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Types of Exercise | The German Shepherd

We must begin by discussing what it is that German Shepherd dogs need by way of “exercise.” Some dogs only need to be walked daily and in fact often “go” indoors – on paper pads (the Maltese is one such example). But German Shepherds are far from “indoor” dogs. They need to be in the great outdoors frequently, stretching their legs and exercising their not inconsiderable muscles. City dwellers in particular should be cautious about under-exercising their dogs – even a small yard may prove insufficient “running spaces” for these canine behemoths.

That is not to say, of course, that you should wear your beloved pup out, particularly if he or she is under a year of age. Younger dogs' bones are still growing and developing, and over-exercise may prove to be detrimental to your dog's bone development and ultimate strength. Until your German Shepherd dog is at least 12-15 months old, keep an extra careful eye on his or her “roughhousing” - damage sustained in the early months of life can unfortunately lead to more permanent damage – such as lameness – in later years. Likewise, avoid “forcing” your dog to run alongside you as you jog or particularly cycle until your dog is of sufficient age. Especially at the puppy stage, let your dog's natural energy be your guide, and take your cues from what your dog knows instinctively – how much exercise he or she needs in order to feel happy, healthy, and fulfilled as a canine. That said, occasionally puppies can be over-eager to exercise and unaware of their limits, exhausting themselves for the purpose of a fun game.

Do not engage in a great deal of running or jumping with your young puppy – rather, keep moving at a brisk, healthy, and comfortable pace. Walking your dog for two hours a day – divided into two to four sessions – is a healthy, stable amount for a youngster.

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