When do german shepherds start guarding?

When do german shepherds start guarding?


Welcome to our blog post! As an animal behaviorist and pet expert, I am here to provide you with insightful information about German Shepherds and their guarding instincts. Today’s topic of discussion is: “When do German Shepherds start guarding?”

German Shepherds are a popular breed worldwide, known for their intelligence, loyalty, versatility, and protective nature. They are often employed in roles that require strong guarding instincts such as police work, search and rescue missions or as service dogs. But when do these protective instincts kick in? When does a cute little German Shepherd puppy start showing signs of becoming the reliable protector we all know them to be? Let’s dive into this fascinating topic.

The Nature of the German Shepherd Breed

Before we delve into specifics about when they start guarding, it’s important to understand the inherent nature of this breed. The German Shepherd dog is a working breed developed primarily for herding sheep (which is where the name ‘Shepherd’ comes from). Over time they have proven themselves as more than just herders – they are protectors too.

The breed’s natural instinct is not only to herd but also guard its flock from predators. This instinct has been honed over generations through selective breeding which has resulted in a dog that is naturally protective over its family (or flock) while being wary of strangers.

Development Stages Of A German Shepherd

Just like humans go through different stages in life (infancy, toddlerhood, childhood etc), dogs also go through several development stages from birth until adulthood. These stages include Neonatal period (0-3 weeks), Transitional period (3-4 weeks), Socialization period (4-12 weeks), Juvenile stage (3-6 months) and finally Adulthood which begins at 6 months onwards.

Each stage plays an essential role in shaping the dog’s behavior and instincts. The guarding instinct in German Shepherds, while inherent, is also influenced by these stages.

When Do German Shepherds Start Guarding?

The guarding instinct in a German Shepherd typically starts to present itself around 4-6 months of age. This is when they enter the Juvenile stage of development and begin to exhibit more adult-like behaviors. However, remember that every dog is unique and there can be variances based on individual temperament, environment, and training.

At this stage, they start becoming more aware of their surroundings and may begin to show signs of protective behavior such as barking at strangers or showing wariness towards unfamiliar situations or people. This does not mean that your puppy is ready to take on guard duties just yet! They are still young and need guidance from you to understand what constitutes a threat.

The Role Of Training In Enhancing Guarding Instincts

Training plays a crucial role in enhancing the natural guarding instinct of a German Shepherd. Proper socialization from an early age helps them distinguish between normal human interaction versus potential threats.

Obedience training is also key as it ensures your dog responds appropriately under all circumstances – even high stress ones like facing an intruder. Specialized protection training (if you wish for your GSD to be more than just a family pet) should only be undertaken with professional trainers who understand the breed well.

Remember that while German Shepherds have strong protective instincts, they are not naturally aggressive dogs. Any signs of unprovoked aggression should be addressed immediately with professional help.


In conclusion, your adorable little German Shepherd puppy begins showing signs of its innate guarding tendencies around 4-6 months old but requires appropriate training to channelize this instinct effectively.

As owners it’s our responsibility not only to provide love and care but also the right training to ensure our German Shepherds grow up to be well-adjusted, balanced protectors. With the correct guidance, your German Shepherd will not only be a loyal companion but also a reliable guardian for your home and family.

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