For many pet parents, the idea of having to take their German Shepherd dog out for a walk every day is daunting. The typical response to this concern is that they will buy a smaller dog. However, German Shepherds are energetic and playful dogs who need lots of exercise to stay healthy.
In fact, if you don’t provide your shepherd with enough daily exercise, they may develop behaviors such as excessive barking or chewing things up in the house! So how much exercise does your pup really need?
How Much Exercise Does a German Shepherd Need! Let’s find out together
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How Much Exercise Does a German Shepherd Need?
The answer to this question is pretty straightforward. According to a recent study, a German Shepherd only needs around 20 minutes of exercise per day.
That’s not much at all! But when you consider that one walk might take your dog five or even 10 minutes out the front door and back in again, it adds up quickly.
As soon as you get home from work, don’t allow yourself to sit on the couch and veg out for a few hours before getting ready for bed.
Take your dog straight out into the yard or park nearby and play with them for around five minutes. Then put them away in their kennel or crate while you clean up the dinner dishes.
How Long Should a German Shepherd be Walked?
In addition to asking how much exercise a German Shepherd needs, another common question is, “how long should I walk my dog?”
The answer to this question depends on how old your shepherd is. In general, however, you should walk your dog for at least 30 minutes per day in the beginning. As time goes by and he starts to get more used to exercise, his stamina will increase.
This is a good time to start increasing the length of your walks until you reach an hour or more per day. However, if you walk your dog for too long, he may develop hip dysplasia or other health issues later in life.
So there you have it – how much exercise does a German Shepherd need? According to these studies, the daily exercise required for your dog is only about 20-30 minutes. However, if you’re looking at an hour or more per day, talk to your vet first to be sure that you aren’t overdoing it!
What are the Best Exercises for a German Shepherd?
The best exercises for a German Shepherd are not the same as the best exercises for other breeds.
For example, while a Labrador Retriever needs lots of exercises to use up their excess energy levels, shepherds don’t need much at all!
They are more easygoing and can adapt well to different lifestyles without requiring a lot of exercises.
Though they will enjoy running and playing, you don’t need to take them out for a walk every day or run around in the backyard with them.
Instead, there are plenty of other fun exercises that your shepherd can do! Here are just a few ideas:
1) Have a Playdate!
Take your German Shepherd to the dog park or reach out to friends who own pups of similar size. This is a great time to get your dog socialized with other dogs – it’ll help them stay calm and friendly in new environments!
Remember, however, that just because your shepherd gets along well with other dogs doesn’t mean they are safe around bigger dogs!
Exercise caution around larger dogs, and don’t let your pet get near until you are sure they won’t be attacked.
2) Learn New Tricks!
Teaching your dog new tricks is a fun way to breathe some fresh life into the exercise routine.
You could teach them how to jump, play dead, or even roll over for a treat! Of course, the more you practice, the better your dog will get at performing tricks.
3) Play Fetch!
Who doesn’t love to play fetch? This game can be a great exercise for dogs and humans alike.
Just remember that overdoing it can result in problems like tennis elbow or other injuries – so make sure you don’t play too often or for too long.
4) Hide and Seek!
If your dog is hiding somewhere in the house, try to find him! If you lose track of your pet, use his favorite toy as a lure – they will always love to play with that squeaky ball or barking stuffed animal when it’s being used as a motivator.
5) Take a Hike!
If you can afford to do so, heading out on a hike through the woods with your German Shepherd is an excellent way to both exercise and bond.
Aggressive dogs have attacked some people hiking through trails in national parks, but those are exceptional cases where dogs have not been socialized.
However, if you are walking in a well-populated area with lots of other dogs and humans, your shepherd will be safe and healthy!
How to Exercise Your GSD in an Apartment
If you don’t have a backyard or lots of extra time to go on walks, there are other ways to exercise your German Shepherd in an apartment.
For instance, you can play fetch with just one ball (or even several tennis balls!) and let them chase it around the apartment until they catch it.
This is a great way to get your dog moving, and you can work on an actual fetching routine if you want your pet to learn new tricks.
1) Hide Treats Around the House!
While walking around the house with your shepherd might be boring, it’s a great way to encourage them to explore their environment.
Strategically place treats around the house for your pet to find as you walk, and this will give them plenty of motivation to move around!
2) Take Them for an Evening Walk Around the Block
If you aren’t too tired from work or have other plans, ask your neighbor if they wouldn’t mind walking with you. If you aren’t so lucky to have a dog-friendly neighbor, then take your pet out for a walk in the evening – it’s still good exercise!
Just use a flashlight or headlamp so that you can see where you’re going and not step on any rattlesnakes.
3) Play Fetch at Night
If you don’t have any other plans, playing fetch with your shepherd at night is a great way to get them moving. Dim the lights in your house so that you can see where the ball has landed, and then walk over and grab it!
4) Train Your Dog for Obedience and Agility Trials!
Obedience trials are a fun way to bond with your dog while also encouraging them to get some exercise. Remember, though, that even if you are competing with your pet and encouraging them to use their muscles, they still need a lot of rest!
Rest periods between training sessions will help them stay healthy and strong for when the next competition rolls around. You can use a powerful dog training collar for this purpose.
5) Take Your Pet Swimming!
Taking your shepherd swimming is an excellent way to exercise, especially if you have a pool or access to a lake.
However, if you decide to bring your pet along on an afternoon picnic at the lake, make sure that they are safe by keeping them leashed and never letting them off-leash in deep water. Many dogs don’t like swimming and will try to escape!
6) Take Them Jogging
While walking isn’t as strenuous or physically demanding for humans, it can actually be an excellent exercise for a German Shepherd – especially if you are running instead of briskly walking.
This is also an excellent way to bond with your pet and get outdoors at the same time! However, if you decide to jog on a trail, be sure to keep an eye out for wild animals and other dangers.
Can Your GSD Exercise Alone & How Do I Do That?
Of course, you can exercise your dog alone! Take a look at the steps below to learn how.
1) Do Your Research Before You Commit
Make sure that you’re doing everything safely and in an appropriate manner for both you and your pet before starting any exercise routine. If you aren’t comfortable with it, don’t do it!
2) Ask Your Vet for Exercise Recommendations!
Your veterinarian will likely give you different advice than I have, and that’s fine. Be sure to follow your dog’s individual needs to keep them healthy. If you need recommendations on what specific exercises are best, talk to the vet!
3) Work Out at Home
This is a great way to bond with your pet while also getting the appropriate amount of exercise. It’s easy, convenient, and you don’t have to worry about anyone being unkind to your dog!
4) Participate in Doggy-Paddle at the Pool
If you have access to a pool or lake where you live, you can go swimming with your dog! There are even classes available should you not know how to swim.