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If you have a German Shepherd or you are thinking of getting a German Shepherd then you’re probably wondering how much exercise it should be getting.

So, how much exercise do German Shepherds need? German Shepherds are a breed that requires a lot of exercise. Vets will typically recommend that you give your German Shepherd at least one hour of exercise per day and the American Kennel Club actually recommends that they get at least 2 hours of exercise.

German Shepherds are a breed that was bred to do energy-intensive tasks for hours daily. With that being the case, they require a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated. You’ll often find that your German Shepherd will be able to handle all the exercise that you can throw at it and still have energy to spare.

Despite that, it’s very important that you make sure that your German Shepherd gets lots of exercise on a daily basis. Maybe you won’t be able to get rid of all of its energy but you will still be able to wear it out a bit. And that will go a long way in reducing hyperactive behavior that is caused by not getting enough exercise.

The exact amount of exercise that your German Shepherd needs will depend a lot on your German Shepherd. Some German Shepherds are less energetic and will only need an hour a day of exercise to be properly stimulated. While others will require a lot more than that and you’ll need to find ways to wear it out quickly.

How to give your German Shepherd exercise

There are a lot of ways that you can give your German Shepherd exercise. I will try to mention a number of them below.

Walk it

It’s important to make sure to give your German Shepherd some constant aerobic exercise for at least 30-45 minutes a day and many vets actually recommend at least an hour a day of prolonged aerobic activity. Walking your German Shepherd is a great way to give your German Shepherd some aerobic exercise while also helping you to get healthy yourself.

You’ll likely find that a regular walk in and of itself won’t be enough for your German Shepherd so it will be necessary to work it out even more. To do this you could try walking it off the leash at a dog park assuming you can reliably get it to come back to you.

Alternatively, you could walk it on more demanding terrain where there are lots of uphill parts. You could also put a weighted vest that weighs no more than 10% of its body weight on it.

Play fetch

One way to get your German Shepherd to do a lot of running over a short time period is to play fetch with it. Fetch is a great way to wear your German Shepherd out really quickly since it will make it do lots of sprints without much rest in between. It will also help to improve your relationship with your German Shepherd since it will get it used to working alongside you and it will help to get it used to responding to you.

It can be difficult to teach your German Shepherd to play fetch at first but the rewards are worth it. I have written about how to teach your German Shepherd to play fetch here.

Walk it with other dogs

Another way to get your German Shepherd to wear itself out more quickly is to walk it with other dogs. By walking it with other dogs it will naturally play with the other dogs and wear itself out in the process.

But, be aware that German Shepherds don’t always get along well with small dogs due to their prey drive so you might want to avoid walking it with dogs that are small.


Another great way to give your German Shepherd a lot of exercise in a short amount of time is to get it to do a lot of swimming. When German Shepherds swim they must move their arms and legs a lot to stay afloat so it causes them to wear themselves out more quickly. It’s also beneficial in the summer since the cool water will help your German Shepherd to stay cool while getting some much-needed exercise.

Not all German Shepherds take well to water naturally. If your German Shepherd doesn’t like to swim then I have written in the past about how you can get your German Shepherd to like water.

Tug of war

One way to give your German Shepherd some exercise while you are at home would be to play tug of war with it using a rope toy.

But, you should use this in addition to giving your German Shepherd sustained aerobic exercise such as by walking it, getting it to swim or pull you along on something.

Have it pull you

One way to give your German Shepherd exercise would be to have it pull you along on something. It could be that you get it to pull you along on a skateboard or bike but it would be an efficient way to give your German Shepherd exercise since you’ll likely find that it can go a lot faster than you can run.

If you do try to get it to pull you along on something make sure to use a harness instead of a collar.

Toys that wear it out

You could also get it to do some more exercise by giving it some toys that are designed to wear it out. For example, you can get toys that are designed to move around when it starts playing with them.

This can help to give your German Shepherd more exercise while around the home but be sure to use it as an addition to proper exercise.


Giving your German Shepherd lots of training is another good way to wear it out. By training your German Shepherd you will be making it use a lot of energy to not only do the training but to keep its focus onto you and to figure out what it is you want from it. Training it will also help you to keep your German Shepherd well behaved and it will help you to improve your relationship with it as it will be looking to you for direction.

Puzzle games

Another way to wear your German Shepherd out mentally is to get it to play with puzzle toys. There are many toys that you can buy that are designed to make your German Shepherd think about how to get to the treats inside of it. You should try to get one that is a bit more challenging since if your German Shepherd is able to figure it out easily it will not wear it out as much.

Toys to chew on

You can also give it lots of toys to play with and to chew on to keep it distracted and mentally stimulated. It won’t be enough in and of itself but it is a good way to keep your German Shepherd occupied on something that you want it to be occupied with.

Things to consider

When you’re exercising your German Shepherd there are some things to consider.

You might not be able to wear it out

Since German Shepherds are often able to run for hours without wearing themselves out much you’ll likely find that you won’t be able to completely wear your German Shepherd out by walking it.

If this is the case then try to find ways to wear it out more quickly by getting it to play fetch, pull you along or swim.

But, most importantly make sure not to get discouraged and stop giving your German Shepherd any exercise.

Perhaps your German Shepherd will still be a bit hyperactive after a walk but it will be much worse if it doesn’t get any walk and it is not healthy for your German Shepherd to not get any exercise.

If it’s a puppy

If your German Shepherd is a puppy then it is not recommended that you give it lots of exercise just yet.

This is mainly due to how its joints and bones are still developing and lots of exercise could cause them to get damaged.

It is generally recommended that you walk it for 5 minutes per month of age. Instead of giving it lots of exercise you could let it play naturally with other puppies or in your backyard instead.

Dog Walker

If you don’t have the time to give your German Shepherd exercise daily then consider paying a dog walker to do it for you. There are apps that you can download that will let you pay someone in your local area to walk your dog.

Related questions

How much space does a German Shepherd need? Since German Shepherds are a very active breed by nature it is recommended that you give them as much space as you can. This means that ideally, you should have a backyard that’s big enough for it to run around in.

Best German Shepherd Training Program

Our favorite: The Dunbar Academy Training Program. If you want a happy and obedient German Shepherd, this is one of the best online dog training programs available right now. You can get the first month free using This link


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