Yes, German Shepherds can live in an apartment, but there are several conditions to consider. You should also be aware that every dog is different and apartments may not be suitable environments for all German Shepherds. Here is your ultimate guide to German Shepherds living in apartments.
Can German Shepherds Be Comfortable in Apartments?
There have been many instances of German Shepherds living in apartments. Yes, these are big, high-energy dogs but they can adapt to apartment living, especially if they have been raised in one for most of their lives.
That being said, it is important to make sure that your German Shepherd gets enough exercise daily. Depending on the dog, your pooch may require up to two hours of exercise and you simply can’t skip out on this.
If you do, you may find your German Shepherd becoming bored and beginning to engage in destructive behaviors and may even bark a great deal.
Can You Move a German Shepherd from a House to an Apartment?
What if your German Shepherd has spent most of its life in a house and you move to an apartment? Once again, most dogs will be able to transition to this new environment well as long as you give them enough daily exercise and mental stimulation.
You should expect a few bumps in the road, however. Not every dog will react in the same way and some may have a harder time adjusting to their new living situation. With time, though, they should be able to get used to it.
What Should You Know About Having a German Shepherd in an Apartment?
Here are some things you should consider before getting this breed while living in an apartment:
Are There Apartment Rules?
The first thing you will need to do is to check out your apartment building’s rules. These can vary from one establishment to another. One of the more common limitations is size. In the beginning, when your German Shepherd is a puppy, this may not matter as much.
Bear in mind that your dog will grow pretty quickly. In case the building only allows small dogs, your pup may exceed the size limitations within a few months. This may cause issues if the building is strict about these rules.
Also, be aware that some buildings have rules regarding the type of breeds you can keep as well. Many of them don’t allow breeds that are believed to have aggressive tendencies. Unfortunately, German Shepherds could be included on this list.
What are the Dimensions of Your Apartment?
A German Shepherd can live in an apartment, but they may not be comfortable in very small spaces. These are big dogs and they should have some room to move around freely.
You should also have enough space for your dog’s belongings. This can include a bed, crate, toys, and various other items. Your apartment shouldn’t feel crowded with your dog and their items in it. If it does, it may be too small. One option may be to pare down the space.
Are There Nearby Parks?
As mentioned, your German Shepherd will need a lot of exercise if they are going to be cooped up all day. If you live in an urban area, you have to make sure that there are plenty of places to exercise your dog.
At the very least, it should be safe enough to take your dog on long walks. Most German Shepherds do require more physical activity than this. They often need space to run around, play fetch, and generally work off their excess energy.
This is why there should be a dog park or a similar space close to where you live. After all, you will need to go there at least once a day, so it should be within walking distance from your home unless you have the option of driving.
How Long You Will Be Away Each Day?
If you are working away from home, be mindful of how many hours of the day you will spend away from your German Shepherd. This breed traditionally needs to be around people at all times and doesn’t do well separated from their owners for more than a few hours at a time.
If you are gone for extended periods, your German Shepherd may react poorly. One thing they may do is to bark or howl excessively – this is a pretty vocal breed, after all.
This can be especially troublesome if you are living in an apartment as you share walls with your neighbors. Such behavior from your dog may even garner warnings from the building owners.
How Can You Prepare Your German Shepherd for Apartment Living?
If you are planning on having a German Shepherd in an apartment, here is what you can do to make sure they are happy:
What is the Importance of Proper Socialization?
In an apartment building, your dog is more likely to encounter people and other animals. More importantly, your pooch needs to know how to behave in these situations.
Early socialization can help a lot with this. Make sure that your puppy gets to meet all types of people. Once they are vaccinated, take them to dog parks to meet other dogs of all breeds, shapes, and sizes. The more positive interactions they have, the better.
With enough socialization, your puppy may not be quite as nervous or as triggered by the smells and sounds of people and animals. In turn, they may be less likely to bark when they are home alone.
How Can You Use Obedience Training to Reduce Barking?
Obedience training is also a great idea for German Shepherds living in apartments. To begin with, it is a great opportunity to teach your dog to reduce their barking. This may even translate to when you aren’t at home.
This form of training also teaches your dog the necessary commands and behaviors that will help them get along with people and animals better. As mentioned, this is an important tool in your arsenal.
In many instances, being able to show a certificate for succeeding at obedience school can help to sway many apartment building owners to let you keep your German Shepherd.
Last, but not least, obedience training is an excellent form of mental stimulation. It allows your German Shepherd to learn new things and gives them a task to do. This can make your working dog quite happy.
How Often Should You Exercise Your German Shepherd?
If you will be gone for most of the day, get into the habit of taking your German Shepherd out for exercise both in the morning as well as the evening. You can choose to split up the workout sessions or have one that is longer or shorter. Either way, let your dog go out at least twice a day.
For one thing, this will let your dog relieve itself. For another, exercising your dog before you go helps them to burn off excess energy. They may then be calmer while you are away.
Two or more sessions also help to break up the monotony of the day. It will also help you to spend more time with your dog and bond.
If this isn’t possible, you may want to look at hiring a dog walker. Doggy daycare can work to keep your dog occupied while you are away.
How Can You Mentally Stimulate Your Dog?
German Shepherds are an intelligent breed that needs lots of mental stimulation. Failing this, they will find more destructive ways to entertain themselves.
If you have enrolled your dog in obedience training, this can help as well. You should continue to teach them new tricks and commands, though, to keep their mind busy.
Agility training and dog sports are an excellent way for your dog to work out their mind and body – you can teach your dog yourself or enroll them in a course.
How to Keep Your Dog Engaged with Toys?
Your dog needs to be occupied while you are away. The best way to do this is with a variety of toys. In addition to the traditional types, look for mentally stimulating toys as well. These include food puzzles, where your pooch has to figure out how to get their treat.
German Shepherds can live in apartments, but there is some work and effort involved on your part. As long as you can guarantee that your dog gets plenty of exercise and stimulation, they should be able to adapt to this environment quickly. Be mindful that this can depend on the dog and isn’t true for every pup.