If you have recently gotten a German Shepherd or you are thinking of getting one then you’re probably wondering how to keep it happy.

So, how do you keep a German Shepherd happy? The options are to give it an hour of exercise every day, to give it lots of training, to give it lots of attention, to keep it occupied and to take it to the vets when you’re supposed to for regular check-ups. 

There are actually a lot of ways to give your German Shepherd exercise, attention and to keep it occupied. In the following sections, I will mention a number of tips that will help you to give your German Shepherd each of those things.

Ways to give your German Shepherd exercise

German Shepherds are a breed that was bred to do energy-intensive tasks on a daily basis. This means that they need a lot of exercise to be properly stimulated. Vets will generally recommend that you give your German Shepherd at least an hour of exercise per day. You’ll likely find that your German Shepherd will be able to handle a lot more exercise than you might expect.

Thankfully, there are a number of things that you can do to make the exercise that you give to your German Shepherd more effective.

Below I will mention some ways that you can exercise your German Shepherd and some ways to make it more efficient.

Walk it

The most obvious way to give your German Shepherd exercise is to walk it. You might find that your German Shepherd will still have energy even after an hour’s walk so you’ll need to make it more efficient. You can do this by walking it further, walking it more quickly, walking it in a hilly area, you could let it loose at the dog park (if you can get it to come back reliably) or you could put a weight vest on it that weighs no more than 10% of its body weight.

Play fetch

A very effective way to give your German Shepherd exercise is to play fetch with it.

By teaching your German Shepherd to play fetch you will be able to get it to do a lot of sprinting without much rest in between. This will help to get it to wear itself out more quickly. It will also help to improve your relationship with your German Shepherd since it will get ti used to interacting with you in a positive way and it can actually help it to listen to you more easily.

Teaching your German Shepherd to play fetch can be hard. However, I have written a step by step guide on how to teach your German Shepherd to play fetch in the past here.

Walk it with other dogs

You could also walk your German Shepherd with other dogs.

By doing this you will be able to get it to wear itself out more quickly since it will be doing more exercise by playing with the other dogs. It will also help to get it to socialize which can help to improve its behavior.

However, be aware that German Shepherds have a strong prey drive and they don’t tend to get on well with small dogs, So, make sure to socialize it with other dogs that are around its size.

Teach it to swim

You could also teach your German Shepherd to swim.

By doing this you will be able to get it to do a lot of exercise since the act of swimming requires it to move its legs around quickly in order to stay afloat. It also works well in the summer since it will help to keep it cool.

German Shepherds don’t always take well to water naturally but you can teach it to like the water and I have written about how to do it in the past here.

Have it pull you along

One way to give it exercise would be to get it to pull you around perhaps on a skateboard or a bicycle. This can get it to use up a lot of energy since it will be running and it will have to work harder to pull your weight along.

If you’re considering doing it make sure to make it wear a harness instead of a collar.

Use a dog walker

If you don’t have the time to walk your German Shepherd then you could get a dog walker to do it for you. There are apps that you can download that allow you to book a local dog walker directly through the app.

If you don’t actually have a German Shepherd yet but you don’t think that you will have much time to walk it then I would advise you to look at a different breed since you’ll probably have a hard time dealing with a German Shepherd that’s not getting enough exercise.

German Shepherd

Give it attention and keep it occupied

You’ll also need to give your German Shepherd lots of attention and to find numerous ways to keep it occupied. Below I will mention some ways that you can do so.

Tug of war

One way to keep your German Shepherd happy is to play tug of war with it. Most German Shepherds love to play it so you’ll likely find that yours will enjoy playing it a lot. It is also a good way to keep it entertained when at home since you don’t need too much room to do it.

Training

If you want to keep your German Shepherd happy then it will be necessary for you to give it lots of training.

By giving your German Shepherd training you will be able to prevent it from doing things that you don’t want it to do or that might be dangerous for it. You will also be able to improve your relationship with your German Shepherd since it will get it to look to you for direction and it will be able to prevent dominating behavior.

You should start by teaching it the basics in an environment where there are not many distractions so that you can keep its focus on you more easily. One such exercise would be to teach it to sit and stay which is an important command in getting it to stop misbehaving.

After you have taught it to do that you can teach it to do the basics in a more difficult environment or you could try teaching it harder things such as to come to you on command.

You can look at the book Training Your German Shepherd on Amazon to get more tips about how you can train your GSD.

Lots of toys

One way to keep your German Shepherd occupied is to give it lots of toys to play with. By doing this you will be able to keep its focus on something you don’t mind it focusing on instead of something like your sofa.

If your German Shepherd is going through the teething stage then it is especially important to give it lots of toys to play with since it will naturally want to chew things at this stage.

Puzzle games

You can also keep your German Shepherd occupied by giving it puzzles to solve. There are toys that you can buy that are designed to make your German Shepherd think about how to get to the treats inside.

This can help to keep your German Shepherd focused on it for a longer time period. The only issue is that once your German Shepherd has figured it out it can become less interesting so be sure to get one that is a bit more challenging.

Give it chews

You could also give it chews to chew on as a way to keep it occupied. There are also some that are designed to calm it down that you might want to have around for when you think that your German Shepherd might start to misbehave.

Doggy daycare

If you think that you won’t be able to keep your German Shepherd occupied while you are not around then something that you could consider would be to take it to doggy daycare.

Related post: How to tell if your German Shepherd loves you

Keep your German Shepherd cool in the summer

If you want to keep your German Shepherd happy then you will need to find ways to keep your German Shepherd cool in the summer. German Shepherds are a double-coated dog so they can get quite warm when the temperature rises.

Groom it

The first thing that you can do is to groom it around once a week. By grooming it you will be able to remove any loose fur that it has which will help to keep it cool by allowing the air to penetrate its fur.

Don’t shave it

You might think that shaving the fur off your German Shepherd would help to keep it cool but it will actually have the effect of making it hotter and you could give it heatstroke. This is because the skin is not supposed to be in direct contact with the sun’s rays and the fur is meant to help regulate its temperature.

Give it access to water and shade

When it’s hot outside it’s important to make sure that your German Shepherd has lots of access to water and shaded areas so that it is able to stay cool and to avoid the direct sunlight.

Teach it to swim

As mentioned earlier teaching your German Shepherd to swim is a good way to exercise it in the summer since it requires a lot of effort and the water will help to keep it cool.

Exercise in morning or evening

When it’s hot outside it’s important to avoid the sunlight as much as possible. This means that it would be better to give it exercise while it is still cool outside in the morning or when the sun has set in the evening.

Use air con

If you have air conditioning then you could also keep your German Shepherd cool by setting the air conditioning to be at a lower temperature.

Things to consider

Checkups

If you want to keep your German Shepherd happy it’s important to take it to the vets for regular check-ups so that it can stay healthy.

Age

If your German Shepherd is still young then it will need more attention. However, because its bones and joints are still developing it will also not be able to get as much exercise as it could cause damage to it. It is generally recommended to give it 5 minutes of exercise for every month of age that it has.

Related

How to keep a German Shepherd puppy happy? To keep your German Shepherd puppy happy you will need to do the same things as mentioned above. However, you will be limited in how much exercise you can give it. Try to avoid giving it more than 5 minutes of exercise per month of age. Instead, you could allow it to move about naturally by playing with other puppies or by letting it explore its surroundings.

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