Congratulations! The fact you’ve found this article means you’re either expecting a human baby or looking to add a fur baby to your family. With two kids (Aged 3years and 4months) and two older German Shepherds (Aged 8 & 9) we are no strangers to the nerves, challenges, and ultimately amazing bond these super dogs can form with your babies as they grow into children.
So, are German Shepherds Good with babies? The temperament and loyalty of the German Shepherd breed means that after an initial introductory period your German Shepherd will be amazing with you baby. A well socialised German Shepherd will welcome your baby into the house without any issues.
Obviously, that is a large sweeping statement and the individual German Shepherds must be taken into account before you introduce your baby to your dog and this must happen in a safe way for both the dog and the baby. In this article we’re going to look at the different aspects to consider and talk about our own experience introducing our babies to our German Shepherds.
Note – We are introducing If you have any concerns please consult a dog training expert or a veterinarian.
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What makes German Shepherds Good with Babies?
German Shepherds are considered to be an outstanding family pet. Their loyalty and laid-back demeaner makes them well suited to a home with babies. If your German Shepherd is well socialised there should be absolutely no reason why it will not get along amazingly with your baby.
Your German Shepherd is incredibly intelligent and loyal and on instinct alone they should recognise your babies significance to you as their owner, if not they are able to adapt quickly and form an inseparable bond with your new mini-human.
Introducing A New Baby To Your Adult German Shepherd (Our Experience)
From our own experience, this is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences a new parent and German Shepherd owner has to deal with. As friendly, relaxed, and welcoming as your German Shepherd is there is always that nagging doubt at the back of your mind as to how they are going to react to the new baby in the house, particularly if they are your first.
When we had Hayden, our first child, we spent hours researching online the best way to introduce a baby to our German Shepherds and there was really no concrete answer. We ended up using the technique we thought would be the best for both our dogs and our baby which involved introducing them to each other slowly over a period of time.
When Hayden first came home the dogs were naturally excited and inquisitive as to what this new noise-making thing was in our house. They were excited to see us, as unfortunately the birth hadn’t gone to plan and we had to spend a week in hospital (Thank you to the Grand Parents for looking after our fur babies) and it was plainly obvious that this was not the best time to introduce them.
Over the course of the next few days, we spent the time getting our Shepherds used to Hayden’s smell, noise, look and position in the family. This involved letting them sniff his baby grows and letting them hear him crying to get used to the sight of him too. We introduced a safety gate to the house to keep them in a separate room from the living areas during this time.
Our Shepherds aren’t jumpers at all so we felt fairly confident carrying Hayden in the same room as our Shepherds straight away. Naturally, they were incredibly inquisitive when we came into the room with him in our arms and we let them spend a couple of minutes smelling the air to familiarise themselves with him even more.
Over the course of the next few days, we spent more and more time introducing them with Hayden in our arms. Whenever we would give the dogs a treat we would ensure Hayden was in the room so they associated him with the treats and dinner time, this helped reinforce that although a baby Hayden was very much part of the team responsible for their dinner and rewards. Eventually, on approximately the 2nd week we let them meet Hayden properly and give his feet a good lick.
During this meeting period, Yogi the older of our two Shepherds was incredibly respectful and would turn his back to Hayden and only come to meet him when we invited him over, when he did this it was plainly obvious that Yogi recognized that Hayden was vulnerable and would react as so. Boo-Boo is brasher and was much less respectful, constantly trying to get to Hayden’s face to give him a big lick. With Boo-Boo we had to ensure he was sat and calm every time we bought Hayden into the room and use correctional techniques to teach him how to interact with Hayden.
The process certainly wasn’t a walk in the park but our Shepherds and Hayden our now the best of friends and have an amazing bond.
We followed the exact same process with Amaiya our Daughter and we’re hopeful the bond will be just as strong.
Throughout this whole process and even today, none of our children are left alone in a room with our dogs. As much as we trust the dogs we do not trust the kids to not get the devil in their eye and pull the dogs around.
Introducing A Baby To Your Puppy/Adolescent German Shepherd
With younger German Shepherds and Puppies, the process we have previously used for our babies may be more difficult as naturally a younger dog is more likely to be excitable. Puppies and adolescent German Shepherds will have less of an impulse control than an adult dog.
When considering how to introduce your baby and puppy it’s key to remember the massive change this is for your furry friend. Make sure you spend time getting them used to a new routine that is centred around your human-baby but still give the younger dog plenty of love and attention.
Get your young pup as used to your young human as possible, whether that is introducing their sight and smells gradually or, like with our adult dogs, bringing the baby into the room with you as you feed your pup throughout the day.
Try and act as normally as possibly with your puppy and don’t treat them any differently as you previously would have done.
Don’t introduce your younger dog and baby if the dog is excited as this can encourage them to think of your baby as a toy and try to play with them.
What about potential jealousy issues?
Jealousy from your German Shepherd can be a real thing. Having been the centre of attention it can be difficult for your dog to adjust to no-longer being the top-dog in your family. If your dogs attitude suddenly changes and you notice them trying to distance themselves from your new addition to the family or becoming aggressive then do not force your baby on the dog.
Try building trust slowly using the method we mentioned earlier however ensure you delay the time before allowing them to properly meet each other.
Your dog will pick up on your nerves if you are experiencing this situation and we would recommend speaking to your trainer or a behavioural specialist in this situation.
There is absolutely no reason why your German Shepherd and baby can’t get along. Ensure you spend time introducing your human and fur babies and never leave them together alone in a room. When introduced properly they will form a special bond for life.
We’d love to hear your experience introducing a new baby to the family in the comments. Anything you think we might have missed then please let us know.