German Shepherds are fairly impressive, strong and mighty looking dogs. They have been known and favored for decades for their fierceness and bravery.
As a result, they have been widely used in police forces, the military, and for tracking down suspects and criminals.
The attributes they possess, as well as their stamina and hardiness, makes them ideal to take part in such jobs.
German Shepherds are often portrayed as dangerous or intimidating dogs which are capable of attacking a human.
Of course, a well trained German Shepherd will know that showing aggression to guests or in public is unacceptable.
But what about when an intruder who crosses into their property?
This article will discuss whether German Shepherds are good watch dogs, and how to train one to protect you and your home.
Are German Shepherds Good Guard Dogs?
German Shepherds are good guard dogs naturally, as they were bred for herding and for guarding flocks of sheep.
These dogs not only appear fierce and gallant, but they are also very alert, watchful, and attentive.
They know instinctively to protect their owners from danger and to be wary and cautious around strangers.
In fact, German Shepherds usually only show their love, loyalty, and playful side to their family and those they know.
To strangers they will likely act aloof and give them the cold shoulder. They may guard their owners and stay by their side a lot when visitors come over.
As well as that, a German Shepherd will guard their owner’s home and property. He will often keenly and carefully observe what is going on beyond his yard.
These dogs are also courageous and ready to face any challenge, and they possess a high degree of intelligence.
They can spot and sense any sign of danger, or when harm is approaching.
Moreover, they learn quickly and are ready and responsive to any commands given by their owner.
At What Age Do German Shepherds Start Guarding?
A German Shepherd will begin to develop guarding instincts and protect his owner at the age of six months.
However, it won’t be until they begin maturing that their guarding instincts are fully developed and they begin defending you.
This seriousness about guarding will usually kick in at one year for a female, and around two years for a male.
Sometimes it can be less or more than that, depending on the individual.
One to two years, is, however, the age they usually are turning into adults and coming out of their puppyhood.
It is also at around two years that male German Shepherds will become more territorial.
This will incline them to mark their territory and guard their property and home from intruders.
Are German Shepherd Males Or Females Better At Guarding?
Despite both sexes of German Shepherds possessing outstanding protection instincts, males tend to do better at guarding.
What is the reason for males being better at guarding and defending than females?
Males Are More Aggressive And Dominant
German Shepherd males most often have a more aggressive and dominant temperament than females.
They will most likely display anger when confronted by people they sense a threat in.
This aggression trait occurs because males contain the hormone testosterone, unlike females.
This hormone will give rise to not only aggression, but also dominating behavior.
Females have a more sweet and pleasant temperament which makes them great companion dogs and family pets.
They are also more gentle and maternal with children.
Resultingly, males make better guard dogs and protectors of their family and property because of their nature and disposition.
Female German Shepherds make better family dogs.
Males Are More Territorial
Male German Shepherds are more territorial, meaning they will be very possessive of what they consider theirs.
This means that they will guard their property and face off any intruder dogs or strangers.
They will also mark their territory and may watch over it.
This will cause them to stay more alert and cautious, so they will be able to sense a trespasser.
Males Are Stronger
A male German Shepherd is bigger and stronger than the female. They are more powerful, muscular, and weigh more.
This makes them better guard dogs because they will put more force and weight on their intruder when attacking.
This decreases any chance of a person escaping and running away. Females are strong too, but lighter in weight and less bulky.
Ultimately, it all comes down to an individual’s temperament unique to them to determine if they will be a good guard dog.
However, generally males will be more suited for this particular role, and may perform better at it.
How To Train Your German Shepherd Dog To Be A Guard Dog?
Socialize Your German Shepherd
Socializing a German Shepherd from puppyhood is important for a variety of reasons.
Doing this will allow them to interact with people and learn that not everyone is threatening.
It will also help teach them to differentiate between good people and bad people.
If a German Shepherd is not socialized properly, he may become fearful and overly aggressive.
What will this mean for them?
It will mean that they will attack every person, instead of just intruders or those who poise harm or danger.
They will not know the difference between normal human behavior and that which is threatening or dangerous.
On the other hand, a German Shepherd not properly socialized might not be brave and will avoid people altogether.
In some cases, he may even hide out of fear when a trespasser crosses into his property.
Reward Your German Shepherd For Barking When Someone Enters Your Property
Your German Shepherd may bark at the postman, delivery man, or any strangers and visitors. This may seem like a nuisance to you on an every day basis.
But what if a stranger entering your property one day happened to be someone with bad intentions?
To teach a German Shepherd dog to be a guard dog, reward him for barking when someone enters your territory.
Praise your German Shepherd or give him a treat .
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This will teach your German Shepherd to be alert and attentive, and to let you know when an intruder is on your property.
They will therefore know that they need to bark if there is a thief or criminal entering your home, which will claim your attention.
However, it is important to teach your German Shepherd to only bark at those entering his territory.
Otherwise, he may bark at pedestrians on the road and when out in public.
If your German Shepherd barks at other people and dogs when out walking, try focusing his attention away from the distraction.
A German Shepherd that recognizes you as their leader and respects your authority will likely listen to you.
Train Your German Shepherd To Not To Bark
You may call him to you or tell him to sit. Whenever he stops barking and focuses on you, reward him.
If he continues to bark, repeat the same thing to get his attention toward you and not on the thing that makes him bark.
Introduce The Command “Quiet”
Now introduce the command, ‘Quiet’, to your German Shepherd. You may want to get his attention by telling him ‘Quiet’ in a stern voice.
As he focuses on you when he hears the expression, reward him for it.
Now each time you give him the command he will know that you want him to focus on you rather than bark.
If your German Shepherd still continues to bark, you may want to make a loud noise before giving the command.
You may stamp your foot loudly on the ground and say ‘Quiet’ . This will startle him, and when he looks at you and stops barking, reward him immediately.
Soon he should be able to learn this simple command. He will now know that you want him to bark at those on your property, but not on the road or in public.
Train Your German Shepherd To Attack On Command
Your German Shepherd must learn that he must first bark to alert you about an intruder, and only attack when you ask of it.
Otherwise, you may find your German Shepherd attacking anyone, including the postman and friendly visitors. This could result in potential harm and injuries.
A German Shepherd must be willing to wait for you to give them the command to attack if you are faced with danger.
To teach a German Shepherd to attack on command, you must first be equipped with a special dog bite sleeve .
This is to ensure you do not get harmed or injured in the process of teaching your dog to attack.
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As well as that, this training should be done with a German Shepherd that has learnt basic obedience and listens to you.
This way you will be able to let him know when he is going too far.
Also, this kind of training should preferably be undertaken with the help or supervision of a professional dog trainer or handler.
Introduce The Sleeve
First, wear the sleeve to protect your arm, and try to bring your dog’s attention to the sleeve by waving it before him.
When your German Shepherd focuses his gaze on it, reward him. Try continuously touching and tapping his face with the sleeve until he begins to get annoyed.
Whenever he shows any sign of aggression toward it, reward him.
Ensure your German Shepherd only displays aggression toward the sleeve, and not toward you.
If he does shift his aggression toward you, ensure you do not continue the training or it could result in injury.
However, a German Shepherd that trusts in his owner will know to stop on command if things go too far.
Only praise your German Shepherd when he displays annoyance or aggression toward the sleeve.
Introduce The Command “Attack”
When he bites or grasps onto the sleeve, reward him and introduce the command ‘Attack’.
Try this again, telling your German Shepherd to ‘attack’ while waving the sleeve in front of him. When he bites again at the command, praise him and reward him for it.
A German Shepherd should quickly learn that this command will indicate that you want him to bite or attack.
Now if you are ever in danger, you should be able to give the command to ‘Attack’, to receive a response from your dog.
Your German Shepherd will bite or take hold of the offender’s arm as he defends you.
This way of training usually works for German Shepherds, as they are an intelligent breed that is trainable and learns quickly.
Will A German Shepherd Protect You Without Training?
Even without training, the German Shepherd dog will still protect you instinctively.
So why are German Shepherds good guard dogs?
A German Shepherd has it in his genes and blood to guard and protect.
This is because this breed’s earliest purpose was to not only herd, but to guard and protect the sheep from predators.
This attribute has been passed down from generation to generation, and therefore stays in this breed’s genes.
It is only natural for a German Shepherd to recognize threat and danger, and to act on it.
Their territorial and fierce personalities will also move them to guard their property and the surrounding area.
If someone crosses into it, the German Shepherd will not be pleased as a result.
Additionally, German Shepherds are very alert, cautious, and highly intelligent dogs. It is this intelligence that makes German Shepherds good guard dogs.
They will know how to react in certain situations by means of instinct and the ability to recognize threat.
If they see potential danger approaching, they will be inclined to do something about it.
Their loyalty will prompt them to watch out for their owner and protect their family from any harm.
Anyone who has bad intentions for the family of a German Shepherd will likely fare badly.
For this reason the military and police employ German Shepherds in their work. German Shepherds already have attributes that make them good guard dogs.
Proper training which they undergo only enhances these attributes, making them an even better protection dog.
Are German Shepherds good guard dogs?
Yes, German Shepherds are good guard dogs, because they were bred for guarding sheep.
Therefore, they have it in their genetic make-up to guard.
Additionally, German Shepherds possess qualities which make them good guard dogs.
They are brave, fierce, and strong dogs, and their intelligence and alertness gives them the ability to identify danger.
German Shepherd males often make the best guard dogs, because they are more territorial, dominant, and aggressive.
They also possess more strength, bulk, and weight for taking down an opponent.
Training a German Shepherd to be a guard dog can be a good way to teach them to inform you of intruders.
It can also teach them to recognize a harmful person, and attack on command.
However, even without training, a German Shepherd will still protect you, as this is in their nature to guard and to defend.