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How Much Exercise Do German Shepherds Need? Breed Facts & FAQs

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By Nicole Cosgrove

german shepherd running outside with tongue out

German Shepherds were bred to be herding dogs and they need a high level of activity to remain healthy and happy. They are extremely active dogs, and their owners will need to make sure they get the proper amount of exercise each day so the dog doesn’t become destructive due to boredom. German Shepherds are also highly intelligent and high-energy animals that will need roughly 1 to 2 hours of exercise a day. Read on to learn more about German Shepherd exercise needs and some play and exercise ideas for this breed.

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How Much Exercise Does a German Shepherd Need?

The amount of exercise will help keep your dog in great shape as well as make them happy, which will cut down on any destructive tendencies they may develop out of boredom. With proper exercise, you can strengthen the muscles supporting your dog’s tendons and joints which will help reduce or prevent injuries as they age. Exercise can be spread throughout the day and can include many types of activity, such as walking, playing, swimming, and running.

german shepherd dog running in a competition
Image Credit: Vilve Roosioks, Pixabay

Preparing Your German Shepherd for Activity

German Shepherds were originally working dogs, herding flocks of sheep for shepherds out in the fields. Your pet is most likely not going to be herding any sheep, but they still require a high level of exercise to make them happy. No matter how old your dog is when you decide to start an exercise regime for it, you should get your pet checked out by your vet before engaging in any serious exercises to prevent injury. Puppies and younger dogs will require more exercise than senior dogs and you will need to gauge your pet’s exercise needs appropriately.

German Shepherd Exercise Needs

Your German Shepherd has loads of energy to burn every day and you’re wondering what some of the best activities are to do with it.

Here is a list of activities that are sure to give your pet plenty of exercise:
  • You should walk your German Shepherd 2 to 3 times a day for 15-30 minutes per walk. Walking your pet will help keep its muscles strong and keep your dog limber for other activities.
  • Jogging or running is another activity that your dog will enjoy doing with you. Remember to jog on softer surfaces, such as trails, and avoid running on concrete with your pet as the surface will hurt their feet. Do not run with your pet if it is excessively hot out as your pet may develop health issues from overheating.
  • Swimming is another activity that German Shepherds enjoy. If your dog hasn’t swum before, start slowly by leading them into the water and getting their paws wet. You can also start by throwing a favorite ball or a stick into swallow water so they will be enticed to go into the water to retrieve it.
  • Encouraging playtime using dog toys is another great way to get exercise for your German Shepherd. The Outward Hound Tail Teaser is a flirt pole that looks like a cat teaser toy but is sturdy enough for use with dogs. It allows your dog to work out some energy while you also work on training techniques with your pet. The Chuckit! Classic Launcher dog toy helps you to throw a ball longer distances so your dog can run further and get extra exercise while you play together.
  • Playing with other dogs at the dog park will help your dog to burn off excess energy and learn to be social at the same time.
  • Mental exercise is also important for your German Shepherd. Puzzle toys, such as the brand Nina Ottosson by Outward Hound, are a popular choice because they stimulate your pet’s mind. You can also spend time each day training your dog and encouraging it to learn new tricks and behaviors.
  • Agility training or flyball are other fun exercise options for your pet. If you’ve never participated in these activities with your German Shepherd before, many training centers offer them as courses, which teaches your pet the rules and gives them plenty of exercise at the same time.

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Final Thoughts

German Shepherds are high-energy dogs that need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation every day to keep them healthy. Taking your dog for multiple walks every day is a good place to start, but you can also take your dog jogging, swimming, or running to help it burn off some energy. You can also take your dog to the park to play with other dogs or teach them agility or flyball so they can burn energy while also getting mental stimulation from the challenge. Puzzle games and playtime with lots of interactive toys are also sure to please your German Shepherd. The most important thing to remember is that your pet needs at least 1 to 2 hours of physical and mental stimulation every day to stay in top shape and to maintain happiness.

Featured Image Credit: Vilve Roosioks, Pixabay

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