German shepherds, despite their high intelligence, can often act surprisingly goofy and dramatic.
This article explains dramatic behavior seen in German shepherds, why it happens and if there’s anything owners should do about it.
The proper term for dramatic behavior in German shepherds is “reactive behavior”. German shepherds react in weird ways when confronted, under stress, or in unfamiliar situations.
German shepherds have big personalities and are strong-minded, both of which lead to dramatic reactions when owners least expect it!
What Is Reactive Behavior In German Shepherds?
Some breeds are considered “reactive” which typically means they can become particularly emotional under certain circumstances.
Of course, we have to acknowledge that German shepherds are also known for their outstanding working abilities and often remain calm and focused in extremely stressful situations…
But, not all of them are like that! Not all GSDs are destined to be highly composed military dogs.
- In the dog world, “reactive” usually means showing aggression or becoming anxious when meeting another dog or stranger…
But few know that it’s also a generic term for any kind of emotional reaction to any situation. And goofy or dramatic behavior is a classic example of a reactive dog.
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So Why Are German Shepherds So Dramatic?
German shepherds have a strong mind, big character and are particularly independent.
It only takes a single command or look from you to create some kind of challenge. This is like an emotional trigger for your German shepherd.
And for those that are not already highly trained and obedient, this is an opportunity for them to show their sass and act weird after your interaction with them.
Not only this, but German shepherds are also highly active, playful and have a lot of energy. Mix this with a big character and slight lack of training, dramatic reactions are bound to happen.
Ultimately, there are four reasons why dramatic behavior may happen:
- Lack of training
- Their strong mind and personality
- Anxiety or aggression issues
- Lack of socialization
German shepherds lacking socialization will typically become very reactive (aggressive and anxious) when confronted by other dogs and strangers.
Socialization from an early age is crucial to ensure this doesn’t happen.
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When Does The Dramatic Behavior Happen?
Another great way to get more insight into your GSDs dramatic behavior is to consider when it happens…
Does it happen when you give a command? If so, this could indicate a lack of training and general obedience.
Does it happen when you arrive home? This could just be an indication of excitement OR, that you’ve been gone a little too long, and now they’re overreacting upon your arrival.
Does it happen in the mornings? Many dogs get excited upon waking up with the family. Highly energetic dogs need a release of their energy early in the morning!
And there are many more situations when this could be happening. So it’s worth considering when and what the trigger is.
Could Dramatic Behavior Indicate Something Is Wrong?
Not all dramatic behavior indicates something is wrong, but it’s important to consider the trigger and if your GSD is trying to tell you something important.
“Dramatic” behavior in non-stressful situations, like asking them to come back inside, or when asking them if they want to go for a walk, likely doesn’t suggest there is a problem.
However, dramatic responses to other things like:
- When leaving the home
- When returning home
- In response to neighbors
If your GSD reacts weirdly after these situations it may indicate an actual problem that should be addressed.
Any kind of anxiety or aggression mustn’t be ignored. Corrective training as well as addressing the root issue is definitely advised.
Can You Stop a German Shepherd From Being So Dramatic?
Can you stop your German shepherd from acting goofy and weird all the time? Well, it depends on the situation and cause, but there are certainly some tips to keep in mind.
Monitoring our own reactions
Oftentimes, our own reaction to what our dogs are doing further triggers them or encourages the exact behavior we don’t want…
It’s so important we don’t encourage behavior we don’t want.
For example, if your GSD gets all goofy and dramatic when you ask them to come back inside from the yard, we must not resort to bribing them with toys or treats…
While this might be a temporary fix to get them back inside, this is actually reinforcing to them that the way they responded was correct (as they got rewarded for it).
It’s crucial to remember that positive reinforcement is a powerful way to train dogs, and is what we should do when they react how we want them to. If we positively reinforce dramatic or weird behavior, they’ll demonstrate more of it!
Increase basic command training
Another way to limit dramatic reactions is to simply increase and improve their existing training routine.
German shepherds should receive training on a daily basis, even if it’s basic commands like sit, stay, down, up, come, and drop…
Running through exercises to train these commands will continue to hone their behavior and overall obedience.
The more your German shepherd gets used to following your commands during training, the more this will carry over into daily life.
One thing I can’t get across enough is to never underestimate the power of basic command training, even if they’re already masters of it!
Is Your German Shepherd’s Dramatic Behavior That Bad?
If you find this kind of dramatic behavior funny and harmless then there’s no reason it has to change! (assuming it’s not caused by a serious issue)
My own German shepherd, Gena, was incredibly goofy and playful all the time, and we loved that about her.
She was obedient when we needed her to be, and nothing but fun and enthusiasm during other times.
We certainly didn’t mind that…
German shepherds are usually very obedient and well-composed, but sometimes they can become extremely goofy and dramatic.
Sometimes this reactive behavior will be harmless, but other times it could indicate a behavioral issue that should be addressed.
It’s important for owners to consider the trigger and be ready to take action should any aggression or anxiety be shown.