German Shepherds Fitness: Are you concerned about your German Shepherds’ fitness and weight? You’re not alone. Many GSD owners struggle to keep their dogs in shape and often end up dealing with weight issues.
Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to improve your dog’s fitness level and help them avoid weight problems.
German Shepherds mature more slowly than smaller breeds. Hence, it’s essential to avoid high-impact exercises until they are at least 18 months of age when their bones are finally fused to prevent joint problems in later life.
In this post, we’ll discuss some tips for keeping your adult German Shepherd fit and healthy. We’ll also talk about preventing weight gain and dealing with current weight issues. So read on to learn more!
8 Activities to Keep your German Shepherd in Tip Top Condition
Many pet owners think that a couple of daily walks are sufficient to keep their German Shepherds healthy, but these dogs also need mental stimulation, so it’s a good idea to mix things up a bit. Below we look at eight easy ways to improve your dog’s core strength, balance, and mobility.
Unlike smaller breeds, a German Shepherd needs regular exercise and should get at least two walks a day of around 45 minutes to an hour. Try to change routes, so your pooch doesn’t become bored and avoid walking in extreme temperatures.
Dogs can damage their joints by continually walking on concrete pavements or roads, so look for varied surfaces like sandy beaches, wooded trails, and grassy areas. This will improve their proprioception, increase body awareness and increase the range of motion in their limbs.
Use the curbs; walking up and down curbs activates your dog’s shoulder extension and elbow flexion giving them greater flexibility. You can also get them to sit at the curbside before crossing the road. Repeat 3 or 4 times; this will work out those glutes, strengthening the hind limbs.
You can also use obstacles to your advantage; stepping over branches, walking around trees and lamp posts all help promote core strength, increase spinal flexibility and balance.
Running up hills is a great way to give your dog a cardiovascular workout, although you’ll need to be in pretty good shape yourself to keep up. This is a great way to get your dog’s blood flowing and build its strength.
When your German Shepherd runs uphill, they must engage their rear leg muscles intensely. This is an excellent all-over bodybuilding exercise, especially good for the back end, and can help prevent hip and hind leg weakness as they get older.
Rolling hills are best for this exercise (It’s not mountain climbing) and check there are no loose rocks or slippery surfaces. Ensure your furry friend has plenty of time to recover between runs and don’t run in hot weather.
Tug of war
There’s much debate about playing this game with dogs, especially larger ones. But, contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t make your dog more dominant or aggressive in fact, it’s one of the most intense physical workouts you can give your dog and has many benefits.
The tug game gets rid of pent-up energy and provides mental stimulation, which is essential to prevent behavioral problems.
Playing tug is a fantastic way to improve your furry friend’s impulse control, strengthen your bond, and work muscles they wouldn’t normally use when walking. It even builds their confidence if you let them win occasionally!
- Before you begin, your dog must know the basic command of “drop” or “leave it.”
- Choose a tug toy that is long enough to keep teeth far away from fingers; it also needs to be strong and durable.
- Teach your canine companion that he can only grab the toy when you give permission, once he is in the sitting position and calm.
- Only pull from side to side, not upwards, as this may injure your dog’s spine.
- If the game gets too intense, take a break.
- Never let children play tug of war with a dog unsupervised
- Make sure to play on a surface where your GSD won’t slip
- Put the toy away when not in use; you, not your dog, initiate this game
You may not have heard of balance boards, but these innovative products help teach your dog about their body movements and how to adjust them for easier navigation. You, not your dog, initiate this game. Your dog will be less prone to injuries with balance boards, making them healthier and happier!
These discs are an excellent way to target your dog’s postural muscles and improve their reflexes. They work by having your dog stand on the disc and using its muscles to stay balanced and stable.
Start with easy poses and increase the difficulty as your dog masters them. You can buy balance boards online or even use a sofa cushion. These exercises are fantastic if you can’t get out for a walk and don’t take up much room so everyone can do them at home. Best of all, your pooch will receive an intense physical and mental workout whilst having fun!
Use a flirt pole
Looking for a way to help your dog get some exercise and improve its manners? This easy-to-use toy is excellent for quickly giving your dog a workout, and it’s perfect for dogs of all ages and sizes.
If you don’t know what a flirt pole is, it’s basically a large cat toy with a lure on the end; it stimulates your dog’s natural instinct to hunt prey. Simply swing it in large arches close to the ground and watch your pet have fun.
Make sure to play this game on a non-slip surface to avoid stumbles which may cause injury and don’t lift it too far from the ground; you are not encouraging Fido to jump.
However, the twists and turns will improve your dog’s balance and coordination and be used a couple of times a week; it can encourage overweight dogs to get moving.
With just a few minutes of play each day, you can help your dog stay fit and well-behaved.
German Shepherds are extremely good at agility, so this is a great activity that also gives them a mental challenge. You can search for local classes online or alternatively create an obstacle course in your own back garden.
You can purchase the equipment relatively cheaply online or even build your own course. All you really need is a few hurdles, a tunnel, perhaps an A-frame, and don’t forget weave poles.
German Shepherds love weave poles. In fact, a GSD named Zinzan holds the world record for the fastest time weaving through 60 poles at just 12.14 seconds.
Start slowly with the poles reasonably wide apart and encourage your dog through with a few healthy treats; decrease the space between the poles as he gets more proficient.
Agility is a superb way to spend quality time with your pooch it will improve their general obedience, burn calories, and best of all, it’s terrific fun.
This game can help increase your dog’s speed and performance while providing some much-needed exercise and you can play a few minutes every day in your garden or even inside if you have a long hallway.
You don’t need to tire out your arms either a tennis ball launcher can launch tennis balls up to 50 feet in the air, providing hours of entertainment for you and your furry friend.
Plus, it’s a great way to get your dog moving – short sprints are great for burning away energy that would otherwise become pent-up anxiety.
Just be sure not to encourage twists, turns, and high jumps, as these could result in injuries and do more harm than good.
Playing fetch either with a launcher, ball or frisbee improves both lung and heart health, improves coordination, and helps prevent weight gain. So let the games begin!
Doggy squats are the perfect way to help your furry friend stay strong, fit, and mobile. By practicing these simple exercises, you can help prevent hip issues as your dog ages and give them the power to take on physical challenges.
It’s really simple too; all you need to do is have your GSD in the sit position and use healthy treats to encourage them to stand, then repeat. Start by doing five reps and gradually increase them over time.
Try mixing up the exercise in different places, so Fido doesn’t get bored!
German Shepherds are a high-energy breed that requires regular exercise to avoid obesity, which could lead to joint problems and even heart disease as they get older.
This can be done in many ways, but the key to this dog’s well-being is variety. Agility training and balance boards will help with their coordination. Running and playing fetch provides cardiovascular benefits that walking around the block does not offer and they’ll allow you to bond while they’re getting healthy at the same time!
The activities above will help keep your dog from becoming bored while giving them the mental stimulation they need. Remember not to overdo it with physical activity if your dog is injured or recovering from surgery.
Always check with your vet before starting any new exercise routine, especially if your canine companion is overweight, as you may need to make changes to their diet as well.
With all these activities available for German Shepherds, there should never be any excuse not to get out there and enjoy life together!