How Much is Enough Exercise It’s always

It’s always sad to hear people say ‘My dog doesn’t need that much
exercise. He seems happy to lie around at my feet all day.’ This is never a
good reason to assume your dog doesn’t need the mental and physical
exercise – especially with a working breed like the German Shepherd.
It’s true that many German Shepherds seem at their happiest when they’re
allowed to curl up anywhere near their owner and will stay there for hours
on end. In fact, I have a German Shepherd curled up under my desk at my
feet while I write at this very moment.
This is predominantly because a German Shepherd will feel happy to be
included in whatever you’re doing, but it isn’t enough for his physical
health and well-being.

Walking


Your dog won’t view being taken out for a walk as ‘exercise time.’ He
views it as being invited out by the family pack for a ‘hunt.’ He knows
he’ll have the opportunity to look around for potential food, sniff around
for other dogs or potential prey, and spend some quality time as part of the
pack as well. For him, this constitutes mental stimulation as well.
German Shepherds will naturally travel in a cantering-lope rather than a
slow walk. During your walks together, be sure you move at a brisk pace
so your dog can trot alongside you in a comfortable gait for his size. This
can mean walking quickly or even jogging to make sure you keep at the
speed of his gait without him needing to pull ahead.
Walking is also great for keeping knee, hip and elbow joints supple in this
large breed of dog. Large breeds, like German Shepherds, are known to
suffer from hip problems later in life, so regular exercise can help to keep
your beloved dog fit and healthy for much longer.

Play-Time

German Shepherd Puppy Training


German Shepherds are naturally playful, inquisitive and curious. A bored
dog can quickly become destructive as he looks for things to occupy his
mind. This can mean digging holes in your garden, ripping laundry off the
line, chewing your favorite shoes or barking out of sheer boredom.
Play-time is about giving him a bit of time to be a bit silly and have some
fun, but it’s also an important time to reinforce the bond between you and
your dog.
Play-time should be an important part of your dog’s exercise routine and
should be something your dog finds fun and entertaining. This can mean
teaching your dog to fetch a ball or Frisbee and then throwing it around
for him in the yard or at the park. Most German Shepherds love to play a
game of tug-of-war, so find a suitable rope-toy and encourage him to play
with you. This helps to strengthen shoulder and jaw muscles.
You can also incorporate games that stimulate his mind and his need to
hunt, such as hide-and-seek. German Shepherds enjoy tracking down an
owner who is hiding in a closet, behind a bush, around the side of the
house or behind a door, so make it a fun game and praise him when he
finds you.

Hunting


While German Shepherds love to spend some time hunting and tracking
down potential prey, this does NOT mean you need to take your dog out
to kill wild animals. It can mean giving him something in his own yard to
track and hunt that is rewarding for him mentally and physically.
It’s possible to give them a small taste of the ‘hunt’ when they’re out on
their daily walk, but try scattering a handful of kibble or biscuits across
your yard and telling him to go and find them. He’ll spend as long as it
takes sniffing every one of them out.
Many dog owners use specifically made, non-toxic chew toys designed to
hold kibble inside. Your dog will happily spend time trying to work out
how to get the food out. Don’t use sticky or wet food, or you may find you
attract ants rather than entertaining your dog.
These simple games can help your dog learn to hunt down food rewards
and track any hidden treats you might leave around.