Whether you’re researching getting a German Shepherd or are just trying your best to give your loveable furry friend the healthy and happy life they deserve, we have some tips for you. There are plenty of ways you can keep your German Shepherd happy, from mental stimulation to giving your dog some more cuddles on the sofa. Here are 8 ways to keep your German Shepherd happy.
We’ve popped a quick list together for you, which we’ll cover below in more detail.
- Physical activity
- Socialising from an early age
- Good nutrition
- Mental stimulation
- Regular check-ups at the vets
- Showing them plenty of love and affection
- Agility training
- Regular grooming
- Buy from a responsible & trusted breeder
German Shepherds are a breed that is bursting with energy. Originally bred as working dogs for farms and more recently for the Police and Military, German Shepherds need plenty of exercise each day to be properly stimulated.
It’s typically recommended that you should give your German Shepherd 90-minutes of exercise each day, which can either be spread out across the day with high energy activities such as walking, running or playing fetch. However, you can give them their 90-minutes of exercise at once if you are planning a hike.
Any walks you do should be opportunities for your German Shepherd to explore their environment and practice good behavior off their lead.
Socialising From An Early Age
If you have a German Shepherd puppy, you should aim to socialize them with other dogs, children, and adults as soon as they’ve had all their relevant vaccinations in order to prevent many common behavioral problems such as aggression and snappiness. Socializing your dog from an early age leads to a well-behaved, relaxed, and safer dog in the long run.
If your dog is comfortable around a range of people in a variety of situations, they are less likely to use aggression in unfamiliar situations or when they feel threatened. Not socializing your puppy can lead to dangerous problems in the future.
Like other dogs, German Shepherds need to follow a nutrient-rich diet to grow healthy and strong. Because of their size, intelligence, and physical nature, it is important to feed German Shepherds foods with high-calorie content to ensure they stay energized and healthy throughout their lives.
You should aim to feed your German Shepherd foods high in protein as it keeps their immune system healthy and allows their muscles and bones to become strong. Growing German Shepherds should get a quarter of their food from lean protein sources, while puppies and adults need slightly less (around 15%).
Fats also play an important role in your German Shepherd’s diet; like proteins, fats help to provide energy and contribute to the development of the muscles, cells, nerves, and tissues. Although fats are an essential part of your dog’s diet, too much can lead to health problems such as obesity. The amount of fat recommended for puppies is 8%, whereas adults require less at 5%.
German Shepherds are highly intelligent creatures that require mental stimulation as much as physical exercise as it helps to give them a sense of purpose by giving them something meaningful to do.
Activities such as playing fetch, letting your dog explore and sniff around whilst off their lead, and teaching them tricks are all perfect examples of how you can mentally stimulate your pup.
Regular Check-ups At The Vets
The earlier you find an ailment or physical condition in your German Shepherd, the more likely it can be treated quicker, which is why it’s important to get into the habit of bringing your furry friend for regular vet check-ups. Ensuring everything is OK with your furry friend and that they are up to date with their vaccinations and medications is key to a healthy and happy dog.
Agility training is excellent for helping your German Shepherd release their built-up energy in a safe and fun environment. Agility training doesn’t only help your dog release energy; it also helps to strengthen their joints, build muscle, build confidence, and helps you to bond with your dog. This allows you to establish and develop a connection and build a friendship to last a lifetime.
German Shepherds have double coats that require more regular grooming than other dogs to ensure they’re comfortable. Ensuring their coat is soft and free of tangles is essential to a happy dog. Grooming is also a great time to connect with your dog as you can stroke them slowly and gently, either with a grooming brush or gloves.
We recommend choosing a time when your dog isn’t bursting with energy as it will help relax your dog and make them feel sleepy. Grooming won’t only help your bond grow stronger with your dog; it also helps to get rid of excess hair and will help improve your dog’s circulation too.
Show Them Plenty Of Love And Affection
German Shepherds are best known for being loyal and protective in nature and can often seem like a scary dog breed. But by showing them plenty of love and affection through strokes, cuddles, and treats, you release chemicals in their brains that make them happy and affectionate.
Showing your German Shepherd love and affection helps them feel at ease, can improve how they are around other people, and has been proven to relax them when they’re feeling stressed or anxious.
How To Keep Your German Shepherd Happy When They’re Home Alone
German Shepherds are known for being loyal and social dogs. They love spending time with their owners, whether that’s on the sofa, cuddling, watching TV, or out on a hike in the mountains.
When you leave the house, it can make your German Shepherd a little anxious, but the following tips and tricks can help you ensure your German Shepherd is kept happy and content while you’re out.
Take Them Out For A Long Walk Before You Leave
A great way to ensure your German Shepherd is happy while you’re at work is to tire them out before you leave. The easiest way to do this is by taking them on a long walk before you leave.
By going out for a long walk and a few rounds of fetch, you’re working your dog’s body and mind leaving them tired and ready for a long sleep while you’re out. When you arrive home, praise your German Shepherd for being good whilst you were out, and they will understand that this is good behavior.
Provide Them With Plenty Of Distractions
Because German Shepherds are naturally energetic dogs, it’s important to keep them busy with distractions whilst you’re away. If you don’t, they will find their own distractions such as playing with sofa cushions or your new trainers!
Distractions such as getting peanut butter out of a Kong toy or finding treats hidden in a puzzle ball can help your dog feel mentally stimulated when they’re home alone. These tricks can help alleviate your dog’s boredom and leave them feeling content until you arrive home.
Confine Them To One Area Of The House
Dogs instinctively seek out smaller, sheltered spaces to hide and rest in. This behavior is known as ‘dog denning’. By offering a ‘den’ or room for your German Shepherd that is filled with a water bowl, dog toys, and dog treats, this can help instill calmness and comfort to your dog when you’re both apart.
Get Someone To Check In On Your Dog
The best cure for a bored dog is companionship. If you don’t work close to your home, consider asking a friend or family member to check in on your dog on the days you plan on leaving them home alone.
Even if it’s just for 15 minutes, your dog will appreciate the company and attention. It will help your dog feel less lonely and provide them with some mental and physical stimulation.
Install An Interactive Dog Camera
Interactive dog cameras are a great way to keep an eye on your dog whilst they’re home alone. They can be installed almost anywhere you want to keep an eye on your dog – from the edge of their crate to near your TV; they are easy to install and can help to give both you and your dog peace of mind when you’re both apart.
Many dog cameras have microphones installed to allow you to communicate with your dog, and some are high-tech enough that they allow you to dispense treats at the touch of an app! They offer a great solution for you to interact with your dog remotely and provide your dog with a way of gaining some human contact when they’re left alone.
What Should You Avoid Doing?
German Shepherds often endure human behavior because they are incredibly loyal and respect their owners. However, there are a few things you should avoid doing in order to keep your furry friend happy.
You can probably think of a few things your dog hates because it’s obvious. Maybe your dog hates being bathed, or perhaps they shy away from small, energetic children. Whatever it is, you can guarantee no two dogs are the same; what makes one dog unhappy may make another dog incredibly happy! Below we’ve listed some common things German Shepherds dislike, so you can avoid doing them!
While we do recommend giving your dog plenty of cuddles on the sofa to show them love and affection, hugging your German Shepherd is not typically recommended as it can be incredibly uncomfortable for them. Placing your arms around your dog’s body or neck can sometimes make your dog feel threatened, especially if it’s a hug from someone they’re not familiar with.
Most German Shepherds tolerate hugs from their owners or close family members, but it doesn’t mean they actually enjoy them. Instead of going in for a big hug, you should let your dog cuddle up to you on the sofa by letting them place their head on your lap and then stroking them as this will make them much happier and content.
Leaving Your Dog Alone For Extended Periods
German Shepherds are social dogs who love to have human interaction and mental stimulation on a regular basis. Whilst you can leave them alone when you go out to work, you should avoid leaving them for extended periods as it can lead to separation anxiety and behavioral problems in the future.
Aim to spend as much time as possible with your dog when you get home and carve out plenty of time for bonding with your pet. If you work regular hours and are away from the house on certain days, set a routine that provides your dog with plenty of physical and mental activity, as well as bonding opportunities for you both.
Punish Your Dog Harshly
If your dog has been naughty or has acted out, your first reaction can sometimes be to yell at them in order to assert your dominance and show them who’s boss. But no matter how naughty your dog has been, you should never punish or yell at them.
Instilling fear in your dog won’t make them respect you as an owner; instead, you may find that they start to shy away from you and resent you.
Positive reinforcement should instead be used to correct naughty behavior. If your German Shepherd has done something bad, try training your dog towards a preferred behavior instead. When they comply, reward them with treats, so they know what they’re doing is good.
Let Your Dog Run Wild
German Shepherds are creatures of habit, and change or lack of routine will often lead to a stressed or aggressive dog. If your dog is left to its own devices, it will run wild and cause you a lot of headaches which may lead to behavioral problems such as aggression and snappiness down the line.
Establishing a routine with your dog as soon as possible helps them to understand what’s expected of them and helps to satisfy their habitual nature leading to a happy and healthy dog.
Getting In Their Personal Space
Much like us humans, German Shepherds don’t like it when humans get in their faces. Avoid putting your hands in their face, racing towards them, or leering over them, as this will lead to them feeling fearful, especially if they are unfamiliar with you.
Instead, if you do need to get in their personal space (for things such as ear cleaning or tooth brushing), you should be gentle with your dog and reward them with treats for being patient. If your dog becomes aggressive or shows signs of fear, simply back off and try another time again.
Want To Train Your German Shepherd With Peace Of Mind?
If you haven’t trained your German Shepherd properly, then this is the perfect time to start. Whatever bad behavior your shepherd has, whether it’s barking at night or other bad behaviors, using the right training program is the key to having an obedient and happy pup.
The training program I love and highly recommend is Brain Training For Dogs.
With Brain Training For Dogs you’ll save yourself a ton of time and effort. Instead of banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your dog won’t listen, you’ll follow a path that has been tried, tested, and most importantly, that’s given proven results. Not to mention the fact, you’ll be able to fit the course around your schedule, not fit your schedule around a trainer or obedience class.
So instead of worrying about whether they’re going to be well-behaved or not, you’ll only have to worry about how much fun you’ll have with them!
And in most cases it’s still going to be:
- Cheaper than hiring a professional.
- Cheaper than replacing everything they might break.
- And definitely cheaper than a lawsuit against you, if they decide to bite someone.
Just imagine how great it will feel to finally be able to trust your German Shepherd completely and never worry whether they’ll be naughty or not. Instead, you’ll have the peace of mind that you have a well-behaved pup, and the boundaries you set for them, will always be there, EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT.
And the best part is it also has a 60-day money-back guarantee! So there’s no reason not to give Brain Training For Dogs a try!
So if you’re tired of your dog’s bad behavior, or how they react around other people and pooches, then give it a try! You’ll be amazed by the results!
(You can also check out a full review here, to learn exactly what the course has to offer!)
Good dog owners will do anything to ensure their dog is happy and healthy. While humans can talk about how they’re feeling through conversations, dogs will do it through body language. Paying close attention to your German Shepherd’s body language is a great way to understand whether they are happy and if what you’re doing is good or bad.
Signs Your Dog Is Happy
To understand if your German Shepherd is happy or enjoying what they are doing, you will see it through their body language and communication. Signs to look out for that your dog is happy include:
- Relaxed ears – relaxed, floppy ears are a sign of a happy and content dog.
- Playful dog – a relaxed and happy dog is more likely to want to play and jump around. The downwards dog position is a tell tale sign that your dog trusts you and wants to play.
- They cuddle you – a happy dog that enjoys your company will show you lots of love and affection by cuddling up to you. It’s a good signal if they lay their head in your lap when you stroke them as it shows you they trust you!
- Wagging tail – this is the most common signal that your dog is happy.
- They’re smiling – that’s right! Happy dogs will sometimes look as though they’re smiling! When their mouth is relaxed and open, and teeth are visible it will look like they’re giving you a big smile.
Signs Your Dog Is Unhappy
Just like a happy dog, an unhappy dog is easy to spot too. Signs to look out for include:
- Tail tucked between their legs – an unhappy dog will often tuck their tail between their legs rather than wagging it in the air.
- Tense body – an unhappy dog will usually tense its muscles rather than allowing themselves to be relaxed. They may shy away from other humans or dogs by looking away or holding their head down.
- Hiding or running away – an unhappy or stressed dog is more likely to hide away from people or animals that unsettle them. If they display this behaviour, you should let them have some time out as trying to force them into an unnerving situation can cause them to become aggressive.