German Shepherds are intelligent and active dogs that need both physical and mental stimulation in order to thrive. Otherwise, they’re likely to develop behavioral problems that make them difficult dogs to care for.
Read on for an arsenal of activities to entertain your GSD and keep them from developing unwanted behaviors.
How To Keep A German Shepherd Entertained
To fight boredom, you need activities that will tire your dog out as well as stimulate their senses.
Outside, German Shepherds enjoy the usual exercise activities like walking, fetching, and swimming. Indoors, you can keep your dog occupied with training sessions, toys, and chores. There are also several recreational activities and companion sports to choose from.
Ways To Keep Your German Shepherd Entertained Outside
There are almost an unlimited number of things you can do to keep your dog entertained outside. You can choose based on the space available to you, how active you both are, and what you both like doing.
Here are a few ideas for activities German Shepherds like to do outside the house:
Walking your dog is the most basic thing you can do outside. It might seem like a boring idea, but all dogs love it.
Not only do they get to answer their calls of nature but it’s also a good way to explore their environment, sniff around, and expend their excess energy. Walking also gives them a chance to experience new surroundings and socialize with other dogs and people.
Teaching your dog to play fetch is one of the best ways to make sure you always have something to do together. It’s simple and it’s a fun game to tire your dog out.
Just make sure you find a good fetch ball that’s suited for the German Shepherd’s size and roughness.
If you tire easily or you can’t throw as far as your dog would like to run, you can always get an automatic ball launcher. Dogs are even able to learn how to operate the launcher on their own and enjoy a game of fetch by themselves.
Not all German Shepherds like to swim. But when they do, it’s an excellent way to play and tire them out. Swimming and jumping in and out of the water is already enough exercise. You can also get floating dog toys for retrieval games.
No matter the age or swimming ability of your dog, make sure you suit them up in a proper life jacket if you’re going in any body of water that’s deeper than their height.
If you have an active lifestyle, there are many recreational activities you can do with your German Shepherd.
There are also several companion sports you can engage in for competition or titles.
For example, you can try Agility training or Tracking—both of which are sports that GSDs often excel in.
Canine sports are another way to keep your dog entertained on a regular basis. Since a lot of work goes into training and excelling in these sports, they might be all you need to keep your dog content.
Being strong, intelligent, and active dogs, German Shepherds excel in many canine sports.
Among them are Diving Dogs and Flyball. If you prefer the rigorous process of training for obedience and protection, you might also want to consider Schutzhund as a sport.
Ways To Keep Your German Shepherd Entertained Inside
German Shepherds that get plenty of physical exercise often switch off indoors and use their time to sleep or lounge around.
Nevertheless, they will still benefit from having things to do inside the house, especially if it means more opportunities to sharpen their mental faculties and canine abilities.
Here are some of the best things you can do to keep your German Shepherd entertained inside the house:
People rely on German Shepherds for all sorts of complex work. So it shouldn’t be any surprise to know that you can actually teach your GSD to take on some chores at home.
Among the jobs GSDs can take on are fetching packages, tidying up, and retrieving specific items. Check out this article for a list of jobs you can teach your German Shepherd to do at home.
Mental exercises sharpen your dog’s intelligence and also nurture their natural canine abilities.
For example, German Shepherds are naturally good at scenting. You can strengthen this ability by arranging scavenger hunts, which involve hiding toys or treats for them to find.
With toys, treats, and some imagination, you can create all sorts of indoor games to play with your German Shepherd. For example, you can teach them how to play Red Light/Green Light or teach them specific names of items for them to retrieve.
Given their size and strength, it’s essential to instill obedience in your German Shepherd. Engage in obedience training as often as you can and make sure they follow commands no matter the place or situation.
There are many important commands for your German Shepherd to learn. Among the daily essentials are sit, stay, down, and come. Others you’ll want to teach them include leave it, drop it, and place.
Unlike obedience, tricks aren’t critical skills for your GSD to learn. They are, however, a good way to have fun with your dog, strengthen your bond, and improve your communication skills.
Tricks are also entertaining for you both and a good way to impress your guests.
For example, you can start simply by teaching your dog to shake hands, spin, or kiss. Then, you can move on to more complex tricks like teaching your dog how to army crawl.
Ways To Keep Your GSD Entertained When You Are Away Or Busy
Understandably, you can’t always be around to entertain your German Shepherd. You’ll need to teach them ways to play independently without getting themselves into trouble. Otherwise, you’ll need other options that don’t involve your presence.
Here are some ideas for keeping your German Shepherd while you are busy or away:
Giving your dog some puzzle toys is a good way to keep them occupied. These days, there are plenty to choose from or you can even make them yourself.
What’s important is that you provide toys that not only fight off boredom but are also mentally stimulating.
The best puzzle toys for German Shepherds are designed to sharpen your dog’s problem-solving skills. Interacting with these toys also boosts their self-confidence and willingness to play independently.
It may not seem like it, but chewing is both mentally and physically stimulating for your dog. Apart from keeping your GSD occupied, they have the additional benefit of improving oral health.
Because of the German Shepherd’s remarkable bite strength, choosing the right chew toy is a critical matter of safety.
You can rely on high-quality bully sticks, which have the taste and durability that all GSDs love. These are relatively safe to give your dog while you’re busy but still around to check on them.
If you’ll be away completely, you might be better off leaving your dog with a stuffed KONG or another equally durable enrichment toy. Just make sure you inspect them regularly for safety and throw them out when they start to fall apart.
If you’ll be away for a long time, you should consider leaving your dog at a daycare center or hiring a pet sitter. They can take your place in making sure your dog gets the exercise and entertainment they need.
Apart from supervision, spending time at daycare will also help with your dog’s socialization by meeting other dogs and people. They might even have opportunities to engage in new activities.
Why Keeping Your GSD Entertained Is Important
German Shepherds are working dogs. Even when they are kept as household companions, they still have an abundance of energy and a strong drive to work. They need plenty of opportunities to expend their energy which keeps them from being bored.
When a German Shepherd is bored, they may decide to find things to do on their own and it won’t necessarily be an activity that’s acceptable to you.
By keeping your German Shepherd entertained, you’re able to ensure that they use their energy and mental capacities in positive and productive ways. You’re also enabling them to become fulfilled working dogs.
Apart from keeping them from developing unwanted behaviors out of boredom, learning how to keep a German Shepherd entertained is a huge part of giving your dog a good life. Engaging in these activities will ensure their physical and mental wellbeing as well as give you plenty of opportunities to develop your bond and nurture your relationship.
For more ideas on physical activities, your dog might love, check out this article on ways to exercise your German Shepherd.