5 Signs Your German Shepherd Is Stressed


German Shepherd Dogs are intelligent, sweet and loyal to their families. If you have one, you know this is true. You also know many of them suffer from stress. As a trainer, I see a lot of nervous German Shepherd Dogs that have a hard time focusing or relaxing in new places or around new people. The first step to helping your German Shepherd Dog is recognizing when he is feeling this way so you can help him. The following are signs your shepherd is feeling stressed or anxious.

#1 – Whining

A stressed German Shepherd Dog often whines a lot. If your dog is whining and you know he doesn’t have to go outside to go potty, he may be stressed. He may also bark.

Image Source: Gomagoti via Flickr
Image Source: Gomagoti via Flickr

#2 – Pacing

German Shepherd Dogs are a herding breed, meaning they were used to keep the herd of grazing animals in a certain area of the pasture. When they get stressed or anxious, they may revert to this instinct, which includes pacing the perimeter of the room, yard, etc. If they are on leash, they may pace back and forth in front of or behind you.

Image Source: Dan Foy via Flickr
Image Source: Dan Foy via Flickr

#3 – Lip Licking

Lip licking is a common sign of stress. Your German Shepherd Dog may lip lick and then yawn when he is stressed. It’s usually a slower lip lick than when they are tasting something good. It can also look like a “flick” where the tongue come out and goes back in without actually licking their lips.

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#4 – Ears Down

While most German Shepherd Dogs have erect or partially erect ears, a stressed one will often have lowered ears. Sometimes, they flatten completely against their head.

Image Source: Ryan Wick via Flickr
Image Source: Ryan Wick via Flickr

#5 – Whale Eye

This is something a lot of anxious dogs will do and it’s easy to spot on most German Shepherd Dogs because of their dark coat. “Whale eye” is when your dog’s eye bulge and the white around the iris is visible. This is a definite sign of a stressed or anxious dog.

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