Do you give your dog exercise? We have all heard that saying that "Dogs are man’s best friend." But are we really their best friend?
One of the main issues that causes so many dogs to end up in shelters and at the human society and in dog rescues all over the world are due to a lack of training and also a lack of adequate exercise. Owners often complain when their bored dog suddenly eats the remote control or tears up one of their possessions.
And then they wonder, "why did my dog do that?" And those same television show addicted, couch potatoes often never take into consideration the fact that their German Shepherd was born to be an active dog. It is just a part of their nature.
And as a result, this mismatch between lazy owner and bored dog (that desperately needs some exercise and mental stimulation) is the perfect recipe for a strained relationship between the two - and the perfect recipe especially for a really lonely, bored, often destructive and a terribly miserable dog. So what can you do to stop this from happening?
First, long before you even consider bringing a new German Shepherd into your family and home, you need to really consider and completely understand the activity level that your German Shepherd Dog (or puppy) needs to be physically, mentally and emotionally happy and healthy. Don't be one of those owners who think that a German Shepherd only needs walking twice a day.
Believe me when I say that your German Shepherd will need to get more exercise than that! And be true to yourself. If you are a really lazy person, or a couch potato, or a person who does not like to exercise at all, or hates being outside then do yourself a favor and reconsider getting a German Shepherd Dog (or puppy). Lazy people (or should I say "inactive people") and really active dogs are a very bad combination.
And if this is the case, chances are high that you are not likely to change your own exercise habits - and it is ultimately the GSD that will suffer. Why? Because the lazy owner will put off all regular dog exercise and important things like play time and even walking and in the end the German Shepherd will fail to have it's needs met in respect to regular outdoor time, fun dog exercise and even regular play times.
Also, don't confuse the amount of time allotted for things like regular daily activities, such as walks outside to do their "business", etc., for exercise time. A dog needs time to use the bathroom the same as you but this is not the same as dog exercise. Every German Shepherd, everywhere, everyday, needs the proper amount of time each day to do things like play, walk, run, wrestle, jump and just generally blow off some steam.
And if this comes, before and after, with a brisk and invigorating walk on their leash to the nearest dog park, or even around your block a few times, then the more the merrier. And keep in mind too that even if your dog has a yard - a fenced in yard where it can freely play and chase and run while not on a leash - then that is really not dog exercise in many cases. Why? Because many dogs will not play by themselves. You still need to get out there with it and play, or chase, or keep away, or fetch - now that is dog exercise and play at it's finest and a good thing for you to do too.
And if it turns out that you are an adult who has a mobility issue of some kind, but you still want a German shepherd Dog all your own, then you might want to choose a GSD that requires less daily activity such as a senior German Shepherd or maybe even a special needs dog that more closely matches your daily physical output. This way you'll both be happy because you are much closer to each other in terms of your activity levels.
If you are a person who really enjoys spending some time outdoors for recreation or simply "to unwind" after a long day at work, or if you exercise outdoors by running for example, then you are an ideal owner for an active dog. In a case like this, both the active owner and the active dog both look forward to what will happen at the end of the day, when they can play a rousing game of chase or frisbee in the park or can go for a run, or a hike together.
Larger dogs such as German Shepherds tend to naturally be more physically active.
Be aware of that before you bring one home. They have an inborn desire
to be busy, and to work, so they naturally crave daily exercise. So as
long as you remember to follow the dog exercise tips above, you and your German Shepherd can have a much more compatible and happy life together.
"He had as much fun in the water as any person I have known. You didn't have to throw a stick in the water to get him to go in. Of course, he would bring back a stick to you if you did throw one in. He would even have brought back a piano if you had thrown one in." -- James Thurber
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