German Shepherd exercise requirements
I am just trying to get a clear picture of what owning a GSD is like, as we are strongly considering getting one. Would love to hear how you deal with exercising your dog! Thanks.It is constant. If we "skip" a day, they become major pains in the behind. (I only skip if I"m sick or it's pouring rain.)
Mine are mixed, only 1/2 WGSD, so take that for what it is worth, but they are high energy, rather demanding dogs. They have a TON of energy and need mental stimulation every day, too. The mental is really important in our case. The key to a calm home here is a balance of physical and mental. They also thrive on a routine, which they hold me to.
They're out in the morning to run and goof off (nothing formal) for 15 or so minutes. Back inside to calm down, then fed. Then back outside for a short time individually. (I don't want them getting too wound up just after eating.) Two days per week, they then get crated. Those days I'm home at lunch for a 15 minute or so romp session. Then I'm back at five PM for a good hour++ long frisbee/ball session. Back inside to mellow and then eat. Calm time. Then obedience training time most nights. Back outside for another session, this one shorter, maybe half an hour to 45 minutes. Back inside. Mellow time. Then bed time.
I'm tired just reading that, but that's basically our normal night. On weekends, you can add another outdoor session late at night.
Prior to having the second dog, our schedule included other things, such as the dog park and the big wide open soccer park for offleash running. Other social things a couple times per week - the pet store or just a trip to the store in the car. City park here and there. These things have been on hold a bit since second dog came into the picture. One of the dogs, (the established dog) has gone thru three Obedience classes by one year old, so that helps him to burn off that mental steam. He'll be starting his next Obedience class in early June. I want to get the other dog into a beginning class around the same time but not sure if he's really ready.
Sorry for the long ramble, but bottom line, whether purebred or mixes such as mine, you need to be prepared for the dog to be your sole focus for awhile! I think the couch-potato GSD or GSD mix is the exception. I catch myself dreaming mine were couch potatoes, but it isn't to be.
I have two other dogs, purebreds of other breeds, and love them to bits of course, but these boys have a something that just can't be matched.