Top 17 German Shepherd Exercise Ideas That Will Keep Your Dog Fit and Happy

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The German Shepherd is an energetic and strong dog with loads of stamina. It is necessary to engage German Shepherd dogs in activities that quickly burn their extra energy.

High-intensity games and muscle training exercises are good for them. Strong muscles will help their tendons and joints that will keep injuries at bay. Giving your German Shepherd the right type of toys is another way to make them do a physical and mental exercise. Click here to read my reviews of the best toys for German shepherds.

Here is a list of exercise ideas that will keep them fit and energetic. It will also rid them of boredom.

1. Jolly Ball

A Jolly Ball is a big-size indestructible ball that dogs can play with — pushing and chasing it around. These balls are available in many sizes and styles. You and your dog can play tug of war with the Jolly Ball having a rope or handle attached to it. 

The German Shepherd is a herding dog, and it enjoys playing outdoor games. The Jolly Ball offers your dog a great way to keep itself playfully engaged, which would also offer it some necessary workout for the whole body.

2. Frisbee Toss

Chasing and catching a ball is an easy feat for most pet dogs — the German Shepherds are only too good at it. But playing it with Frisbee (click here to read my review of the best durable dog frisbee) is a lot more fun as it requires both you and your dog to exhibit better coordination and timing for your dog to develop the necessary skills. 

It is a spectacular sight to see the dog do all the running and chasing and trying to catch the Frisbee by its mouth. You should train the dog slowly by first rolling it along the ground, then by tossing it a little in the air, and then gradually throwing it further and further up in the air — while your dog tries to catch it in its mouth. 

As you go about doing this, and your dog trying to be a perfect match not ready to allow the Frisbee to touch the ground, you can’t stop marveling at your dog’s acrobatic skills and agility.

3. Backyard Agility

Use your creativity to set up an obstacle or agility course (click here to read my review of the best German Shepherd agility equipment kits) in an isolated corner of your backyard. This will both enliven that remote corner in your house as well as create a playground for your dog to indulge in some useful twists and turns.

You may take help from the children and use discarded items in your home to build your own agility course. Alternatively, you can buy a reasonably priced agility and obstruction course from Amazon.

You can make provisions for tasks such as hurdle jumps, weave, jumping through hoops, tunnels, and a narrow platform to stay after jumping on to it.

4. Flirt Pole

A flirt pole (click here to read my review of the best flirt pole for German Shepherds) is akin to a cat tickler, with the only distinction that it is much bigger. It has a long handle and a rope tied to it. To the rope, an indestructible toy is attached that hangs at the end as a lure.

Now, make the dog chase the lure as you move it around in different directions or in circles along the ground. This activity offers a workout for the whole body of your dog besides toning up their muscles. Also if your dog has self-control issues, the flirt pole can be a great tool to teach them to be calm. Be careful that the dog does not destroy the toy and follow your “leave it” command.

5. Fetch

Playing Fetch with your dog is one of the great German Shepherd exercises ideas. It will help burn the extra calories stored in its body. Generally speaking, German Shepherds are fond of the balls and toys.

They can run and fetch the ball for up to hundreds of throws. Instead of throwing the ball yourself, you can use a Ball Launcher to give a twist to the game. It will make your dog play Fetch all by itself.

German Shepherds are easy to train, which can be done by focusing their attention on the activity you want it to learn. Seeing your German Shepherd using the Ball Launcher all by itself can be a satisfying experience.

6. Stair Exercise

Using the stairs to give your dog a workout is a good idea. For this, bring your dog to the bottom of the stairs and, from there, throw the ball to the top of the stairs. Ask your dog to go for it quickly and allow it to come down slowly so that it does not injure itself.

Repeat this as long as your dog enjoys the game. This is a great energy burner, and your dog will soon exhaust all its pent-up energy. Running up and down the stairs is a good weight training exercise for the dog in which the dog’s rear legs get worked while climbing up the stairs and the forward legs on its return journey.

7. Run with Your Dog in Two

If you go for jogging or biking, take your German Shepherd along for the company. It will allow your pet to burn some calories that it may have accumulated sitting idle at home.

You can determine the speed and distance as per the stamina and convenience of both of you. If you love skating, you can show your dog your skills on such trips and make him proud of you.

German Shepherd dogs are strong and full of stamina. They can give you company on the jogging trails as well as walk for long distances. While running or walking, teach your pet to keep a distance from you so that it does not collide with you.

Read more: Running with German shepherds.

8. Swimming

Swimming is a great calorie burner as well as a low impact workout that does not strain your dog’s joints or tendons. Swimming is particularly more useful for your dogs when it is recovering from an injury because it uses all muscle groups in the activity.

The good thing is that most German Shepherds love swimming. Therefore, among the great German Shepherd exercise ideas, swimming must figure prominently.

9. Tug of War

Playing the tug-of-war with your dog or allowing it to play it with other dogs can be another playful yet very effective way to give your dog some workout.

Let the dog crouch and use all its energy. This will help him build muscles as well as strength. But make sure it’s a controlled game, and when you ask your dog to stop and release the tug, it follows your command.

10. Give Him Some Self-Moving Toys

There are a large number of dog toys available in the market that shake, roll, rattle, and move about all by themselves. You can get some of them for your dog, but don’t forget to oversee while they are paying because German Shepherd dogs are too strong to play gently with these toys.

11. Self Playing Dog Toys

There are some dog toys that your dog can play alone and safely. These toys give both physical and mental stimulation to your dog. These are especially useful when you are occupied and can’t spare time for your dog.

Exercise for Mental Stimulation

Your German Shepherd, like most other breed types, is an intelligent dog, and it needs adequate mental stimulation to feel better. If they are not engaged in games that make them use more of their mind, they start expressing mental fatigue in destructive behaviors like escaping, digging, and barking.

Here are some ideas that can offer mental stimulation as well as enrichment to your pet:

12. Puzzle Toys

Puzzle toys are a great way to engage your German Shepherd in problem-solving mental exercises. German Shepherd dogs are usually more intelligent and can solve the puzzles more easily and quickly than other dogs. So, try and find puzzle toys with higher difficulty levels for them.

13. Scenting and Nose Games

German Shepherds have highly evolved sensory organs that help it to trace out things by its smell. This attribute of German Shepherd makes it an ideal working dog for military, police, and spy jobs.

You can figure out some nose and scenting games for your dog and keep it engaged for some time that will not only make it play about but also give it some mental stimulation.

14. Give them Chew Toys

Chewing is an excellent pastime for dogs. They can simply chew about anything for hours and hours. Chewing helps relax their jaws where much of their stress is held. Besides, chewing releases endorphins in dogs, which calms and relaxes the dog. You can help your dog by bringing home some strong chew toys (click here to read my review for the best chew toys for dogs).

15. Make Them Learn Names

Dogs can learn words and names. So, they can be taught the names of their toys, which can give them a vigorous mental stimulation.

16. Allow Your Dog to Play with Other Dogs

Not all German Shepherd knows how to behave with other dogs, and this can give rise to dog fights when you take your dog out for a walk. Allowing it to play with other dogs in your neighborhood or during the walk can give it some natural workout as well as enliven its mood.

Such social interaction will keep it physically and mentally more in tune with its surroundings. At the same time, your pet will learn some necessary social skills.

17. Enroll Him in A Canine Club

There are many dog clubs that organize regular dog sports events, including competitions and tournaments. Your German Shepherd may enjoy taking part in such events, which will be physically vigorous and mentally stimulating for him.

This way, your pet will get to see more of their world and be feeling more grounded and better about it. So, enrolling your dog in a canine club is undoubtedly one of the cutest German Shepherd exercise ideas.

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