Why German Shepherd Puppies Experience Anxiety

German Shepard Puppy Sitting

German Shepherd puppies can experience anxiety, but there are things you can do to help. 

German Shepherds stand 24 to 26 inches and weigh between 66 and 88 lbs. A German Shepherd puppy is loyal, confident, and courageous. They are considered good all-purpose working dogs. They are proud defenders of their families and willing to put their lives on the line as they grow. However, they are still gentle family pets. They are very receptive to training. 

German Shepherds have been in the top 3 dog breeds in the US for many years. The breed is no stranger to public service. They helped look for survivors on September 11, 2001. They help search out explosives today. They are intelligent and athletic. They are some of the smartest dogs and herding dogs and are known to have great personalities. They can run 30 mph and jump as high as 6 feet. Training is necessary for them so that they don't misuse their strength. 

Can German Shepherd Puppies Experience Anxiety? 

German Shepherd puppies can experience anxiety. Anxiety is seen most in German Shepherd puppies that have been adopted that were the victim of cruel acts, abuse, or neglect. However, this can happen with a German Shepherd puppy of any background. It is often seen in shelter animals which are thought to be because they were separated from a person they cared about. Other more common things can cause it, too, like changing schedules or someone leaving the household, such as a student going off to college. Sometimes these things are unavoidable, but there are things you can do to help. You wouldn't want your German Shepherd puppy to experience anxiety, but thankfully there are signs you can look out for. 

What is the difference between Fear and Anxiety in German Shepherd Puppies?

Fear is a response in German Shepherd puppies from a real threat. Anxiety is the response to an anticipated threat that might not materialize. Things like avoidance, shaking, and trembling can be a response to both fear and anxiety. A phobia is an exaggerated fear response that results in panic. German Shepherd puppies can be prone to anxiety. You wouldn't want your German Shepherd puppy to experience fear or anxiety. One common type is separation anxiety. 

Separation Anxiety in German Shepherd Puppies

Separation anxiety in German Shepherd puppies occurs when the dog owner leaves the house. They can become distressed and exhibit behavior problems. This problem should be dealt with early, so the dog doesn't harm itself or anyone else. Your German Shepherd puppy is more prone to separation anxiety than other breeds because they are loyal and form an intense bond with their owners. They are highly social, and we bred them to be with us and interact with us, so when they are left alone, this can cause profound distress. If your German Shepherd puppy appears to have separation anxiety, you may wonder what the causes were. Thankfully, you can watch for signs to determine if your German Shepherd is suffering from anxiety. We'll go over that in the next section. 

Causes of Anxiety in German Shepherd Puppies

There are some causes for anxiety in German Shepherd puppies. Here are a few: 


You have to try your best to stay consistent with your German Shepherd puppy. They will expect to know when it's time to wake up, go to sleep, eat, and go for a walk in their day. Changing things around frequently can be very anxiety-inducing for them. You want to avoid this and stay consistent. You wouldn't want to cause anxiety in your German Shepherd puppy. 

Confusing Commands

A German Shepherd puppy doesn't have the same grasp of the English language that we do. If you say something like "down," meaning lie down and get off the couch respectively, this could confuse your German Shepherd puppy. You need to keep commands clear and the same throughout training. This will help avoid anxiety in your German Shepherd puppies. You wouldn't want to stress them out. 

Staring Directly at Your Puppy

Dogs can get nervous with direct eye contact, and it can cause anxiety. Consider looking at your German Shepherd puppy from a side glance instead of dead-on, as this will be more relaxing for them. Of course, your dog is beautiful, and you want to look at it, but avoid staring. This will help decrease stress in your German Shepherd puppy. 

Unnecessary Punishment

Sometimes your dog does something wrong, but sometimes they are just a dog. If you leave food on the counter and your dog eats it, do not punish them, as this is typical dog behavior. Avoid the situation instead, and don't leave food out. It stinks you lost your meal but never punish a dog for being a dog. You wouldn't want to cause anxiety. 

Telling Your Dog "It's Okay"

During thunderstorms and while at the vet, avoid saying, "It's okay," or "It's alright" to your dog. They will begin to associate these phrases with fear. Instead, give them treats to distract them and provide positive reinforcement. You wouldn't want your dog to get more afraid because you are consoling it. This could cause anxiety in your German Shepherd puppy. 

A New Home

Moving can be very unfamiliar and anxiety-inducing to your German Shepherd puppy. This is more likely if you just adopted them. Show them around and make sure they are comfortable in their new home as they get familiar with it. This should ease with time spent in the new place. This will avoid anxiety for your dog. 

Someone Left the Home

German Shepherd puppies don't understand that kids grow up and go to college. They think a particular person in the family is missing. This can cause anxiety in German Shepherd puppies. Please do your best to give them lots of affection and toys to stay busy. This will help reduce their anxiety. 

Another Dog Passed Away

This can be traumatic for your German Shepherd puppy but should ease with time. Give them attention and do training exercises with them to distract them. This can help with anxiety in your German Shepherd puppy. It's sad for the whole family when a member passes away, and that includes other dogs. 

You Are Emotional Around It

If you are emotional and erratic around your German Shepherd puppy, it will likely act the same way. Instead, stay calm and train your puppy to remain calm as well. Don't yell and scream around your German Shepherd puppy. Try to stay composed at all times. This may be easier said than done if that is an aspect of your personality but try your best. You wouldn't want to stress out your German Shepherd puppy.


Your dog could be anxious because it is fearful. This could be because of sirens or fireworks, or even another dog. Do your best to watch for body language and figure out what your German Shepherd puppies find so upsetting. You can help calm them by avoiding the situation in the future if you can. 

Someone Has Been Mistreating It

This is primarily occurring if you recently adopted your German Shepherd puppy and took it out of a bad situation. However, if it is currently going on, then the dog may become fearful of that person. Watch for foul body language. It would be terrible if someone was hurting your dog and you didn't know. 

Lack of Exercise

Your German Shepherd puppies should be getting an hour of exercise every day. If it isn't, that could contribute to its anxiety. Consider taking your German Shepherd puppy for a daily walk to prevent this. You also wouldn't want your German Shepherd puppy to become overweight. 

It's Still Young

German Shepherd puppies are more anxious than adult German Shepherds. There is a chance it will improve over time. However, now is an excellent time to start with positive reinforcement and rewarding it for good behavior so it continues. They are very receptive to training. 

The Owner Dies

If the German Shepherd puppies owner passes away, that would be devastating to the dog but will probably ease with time. This would be more common with adopted dogs and could cause anxiety. Be sure to distract the dog with lots of attention and food puzzle treats if you can. 

It Is Adopted

Your German Shepherd puppy may experience anxiety if it has recently been adopted. Any manner of situation can cause this to be very stressful for your dog. You might consider leaving it with family when you leave the house or doggy daycare. 

Signs Your German Shepherd Puppy is Suffering From Anxiety

There are signs your German Shepherd puppies are suffering from anxiety. Here are a few. 


When a dog is growling, it is warning you. This might happen when someone is too close to it while it is eating. It would be best if you didn't punish growling, as it may lead to going directly to biting in the future. This is a sign of anxiety in your German Shepherd puppy

Whining or Barking

Whining or barking isn't something some dogs can control all that well, but it can be a sign of anxiety, and you should be watchful for it paired with other symptoms of anxiety. Sometimes barking is anxiety, and sometimes it isn't. 

Body Language

There are many signs in body language that show anxiety, such as whale eye (showing the white of the eyes) and tucked ears or tail in German Shepherd puppies. You'll want to watch for signs of distress. Your German Shepherd puppy is letting you know that something is bothering it. 


Freezing occurs when a dog is shutting down from anxiety. It would be best if you were very careful, and this can come right before a bite. You certainly wouldn't want your German Shepherd puppy to bite someone. It's best to watch for this body language. 


Moving back and forth when getting fed may not be a big deal, but pacing can be a sign of anxiety. You'll have to determine if it is a habit or a visual queue of something more. Pay attention when your dog is moving back and forth. 


Chewing up your favorite shoes isn't just for fun; it could be a sign of anxiety. This is a good time for situational avoidance and keeps your shoes away from your German Shepherd puppy. German Shepherd puppies love to chew, so make sure they have plenty of toys. 


Howling can be a sign of anxiety. Be sure to watch for this as your German Shepherd puppies are telling you they are stressed. Your neighbors might also be annoyed. 


Digging can be annoying and expensive if it is done inside and they rip up the floor. This behavior can be seen as anxiety. You'll want to pay attention if your dog is digging inside especially. 

Being Destructive

Ripping up the couch and chewing up the rug can be seen as anxiety. You might have to crate your dog or block them off with a baby gate to avoid this. Situational avoidance is essential when dealing with anxiety and your German Shepherd puppies. 

Eating Their Excrement

Eating their excrement isn't normal and can be a sign of an anxious dog. If your German Shepherd puppy does this, take notice. 

What We Know About Managing Anxiety in Humans

Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and good nutrition are some of the best ways to equip your body better to combat stress, but several vitamins and supplements can also help.

Things like good nutrition, getting enough sleep, and regular exercise help with stress and anxiety. Several herbal supplements can also help. This includes L-theanine. L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves. It's also found in Calming Zen Chews. These can help your dog relax if they need help with anxiety treatment. 

Stress is how the human body responds to a demand, and sometimes a little stress can help perform at school or work. Stress can also be seen as nature's way of helping you fight for survival. However, too much stress can lead to health problems, both in people and German Shepherd puppies. What other things can you do to help your German Shepherd puppies with anxiety? 

Other Treatments for Anxiety in German Shepherd Puppies

Training and Counterconditioning

Training and counterconditioning can help your German Shepherd puppy with anxiety. These trainings are based around desensitizing your German Shepherd puppy to stimuli and also refocusing when a dog is presented with the stimuli. You may want to contact a trainer regarding this and make sure they can help you with this before paying for services. 

Learning Body Language

You want to do your best to study the body language of your German Shepherd puppy. There are many signs of stress that are shown such as whale eye (showing the white of the eye), and tucking the tail. Body language will let you know when your dog is experiencing anxiety. 


Introducing your German Shepherd puppy to know places, people, and things will make them be a more well-rounded dog. This can avoid exaggerated reactions to stimuli in the future. 

Obedience Training

It is much easier to socialize a well-trained dog. German Shepherd puppies are very receptive to training and you won't regret working with your puppy now to curb any issues in the future. 


Exercise is important for the physical health of your German Shepherd puppy. They should be getting an hour of exercise daily. Not getting the right amount can cause stress and anxiety. 


You should be feeding your German Shepherd puppies high-quality dog food for their best health. A healthy dog is less likely to have problems with anxiety. Check with your veterinarian to see what you should be feeding in your area. 

Situation Avoidance

Sometimes the best thing you can do is avoid a situation where you know your German Shepherd puppy will become anxious. Perhaps skip working overtime or skip the dog park. You know what upsets your dog and you can do your best to avoid those situations without completely changing your life too much.

Crate Training

Crate training is a great way to give your dog a safe place.  Be careful though as crates can make some German Shepherd puppies anxious. If your dog becomes anxious with crate training, block them off with a baby gate instead. 

Giving Your Dog Jobs

Give your dog jobs to do. Take them on new hiking trails and give them food puzzle treats. Enrich their life so they are less likely to have anxiety. 


German Shepherd puppies are great dogs. They are very loyal and loving and make great family pets. Unfortunately, they can be prone to anxiety. There are signs you can watch out for however and things you can do to help. German Shepherd puppies make awesome pets and there are things you can do to improve their stress levels. 

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