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Do German Shepherds Attach to One Person?

Owning a German Shepherd comes with many fun surprises. 

They are intelligent and very loyal. 

They are also very protective which makes them great dogs if you live alone or if you have a family.

Whether you are a new German Shepherd owner or you are thinking about buying one in the future, you might be wondering if they will attach to one person in the family or not. 

Do German Shepherds Attach to One Person?

German Shepherds tend to attach to one person that they have bonded with. However, the bonding is usually a bit more complicated than you would think. Depending on how your German Shepherd is raised and trained, they might attach themselves to more than one person. Some might also show preferences for men, women, or children. 

Even if a German Shepherd attaches to one person, they will still be protective over everyone in the family unit.

The bond might also strengthen and change over time. 

You might be wondering how German Shepherds choose who they will bond with and how you can ensure that bonding will happen. 

We will go over all the steps in this article. 

How Can I Make Sure My German Shepherd Attaches to Me?

There are many different ways that you can use to ensure your German Shepherd attaches to you. 

You can also get a German Shepherd to attach to you whether they are a family dog or a working dog that you need to train. 

Most of the time though, your German Shepherd will choose who they want to bond with, and they will automatically start to respect and follow around one person.

They might also see one person as the leader. 

Using Food to Strengthen Bonding

If you have ever owned a dog before, you probably know that treats can develop friendships between humans and dogs.

If you want to use food to help your dog bond with you, you will need to make sure you choose a treat or food that they love and are highly desirable. 

By giving them their favorite treats, you can be sure they will show you good actions and behaviors in return.

Rewards and reciprocating behaviors can also make sure bonding starts.  

Treats are also an important part of the bonding process and the training process. 

Training can also lead to a better partnership. 

However, relying on food alone is not enough to establish a real bond between you and your German Shepherd though because German Shepherds are less food-obsessed than other dog breeds. 

So, a German Shepherd will not take you seriously if you only give them food and expect them to bond with you. 

German Shepherds are more concerned with getting attention and love. So, along with treats, you need to make sure you are spending time with them including regular walks and playtime. 

For example, have you ever seen a dog more attached to the dad or the kids in the family even though the mom is the one to feed them all the time? Dogs appreciate who feeds them less than who takes them for walks and plays with them. 

If you want a real bond with your German Shepherd, you need to be one feeding them and the one giving them the most time.

This can be hard when you are not home as often as other family members though. 

Your German Shepherd might automatically bond with the person who is home the most, which might be the partner who works from home or the kid who comes home from school before you get home from work. 

Make sure you are the one taking them for their daily walks through or make sure you are creating time for playing whenever you are home. 

Routine will Help with Bonding

As mentioned above, love and attention will create more bonding than simply giving your dog food. 

Most dogs appreciate a routine, and they like to establish rules to be content. 

Routines will also ensure your dog has proper training.

It’s very hard to train a dog without having a routine and schedule for them. 

German Shepherds are also very dominant dogs and will presume the leadership role in the relationship if you don’t establish proper training and rules. 

Proper training will ensure they have respect for you, and they will realize that you are the leader. 

German Shepherds also need firm boundaries. 

The more boundaries and rules you put into place, the more they will respect you and learn the rules of the house. 

If your dog has been abused or mistreated in the past, make sure you make the training process slow and steady. 

Don’t punish them right away if they don’t learn something or if they have a hard time learning a new skill. 

Dogs that have been abused in the past might also be more likely to bond with the person who gives them food because they will trust you as a reliable and loyal sources of love and care. 

Using Training for Bonding

Treating your dog the basic skills they need for obedience will teach them respect.

It will also make sure they recognize you are the master. 

When they are puppies, you want to start with training right away because they will learn easier when they are younger versus after they become older. 

If your dog is a rescue, make sure to make training fun and start soon after you get them before they make their own rules for the house.

However, with any dog, you don’t want to stop with the basics. 

You want training and new skills to be a lifelong process. 

Make sure you are still reviewing basic skills every day, so they don’t forget them. 

Part of the training also needs to be mental stimulation. German Shepherds need a lot of physical and mental stimulation because they are very energetic dogs. 

Teaching new tricks can make sure they are mentally working.

You might also want to consider doing agility courses or doing advanced exercises to make sure they are burning off energy. 

Studies have shown that advanced training also creates a sense of team accomplishment.

Part of bonding also means your German Shepherd needs to love spending time with you.

Training makes sure you are spending time together doing something fun. 

They will start to associate being around you with fun and affection. 

Remember that German Shepherds are also bred to have jobs, not just to lay around the house. 

This is part of the reason why they need to have exercise and something that will make their mind work. 

If you want your German Shepherd to experience fun and bonding with more than one person in the family, see if you can get the entire family involved in the training. 

This will also ensure the dog responds to the commands from everyone and not just you. 

At the very least, all adult members have the family need to have a working relationship with the dog. 

This means the dog will respond to simple commands from all the adults in the family.

This is crucial for when the dog is left alone with the person that they might not be bonded the most with. 


If you have kids over the age of 10, you can also encourage them to take part in training and they might be able to walk the dog on a leash if the dog has been trained not to pull or run. 

If you decide to do family training, you need to make sure every member takes turns in herding trails and the agility courses you have prepared. 

This will make sure the German Shepherd knows the whole family is part of the training and part of the fun as well. 

Do German Shepherds Pick a Favorite Person?

German Shepherds will typically choose one person and attach to them even if you involve the whole family in training. 

This is because German Shepherds are often dogs that are trained to work with one person such as a handler.

Just because they choose one person over the other doesn’t mean they don’t like the other people in the family or in the house. 

It just means they have chosen one person to spend the most time with. 

If your dog is part of a family, they will still stick to one person.

They will still guard the entire family though and listen to everyone in the family despite having one person they are attached to more than others. 

Final Thoughts

You will see that your German Shepherd picks one person in the family and attaches themselves to them. 

It will probably be the person that spends the most time with them and the one that shows them the most affection and attention. 

Make sure you are making a routine and doing ample training with your dog to make sure they establish you as the leader and as the master of the house. 

This will ensure obedience and attachment.