How smart is my 5 year old German Shepherd?

by Christine
(Las Vegas, NV)

I have a German Shepherd who turned 5 in September. It is obvious to anyone who spends time with him that he is very smart. He acts more like a little boy than a dog.

It seems like he understands so much of what we say. My question is how much does he really understand? Is there a human age group that he can be compared to?

Another thing is he is extremely spoiled. He gets everything he wants. Is it possible he knows this and tries to take advantage of us?

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Jan 23, 2010
How smart??
by: Anonymous

As an educator and a specialist in child development, I don't think it is possible to compare the intelligence of your dog to human intelligence. They are just not the same.

Our GSD's have a type of their own intelligence that humans don't seem to possess, at all. I trust my shepherds' instincts and they know that I do. My male shepherd was very quick to understand that we depend on him for just that.

I agree totally that your shepherd needs a job. Our 9 yr. old male has helped us in raising our now 19 yr. old son, our 13 yr. old daughter and is currently raising our one yr. old female shepherd puppy that we have had since she was old enough to be taken from her mother. She is emulating his behavior beautifully. He has done almost ALL of her training.

He has obviously had many jobs in our of which has been to wake up our children for school. When I come home to the house alone, he has ALWAYS walked through the entire house, downstairs, upstairs, main floor, etc. upon entering. When our dogs bark, we listen. Find some way to let your dog know that you respect his instincts.

I personally find it disturbing when I read of gsd owners who try to train their dogs for "obedience" that goes against their nature. For instance, while walking our dog in a park with other families and dogs, we respect his instinct to "protect and herd" his family by keeping him on his leash, but walking behind him, right with him, and not driving him crazy by allowing "his" children to run everywhere with all sorts of other dogs and people.

German shepherds are protectors, and make great "baby sitters", but are NOT good with other dogs. Also, keep your dog with you when you are at home...they are very social. I don't think that they can possibly understand what you want them to do if they are not with you as they are or would be in their natural "pack".

Our puppy will soon be waking our daughter for school. She stays with her when friends come over, etc. Jobs of this type are excellent for your shepherd. Try to remember that they are direct descendents of wolves, and that they are "herders". They are smart, yes they are amazingly intelligent, but NOT like we as humans think. In many ways, they are so much smarter.

Shepherds fit into family life and quickly become the best and most loyal friend you will ever have, a guardian for older parents and a 3rd parent for your children.

Enjoy your wonderful dog...the most awesome and noble breed in the world!!!

I hope this information helps!!!

Jan 22, 2010
by: wendy

Most people believe they are the equivalent to a 2-4 year old child. GSD's will definitely step into the leader role if you let them, & this is not really a good thing because they will then tend to ignore you & do their own thing.

Daily training is essential, even it's only 10 minutes, to reinforce obedience & teach new things to stimulate their minds. They are working dogs & need a job. It could be something as simple as keeping squirrels out of the yard, catching frisbees, or patrolling the fence line.

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