As an owner of an energetic German Shepherd puppy, you may be wondering “when will my German Shepherd calm down?”. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed, especially if this is your first Shepherd. These intelligent dogs are known for being active and needing lots of exercise and stimulation. However, German Shepherds do eventually mature and become calmer if properly trained and cared for.
Read on to learn about the German Shepherd maturation process, when to expect changes, and how to help your Shepherd through excitable life stages. With a understanding of their development, you can be prepared for their needs at each phase and support their growth into a well-mannered adult dog.
Overview of German Shepherd Maturation
German Shepherds go through distinct life stages with different physical, mental, and behavioral changes. Here is an overview of what to expect:
8 weeks – 6 months: High energy puppy. Needs socialization and training.
6 months – 2 years: Teenage phase. Testing boundaries. Very energetic and mouthy.
2 – 3 years: Maturing into adult. Improved focus and control of energy.
4+ years: Mentally and physically mature adult. Calmer and less excitable.
However, keep in mind there can be significant individual variation, especially in terms of when they start settling down. Factors like genetics, environment, training, and socialization impact development.
What Age Do German Shepherds Calm Down? The Maturation Process
German Shepherds generally go through a noticeable calming down process between 2-3 years old. However, they’ll continue maturing well into middle age. Here’s a closer look at the changes you can expect as your GSD transitions into a mature adult:
1. 12-18 Months – The “Teenage” Phase
The 6-18 month phase is often considered the most challenging. Your adorable puppy has turned into a rambunctious, lanky “teenager”. Energy is at an all time high and they will jump, mouth, and test boundaries.
- Tip: Start advanced obedience training and provide plenty of exercise and stimuli. Remain patient, firm and consistent with training.
2. 2-3 Years – Maturing Out of the “Teen” Phase
By age 2-3, you’ll notice your Shepherd settling into adulthood. Energy starts evening out. They become more focused and engaged in training.
- Improvements You’ll See:
- Decreased hyperactivity
- Less mouthing and easier to redirect
- Improved impulse control
- Developed attention span
- Following commands better
3. Full Maturity – The Adult Shepherd
By 4-5 years old, your Shepherd has fully matured physically and mentally into an adult. Energy has settled to adult levels. They are calmer overall, and less excitable.
- Traits of a Mature Shepherd:
- Settled energy levels
- Calm disposition
- Developed control and obedience
- Reliable focus and engagement
- Responsiveness to commands
However, regular activity, training, attention, and socialization are still crucial to maintain manners and prevent problem behaviors. An adult Shepherd still requires plenty of exercise and mental stimulation.
Factors That Influence German Shepherd Development & Maturity
Several key factors influence when your Shepherd will start settling down:
- Genetics – Bloodlines prone to high energy may mature slower.
- Environment – More stimuli and challenge matures them faster.
- Training & Socialization – Foundational for proper behavior and maturity.
- Exercise – Getting adequate physical and mental exercise prevents acting out.
- Health – Physical or health issues can delay emotional maturity.
- Neutering/Spaying – This can influence energy levels and maturity rate.
If your Shepherd matures slower than expected, assessing these factors can help you identify areas to focus on. For example, a smart but under-stimulated Shepherd may act out due to boredom and lack of direction.
Tips for Managing Your German Shepherd’s Excitable Life Stages
German Shepherds can be a handful in their youth. Here are tips for managing their energy and supporting proper maturity:
- Start training and socialization early and consistently. Obedience training is essential.
- Ensure they get at least 1-2 hours of exercise and mental stimulation daily. This is crucial for a developing GSD.
- Use puzzle feeders and toys to occupy them when you can’t actively engage.
- Crate train your Shepherd to give you (and them) breaks when needed.
- Reward and reinforce positive behaviors. Stay calm but firm with corrections.
- Seek help from a trainer/behaviorist if needed for issues like mouthing or reactivity.
- Be patient and remember this phase will pass! Stay consistent in meeting their needs.
With the right handling, care, and guidance, your energetic adolescent Shepherd will mature into the loyal, intelligent companion this breed is known for being.
Frequently Asked Questions About GSD Maturity
Many owners have similar questions about German Shepherd development and maturity. Here are some common FAQs:
When will my Shepherd stop being so hyper?
This excitable stage will begin calming down around 18 months – 2 years old, but the timeframe varies. Stick to daily exercise routines, training, and proper outlets for their energy. You’ll get through this trying phase!
Why has my 2 year old Shepherd not calmed down?
Some Shepherds take longer to mature depending on various individual factors. Review their exercise, training, socialization, and healthcare. consulting a trainer or veterinarian can provide insights as well. Stay patient but persistent.
How can I get my mouthing Shepherd to stop?
Mouthing is very common in adolescent Shepherds. Redirect to chew toys and praise when they stop nipping you. Withdraw attention if they get mouthy. Use “no bite” commands consistently. Mouthing usually subsides around 2 years old.
Is my 1 year old Shepherd aggressive or just playful?
It can be hard to tell, but it’s likely just energetic playfulness at this age. Monitor closely for any concerning signs like stiff body language, growling, or ignoring cues to stop. Keep intervening to discourage rough play and reinforce good behavior. Consult a trainer if concerning signs emerge.
Will neutering my Shepherd help him calm down?
Neutering may help mellow out some excitable behaviors, but its impact varies between individuals. While it shouldn’t be done too early, it’s worth discussing with your veterinarian around 12-24 months old. Ensure you’re also providing adequate exercise and training.
Raising a German Shepherd puppy into a mature, well-behaved adult takes dedication and patience. But the journey is incredibly rewarding. While their “teenage” stage can be taxing, remember it is temporary. With attentive care, training, and activity, your energetic youth will settle into a loyal companion.
Stay committed to your Shepherd’s needs, and you’ll be able to enjoy the breed’s renowned qualities. With realistic expectations about their maturation timeline, you can better handle their quirks at each phase. Before you know it, your unruly adolescent will transform into the intelligent, faithful dog German Shepherds are prized for being.