen all that often. Instead, many pup parents stage a trespassing situation in which they have a stranger approach their home, self, or dog — and then reward them, of course!

Training your German shepherd to be a guard dog is time-consuming and requires some hard work, but its benefits last for life. Since this breed is so highly motivated and intelligent, your dog probably will help you with the training just as much as you’ll help her. Could you ask for more in a loving, protective companion?

How to train a german shepherd to be a guard dog

Most dogs are natural watch dogs; Their owner is sufficient to alert them to anything unusual and the alarm they set up is resistant.

In addition, fighting dogs do not need to be aggressive to do so if they honestly attack their owner.

Training a dog specifically to be a watchdog is dangerous and creates responsibility for you.

Misleading attempts to turn a dog into an aggressor through abuse can only backfire because the dog is not obedient to those who treat them harshly, and you make a mistake if the dog bites.

Never train dogs that are fundamentally frightened or out of control. Such dogs may not respond appropriately in non-threatening situations.

How to train a german shepherd to be a guard dog

The German Shepherd dog should not be selected for training as a guard dog unless the dog is basically friendly, stable and clear-headed, and well-socialized.

  • Step 1

Socialize your German Shepherd puppy from scratch. Dogs need to have a clear understanding of what is normal and what is not so that they are not afraid and know when there is a real threat.

To socialize puppies, take them with you and allow them to meet and interact with as many people and animals as possible, always taking care to keep your puppy safe from negative experiences.

Dogs of any breed are more likely to be shy and fearful in a strange or new environment if they are not well socialized, and this can create a dog that will bite out of fear or run away when confronted with something unusual.

  • Step 2

Enroll your German Shepherd dog puppy in the obedience class as soon as possible and train your dog thoroughly with basic obedience.

Your German Shepherd dog needs to be obedient at all times, but if you want to train as a guard dog, control is essential. Although the motive behind the training is serious, dogs should enjoy the work of obedience and see it as fun.

Positive reinforcement can serve multiple purposes by rewarding dogs when they do them right without being punished for mistakes, teaching dogs loyalty, bonding with their owners, and having fun.

It also fulfills their work requirement.

  • Step 3

Teach your German Shepherd dog to bark on command. If dogs do not learn this, they will constantly bark at someone and out of the ordinary, which can become a nuisance.

Start by teaching your dog to “speak” with command and give a treat and a lot of praise for barking. Next, use the command “silent” or “put”.

Give immediate compliments and small treats when the dog is quiet. This training will eventually give you control over the dog bark.

Keep your dog sitting while barking. German Shepherd dogs are intelligent and generally learn quickly.

  • Step 4

Encourage your dog to bark and announce strangers who have come to your home. You can develop this trait by looking at why the dog is barking, giving a compliment, and then giving a “quiet” or “enough” command.

Respond positively when your German Shepherd dog warns you of unknown people or objects in the house, but do not allow this behavior to develop from home.

Your dog should not care about neutral or friendly strangers you meet while you are running.

  • Step 5

Increase your dog’s alertness at home by pretending that strangers are trying to enter your home or yard.

When your German Shepherd dog barks, the intruder must look at the dog and run away, and then you hug your dog and admire him.

Do not allow your pet to chase a fleeing stranger.

Appreciate your dog for letting you know that someone is in your territory and stop barking as soon as the person has fled. It strengthens dog confidence.

  • Step 6

Walk along with your German Shepherd dog regularly around the diameter of your property to mark your dog’s territorial boundaries.

Do not encourage your dog to bark at people outside your property also do not encourage your dog to chase people under any circumstances.

Points to consider

If you want to further enhance your own awareness of training for dog care drives, look for a responsible group like the local Shootzund Club, which emphasizes creating a well-rounded working dog.

These dogs are tested for sound nature and must learn to perform at a high level in tracking and obedience as well as defense work.

Find a club with a name that is a member of a national or international shooter organization.

Before joining, take some time to learn about their organization, talk to members and watch training sessions, to find out if you need a commitment to participate seriously in this demanding dog sport.

The most important aspect of guard dog training is control, which emphasizes your role as a leader and usually comes from the time you spend in activities that you enjoy with your dog, including obedience training.

An uncontrolled and dominant dog causes serious injuries and is far more responsible than property.

Never try to train your dog to bite or attack people.

Doing so may be illegal in some states and you put yourself at risk because you are responsible for the injuries caused by the attack.

Dexter is totally full of life. From the moment you brought him home, he’s charged around the house, eager to play and lick everyone. He certainly is not short of confidence. In fact, your German Shepherd puppy would go home with anyone. Now while you love that trusting nature, you brought him home for a specific reason, because you wanted a guard dog. And German Shepherds are the perfect breed for the job, as they’re obedient, strong, and menacing just to look at.

Training your German Shepherd puppy to be a guard dog will bring you a whole host of benefits. Most importantly, you’ll have an effective way to guard those you love, your house, and other belongings. The training will also help raise a well-trained German Shepherd whom you have considerable control over. Lastly, training simply makes for a great way for you both to bond.

Defining Tasks

Training your German Shepherd puppy to be a guard dog will require persistence and will come with its challenges. You’ll need to teach a range of obedience commands and will also need to encourage the pup to take an interest in strangers and bark at them. This will be done with verbal commands and the right tasty incentive. Training will also require careful socialization as you don’t want your dog becoming overly aggressive.

Because your Shepherd is just a puppy, their brains should be like a sponge. This means you could start to see results in a month or so. But if your German Shepherd puppy is uninterested in learning and is hard to keep on task, then it may be six months before you have an effective guard dog. Get training right and you’ll have the ideal burglar deterrent. Not to mention, a fiercely loyal and highly trained canine companion that you can call on anytime.

Getting Started

Before you start training, make sure you have the following things: A decent stockpile of treats or the dog’s favorite food broken down into small chunks. You will also need a long training leash and access to the space you want them to guard.

You will need toys too, and around 15 minutes each day for training. Try and find a friend or two that can help you as well. The less they know your German Shepherd puppy the better.

Aside from that, you just need patience and a pro-active attitude, then work can begin!

The Full Package Method

The ‘Bark’ Method

The Start Early Method

Written by James Barra

Published: 04/25/2018, edited: 01/08/2021

More articles by James Barra

  • How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking
  • How to Train Your Older Dog to Walk Calmly on Leash
  • How to Train Your Blind Dog to Walk Down Stairs

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

i want to train my dog to walk obediently on a leash as well as protect and be a guard dog i want him to be less hyper when we go on walks

How to train a german shepherd to be a guard dog

German Shepherds will usually take to being a guard dog naturally. It’s important to train them to be obedient. Learn how here. Many dogs are natural watch dogs; their bark is sufficient to alert their owner to something unusual, and the alarm they set up is a deterrent. In addition, dogs who will fight if their owner is genuinely attacked do not have to be made aggressive to do so. Training a dog specifically to be a guard dog is hazardous and potentially creates a liability for you. Misguided attempts to make a dog aggressive through abuse will only backfire because the dog will not be loyal to someone who treats them harshly, and if the dog wrongly bites someone you will be at fault. Never train dogs who are basically fearful or out of control. Such dogs may not respond appropriately in non-threatening situations.

A German shepherd dog should not be selected to receive training as a guard dog unless the dog is basically friendly, stable and clear-headed, and has been well-socialized.

STEP 1

Socialize your German Shepherd dog puppy from the start. Dogs should acquire a clear understanding of what is normal and what is not, so that they are not fearful and they know when there is a genuine threat. To socialize puppies, take them places with you, and allow them to meet and interact with as many other people and animals as possible, always taking care to keep your puppy safe from negative experiences. Dogs of any breed are prone to be shy and fearful in strange or new environments if they haven’t been well socialized, and this can create a dog who bites from fear or who runs when confronted with anything unusual.

STEP 2

Enroll your German shepherd dog puppy in an obedience class as soon as possible, and train your dog thoroughly in basic obedience. It is essential that your German shepherd dog is obedient at all times, but if you want to undertake guard dog training, the need for control becomes imperative. Even though the purpose behind the training is serious, dogs should enjoy obedience work and look on it as fun. Positive reinforcement, the practice of rewarding dogs when they perform correctly rather than punishing them for mistakes, serves multiple purposes by teaching dogs obedience, bonding them with their owners and letting them have fun. It also fulfills their need to work.

STEP 3

Teach your German shepherd dog to cease barking on command. If dogs don’t learn this, they may bark incessantly at anybody and anything out of the ordinary, becoming a nuisance. Begin by teaching your dog to “Speak” on command, and give a treat and much praise for barking. Next, use a command such as “Quiet” or “Enough.” Give immediate praise and a small treat when the dog is quiet. This training eventually gives you control over the dog’s bark. Have your dog sit while barking. German shepherd dogs are intelligent and will normally learn quickly.

STEP 4

Encourage your dog’s bark announcing strangers who come to your house. You can develop this trait by making a show of going to see why the dog is barking, offering praise, then giving the “Quiet” or “Enough” command. React positively when your German shepherd dog alerts you to unfamiliar people or objects at home, but do not allow this behavior to develop away from home. Your dog should be unconcerned about neutral or friendly strangers you meet when you are out walking.

STEP 5

Build your dog’s alertness at home by having people the dog doesn’t know act as though they are trying to get into your home or yard. When your German shepherd dog barks, the intruder should look at the dog and then flee while you hold and praise your dog. Do not allow your pet to chase the fleeing stranger. Praise your dog highly for letting you know someone was in your territory, and stop the barking as soon as the person flees. This strengthens the dog’s confidence.

STEP 6

Walk your German shepherd dog on a leash around the perimeter of your property regularly to identify your territorial boundaries. Do not allow your dog to bark at people who are outside your property. Do not allow your dog to chase people under any circumstances.

TIPS & WARNINGS

If you want to further develop your own understanding of training a dog’s protection drives, seek out a responsible group such as a local schutzhund club that emphasizes creating a well-rounded working dog. These dogs are tested for sound temperament and must learn to perform at a high level in tracking and obedience as well as protection work. Find a reputable club that is a member of a national or international schutzhund organization. Before joining, spend some time learning about their organization, talking to members, and watching training sessions to determine whether you have the commitment needed to seriously engage in this demanding dog sport.

The most important aspect of guard dog training is control, which asserts your role as leader and normally comes from time you spend with your dog in enjoyable activities, including obedience training. A dog who is out of control and tries to be dominant can cause serious injuries and is far more of a liability than an asset. Never try to train your dog to bite or attack people. Doing so may be illegal in some states, and you place yourself at risk because you will be liable for injuries that result from an attack.

You purchased your GSD for a reason. And it isn’t just for show. Whether you’re a single individual looking for a trusty companion, a married couple looking for extra security or even a full-fledged K-9 unit officer, it’s a good bet to bank on trained GSDs for personal protection work.

Why are GSDs a good choice as a guard dog?

Outside of law enforcement (and their heavy reliance on this great breed), it is not uncommon to find trained GSDs for family protection. Here are a list of practical reasons to keep trained GSDs for protection work.

Intelligence

GSDs have always been known to be a smart dog breed. They rank #3 in terms of intelligence, just behind the Poodle and Border Collie; they are able to understand and execute new commands within five (and sometimes as few as one!) repetitions.

Strength

It’s no secret that a well cared for GSD can be an intimidating presence when they grow up. They are a high-energy dog breed that boasts an impressive 238 fps (foot pounds) of biting power and can reach top speeds of up to 30 mph. Without a doubt, trained GSDs are a force not to be reckoned with.

Build

One look at a GSD and it becomes difficult not to see why they are prime candidates for security and protection detail. GSDs are naturally very muscular and are double-coated dogs; they have a thick, protective inner layer of fur underneath their top coat, which helps them acclimate well in a lot of different environments. These are massive 80-lbs dogs whose mere presence can deter even the most hardened criminals from doing something stupid.

Overall temperament

GSDs are a hardy dog breed that are very protective of their owners. This quality pairs well with a notable enthusiasm to learn new things, overall high levels of obedience, natural curiosity and a tendency not to immediately trust strangers.

What are the costs for trained GSD protection?

The mere cost of buying a GSD puppy can run you at least US$300, with puppies from reputable breeders selling for as much as $900. If you factor in the average annual costs of caring for your trained GSD and their life span; vet checkups, specialized protection training classes, maintenance medication, food, toys and licensing/processing fees for 7-10 years, you should expect to invest at least several thousands of dollar to keep your trained GSD.

However, with this hefty investment comes peace of mind, more responsibility, an added sense of security and a loyal, lovable addition to your family.

How much can I expect to pay for GSD protection training?

Though the prices vary widely depending on your expectations and which part of the world you live in, you can expect to pay as low as US$30 per training session for your GSD. However, if you are in the market for a committed and certified dog trainer to properly discipline and school your GSD in specialized protection or other social services, expect to pay as much as US$120 per session.

How to train my German Shepherd for personal protection

GSDs are natural born guard dogs and have been bred over the years to maintain traits deemed desirable for all practical purposes. This logic should narrow down your priorities when training your GSD at home. However, the challenging part comes with maintaining the progress your GSD has accomplished through training.

Maintain an active lifestyle

As mentioned previously, GSDs need constant engagement and thrive well in active environments. If you regularly go on walks, head to the park or are just always out and about in general, then your trained protection GSD should fit just fine and even complement your lifestyle. It is imperative to keep GSDs engaged to maintain their discipline.

In addition, having an active lifestyle covers your GSD’s need to regularly socialize with other dogs and humans. Even trained GSDs may become overly aggressive when left alone too long, so keep their mental health in check by being healthy and active yourself.

Have your GSD undergo obedience training

Much of the lessons you and your trained GSD will find useful come from obedience training. The courses help properly socialize your GSD, familiarize both you and your GSD with giving commands and learning new ones, and generally instill a good symbiotic relationship between you and your GSD. The skills learned here will be indispensable when training your GSD for guard duty.

Invest in decent sparring equipment when you train

A harness, ample cushioning and a large, open space to practice will help greatly when you commit to developing your GSD as a trained German Shepherd for protection work. While heavy duty dog leashes may suffice for guard training when your GSD is still very young, their quickly developing muscles will soon require heftier equipment to reliably guide and control their energy.

During training, it is best to have at least two individuals train with your GSD; one acting as a sparring partner, and the other acting as the dog handler. Make sure that the handler’s voice commands synergize well with the sparring partner’s actions so your GSD doesn’t get confused. In addition, let the handler differentiate his vocal tone to match commands. For example, low and loud yelling may be used when issuing an attack command, while high and calm callouts can be used to reward successfully completed actions.

When picking out sparring cushions and protective gear, you may consider buying heavier duty gear over time to accommodate your GSD’s powerful bite force.

Be mindful when administering punishment

The fine line between punishment and abuse can be hard to distinguish for GSD owners, even experienced ones. We’re human and we make mistakes as well. As a general rule, remember that excessive or needless punishment makes even the most disciplined and well-trained GSD prone to bouts of unbridled aggression. So keep yourself in check! Your GSD is only as good a guard dog as you are its handler.

How to train a german shepherd to be a guard dog

Most dogs are natural watch dogs; Their owner is sufficient to alert them to anything unusual and the alarm they set up is resistant.

In addition, fighting dogs do not need to be aggressive to do so if they honestly attack their owner.

Training a dog specifically to be a watchdog is dangerous and creates responsibility for you.

Misleading attempts to turn a dog into an aggressor through abuse can only backfire because the dog is not obedient to those who treat them harshly, and you make a mistake if the dog bites.

Never train dogs that are fundamentally frightened or out of control. Such dogs may not respond appropriately in non-threatening situations.

How to train a german shepherd to be a guard dog

The German Shepherd dog should not be selected for training as a guard dog unless the dog is basically friendly, stable and clear-headed, and well-socialized.

  • Step 1

Socialize your German Shepherd puppy from scratch. Dogs need to have a clear understanding of what is normal and what is not so that they are not afraid and know when there is a real threat.

To socialize puppies, take them with you and allow them to meet and interact with as many people and animals as possible, always taking care to keep your puppy safe from negative experiences.

Dogs of any breed are more likely to be shy and fearful in a strange or new environment if they are not well socialized, and this can create a dog that will bite out of fear or run away when confronted with something unusual.

  • Step 2

Enroll your German Shepherd dog puppy in the obedience class as soon as possible and train your dog thoroughly with basic obedience.

Your German Shepherd dog needs to be obedient at all times, but if you want to train as a guard dog, control is essential. Although the motive behind the training is serious, dogs should enjoy the work of obedience and see it as fun.

Positive reinforcement can serve multiple purposes by rewarding dogs when they do them right without being punished for mistakes, teaching dogs loyalty, bonding with their owners, and having fun.

It also fulfills their work requirement.

  • Step 3

Teach your German Shepherd dog to bark on command. If dogs do not learn this, they will constantly bark at someone and out of the ordinary, which can become a nuisance.

Start by teaching your dog to “speak” with command and give a treat and a lot of praise for barking. Next, use the command “silent” or “put”.

Give immediate compliments and small treats when the dog is quiet. This training will eventually give you control over the dog bark.

Keep your dog sitting while barking. German Shepherd dogs are intelligent and generally learn quickly.

  • Step 4

Encourage your dog to bark and announce strangers who have come to your home. You can develop this trait by looking at why the dog is barking, giving a compliment, and then giving a “quiet” or “enough” command.

Respond positively when your German Shepherd dog warns you of unknown people or objects in the house, but do not allow this behavior to develop from home.

Your dog should not care about neutral or friendly strangers you meet while you are running.

  • Step 5

Increase your dog’s alertness at home by pretending that strangers are trying to enter your home or yard.

When your German Shepherd dog barks, the intruder must look at the dog and run away, and then you hug your dog and admire him.

Do not allow your pet to chase a fleeing stranger.

Appreciate your dog for letting you know that someone is in your territory and stop barking as soon as the person has fled. It strengthens dog confidence.

  • Step 6

Walk along with your German Shepherd dog regularly around the diameter of your property to mark your dog’s territorial boundaries.

Do not encourage your dog to bark at people outside your property also do not encourage your dog to chase people under any circumstances.

Points to consider

If you want to further enhance your own awareness of training for dog care drives, look for a responsible group like the local Shootzund Club, which emphasizes creating a well-rounded working dog.

These dogs are tested for sound nature and must learn to perform at a high level in tracking and obedience as well as defense work.

Find a club with a name that is a member of a national or international shooter organization.

Before joining, take some time to learn about their organization, talk to members and watch training sessions, to find out if you need a commitment to participate seriously in this demanding dog sport.

The most important aspect of guard dog training is control, which emphasizes your role as a leader and usually comes from the time you spend in activities that you enjoy with your dog, including obedience training.

An uncontrolled and dominant dog causes serious injuries and is far more responsible than property.

Never try to train your dog to bite or attack people.

Doing so may be illegal in some states and you put yourself at risk because you are responsible for the injuries caused by the attack.

German shepherds are natural guardians of their home and family. Bred to herd and guard their flock, these working dogs intelligent, brave, and confident. They are very active, high energy, and hyper aware of what’s going on in their surroundings.

German shepherds are very loyal and form close bonds with their humans. They are happiest when hanging out with their people and love being a companion and the center of attention. They are also playful, affectionate, and loving.

Due to their strength, size, and personalities, German shepherds require training and socialization to thrive in their homes and be good citizens in their communities. Untrained shepherds that lack guidance can develop many behavior problems.

German shepherds are also highly adept of reading body language, being in tune with their owner’s emotions, and are intuitive. These traits make them amazing pets that are easy to train, a joy to be around, and awesome pet partners in life.

These same traits, coupled with lack of training, guidance, and leadership, have the potential to create dogs that are overly bold, insecure, fearful, or even aggressive. This is not ‘normal’ behavior for a German shepherd and early intervention is the key to reversing it so the dog can develop into the happy companion it was born to be.

One problem that may develop from lack of leadership and training is over protectiveness of the owner. A dog that is over protective of its owner may growl, snap, act out, lunge, or even bite people who get to close to their person, even outside the home.

This behavior will lead to a pet that is wary of strangers, unfriendly to company and/or other people living in the home, is hard to walk, dangerous to take on outings or vacations, is difficult to take to the vet, and overall stressful to own even when loved very much.

Since these dogs are so powerful and determined, an over protective German shepherd is a scary thing. Their behavior not only puts their owner at risk of liability, it can result in them being impossible to socialize. Sadly, some of these dogs are euthanized, dumped in a shelter, or end up spending their life alone in a yard.

The causes of over protectiveness can be many. Usually, it’s simply a lack of puppy training and guidance. When dogs are young, they are trained ground rules and learn to trust their owners. A bond develops between dog and owner. A sense of security in the dog is developed and years of happiness follow.

When a dog lacks training and doesn’t develop a sense of security, they can become unruly, fearful, anxious, and insecure. They don’t know their place in the world and have no routine. They lack confidence and may begin to make their own decisions.

German shepherds are a decision making breed and often called Velcro dogs because they love to be glued by their owner’s side. When they are young they learn how to greet and welcome people into their circle and home. They learn what acceptable behavior is and what is not from their owner. They learn that it’s okay for their dog parent to receive a hug, handshake, or even have a conversation with a stranger.

Puppies that lack this guidance may begin to exhibit guarding behavior out of insecurity and fear. When they are young, it may seem adorable when the little bundle of fluff acts out. The dog may even be unwittingly rewarded if the owner thinks it’s funny or cute. The dog learns that it gets attention when it barks, guards, and acts aggressive at a person.

As the dog begins to mature, perhaps the owner receives some sort of emotional reward when their dog guards them. Their dog is showing love and devotion, they feel their dog will protect them with their life. They may feel pride that the dog is so brave, until the behavior is out of control or a tragedy happens.

The guarding behavior escalates because the dog is able to intimidate people and has become powerful in its insecurity. If the dog growls and scares a person who then moves away, mission accomplished. The next time the growl doesn’t work so the dog adds a snarl, maybe a snap, shows some teeth and the person backs off. The dog soon has no boundaries and may bite without provocation. This dog is not brave at all and the situation is very sad.

Some over protective situations are more unusual yet no less dangerous. These may include prior abuse, lack of socialization, unstable household, abusive household, isolation, anxious or fearful owner, ill owner, or ill pet, and more.

The bottom line, no matter the cause of over aggressive behavior, it needs to be stopped. An over protective dog is a time bomb waiting to go off. They are a danger to themselves and others. Both owner and dog deserve much more.

If the dog is still young, it’s time to start training. It’s never too late to begin to lay the foundation for a great relationship. If the dog is more mature, training by a professional or owner can reverse the situation. If the problem is deeply rooted or has become dangerous, a professional trainer can help. In some cases, a behaviorist can help to identify what the trigger is.

Dogs should never be encouraged to be over protective of their owner. Over protective dogs are not “protection dogs,” the opposite, in fact, is true. Protection dogs are highly trained, have rock solid nerves, they understand what a true threat is, they obey commands, and rely on their handlers for guidance.