How Much Exercise Does a German Shepherd Need?
If you are looking for a ride-or-die kind of companion, a German Shepherd is ideal for you. Here, we answer the question, how much exercise does a German Shepherd need to be healthy?
If a true companion is what you seek in a pet, then a dog might very well be the perfect option for you. They are incredibly loving and will stand by you through thick and thin. They are one of the most loyal animals ever to exist and will surely bring a touch of joy to your life.
German Shepherds are one of the most popular dog breeds to keep as pets. Not only are they wonderful companions, but they are extremely protective and intelligent. They are also natural athletes and require a substantial amount of exercise daily to keep them happy and healthy for a long time.
Here, we discuss “how much exercise does a German Shepherd need” and list some of the best exercises for German Shepherds.
How Much Exercise Does a German Shepherd Need?
German Shepherds are naturally athletic and have great stamina. They can run around all day and not look tired, but they will fall asleep super exhausted. So ideally, you should make sure they get around 1 to 2 hours of proper exercise every day.
Do keep in mind that when we say exercise, we don’t mean going for a walk as that is a simple activity that helps them utilize some of the energy they seem to be overflowing with all the time—going for a walk or joining the kids on the fun as they play in the backyard is not exactly exercise for a German Shepherd. It is more like taking part in routine chores.
You will have to engage them in disciplined exercise routines that will help them burn off energy reserves and go to bed happy. It also helps them train their body and their mind, enhancing their natural athletic abilities. In fact, your dog will be happiest when you include various exercises in their regular workouts.
Here are a few of the best exercises for German Shepherds.
Top Exercises for German Shepherds
There are many different types of exercises that you can engage your German Shepherd in. They include:
- Obedience Exercises – As we have mentioned earlier, dogs are bundles of energy and are always running around. They have the tendency to be a little rowdy. Thus, you will have to incorporate obedience training within their daily exercise routines as it allows you to discipline them efficiently.
- Sprints – You will also have to incorporate exercises that will burn energy, and sprints are the ideal way to do that. Get your dog to run a couple of laps and run in one direction, then in the other to get them really out of breath. But the more energy they burn, the happier they will be.
- Freestyle Dancing – German Shepherds are happy creatures and would love to bust a move with you. You may want to put on good music and start dancing with them. They will definitely bust a move with you even if the move involves them running around in circles around you and jumping up and down. It’s the energy and the vibe that really gets them activated, working out, and happy.
- Agility Workouts – as your German Shepherd will age, they will struggle with joint issues and other bone problems. Your dog is as susceptible to arthritis and becoming overweight as are you, so you will have to make sure you keep their joints moving, and their muscles worked out so they can stay fit and healthy for long.
Here are a few exercises you can effortlessly include in your daily routine.
1. Jogging and Running
If you like to go for a morning run, take your German Shepherd with you. A one-hour run in the morning is the perfect way to kickstart your and your dog’s day. It will help them burn much of the energy they garner overnight and ensure they are a little more relaxed throughout the day.
You may want to consider choosing a big park or an open space to go for a run with your German Shepherd. They enjoy open and green spaces and are happiest when given ample open space to run around in.
A good invigorating run every day also ensures that your dog is never overweight and has lower chances of developing heart diseases. Just make sure that you monitor your dog’s movements and breathing. If it looks thirsty, stop for a bit and let it get some rest, and give it water before you continue.
Initially, try taking your dog on the run on softer surfaces such as grass. But as they grow older, you should take them for a run on harder surfaces as well. Running on hard surfaces builds endurance in your dog, works larger muscles in the legs, and helps keep the nails strong and healthy and naturally filed short.
2. Hide and Seek.
We know it sounds a little ridiculous, but German Shepherds are very curious and incredibly intelligent creatures. They love a good game of hide and seek and can play for hours on end. It is not just an excellent game to play if you want to give your animal good exercise, but also an ideal game to play if you want to give their brain a good workout.
Your dog will search for you, look for clues and try to locate you, which will require a lot of physical and mental work. You may have to teach your dog how to play hide and seek, so initially, you will have to hide in obvious places and let your dog see you.
Once your dog begins to understand the game, you can start hiding properly and calling out to your dog instead. They will then follow your voice and try to locate you. Through a game of hide and seek, you train their senses which helps them unlock their true potential.
They can be not only your companions but also your rescuers in emergencies. A good game of hide and seek can help you build a stronger connection with your dog and build an unbreakable bond.
3. Go for Hikes Regularly
You will have to take an all-around approach to train and exercise your dog. Going for a hike is an ideal way to do that. Your dog must always walk right by you, or it must be just a few feet away. They must be able to hear you when you call out to them and must respond to basic commands such as come, sit, stay, run, and so on.
You may want to keep a whistle with you as that helps ensure you have a way to communicate with your dog even if you two drift apart on the hiking trail. Start with smaller trails or walks on hilly areas before you take on hard trails. You can make this a weekly exercise with your dog, and it will keep both of you happy and healthy.
4. A Game of Frisbee
A game of frisbee also doubles as an agility workout. However, as was the case with hide and seek, you will have to spend some time training your dog and teaching them how to play before you can expect them to catch the frisbee in the air.
First of all, you need to buy a dog frisbee as a human frisbee can be injurious to your dog. A dog frisbee is softer around the edges and is safer for your pets. You will have to start slow by throwing the frisbee slowly within a few meters of where you are standing. After a few tries, which can extend to 50 to around 100 throws, your dog will finally start attempting to catch the frisbee mid-air.
Slowly, you can make the game even more challenging by throwing the frisbee faster and for longer distances. It helps improve your dog’s reflexes and improves agility and flexibility. It also gives them a good workout and gets their heart pumping.
5. Spring Pole Tug of War
German Shepherd is a naturally strong breed, and simple strength training exercises will do them plenty of good. Incorporating a strength pole at home is the best way to get your dog to build full-body strength as they tug on the rope attached to the pole and try to run away with it.
Your German Shepherd will end up using their full-body strength in their attempt to detach the rope from the pole. It helps work out their jaw, back, and major leg muscles. It also helps train their core, making it stronger and enhancing their capability to pull heavy weights if needed.
The best part about using a spring pole is that you aren’t really doing any work, and yet your dog can get hours of strength training in. In fact, you can expect your German Shepherd to be out there fighting the pole as much as it possibly can because they aren’t ones to back down from a challenge.
These are the five best exercises for your German Shepherd. You don’t necessarily have to stick to these, and you can consult your dog trainer to get a customized workout schedule for your German Shepherd to work out their problem areas. Just make sure you give your dog up to two hours of invigorating exercise every day to keep them happy and healthy.
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