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Are German Shepherds Good With Kids? Considerations & Safety Tips

Written by: Patricia Dickson

Last Updated on May 21, 2024 by Dogster Team

little girl with two german shepherd dogs in the garden

Are German Shepherds Good With Kids? Considerations & Safety Tips

German Shepherds have had a bad rap for years as violent dogs that are not good around children. Though they can be intimidating initially and need to be socialized and trained as puppies, German Shepherds make great pets and are good with kids.

German Shepherds are known for being intelligent, trustworthy, curious, adventurous, and excellent guard dogs if appropriately trained and cared for by the people who own them. Of course, it’s vital to learn more about how the loyal German Shepherd interacts with children, and we’ll cover everything you need to know below.

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Should You Adopt a Puppy or an Adult for a Family?

Caring for a German Shepherd puppy is a lot of work. If you’re a young family with preschool-aged children, it’s recommended that you hold off getting a German Shepherd puppy until your child is 5 years old. You would think a puppy would be easier to train to be around children than an older German Shepherd, but that’s not necessarily true.

Puppies are fragile and can become injured easily by tiny hands that don’t know how to handle or treat a young dog. They also require much more time and are prone to jumping, biting, and scratching, which could also result in your child being injured.

An older German Shepherd has already started to calm down and might have already been around children. German Shepherd puppies aren’t ideal for homes with young children, especially if the parents are busy and don’t have the proper time to train the puppy or teach the children how to handle animals correctly.

german shepherd walking outdoor
Image Credit: Spike Summers, Pixabay

Choose a Child-Friendly German Shepherd

For most families, it’s better to be patient and search for a child-friendly German Shepherd to adopt. You want a dog that loves children, not just tolerates children. Your best bet is to visit a rescue or talk to a previous owner to determine how well the dog you’re considering adopting gets along with kids.

Remember that the ideal German Shepherd adult has the proper socialization and family-friendly training. Exposing a puppy or adult to unfamiliar situations and people will help them learn the difference between a friendly stranger and a threat.

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Things to Consider When Adopting a German Shepherd

You should consider a few factors before bringing a German Shepherd into a family home, especially if you have small children.

  • German Shepherds like to lick and will lick a child in the face. They don’t mean any harm, but they can scare younger children.
  • German Shepherds are very active and love to jump. However, this makes smaller children easier to knock down when they are being greeted.
  • Never leave your German Shepherd and the children alone to play unsupervised. Accidents can happen even with the best child and the friendliest dog.
  • Even if your child isn’t afraid of large dogs, it’s best to supervise playtime to be on the safe side.
German Shepherd
Image Credit: moorpheus, Pixabay

What Are the Signs that You Might Have an Issue with a German Shepherd?

Sadly, some dogs, regardless of their breed, don’t do well with kids. Here are some behaviors that may signify that the German Shepherd you’re considering for adoption is unsuitable for your family:

  • Nipping or barking at children
  • Laying on top of a child as if the dog owns them
  • Growling lightly when a child is around
  • Refusing to listen to commands given by a child
  • Circling a child in a continuous motion
  • Licking a child’s hands or face constantly instead of doing other things

If you’ve noticed any of these signs in a German Shepherd you’ve adopted, you should keep the children away from the dog until they have been properly trained by a professional who can teach the dog how to behave around children.

kid and german shepherd dog puppy
Image Credit: Stone36, Shutterstock

Signs that Things Are Going Well with Your German Shepherd

Sometimes, a German Shepherd doesn’t need to be around children, but these signs show that your dog and child can get along without issues.

  • The dog lays on the sidelines while the children are playing
  • The dog keeps their ears down and back while the kids interact with them
  • The Shepherd chases balls or sticks happily without growling or barking
  • The Shepherd is calm and allows kids to pet them without growling or shying away
  • They wag their tail when interacting with children

Ensure you reward your German Shepherd with treats, new toys, and plenty of love when they behave around the kids. However, it’s still important to stay with the kids and your dog when they play because you never know when an accident can happen, and it’s best to be prepared for every eventuality.

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Final Steps

German Shepherds not only make excellent guard dogs, but they can also make great family pets. However, you need to determine how well the dog you’re adopting can get along with children. Older children should not have issues living with German Shepherds, but young children should only live with a well-trained and socialized dog. Supervising your kids’ interactions with the dog is essential, but like most happy Shepherds, your dog will eventually become your children’s best friend and greatest protector.


Featured Image Credit: unclepepin, Shutterstock

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