Question for Experienced Owners - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 07:37 AM Thread Starter
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Question for Experienced Owners

I'm just wondering if any owners that fully understand the breeds traits and personality could tell me at just what levels do GSDs read emotion or just how in tune are they to their owners? Would you say that your dogs know when your mood changes/when you need some comfort/are sensitive to you??

I have struggled with mental illness for a long time, and am wondering just how good this breed would be at picking up on depression lows or anxiety *naturally* (as I know many breeds can be trained to) and be able to provide that comfort? I know pretty much any dog provides some sort of relief and I find all are quite therapeutic, but my current dog (not a GSD) will actually pick up on my moods and come sit in my lap/lick me/not leave me alone if she senses something wrong.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 07:41 AM
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any animal that is closely bonded with you will pick up mood changes. GSDs are often described as "velcro dogs" if you are their chosen person so, in my experience, yes. They will pick up on even the slightest change in your mood.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 08:18 AM
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I've had dogs of "undetermined parentage" or mutts, who were very good at this. My GSDs are no exception...but my GSDs have needs of their own. No wallowing, get up and take us for a walk. No more napping, let's go play / work.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 09:31 AM
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Hi, I'm new to the forum and not sure how to go about asking a question. I apologize if this is the wrong spot for my concern. I have a 9 month old German Shepherd puppy at home and over the past 2-3 days has decided that she won't come up my back steps anymore. I have tried everything but she just will not do it anymore, she can go down them just fine however. She used to go up them without a problem but now suddenly has stopped. Im worried that this is the beginning of Hip Dysplasia? Both of her parents were hip certified however as I got her from the AKC website. If anyone has any info that could help, it would be so greatly appreciated.



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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 02:23 PM
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Hi Nicole,
As you suspect, if it is something physical you need to deal with that before trying to change behavior. Of course, a visit to your vet will help with that.

A better spot to post this question would be here
Health Issues - German Shepherd Dog Forums

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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by futureluna View Post
I'm just wondering if any owners that fully understand the breeds traits and personality could tell me at just what levels do GSDs read emotion or just how in tune are they to their owners? Would you say that your dogs know when your mood changes/when you need some comfort/are sensitive to you??

I have struggled with mental illness for a long time, and am wondering just how good this breed would be at picking up on depression lows or anxiety *naturally* (as I know many breeds can be trained to) and be able to provide that comfort? I know pretty much any dog provides some sort of relief and I find all are quite therapeutic, but my current dog (not a GSD) will actually pick up on my moods and come sit in my lap/lick me/not leave me alone if she senses something wrong.
GSDs are extremely intuitive and sensitive. Most dogs are, but they seem to take it to another level. As far as reaction to this, it depends on the dog. I have had one that reacts with aggression to sudden mood changes, so be careful. Most of my GSDs are almost nurse-like in their ability to help. Just remember, they are still dogs! Don't expect perfection. They do their best.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 08:26 PM
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My husband has OCD/General Anxiety disorder and our GSD is EXTREMELY sensitive. He reacts even when my husband is in a different room having a silent anxiety attack. Unfortunately, our dog seems to be oversensitive and he becomes OCD-like and high-anxiety himself during these episodes.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-01-2017, 09:14 PM
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The dog you want to respond to anxiety is a deadhead type dog. As someone just said, GSDS can be too sensitive about people'a emotional states and become unbalanced because of it.

Dopey lab type dogs are better suited for this type of work. A dog who responds to panic attacks needs to remain calm and unaffected in the moment.

I had a GSD mix who was this type temperament. He would literally roll his eyes at family drama like "you guys are SO dumb", where my GSD took everything on herself, trying to make everything right for everyone...and making herself sick if she coulent do it. I would have to remove her from certain situations, kennel her and tell her on no uncertain terms "it isn't your problem, you can't fix it, just go to sleep".

I think some people mistake a dog fussing over them because the dog is also upset, with a dog who is stable and trying to help. There is a difference.

It is my opinion that living with GSDs and anxiety problems requires a little self discipline in order not to let the dog get neurotic or unbalanced. There are other breeds/types that are better suited to this sort of thing. Labs and Goldens come to mind.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2017, 01:29 AM Thread Starter
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The dog you want to respond to anxiety is a deadhead type dog. As someone just said, GSDS can be too sensitive about people'a emotional states and become unbalanced because of it.

Dopey lab type dogs are better suited for this type of work. A dog who responds to panic attacks needs to remain calm and unaffected in the moment.

I had a GSD mix who was this type temperament. He would literally roll his eyes at family drama like "you guys are SO dumb", where my GSD took everything on herself, trying to make everything right for everyone...and making herself sick if she coulent do it. I would have to remove her from certain situations, kennel her and tell her on no uncertain terms "it isn't your problem, you can't fix it, just go to sleep".

I think some people mistake a dog fussing over them because the dog is also upset, with a dog who is stable and trying to help. There is a difference.

It is my opinion that living with GSDs and anxiety problems requires a little self discipline in order not to let the dog get neurotic or unbalanced. There are other breeds/types that are better suited to this sort of thing. Labs and Goldens come to mind.
This is what my concern was. I'm *hoping* by then my mental health has improved as I'm beginning therapy (it's actually dog based therapy) and have a few years obviously. I would never put a dog in a bad situation, however I do find with my current dog my anxiety levels go WAY down, which is part of why I'm so keen to get one in the future as my own. I have never ever had an attack, or even felt close when my dog is in the room. But I'm glad I know to be careful, I don't want to overwhelm a dog.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 08-04-2017, 03:03 AM
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Just keep in mind dogs can make things worse, especially puppies. They're very stressful to raise. If you would like a dog more suited to the situation, seek out a breeder who is well known for producing at minimum therapy dogs. Alternatively, consider a trained adult. Both of you need to be happy.

The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.

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