German Shepherd Dogs are highly active dogs, and described in breed standards as self-assured.The breed is marked by a willingness to learn and an eagerness to have a purpose. Shepherds have a loyal nature and bond well with people they know. However, they can become over-protective of their family and territory, especially if not socialized correctly. An aloof personality makes them approachable, but not inclined to become immediate friends with strangers. By nature a German Shepherd is wary of strangers, though once one is accepted by him he is a friend for life. German Shepherds are highly intelligent and obedient and some people think they require a “firm hand”, but more recent research into training methods has shown they respond as well, if not better, to reward based training methods.