German Shepherd are wonderful dogs. According to the AKC registration in 2009 they were the number 2 dog found in American homes.
They are wonderful dogs if owners meet their mental and physical needs. As Dog Trainers we see many German Shepherds and are called in often when there behavior is "out of control". In most cases it is simply that they are not getting their needs met and this leads to frustration, boredom and destructive behaviors.
According to the AKC " they are energetic and fun-loving, the breed is very fond of children once a relationship is established. He is a loyal family pet and a good guard dog, the ideal choice for many families. He requires regular exercise and grooming"
Regular exercise, what exactly does that mean. I consider regular exercise to be at least 2 x 3o minute exercise sessions each day, brisk walks, chasing a tennis ball or playing with other dogs or family members.
I remember years ago when i was doing a lot of long distance running with my dog Dobie, she would run by my side for up to ten miles. My husband would laugh as he watched us on our route. Dobie would barely break a sweat and would trot by my side in a relaxed gait while i huffed and puffed the entire way. In simple terms a ten minute casual walk around the neighborhood is not going to be enough for a high drive, high energy dog. If running is not your thing most dogs can be adequately exercised in a back yard with a ball or soft toy.
Train, Train, Train. Training a dog is so important, it is mentally challenging for them. It gives their mind something to do, problems to solve and this can exhaust them. A well trained dog is also a dog that shares the family home, family outings and family gatherings. There is nothing more rewarding for a family when their dog can escort them and share their life with them. There is nothing more necessary for a dog when it can live with its pack in harmony.
Here are some delightful pictures of Sookie, a seven month old German Shepherd. Sookie is learning control behaviors such as sit/down/maintain. She has also learned the release cue "okay" and has a nice recall "come" These behaviors will need to be generalized in lots of different environments to make they really reliable but she is on her way. Sookie is a great ambassador for her breed. She has a delightful personality, a good work ethic and is quick to learn.
Sookie responds well to training methods that teach her new behaviors and not harsh methods that just focus on reducing unwanted behaviors. This makes training fun for her and she stays motivated "in the game"