How Can My German Shepherd Burn More Energy? (11 Ideas)

If you are the lucky owner of a German Shepherd, you know how loyal and affectionate they can be. But you also are aware of their strength, their agility, and their seemingly boundless energy.

As a pet parent, you have assumed the responsibility for the health and well-being of your pet, and this includes your pet’s physical well-being.

German Shepherds are very active canines with a very high energy level, so they require exercise to burn off energy. 

How Can My German Shepherd Burn More Energy

Do German Shepherds Need lots of Exercise?

Absolutely, this is not a dog breed for sitting on the sofa and watching TV. German Shepherds are large canines with incredible energy capabilities.

This is one of the reasons that they are the breed of choice for working with policemen, firemen, and military personnel.

Apart from their extraordinary intelligence, and capability for training, they are physically resilient and have loads of energy to meet strenuous challenges in dangerous situations.

Does Your German Shepherd Get Sufficient Exercise?

If a German Shepherd is tired, it can be the calmest of dog breeds. But if your Shepherd isn’t tired out but bored, your dog may engage in destructive behavior, chewing and destroying anything within reach.

A German Shepherd may also behave in such a way as to get your attention by following you from room to room wherever you go or by bringing you all of his or her favorite toys if bored.

Or your pooch may bark incessantly or may just get into mischief as a form of entertainment.

Is Walking Your German Shepherd Enough Exercise?

Walking is a good form of exercise for your German Shepherd because it not only meets physical needs but provides mental stimulation through the opportunity for exploration. Allowing dogs to use their extraordinary olfactory talents improves cognitive capabilities.

Apart from a daily walk, consider the following ideas to help you get your German Shepherd to burn some of that excess energy.

1. Group Playtime

German Shepherds love to play a lot, especially when playmates are other dogs. For your German Shepherd to engage with other dogs, a lot will depend on your dog’s personality and its level of socialization.

German Shepherds enjoy an opportunity to play, so the chance to play in a group or with other dogs can be very gratifying for your pooch.

German Shepherd to engage with other dogs

The possibility to play with another dog will not only burn off a lot of energy but will stimulate your pooch mentally. Chasing, rolling, and wrestling will burn off lots of energy as well as contribute to your dog’s overall happiness.

Permitting your pooch to play with other dogs will not tire you out, but it will tire out your furry BFF.  When your pup plays with other dogs, especially new dogs, you will need to supervise. It’s important to observe interactions between the dogs in case of aggressiveness. 

2. Climbing the Stairs

If your home has a staircase or if there is one outdoors, use it with your dog. Play a game like fetch to get your dog to run up and down.

If there are two people, one can take a place at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom, rendering the game that much more fun for your pooch. 

Some municipal parks may feature stairs, you can get your dog to run them while you are out for a jog. This is a strenuous form of exercise that will be physically demanding for both you and your pup.

When engaging in stair climbing or hill climbing, make sure that you take a sufficient number of breaks. Your dog will communicate if it needs a pause. It may just sit or lay down and interrupt play momentarily. 

3. Frisbee Anyone?

Frisbee is a game that dogs love. It puts an interesting twist on playing fetch and playing it for a while may be enough for your German Shepherd to get rid of excess energy for the day. 

German Shepherds get excited running around and especially if they are after something like a ball, a stick, or in fact, a frisbee which stimulates predatory instincts.

You can also choose the toy that you can throw the farthest. This will put some extra distance for your dog to run and burn some more energy. You can also work in some practice of basic commands like recall, stay, and fetch.

4. Let’s Play Fetch

German Shepherd Retrieve a Ball

By playing fetch and getting you’re your dog to retrieve a ball, your dog will double his daily miles running back and forth.  When you’re out with your pooch bring along a ball and throw it as you go.

5. Hide and Seek

Playing a version of “Hide and Seek” with your pup can be exceptionally stimulating for your German Shepherd. It may seem a bit unusual to play hide and seek with a German Shepherd, but it actually is an activity that will stimulate predatory chasing and tracking scents.

Because Shepherds are exceptionally intelligent and enjoy being challenged mentally, they will enjoy the problem-solving involved in this game.

As your dog becomes better at the game, you can increase the challenge by placing more distance between you and your dog and by hiding in various places.

“Hide and Seek” works wonderfully as a technique for both physical and mental stimulation, and it will reinforce your bond with your dog.

6. Play Tug of War

German Shepherds love to play Tug of War with a pull toy. You can use a toy designed for this purpose, a towel, or a piece of rope that you have knotted on the ends. Toss it and let your dog bring it back to you before engaging in pulling.

7. Let’s Go for a Swim

Swimming is an excellent method for your dog to burn energy. Many German Shepherds enjoy being in and playing in the water and many are natural swimmers.

Swimming will work all your dog’s muscles meaning the pooch will be burning lots of energy. If you have a pool or are near a lake or body of water, make it a point to take your German Shepherd swimming, especially on very hot days.

You can render the experience even more interesting and more athletically challenging by including a game of fetch in the water.

If your dog exhibits uncertainty around water, consider swimming lessons for your Shepherd with a professional trainer. Swimming lessons will also tire your pooch out a bit.

8. Run Instead of Walking

Instead of taking your German Shepherd for a walk, take your dog for a jog around the block or in the park.

9. Jump!

Teach your dog to jump safely. Jumping uses a significant amount of energy and teaches your dog coordination and agility.

10. Practice the Sport of Agility

This is a fabulous sport that you and your dog can practice together. You can begin by taking a course and eventually participate in competitions, all the while burning energy and reinforcing your bond.

11. The Weighted Doggy Vest

That’s right if you don’t have a lot of time but still want your dog to get rid of excess energy, consider a weighted dog vest.

It’s a very effective way for your dog to burn off some extra energy while taking a walk or even running in the yard. It’s very similar to people wearing weights to burn extra calories.

Before using a weighted vest, however, consult your veterinarian before using weights because they may add pressure to joints, but can contribute to building muscle mass.

See also: Top 13 Snacks That German Shepherds Like 

Mental Stimulation for Healthy German Shepherd Puppies

A German Shepherd may seem hyperactive while still a puppy, but these high energy levels in puppies are completely normal. In this developmental phase, puppies use a lot of energy to investigate their environment and acquire information.

If your German Shepherd is still a puppy you need to stimulate your dog not only with physical exercise but with mental exercises as well. As German Shepherds mature, their energy despite being high will be more easily managed.

Limited time for Exercise and Energy Burning

If you don’t have a lot of time to spend with your German Shepherd and leave them by themselves for prolonged periods, don’t be surprised if they engage in destructive behavior.

Apart from boredom, they have an instinctive need to release pet up energy. This may equate with chewing furniture, digging holes in couches, chairs, rugs, and floors. When your German Shepherd acts out, it’s time for some energy-burning exercise and activity.

Brief Time Allotment Energy Burning  

Ideally, a few hours a day should be dedicated to your German Shepherd for physical and mental exercise and stimulation. Often depending on work and family commitments, this is just not possible.

Any one of the activities outlined here, even when utilized for a short period can be efficacious in aiding your German Shepherd to burn off that extra energy daily.

The Bottom Line

If your German Shepherd seems too excitable and with boundless energy, he or she most likely needs more exercise than what it’s actually getting.

What can you do? Try any one of our energy-burning activities and not only will he or she tire out more quickly, but they’ll also do so happily. 

Susan R Elliston
I have over 11 years of experience as a vet working with a wonderful variety of species of innocent and lovely animals. Whilst I still work two days a week for a local practice, I realized that I could help more people by sharing my knowledge and experience with my readers.

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