How to get German Shepherds to Calm Down

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German shepherds are great dogs but it can be hard to know how to get them to calm down. Having a lot of energy can make dogs excited and even act out. So, I did some research and found the best ways to help German shepherds calm down.

How do you get German shepherds to calm down?

German shepherds have a lot of energy, are very intelligent, and like tasks, so the best ways to get your dog to calm down are to have purposeful walks, reward calm behavior, and stimulate their intellect with training and games.

German shepherds are beautiful animals and are so smart. They make great police dogs, guard dogs, and family dogs. Because of their heritage, they can be kind of crazy and energetic, but below are all the best ways of helping your German shepherd calm down.

Getting a German Shepherd to be Calm

Throughout the history of German shepherds, they have been used in hard and tasking jobs. They worked on farms, then later worked in the world wars delivering supplies to the soldiers on the front lines.

Now they are commonly used as police dogs and search and rescue dogs. To say that they have had draining jobs throughout their history would be an understatement.

Because of this, it is easy to understand why German shepherds go crazy and get overly excited. Because they are programmed to have a lot of energy and to need tasks.

That is why starting to train your German shepherd while they are young is smart and will help control their energy. There are three main things that you can do that will help your German shepherd control their energy and calm down.

#1 Take Them on Purposeful Walks Daily

A lot of people may read this post and think “what the heck is a purposeful walk?” Well, German shepherds need stimulation and they need a job. It helps them fulfill an instinct inside of them.

When German shepherds act out it is because they have to much energy and they are not being stimulated intellectually and physically. That brings us to purposeful walks.

Purposeful walks are when you make your walk with your German shepherd a job instead of making it for fun.

So, what does this look like? Well, for starters making your dog sit and be still before you put their leash on is the first step. The second step is to put on them a weighted vest.

These vests come on all shapes and sizes and it doesn’t matter which one you pick as long as it will fit comfortably on your dog. What the weighted vest does is signal to your German shepherd’s brain that it is time to work and not play.

Your German shepherd will then apply more energy, focus, and determination to the task which helps them fulfill some of their natural urges to work and to use up their energy.

While you are actually on the walk you should make sure that your German shepherd is walking with their head upright, that they are staying right next to you (not in front of you or behind you), and that they are focused.

That means that you as the owner need to be calm and focused as well. Help them to keep their head up and to not go around sniffing everything that is around them.

This walk should take at least 30 minutes and help your dog get in a great exercise. If you do this your dog will have better control of their energy and will be calmer in the home.

P.S. you can still go on leisurely walks with your German shepherd and your family, but you still need to go on a purposeful walk that day where your German shepherd gets to wear their vest and ‘work’.

#2 Reward Good Behavior

The next thing that you can do for your German shepherd to help them remain calm in the home and out in public is rewarding good behavior. This means that you must always have a watchful eye and some treats handy.

When your German shepherd is relaxing on their bed and is acting calm walk over and give them a treat. When your German shepherd stays laying down when the mailman walks by, give them a treat.

If your German shepherd sits and waits patiently for their food to be poured, give them a treat. The more you reward good behavior the more your German shepherd will want to replicate that behavior.

German shepherds don’t respond well to punishment so a treat with good behavior is WAY more effective than punishing bad behavior ever would be. Most of the time punishing German shepherds has no effect on them whatsoever.

Consistency is great for German shepherds and most dogs in general, so the more you can consistently reward a good behavior the more your German shepherd will portray that behavior naturally.

Mix this technique with the technique of taking your dog on purposeful walks and you will find that you have more and calmer behavior to reward and less and less frustration with having an overly energetic dog.

#3 Stimulate Their Brains with Games and Training

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German shepherds are smart dogs. Like… crazy smart. So one of the best things that you can do for your German shepherd and their energy levels is to let them use their brains and their intellect.

There are some really cool intellectual games that you can play with your German shepherds to help them feel useful and fulfilled. I have listed some effective and useful games that German shepherds love.

Treasure Hunts

Your German shepherd has an incredible use of smell and they love to use it so playing treasure hunt is a great game to get them to use their brains and their noses.

  1. Get some sort of treat or food and hide it in a laundry basket or under some sort of turned over cover.
  2. Then take a piece and bring it to your dog.
  3. Have your German shepherd sit and then let them smell the thing that they need to find.
  4. Let them free let them roam the house trying to find their hidden object.
  5. Once they have found it let them eat it and reward them with lots of love and praise.

When you first start playing this game you want to set your dog up for success. So you’ll want them to watch you hide their treat and then when you are ready to give them your release signal and let them get it.

Reward them with lots of praise and love. After a couple of times like this progressively make it harder and harder until you have reached the instructions above.

P.S. Once they get good at this, it can be fun to play with you as their treasure. You hide and then someone else will let your German shepherd go to try and find you.

Ring Stackers

To play this game you need to purchase it at a store and it is best if you use wooden rings as your dog will be munching on these toys.

  1. Have your German shepherd sit and watch you stack the rings.
  2. Have your German shepherd move closer, give him a ring, and every time he gets it close to the stick reward him.
  3. As he starts to touch the ring to the stick reward him with a treat and high praise and then help him maneuver the ring over the stick and tell him to drop.
  4. Once he does this reward him with treats and love and then start again.

Pretty soon your German shepherd will be a pro at this game and will love to play it.

Shell Game

This game is really meant to test your German shepherd’s brain. To play this you will need two bowls and a bag of treats. German shepherds really love this game.

  1. Place the bowls face down on the ground while your German shepherd is sitting and watching.
  2. Place a treat under one of the bowls and have your German shepherd come and get the treat.
  3. Repeat this a couple of times
  4. After placing the treat under the bowl drag the bowls so the have switched position and let your German shepherd come and get the treat.

As your German shepherd gets the hang of this game you can start to add more bowls and more switching of the bowls. Eventually, they should be able to do it with just a ball under the bowls.

The next best thing you can do for your German shepherd is to train them. Train them. Train them. Train them. The more you train with them the more stimulated they will feel and the calmer they will behave.

If you use all of these techniques, your German shepherd will be as calm as a sleeping baby and you will be able to have so much fun with them. Don’t forget that they love you and the more you help them control their energy they happier they will be.

P.S. They also love the attention, so doing all of these things will help them have a long and healthy life.

Related Questions:

What age is a German shepherd fully grown?

The GSD says that German shepherds are fully grown at 2 and 1/2 months, but they can still mature until they are about 3 years old.

How long can I leave my German shepherd alone?

German shepherds really shouldn’t be left alone for more than 8 hours and even that is pushing it. If you are going to be gone for a long period of time consistently you might want to consider hiring a dog walker.