The German Shepherd is one of the most popular and recognizable dogs. Its superior intelligence and athleticism makes it a favored working breed. Entire schools of training have been devoted to the German Shepherd; to be happy, this breed requires lots of mental and physical exercise. Follow these steps for making sure your German Shepherd stays happy and healthy.
Decide whether you want to adopt a puppy or an older German Shepherd. Contact breeders or rescue groups in your area. Realize that a young puppy requires more guidance and time than a mature dog, and German Shepherds don't reach social maturity until they're 3 or 4 years old.2
Keep your German Shepherd in excellent health with regular veterinary visits and a high-quality diet. Monitor the dog's growth and adjust diets accordingly.3
Crate-train a young German Shepherd to keep him out of mischief when you're not around and to prevent him from accidentally poisoning or injuring himself when he's unsupervised.4
Take your dog to group obedience classes where she can develop social skills and you can learn to establish leadership and strengthen your bond. Because German Shepherds are so intelligent, it's important to give them a "continuing education." If you don't go on with formal group classes, you must provide your dog some form of mental challenge for her entire life. All dogs, especially smart ones, can develop strange and disturbing behaviors if their minds aren't occupied.5
Exercise your German Shepherd for at least 30 minutes daily to release pent-up energy and curb destructive behaviors. Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood or toss a ball in the back yard every day.6
Brush your German Shepherd once a day; use a metal rake on his undercoat once a week, and bathe him as necessary to freshen his scent and help remove loose hair. Keep his nails trimmed short and wipe his ears out once a week. Consider having his teeth cleaned professionally after the age of 3 or when you notice halitosis or plaque build-up on his molars.