8 Reasonable Explanations For Why German Shepherds Are So Protective


One of the most emotionally intelligent dog breeds, the German Shepherd is considered to be loyal to the bone.

In numerous situations and occasions, they have proven their loyalty to their owner, family, and loved ones. These dogs are everything but selfish, and will without any hesitation, they will help you in a dangerous situation, even if they put their own life at risk.

But, are there any reasons behind their protective behaviors? Because, as we know, German Shepherd dogs tend to be a bit overprotective of their owner, their family, and their territory… right?

Many of you have said that you are having trouble with managing your GSD’s behavior, and my response is: you have to find the root of their behavior. 

We believe that it is, but you have to invest some time and energy into training. Now, let’s examine the potential root causes of their protective behavior!

1. They Are Loyal

german shepherd dog standing beside his owner

Talking about loyalty, German Shepherds are truly man’s best friend. They will, without hesitation, protect your life, even if that situation might end their life. They might be so inclined towards you that they react to every little thing they consider as being a threat.

Besides being the ultimate working dog, the best guard dog, the best police, military, search and rescue, and many other titles that this dog possesses, this dog is one of the top-ranked emotionally intelligent dogs.

They just know how to react to different situations, settings, and emotions you display. They will always be somehow in tune with you, and will do their best to be the best friend that you have ever had.

They will choose you over anything or anyone else, which makes their loyalty and their unconditional love unquestionable.

2. They Are One Of The Best Guard Dogs

german shepherd barks in the yard

They are able to recognize danger and respond appropriately. Since GSDs were raised to be bright enough to anticipate danger and use their own head to reason, they will act on their own before you talk to them or give them a command.

According to the canine journal, German Shepherds are ranked as the best guard dogs.

German Shepherds are unquestionably among the greatest and most popular guard dogs available. They are highly sought-after security guard dogs because they are perceived as being strong, smart, and agile.

You won’t ever have to worry about trespassers because of how fiercely they guard their home and their family. They will manage the problem with ease, and their loud barking will at least let you know that something is wrong.

3. Extra Energy That Wasn’t Burned Off

german shepherd running in the park

German Shepherds were meant to be active dogs. If they do not receive enough exercise, they could develop behavioral issues.

This is because they will need to find another way to burn off their excess energy if they do not work out sufficiently.

A German Shepherd must, on average, exercise for at least an hour each day, whether they are male or female. If your German Shepherd is not receiving enough exercise, it may have an impact on its aggressiveness and overprotectiveness.

This breed needs enough exercise each day. As a result of being confined, they have too much pent-up energy and no way to release any tension or anxiety.

Because of their tendency to be too protective, you must also exclude them from any circumstance where they might believe that you or your family members are in danger.

For instance, if you have children, and they like to wrestle with their friends, your dog can mistake this for a dangerous situation instead of the enjoyable game it is supposed to be. If it perceives a risk, it may become extremely overprotective and hurt the other child.

It’s a bad situation. You can take preventative measures and train your dog to avoid attacking people in the future. Canines that are bred to act as guard dogs must undergo attack-dog training in order to deter irrational attackers from breaking in.

4. They Are Intelligent

little girl training her german shepherd in the yard

When evaluating a dog’s intellect, many of us often focus just on their ability to learn tricks, but there are many other aspects that influence how smart a breed is.

What makes that breed so smart? Well, their inherited traits are primarily to be blamed. As a result, these dogs were raised to be smart and alert. They were developed especially to herd sheep or to be livestock dogs.

This explains why this cunning dog’s breed name contains the term “shepherd.” To complete their work effectively, they need a variety of abilities… all of which belong under the umbrella of intelligence.

The speed at which a dog absorbs new knowledge is one of the factors evaluated in Coren’s test. A man named Stanley Coren created this test to measure the intelligence of dogs. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that German Shepherds did best on this test.

There are many canine breeds that have what is known as intrinsic intelligence. This suggests that a particular breed was created to serve a particular purpose. As a result, they gained something that is now part of their DNA — something they will automatically comprehend and do.

German Shepherds have acquired a wide range of abilities over time. They are protective because they have been protecting sheep for a long time. They just got better at a new set of skills they learned as a consequence of their protectiveness.

5. They Love You, And Are Even Clingy

woman hugging her german shepherd on the couch

Very likely, your German Shepherd won’t quit trying to follow you around at all. They won’t leave your side, whether it’s because they anticipate receiving an unexpected treat or just because they would like you to be safe.

German Shepherds are naturally clingy, and when they’re not following you about to be affectionate, they’re doing it out of concern for your safety.

They enjoy participating in all of your activities, whether you are using the restroom, making a meal for yourself or for them, or resting.

This is their way of saying ‘I love you’ and ‘I got your back’, and they don’t find it as problematic as we might. 

6. They Naturally Have Herding and Guarding Instincts

german shepherd guarding herd of sheep on the snow

The German Shepherd was originally developed as a general-purpose herding dog. It needed to be adaptable, quick to pick things up, and vigilant. They may be in charge of herding and gathering cattle as well as protecting them from any predators. 

As being raised for many generations as a working, herding, and guard dog, German Shepherd dogs get to have in-born protective instincts.

The GSD gradually gained popularity as a potential servant in the military and police. The GSD would collaborate with a particular master in various positions to accomplish a range of tasks. This might entail looking for people, looking for substances, and catching suspicions.

Dogs bred for this role are encouraged to have a protective instinct since police and military dogs frequently find themselves in risky situations in which they may be required to defend their handler. 

Hence, the German Shepherd type of dog has a long history of breeding for protection as a basic characteristic.

7. You Are Rewarding This Behavior

german shepherd gives five to his owner in the park

A very effective strategy to get your German Shepherd to behave in the manner you want is to train it through positive reinforcement.

However, this could boomerang on you if your plan to get it to stop acting overprotective is to reward it with things it likes.

It would be very helpful if you quit encouraging your German Shepherd with treats or other desirable objects when it is in this overprotective mood. 

You may assist your dog to become used to this constant behavior by teaching it that rewards only come when it respectfully displays a calm response, like the simple command, “lay down” or “sit”.

Your dog must exhibit the desired behavior in order to receive any stimulation, such as food, rewards, praise, or affection.

Teach your dog the essentials of obedience so you may include this training into your daily routines and serve as reinforcement for your expectations.

Read more about: 9 Weird German Shepherd behaviors

8. Your GSD Isn’t Properly Socialized

two german shepherd dogs running the park

German Shepherd pups should interact with their surroundings throughout their younger years and learn what is appropriate to do as well as what is not.

If they don’t often interact with people as well as other dogs, they could develop distrust of both as they get older.

The best thing you can do is socialize them early on with both people and other canines. The earlier you start, the greater your chances of success will be. Socialization in puppyhood is crucial.

This suggests that while they are just puppies, you should socialize them with other dogs, invite guests over, and make sure they don’t think you are the only one allowed in their territory.

Although a young German Shepherd may be hostile to visitors, at this age, they lack the power and ability to actually harm somebody, and they are more sociable than adult GSDs.

It would be much more likely that this is what caused your German Shepherd’s protective instincts if you know that it did not have a lot of contact with other dogs when it was younger.

Even if this is where the issue is coming from, there are still steps you may take to solve it. Therefore, socializing them young would be a great way to prevent the over-protectiveness of your GSD.

So, What Can We Conclude?

Protectiveness and German Shepherd dogs go hand in hand. These two things cannot be separated from the other. It is in their genes, or as people tend to say, ‘it is in their blood’ to be loyal, protective, and in the guarding mood all the time.

As this German Shepherd owner said, it is a pretty crazy world out there, therefore we really need this dog to watch over our backs when we are at the ATM.

After you determine what the case is, the best thing to do would be to consult with your veterinarian or a local dog behaviorist. Those two professionals will know exactly what to do! Now, the best thing you can do is: look at some funny German Shepherd memes!