While all dogs are faithful, German Shepherds are especially known for constantly walking in their owner’s shadow. They are a true people-dog who adore any and all attention. They have been bred as companion dogs so their clingy nature it something all German Shepherd owners can identify with.
But how much attention will a German Shepherd need, and why exactly are German Shepherds so clingy? Let’s take a closer look…
Why is my German Shepherd so clingy? German Shepherds are renowned as having a clingy nature due to how they have been bred; as dogs designed for human companionship in more modern times. Because of this, German Shepherd will follow their owners everywhere and are prone to suffering with separation anxiety.
If you don’t think you can handle this neediness, a German Shepherd really isn’t the dog for you. They will constantly need you to be in close attention, so won’t suit someone with a busy lifestyle you cannot give the German Shepherd the attention it needs.
They are also high in energy and need to be active a lot of the time… it can take some time until they calm down from being puppies.
If this is going to annoy you, look at different smaller dog breeds that are known to be more independent such as Beagles, Cairn Terriers, Jack Russells, Miniature Pinschers, and Scottish Terriers.
Do German Shepherds require a lot of attention?
Because of their clingy nature, German Shepherds are rather manic dogs and are also rather susceptible to separation anxiety, meaning that they dislike being left at home for even short periods of time. Here’s a list of things you might not be able to do due to how much attention German Shepherds need:
- You might not be able to leave the house or even go to the bathroom without being followed.
- You might not be able to shut them in a room when the doorbell goes.
- You might not be able to cuddle your partner or kids.
- You might not be able to go to the toilet without them barking and scratching at the door.
- You might not be able to go to work from 9 to 5 without doggy daycare help.
- You might not be able to leave them in the car for a few minutes when you run in a store.
However, because of their medium size they are also easy to take with you. Leaving your German Shepherd at home on its own for a long period of time can lead to destructive behaviour, either from anxiety or boredom.
If you have things like work commitments, or a life so busy that you can’t give the German Shepherd the attention it needs then don’t get one. The other alternative is to possibly think about getting more than one German Shepherd… many owners say German Shepherds are better in pairs.
The bottom line is this; German Shepherds require a lot of attention and if you can’t give them that it could not only impact on their mental health, but also cause you untold problems around your home.
Do German Shepherds get attached to one person?
In many cases, German Shepherds do become attached to just the one person. Their chief care giver will become the focus on their world and can result in clingy behavior, and sometimes even aggression towards others.
However, this isn’t a blanket rule by any stretch, but compared to other dog breeds, German Shepherds do tend to be very clingy towards just one person.
My German Shepherd has just started getting more clingy than usual
Whilst the majority of German Shepherds have a large degree of clinginess, sometimes the clingy behaviour can accelerate and become more intense than usual.
There are some common reasons for this including:
- A change in your behavior: for example, if you have started a new job or have changed the times you come in and out of the house.
- A new person in the house: German Shepherds have known to become clingier when a new arrival comes into the house. That could be a baby, a visitor, or a new partner who takes the attention away from them.
- A change to their environment: if you move to a new house, or even move their bed into a new room, this could trigger your German Shepherd’s anxiety, making them even more needy than before.
- A change in their health: other aspects that make your German Shepherd more clingy than usual can be their own health. For example, if their eyesight or hearing has started to reduce, and they get scared.
- A sudden noise or act of aggression: classic German Shepherd neediness can be triggered by the stress of fireworks or an aggressive interaction they have had with another dog.
- A lack of mental stimulation: all dogs like to play, and if your German Shepherd doesn’t have enough toys, he could become more needy and clingy around you.
- A case of separation anxiety: German Shepherds cannot be left alone for longer than an hour or two. Any more than that and they could develop separation anxiety, but more about that in a moment.
And one last thing here… if you have a female GSD, is there any chance she could be pregnant at all? Dogs can get clingy when they are expecting puppies, so here are the signs of a GSD pregnancy to check for.
What does German Shepherd separation anxiety look like?
These factors above all come into play with separation anxiety. German Shepherds should not be left alone for hours, as they simply won’t be able to cope with the stress.
The signs below are classic signals to look out for if your German Shepherd is suffering separation anxiety:
- Urinating and defecating in a new place (here’s how to retrain them).
- Pacing, heavy panting, and drooling.
- Barking and howling more than usual.
- Digging your garden, chewing your stuff, and being destructive.
- Trying to escape the yard or house – like under or over fences.
You can reduce your German Shepherd’s separation anxiety when you leave your home by adopting the following routines:
- Always stay calm and put them at ease.
- Don’t make a big thing of it when you leave the house.
- Build them a safe and comfortable place to sleep in.
- Only leave the house for short absences at first.
- Use positive reinforcement.
- Keep your German Shepherd happy and entertained with toys.
- Keep your German Shepherd well exercised to burn off excess energy.
- Employ a dog walker or doggy day care if you are away for a few hours.
- Speak with your vet for professional advice and possible medication.
Check if your German Shepherd is happy (and smiling)
If you still not sure whether your German Shepherd is happy or not, then you might want to check out other signs to look out for.
If you want a dog that doesn’t require constant attention, a German Shepherd really isn’t for you. They are renowned as being clingy and needy and cannot be left alone at home as need a lot of stimulation and exercise.
However, if it’s a side by side companion you want who will be your life partner until the end, a German Shepherd is a great choice.
But before you do jump in and buy one, please do your research first. German Shepherds are renowned for suffering with a range of health issues, some of which I’ve detailed in the blog posts below.
- How to check your GSD isn’t overweight with one simple tip
- Signs that your GSD is happy and loves you
- Questions to ask a breeder before you buy a GSD
Image in header via https://unsplash.com/photos/DK5bHR3KYVM