Exercising Your German ShepherdGood Exercises For Your German Shepherd

The German Shepherd is a relatively young breed, dating back to 1899. It was developed as a farm dog for herding and for police and military use. German Shepherds are also commonly used as guide dogs and search and rescue.

German Shepherds are popular for good reason. They are loyal, brilliant dogs and quite fun to train.

When you exercise your German Shepherd Dog, is always a good idea to keep in mind the health problems that GSD’s are often predisposed to. Paying attention to hip and joint health is important for the life of your dog. You really want to pay close attention before the age of two, while your puppy’s bones are still developing.

Amazon offers a large selection of fantastic dog toys that your dog will love!

Choose games that avoid your German Shepherd’s body from torquing.

It may sound simple, but one of the absolute best exercises for your German Shepherd is chasing the ball. Owning a Chuckit ball launcher is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to keep your GSD in good shape.

German Shepherds can really enjoy mental stimulation and fulfillment of internal drive from chasing the ball.

This may sound overly simple and perhaps it is…

Chasing the ball is one of the most common activities associated with dogs in general. However, with a dog with drive like a German Shepherd Dog, if left unfulfilled their drive will become pen up and they can become difficult to live with.

It is important that you consider not only the physical aspects of exercising your German Shepherd, but also the mental.

I really, really don’t want to make this sound overly simple, but there is just no other way to put it. When you throw the ball with a launcher, it lands and maybe bounces a few times and keeps rolling away from your dog. The key here is that your dog is trying to get to it, but it has moved away faster then your dog is able to run.

And then success! Your dog is not thinking “oh good it is slowing down, I’m going to catch it.” Your dog’s thoughts are much more like “I worked as hard as I could to chase this thing down and I was successful!” That is the key, the German Shepherd has drive to succeed and by throwing a ball far enough that they really have to chase it fulfills that desire inside of them.

It may seem simple, but the
Chuckit Launcher is truly one of
the best ways to exercise your German Shepherd.

This is Mauve, who we
absolutely adore. Mauve, on the other hand,
absolutely adores her Jolly Pets Egg.

Our German Shepherds have had
hours of entertainment from the egg.

When I first showed the egg to my husband Josh, he looked at me pretty skeptically. Now, he will tell you that I was definitely right – it gives endless hours of entertainment to our German Shepherds and keeps them moving.

The Jolly Pets Egg is seriously a fantastic toy for our German Shepherds. Anyone who has a large dog breed will love this. It is not perfectly indestructible – there is, after all, no such thing as an indestructible dog toy – but this comes close.

German Shepherd jaws are strong and eventually after a lot of wear, the plastic will soften and they can begin to create holes in the egg. Having more than one German Shepherd, I have seen them destroy stuff pretty quick. It amazes me how long this toy lasts.

The key with the egg toy is that when your dog puts their paw or nose on it, because of its shape it moves an unexpected, different direction each time. Watching Mauve play with it, I can see the inquisitive look on her face before she touches it. It provides awesome mental stimulation and physical exercise.

Seriously one of my favorite toys.

Your German Shepherd is smarter than many
other breeds, take advantage of this.

One of the best things about the German Shepherd Dog is their ability to figure things out. Many GSD owners enjoy letting their dog do problem-solving and for good reason.

The German Shepherd is one of the most popular breeds in America and their high intelligence contributes to this. Think of a person who is highly educated as an engineer or surgeon and think of them being put in a rather mundane job where they answer the phone all day.

An engineer or doctor sitting in a call center answering the phone will probably become bored, grouchy and not stay at the job very long. That is because they have a very specific set of skills and knowledge and not putting this to use is frustrating. It is the same with your German Shepherd.

Dog puzzles for German Shepherds are
a great way to exercise their mind and keep them happy.

I had heard of dog puzzles for a long, long time before we finally decided to try one. I found an inexpensive puzzle and problematically, it was way too easy for our German Shepherds. I dug a little deeper and found some puzzles that would actually challenge them.

Nina Ottosson is very well known for the dog puzzles she makes and I decided to try one. Her puzzles work incredibly well. Like I talked about with the Chuckit, one of the keys is that your dog is successful.

If this is your first dog puzzle, chances are your dog doesn’t think that if he finds a random plastic object on the floor it will distribute treats. You have to remember that your dog has to realize that he can get treats from the puzzle before it’s gonna work. And the key here is success. If your dog tries and sniffs and sniffs, but receives no reward he will probably move on to something else.

Many people that think of German Shepherd Dogs think it is a breed with a ton of energy that needs to run a lot. That’s just not true. While it is important that your Shepherd gets the proper amount of physical exercise, it would be a mistake not to consider the mental stimulation a GSD needs to stay healthy.

Dog puzzles are a fantastic
way to get your GSD the mental exercise they need.
We find that wooden puzzles last longer and
simply function better than puzzles made of plastic.

Breed Type

Herding Breed

Physical Characteristics

  • large, muscular dog
  • large prick ears
  • double coat with short dense undercoat


  • self-confident, even-tempered dog
  • affectionate and playful with friends and family
  • reserved with strangers, but warms up quickly
  • good with children and most animals
  • intelligent and highly trainable
  • high energy dog
  • willing to learn, curious, and an eager to have a job

Best Exercises

  • Walk, moderate (30-40 minutes) to long (hour or more) walks
  • Running – these are hard working dogs and good for distance runs
  • Dog Sports training:
  • Hiking – A great activity. If you and your dog are in shape, pick more challenging walks
  • Vigorous chasing games: Fetch, Tag
  • Romp in  (if dog obeys commands and is socialized)
  • Obedience training sessions

Suggested Exercise Plan

It is optimal if you can give this dog, at least an hour of active exercise every day, either one session or 2 30-minutes sessions.

Things To Note

German Shepherds are prone to bloat, epilepsy, hip and elbow dysplasia.