How to Manage German Shepherd Anxiety

German Shepherd looking out the window for owner

Suppose you're thinking of owning or currently own a German Shepherd. In that case, it's vital to have anxiety management tools in your arsenal. 

When you think of a German Shepherd, what comes to mind? A perched, strong black and white dog with a long snout and muscular shoulders.  Or maybe a dog that is standing solid and upright, exuding confidence and bravery.  Whether you're familiar with Rin Tin Tin or Chase (from the Paw Patrol franchise), You have welcomed German Shepherds into your home through your television screen. This man's best friend is the epitome of loyalty and protection. Often the German Shepherd is viewed as indestructible, but there is a chink in their armor. Unfortunately, this breed notoriously suffers from anxious behavior. Unwanted behaviors leave many homes wrecked and owners stressed. Luckily, German Shepherd anxiety can be easily managed by understanding the breed, fear, and investing in calming avenues. 

German Shepherd: the Perfect Family Pet

As of 2020, German Shepherds are the third most popular owned pet in the United States. More than likely, you or someone you know owns and loves a German Shepherd. They are one of the best breeds to choose for your family. German shepherds are known to love as fiercely as they live. This breed lives its life to protect and serve its owner. Often owners of German Shepherds feel safer in their homes and live more active lives. As a responsible pet owner and friend to your pup, it's essential to take care of their mental health. To fully care for your German Shepherd, it's necessary to understand and study this breed's physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Physical features of a German Shepherd include a large stature, supreme agility, and muscular definition. This breed has a double coat which is likely to shed twice a year. It's crucial to maintain their coat frequently for you and their sanity. If you do not expect to experience a lot of shedding, this breed isn't for you.  Because this breed has such a dominating physical makeup, it's playful and energetic.  Physical activity and social interaction are a must for this breed.

Personality traits of this breed include loyalty, courage, and confidence. German Shepherds are the epitome of bravery in a canine friend. German Shepherds make wonderful pets because they are affectionate and protective. That means that you can bring this playful pup home to your children with little to no worry. Their strong aptitude for protecting their owners makes German Shepherds the perfect watchdog.

Socialization is critical to the growth of your German Shepherd. It is essential to bond with your pup early on to ward of feelings of German Shepherd anxiety. According to the Merk Veterinary Manual, "a lack of adequate socialization and enrichment during the sensitive period can contribute to excessive responses to stimuli, including fear and aggression." Humans bred the German Shepherd to be close companions to humans. Without this foundation, your pup will be more prone to anxious tendencies. All is not lost! Even if your puppy had little early socialization, you could put an end to German Shepherd anxiety with proper training and care! 

Like most dogs, German Shepherds have been bred to bond with humans and be lifelong companions. A significant difference between German Shepherds and other dogs is that humans bred the German Shepherd to work. Generating an animal-based on a specific set of traits is known as purpose-driven breeding. German Shepherds have been given jobs to apply their fantastic talent and, therefore, need this structured into their daily lives. Because it is not likely that your German Shepherd is wrangling sheep or working on a farm, it's imperative to exhaust these mental and physical expectations through similar stimuli. Without proper stimulation, German Shepherd anxiety might cause some unwanted behaviors in your home.

What is German Shepherd anxiety? German Shepherd anxiety is often much like human anxiety.  Anxiety is a state of fear-induced stress and can cause problem behaviors. These behaviors range from very minimal to extreme. Slight cases of disruptive behavior can lead to severe behavior, which will affect your daily life. It's important to understand anxiety to avoid stress in your pup.

What is German Shepherd Anxiety?

Just like humans, German shepherds can and do suffer from mental health disorders. Healthline describes anxiety as a natural response to stress. It is the psychological relationship to the fear of the threat of well-being. Anxiety in humans represents itself through panic attacks, phobias, social or separation anxieties, and trauma-related anxieties.  There are trained professionals that monitor and diagnose these behavioral abnormalities when they start to affect daily functioning. With modification and treatment, humans can manage their anxieties, and the same goes for your German Shepherd's anxiety. However, it's your responsibility as the pet owner to manage pet anxiety.

Is your German Shepherd showing anxiety?  ASPCA explains that German Shepherd anxiety can cause urinating or defecating, barking, chewing or destroying things, digging, trying to escape, pacing, or preventing you from leaving. If your German Shepherd has been house-trained well, these unwanted behaviors can be coping mechanisms to fear and anxiety. However, we'd love to have our pets treated for mental health issues, finding a psychologist trained in German Shepherd anxiety. After talking to your veterinarian to discuss the unwanted behavior, it's your turn to assess and maintain your pup's mental health.

As ASPCA suggests, it's essential to rule out a medical diagnosis before diagnosing German Shepherd anxiety. Unfortunately, many times urinating and defecating inside the home is triggered by a severe ailment. Make sure to take your German Shepherd to its veterinarian to rule out a medical emergency.

Is My German Shepherd Anxious? 

German Shepherd anxiety is a warning signal that your German Shepherd is in distress. It's crucial to understand and examine your dog's lifestyle and behavior to manage German Shepherd anxiety. Also, it's important not to get angry or upset with your pet. Dogs have emotions, like humans, and this is an emotional stress response. Getting angry or upset with your pet often leads to more destructive behavior.  Punishment breeds fear, and anxious behavior will become severe.  There are other ways to manage German Shepherd anxiety.

Has your German Shepherd changed homes, guardians, schedules, or have you added members to your household? This breed is known for adapting to change very well but can still show distress when abandoned or disrupting their schedule or routine.

Are you getting your German Shepherd enough stimulation? By breeding German Shepherds to be working companions, these dogs are typically much happier accommodating their owners. If you are not training German Shepherds or giving them the social interactions they need, this will often result in boredom. Boredom can result in German Shepherd anxiety! It is paramount that a German Shepherd lives an active lifestyle with a serving heart.

Does Loneliness drive German Shepherd anxiety? Separation anxiety is one of the most common anxieties witnessed in dogs. A dog, having been bred for companionship, is not equipped to stay home for hours alone. It's crucial to understand separation anxiety and what this may look like in your German Shepherd.      

Separation Anxiety and Your German Shepherd

ASPCA lists separation anxiety in dogs as being "triggered when dogs become upset because of separation from their guardians, the people they're attached to." This anxiety leads to disruptive behavior in dogs. Your German Shepherd can showcase separation anxiety by trying to escape, urinating, chewing or destroying objects in the home, and unwanted digging. 

Does your German Shepherd act sad when you are preparing to leave the house without them? Does your dog try to prevent you from leaving your house? Is your German Shepherd's disruptive behavior often acted out when you are not home? These are possible signs that German Shepherd anxiety is resulting in negative behavior.

How to Manage Separation Anxiety in your German Shepherd

The best way to manage separation anxiety in your German Shepherd is to teach them to be happy at home without you. Making a happy home for your pet sounds easy enough. Make your household comfortable and calming. Calming Store offers the perfect products that aid your pup in loving their atmosphere. Made to curb anxious behavior, the calming bed provides a comfortable, calming, luxurious space for your German Shepherd. There is a multitude of colors to match your home décor and patterns. Face it; we can't stay home with our pups every day and work hard to give them the best life possible. Help your German Shepherd feel at ease in their home by investing in their comfort.

ASPCA also suggests counterconditioning your German Shepherd to avoid separation anxiety. An excellent way to condition your pet to love their home with or without you is through food rewards. This type of conditioning allows your dog to associate positive feelings with a set task. The task at hand is your German Shepherd feeling comfortable with you leaving and ending German Shepherd anxiety. Therefore, when you go, you will give your dog food. These calming zen chews are perfectly curated to manage German Shepherd anxiety. When leaving the house, provide your German Shepherd a calming zen chew, and he will attach positive feelings to being home alone. The pleasant food will reinforce the feelings of comfortable and calm when you are away. No more destructive, unwanted behaviors from your pup.  

German Shepherd: Dogkind’s Finest All-Purpose Worker

The American Kennel Club outlines the German Shepherd as being "considered dogkind's finest all-purpose worker." Purposefully breeding German Shepherds with solid decision-making, problem-solving, and concentration has led many to police and military work. This breed's high level of intelligence made it easily trainable, which is perfect for intense militant training. German Shepherd's muscular physique also makes it the ideal work dog. The life of a working dog is strenuous. These physical demands of German Shepherds can lead to anxious behaviors.

This recent study links anxiety traits in German Shepherds to work-related physical trauma. The study suggests, "Findings supported our research hypothesis in that the number of behavioral concerns reported was significantly associated and correlated with the number of vertebral locations with lumbosacral stenosis." Lumbosacral stenosis is a spinal problem common in military-trained German Shepherds. This study found that German Shepherd anxiety is 25% more likely in military or police dogs.

The benefits of having dogs trained in detecting bombs or subduing criminals must outweigh these startling statistics. We must protect and comfort these heroes at all costs!  The calming bed will aid worker dogs in comfort and relaxation. Calm German Shepherd anxiety with a bed that is cozy and large enough to accommodate their muscular build. The calming bed comes in an XL size of 48 inches which is perfect for your sore pup. These heroes deserve the best, and you must take care of their aches by offering them the most high-quality bed possible.

Anxiety Triggers in Your German Shepherd

Separation and physical trauma can lead to German Shepherd Anxiety. But what other common triggers cause anxiety? Loud noises from thunderstorms or celebrations can cause significant anxious behavior in German Shepherds.

Did you know that Independence Day was the number one day that dogs are known to run away?  Dogs try to escape because the loud noise of fireworks triggers many dogs. Needing to escape their environment is a result of anxious behavior. It makes sense that this breed is often in distress from loud noises. Having been trained as work dogs, German Shepherds are on high alert and sensitive to noisy stimuli. Many owners attribute loud noises to disruptive behavior in their German Shepherds.

If your German Shepherd is easily startled and made uncomfortable by loud noises, the calming blanket plus+ is perfect for your pet!  Be on the lookout for this product to drop soon. This calming blanket plus+ will offer comfort to your German Shepherd during times of distress, as in the Fourth of July or New Year's Eve night.  Only organic material goes into making the calming bed. It comes with an insert of an expert blend of Valerian oil, Vetiver, Sweet Basil, and Clary Sage calming essential oils. These essential oils are safe for your pet.  These essential oils are homeopathic ways to relieve German Shepherd anxiety.

Genetics and German Shepherd Anxiety

It is possible to link German Shepherd anxiety to a genetic predisposition. According to this study,  genetic behavior is vital in understanding the risk management of behavioral fears in your German Shepherd. Say you are home with your German Shepherd 24/7, constantly active and attentive to your German Shepherd. You keep him working through training exercises but not in a militant style. Your house could still fall victim to the wrath of an anxious pup. All the training in the world will not change the genetic makeup of your German Shepherd. Remember, breeding patterns link German Shepherds to diligent and protective behavior. It's in their nature to be on alert and makes them the best at what they do. 

The best way to protect your pet and belongings from anxious behavior is to maintain a calm and comfortable home environment. Sometimes there are no answers.  There is no rhyme or reason why a German Shepherd is feeling anxious. Still, as a pet owner (and family) to your pup, it's crucial to invest in their mental health.  Calming Dog offers calming spray that can relax and comfort your German Shepherd in the security of its own home. German Shepherds need a comfortable, calm environment with owners that they can trust.

Let's not forget that there are breed state laws that specifically target behavior in certain breeds.  German Shepherds fall under these legislations because they can create a great deal of harm to others and their property. As a pet owner, it is your responsibility to ensure that your pet doesn't escape and harm others or themselves. These laws often have monetary punishment, as in you would pay a fine. Still, too many instances of breaking the law can lead to relinquishing your pet to state facilities. 

The Calming Dog offers an alternative route to manage German Shepherd anxiety. With products ranging from comfortable beds to products great for conditioning (Zen Chews), these products will create a serene and comfortable environment that your German Shepherd will learn to love. Take the burden of anxiety away by investing in your family pet's mental health today.

German Shepherds: Heroes in Canine Form

A German Shepherd is a man's best friend and servant. These animals didn't choose to become our protectors, but they live up to the challenge. We must value the life they give to us and become responsible pet owners. We have to manage their physical, mental, and emotional health. Not only will your German Shepherd be anxiety-free, but your home will be clean and safe. You will not have to worry about breaking laws or your pup harming himself or others. 

Congratulations on taking the time to learn to manage German Shepherd anxiety. The first step to a more peaceful environment is to process how to manage stress. You are on your way to living a better life with your German Shepherd!

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