German Shepherd is one of the most popular dog breeds across the world. Although, owning and raising a GSD (German Shepherd Dog) is pretty much a special experience that only the GSD parents can relate to. They are different in many aspects including their exercise requirements, amount of shedding, and personality traits. However, you might’ve noticed that your German Shepherd is more destructive than other dogs, despite the same amount of exercise they get.
Well, the simple explanation for this problem is their high exercising needs. German Shepherd is a herding dog breed bred to protect the cattle from the eyes of predators. A GSD is a loyal, intelligent, highly energetic dog and has guarding instincts for which he has taken the place of a police dog or a popular k9 dog. This special dog has special requirements and that’s the reason why there is a need for a dedicated article on German Shepherd’s exercising.
Why is Exercise Crucial for German Shepherd Dogs?
A GSD in the wild was used for shepherding and guarding. He used to get enough exercise, physical activity, and mental stimulation naturally. Similarly, when he works as a k9 dog, he is anticipated to solve the mystery as if he is a Sherlock k9 and that way, he gets enough mental stimulation as well.
But on the other hand, when you bring them home and keep them confined in your house, they are going to get bored and start exhibiting destructive behavior due to pent up energy in them.
Ethan, an animal behaviorist working with CatLovesBest and DogLovesBest says, “Just regular morning or evening walks won’t work for them. A GSD requires a lot of human attention and when he has nothing to do and gets bored he may show hyperactivity, anxiety, will chew and tear apart things, destroy furniture, urinate everywhere, etc.”
So exercising is like the primary need for their good health and well being. Not to mention, wholesome food and quality multivitamin supplements are required for their overall health and well-being.
Tips to Keep in Mind For Your German Shepherd Dog
German shepherds need the right exercise to be happy and healthy. Here are 8 exercise tips for you to follow.
Use Dog Activity Monitor
The first thing required is to get a dog activity monitor for your pooch. German Shepherds are highly energetic dogs and generally require intense exercise sessions. That said, when you get them a lot of exercises there are chances that they are doing more than what they are supposed to.
Some of the signs of over-exercise are: lagging behind, stopping, and lying down during the session, shortness of breath, too much panting, visible gestures of agitation and distress, and lameness in limbs and joints. On the other hand, destructive behavior with hyperactivity, chewing, digging, and urinating everywhere.
The right way is to use a dog activity monitor to keep an eye on their amount of physical activity. Puppies require less exercise than adult ones. So, you can know exactly when to stop or when to get your GSD more exercise.
Backyard Agility on A Fine Day
Now that you know how to keep an eye on your dog’s activity, you should know what exercises are perfect for GSDs. As discussed, German Shepherds are highly energetic dogs and need to spend pent up energy in order to stay happy and healthy, simple regular walks won’t do the job. They will need physical activity as well as mental stimulation.
You can easily set up an obstacle course or an agility set. If you’re a creative soul then you can make agility objects by yourself and use them in the best way possible. Or the easier option is to get a set from Amazon or other online stores. A good agility setup includes the tasks such as hurdle jumps, tunnels, weave, jumping through hoops, and platform to jump and stay, etc.
Your German Shepherd Will Like Pool on Hot Days
Exercising on hot days is excruciating and dehydrating. And summer is the best time to get into the pool for some fun. In fact, swimming is a good exercise for your GS and he will love to push his legs in the water. It is even better if you have a home-pool. That makes the bond stronger between you two because there will be only you and him which is not possible in the public dog pool. You can make swimming a fun activity for your buddy by playing water fetch with a ball that has air inside.
You can also go to the pool for dogs if you don’t have one in your house. And your buddy will love to play with other pooches!
Find the Missing Object With Your Sherlock German Shepherd
Mental stimulation is as crucial as immense physical activity. That being said, you must include equal parts of mental stimulation in your GS’s exercise. Finding the missing object is one such example of mental stimulation. You can invent new games and activities for the same.
Use a bone or his favorite toy, show it to him and then hide it in the home or bury it under the soil in your yard. Your buddy will be very excited to find the object out. Repeat this twice or thrice depending on how difficult you make it.
Morning Walk & Jogging
Morning walk followed by sprints and jogging is normal. Not all days are equal. So when you’re too busy just go out for a walk in a park and end it with sprints. This will be enough for them to spend their pent up energy. This is a good option if you regularly go for a walk or jog in the park. Just ensure that you visit different parks every once in a while. That way your buddy won’t get bored and will accompany you on your health mission. Moreover, let your GS jog with you with the leash on. A leash will give you better control over your energetic pooch.
Tag Along Your German Shepherd On Hikes
What can be a better idea than hiking with your GS to spend time with him and to have intense exercise with fun and adventure? A hike will get you and your dog closer to nature. And the time spent during that will add to the total time you spend with your buddy to strengthen the bond between you two.
There is a caveat here. If you decide to get your dog with you on a hike, make sure you have the right accessories. There will be mountains, hills, rivers, springs to cross. Moreover, you will need First Aid kits in the case of accidents. And above all, ensure that the route you have chosen is dog-friendly. If it’s too dangerous for you then your dog won’t be able to keep up with you.
Frisbee Play With Your GS
German Shepherds can easily be trained. Teach him some commands and he will follow them without any confusion. You can play Frisbee in the park where you walk and jog. Throw a frisbee and tell your dog to ‘run’. And when your dog catches, command him to get back to you. This is quite similar to fetch and can also be played with a bone or a toy.
Play Hide N Seek
This is another creative activity to do with your GS. Your buddy will be curious to find you out. Instruct your dog to ‘Stay’ and ‘Sit’ and then hide. Call out your dog and let him come find you. This activity will provide enough mental stimulation. You can use agility objects to hide behind in your backyard.
German Shepherd is one of the most intelligent, smart, loyal, and active dog breeds. Their exercise needs and mental stimulation is really high in order to stay happy. If they don’t get enough exercise, they are likely to adapt to destructive behavior. In a nutshell, get them enough exercise along with mental stimulation and keep all the points in mind. Also, puppies, adults, and senior GSDs have different exercise needs. To make sure your buddy is getting enough exercise you can use a dog activity monitor. I hope this will help you and if you have any questions, you can let us know about them in the comment section below. Long may canines live!