German Shepherd dog (GSD) is an active and energetic dog which needs plenty of exercise on a daily basis. But, what to do if you notice your GSD’s energy level is too high? If you have been asking yourself: Why is my German Shepherd so hyper?, you have come to the right place.
Some dog breeds are simply far more energetic than others, and you are probably well aware that a German Shepherd puppy is not a type of puppy that will sit on a sofa with you for a half of a day. This dog needs action!
But, some of your dog’s behaviors might show you that you have a hyper dog. There are more than one reason for dog’s hyperactivity, and you should be aware of them, if you get to have a dog with a lot of energy, which might even become a behavior problem.
Let’s look at all causes of German Shepherd’s hyperactivity.
Why Is My German Shepherd So Hyper?
Let’s get one thing clear right at the beginning. A German Shepherd is a working dog that was bred to be a herding dog. Today, this dog is mostly known as a favorite family pet, but also as a very successful police dog and military dog.
So, having a German Shepherd does not mean having a lazy dog breed in your home. But, I am sure you are already aware of it. However, there are some situations where a dog might simply be too active.
German Shepherd owners might even get worried if they cannot control their dogs’ high energy. Now, first you need to understand why a German Shepherd might be hyper, since there is always a reason why a dog acts in a certain way.
1. GSD Is Happy
At what moments does your German Shepherd suddenly become hyperactive? This is something you should pay attention to.
If your dog is suddenly hyperactive when he sees you, or when you take the leash to take him for a walk – this is hyperactivity due to the dog’s happiness and excitement!
Although we love it when our dogs are happy, we should definitely make sure that this doesn’t become a regular pattern of behavior.
German Shepherds are pretty large dogs, and it won’t be much fun for you when a dog this size jumps on you every time it’s happy or excited about something!
2. GSD Is Anxious
Hyperactivity can indicate that the dog is happy, but also that it is anxious. There are many reasons for dog anxiety, and one of the most common is separation anxiety.
When you see a German Shepherd, you probably think that this is a magnificent and powerful dog. You can hardly imagine that a dog of this size and attitude will be sad because it is separated from its owner for a few hours. However, this is actually the reality of many GSDs.
German Shepherds are extremely loyal dogs that love to spend time with their owners and do not prefer to be alone.
Therefore, if your German Shepherd only recently started spending time alone at home, and when you come home a hyperactive dog is waiting for you, separation anxiety is very likely the cause of this behavior.
3. Herding Instincts
According to the American Kennel Club, the German Shepherd belongs to the group of herding dogs, which means that this dog was bred to be the pack leader. Some German Shepherds are still guardians of livestock, some are known as police dogs, and some are beloved pets.
Although your GSD puppy is a member of your family, this does not mean that his herding instincts have completely disappeared. Hyperactivity in a German Shepherd could be a sign of his desire to herd.
This could be quite problematic, especially if you have small children and your dog tries to herd them.
Here you have to be very careful so that your dog’s herding instincts do not turn into real destructive behavior.
4. Guarding Instincts
The German Shepherd is a big guard dog that will protect your family and your home as no other dog. So, you can rest peacefully knowing you have a true guardian in your furry friend.
However, there is also a downside of your dog’s guarding instincts. The German Shepherd’s strong desire to guard its human family might be the reason for this dog being hyper.
Simply, these dogs have expressed guarding instincts, they bark a lot, and if they notice something suspicious, neither you nor any of your neighbors will get a good night’s sleep that night.
Therefore, the hyperactivity of the German Shepherd can be a consequence of the dog’s instinct to guard and protect his family.
5. Lack Of Exercise
Some dogs need more exercise and some less. German Shepherds belong to the group of dogs with a high level of energy, and they need a lot of daily exercise.
If your German Shepherd has become hyperactive and even shows aggressive behavior, this could be a clear sign that your dog lacks exercise.
An occasional walk will never be enough for a German Shepherd. This dog needs a large amount of regular, varied exercise to stay healthy and happy. If the German Shepherd gets bored, and if he hasn’t used up his enormous energy that day, he could show it to you with his hyperactivity.
6. Lack Of Socialization
Your German Shepherd becomes hyperactive every time you have guests in your house? This might mean your puppy is not well-socialized.
It is essential to start with puppy socialization as soon as possible. Of course, at the beginning of your life together, you should not expose your GSD puppy to many people right away.
But, as the puppy grows up, you should start gradually introducing it with other people and other animals outside your house.
The perfect way to do this is in a dog park. This way, your dog will start getting used to having other people around, and it will not go all crazy when your friends and family come over.
7. Attention Seeking
In some cases, there will be nothing wrong with your German Shepherd, but he will still be hyper. This might be your dog’s way to show he wants some attention from you.
If you have not been spending much time with your dog lately, he might be missing you. Being hyper is in this case your dog’s way to explain that he wants to spend time with you!
However, some German Shepherds might still seek attention even though they have everything they need, and even though they don’t lack exercise in your company.
In these cases, you should not give your dog what he wants, since this might become a learned behavior, and then you will be having a problem with a capricious German Shepherd.
How Do You Calm Down A Hyper German Shepherd?
Dealing with a dog’s excess energy might be challenging at first. But, when this becomes a standard bad behavior of your German Shepherd, this will not only be challenging, but also pretty exhausting for a dog owner.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to teach your German Shepherd not to be hyper. This might not go smoothly, especially if this is your first dog.
However, we find GSD one of the best working breed dogs, so, it would be a shame to miss all the wonderful characteristics of this dog just because he might be hyper.
Every problem has a solution, so, let’s find out what you can do to calm down your hyper German Shepherd.
You can yell at an untrained dog for hours to stop doing something, and he will act like he doesn’t hear you at all. For this reason, it is important to start training your German Shepherd from an early age.
The best way to start is to teach your dog basic commands. Here, it is important to use positive reinforcement, in order to encourage the German Shepherd to learn.
With this dog, you don’t need to worry about whether he will master the basics of training, since the German Shepherd is one of the smartest breeds in the world.
Regular training is very important with this dog, as lack of training can cause the German Shepherd to become hyperactive. What we recommend is to never stop training – there will always be something new this dog can learn.
German Shepherds need lots of exercise for various reasons. First of all, enough exercise will keep your GSD at healthy weight. If a GSD lacks exercise, there is a possibility it will become obese.
Exercising together is also a great way for an owner to bond with its dog, and, what interests us the most in this text – regular exercise will keep your GSD from becoming hyper.
There are a lot of ways to exercise your German Shepherd, and the best would be to change the forms of exercise from day to day. For example, one day you can go for a long walk with your GSD, and the next day you can play frisbee with it.
What a GSD will enjoy on a daily basis is playtime sessions, especially with children.
If you live alone, and you don’t have anybody to ask to take out your GSD while you are away, do not get discouraged. There are dog walkers today that will take out your dog while you are at work.
The most important thing is not to let your GSD go even one day without any kind of exercise.
Apart from physical activity, mental activity is also very important for every dog. This especially applies to breeds like the German Shepherd, which will really need a lot of mental stimulation.
So, along with everyday playing, running, and walking, your German Shepherd will need something to think about; he will need certain “puzzles” to solve. Every German Shepherd owner will need to find the perfect balance between the physical and mental activity of his dog.
Since smell is a dog’s most important sense, sniffing various scents while out for a walk is a great way for your German Shepherd to play.
All owners should use reward-based training to mentally stimulate their German Shepherd. Here, it is quite important that you have a good time with your furry friend!
What your German Shepherd will especially enjoy are dog toys, such as those filled with food, which additionally mentally stimulate the dog.
Since smell is so important to dogs, aromatherapy is one way you can calm your hyperactive German Shepherd.
For example, scents like lavender and chamomile can have a very calming effect on us. In the same way, these aromatic scents can also affect your furry pet! Experiment with several essential oils to determine which works best for your GSD.
At first, it will take some time for your dog to get used to the new smell. In any case, you should monitor how your dog reacts and if there are any visible signs that aromatherapy has a positive effect on your hyperactive dog.
If you are not sure which essential oil would be your ideal option, you can also consult a veterinarian.
German Shepherds usually calm down around 1 year of age. However, this might not be correct for all German Shepherds, since every dog is different.
Some German Shepherds will continue to need a lot of attention and might act hyper even at the age of 2 or 3 years.
This can also depend on the dog’s behavior in general, as well as on neutering. German Shepherds that are neutered/spayed might calm down before those that are not.
If it seems to you that all other dogs, except for your German Shepherd, have calmed down, don’t worry – your dog will get there, too! You will just need to have a lot of patience.
Your German Shepherd will enjoy all kinds of dog toys; such as chew toys, especially in the period of the puppy teething.
Dog toys for your GSD should be durable and should engage his brain. You can find some great options on our list of best interactive dog toys.
These toys are good to keep your German Shepherd busy, so you will not have to worry your puppy will get bored and show destructive behavior while you are away.
Interactive dog toys are also a great way to satisfy your German Shepherd’s herding instincts.
All German Shepherds need at least an hour or two of daily exercise. If you are dealing with a hyper German Shepherd, you might even need to spend more hours exercising with your dog.
GSDs are highly active dogs, and they need a lot of walks, running, play sessions, or any other kind of activity you came up with.
This dog loves to be around its owner, so, if you enjoy activities such as hiking or swimming, we suggest you share them with your pooch. Your German Shepherd will enjoy them without a doubt!
Just make sure your dog has enough exercise on a daily basis, since this significantly decreases the possibility for a German Shepherd being hyper.
There is not only one answer to the question: Why is my German Shepherd so hyper?
Different reasons might cause this behavior in your dog, so, you might have a happy dog, or an anxious dog that needs your help. Also, you should pay attention to your dog’s daily exercise routine, since a GSD that does not exercise enough becomes a depressed GSD.
All German Shepherds might be described as hyperactive in a certain way, especially when we compare them to some less active dogs.
If you have a German Shepherd puppy, you need to understand that these dogs will be highly active while they grow up, and they will usually calm down, some soon, and some later.
Still, you should not let your GSD do whatever he wants, since this might end up in this dog showing all kinds of destructive behaviors.
We hope you will choose the perfect way to calm your German Shepherd dog, and raise him to become a well-behaved pup!