When Do German Shepherds Calm Down?
German Shepherds are naturally high-energy canines, and although each dog is an individual in its own right, it will most likely take a while for a young shepherd to calm down.
Some owners note a difference after the two-year mark, with the arrival of sexual maturity, but this would be a generalization and will not necessarily hold for all members of this breed.
When Will My German Shepherd Calm Down?
The hyperactivity in most large breeds will be linked to the mental maturity level of the individual dog. If a shepherd pup is still immature, chances are it will also be a bit hyperactive.
Mental maturity does not necessarily mirror physical maturity. Your dog may seem quite large and adult-like in appearance but may still be less mature psychologically.
It is normal for a young shepherd between the ages of 4 months and a year to display oodles of energy because young pups have a lot of vitality blended with curiosity. The drawback is that gradually they also acquire the physical size and strength to follow their instincts and whims.
After The One-Year Birthday
Once a German Shepherd passes its first birthday, hyperactivity should begin to decrease somewhat, however, this is a high-energy breed, so don’t expect your dog to be poised and in control, especially in stressful situations like when around new people, or if there are fireworks or loud noises like chainsaws and lawnmowers..
Remember that Shepherds are not bred to be companion dogs but are considered working dogs. They may become more manageable as they begin to mature and spend more time with you, but they will remain energetic.
Somewhere between two and three years of age, you may notice the oft desired “calming down”.
At three, your Shepherd will be considered a mature adult canine, still energetic, but also with more self-control. Their “high-energy” status will remain so until they enter their senior years at about eight years of age. As a senior, physical activity will decrease, and your dog should exhibit a more relaxed behavior.
There Are No Guarantees
While German Shepherds may be considered mature at roughly three years of age, there is no guarantee that this will be the case. Female Shepherds tend to mature more quickly than males, while some dogs may need even longer.
Do All German Shepherds Eventually Calm Down?
Every dog is different, regardless of shared breed characteristics. Littermates can be radically different from one another. Training may aid you in forming your pup, but even training may only work up to a certain point due to inherent individual factors. This means that there is no way to know for certain when your dog will calm down and if at all. Some senior German Shepherds still maintain high energy levels.
What Can I Do to Calm My German Shepherd Down?
Several factors may contribute to hyperactivity in your pooch, and in some instances, you can intervene in the hopes that you will see not so much a decrease in energy, but more control on the part of your pup.
German Shepherds require lots of exercise, with most professional trainers and vets estimating a need for 1.5 to 2 hours daily. When a dog does not receive the necessary exercise, it will consequently have pent-up energy. Spontaneously the dog will look for ways to release energy, through destructive or undesirable behavior.
If your German Shepherd tires out, he or she will be calmer. Note if your pooch does things to get your attention. You pup may follow you wherever you go or bring you a favorite toy when bored. A German Shepherd might also bark continuously.
Is Walking a German Shepherd Enough?
While walking is good exercise because it burns physical energy and provides mental stimulation through exploration. When shepherds use their olfactory abilities, they improve cognitive capabilities as well. Still, there are other methods to get your German Shepherd to burn excess energy and calm down.
· Group Playtime
German Shepherds love playing with other dogs. Much will depend on the personality of your dog and its socialization level. Playing burns off energy and stimulates canines mentally. Rolling, chasing, wrestling, and racing will burn the excess energy to assist your dog in calming down afterward. If your shepherd plays with other dogs, it’s important to supervise and observe canine interactions to prevent aggressiveness.
With fetch, you’ll get your dog to retrieve a stick or ball. In this manner, your dog will double its energy burn by running back and forth.
Dogs love frisbees. This is a variation of fetch but with different leaps and directions involved. Playing frisbee stimulates natural predatory instincts and it may be sufficient for your German Shepherd to burn the day’s excess energy.. Both fetch and frisbee will allow you to practice basic commands like recall, bring, and leave.
· Tug of War
Tug of War with a pull toy is another canine favorite. Use a specific pull toy, a piece of rope with knotted ends or even an old rag or towel.
Jog with your dog in the park or around your neighborhood.
· Practice Safe Jumping
Jumping requires significant energy and reinforces agility and coordination.
· Agility as a Sport
This is a “duo” sport that you will do with your pooch. Take a course and participate in competitions. Not only will it aid your dog in expending energy but it will also reinforce your friendship.
· Stair Climbing
If you can’t get to a park but your home has stairs, use them for a game with your dog. You can play fetch with a staircase. Some outdoor parks may have stairs, you can get your dog to do outdoor climbing. This is strenuous exercise so be sure to take a necessary break. Your dog may sit or lay down if he or she needs a rest.
· Hide and Seek
This game can be stimulating for a Shepherd as it will stimulate predatory tracking scents. This breed is extraordinarily intelligent. They thrive on problem-solving.
Swimming is terrific for burning energy. Many German Shepherds are natural swimmers. Swimming works a dog’s muscles and yours. If you have access to a body of water or pool, try swimming with your pooch especially in hot seasons. Consider introducing a game of fetch while in the water. If your German Shepherd appears reticent or unsure around water, organize swimming lessons with a professional trainer.
Exercise is the best way to calm down a German Shepherd naturally and your pooch will love you for it. If you are unable to participate in athletic or exercise activities, consider having your dog use a weighted dog vest.
This is a method for your dog to burn extra energy while walking. Before placing a weighted vest on your Shepherd, consult your veterinarian as these vests can increase pressure on joints. Nonetheless, they can also contribute to increasing your pup’s muscle mass.
Dogs get bored and this can be a real problem for working canines. Your German Shepherd has been bred to be a working dog, initially as a herding dog. But they are also the preferred dog breed of law enforcement and military personnel.
Their breeding has prepared them for focusing on assigned tasks. If your dog is bored, expect it to invent its activities, thus it may appear hyperactive.
Socialization and Training
Ideally, these dogs need to be socialized with other dogs and people from a very young age. Training should also preferably begin from a young age as this will aid in curtailing some of the hyperactivity.
Training also acts as a good substitute for their working dog status, by providing mental stimulation and challenges
German Shepherds become extremely attached to their pet parents or family. They are both affectionate and loyal. They will require attention. Should you be less than forthcoming with your attention and quality time spent with your pup, hyperactivity. And destructive behavior may result.
If you pay attention suddenly to hyperactive behavior, you will be reinforcing the hyperactivity,
Human ADHD has its canine counterpart in hyperkinesis. This is a medical issue, and dogs with it will most probably exhibit hyperactive behavior. Fortunately, it is a rare condition that your veterinarian might consider after ruling everything else out.
There may be another medical issue that contributes to a dog’s behavior, in this case, the vet should be the first place you should be looking for guidance.
What Should I Do When My German Shepherd Won’t Calm Down?
The first thing to do is not to react and pay as little attention to them as necessary. Attempt to calm your dog through verbal commands, however, do not play with your dog or offer it treats. This will only reinforce hyperactive behavior or “when I’m hyper I get a treat!”
Playtime should be reserved for when your dog is calm. You need to reinforce the message that a reward of playtime goes to a calm and well-behaved pooch. Send this message often enough, and your dog will most likely calm down because he or she is rewarded with playtime with his or her human BFF.
Featured Photo by Marko Markovic on Unsplash