As a naturally high-energy and diverse breed, it can be difficult to predict when your German Shepherd will calm down. They may become more peaceful between 2 and 3 years old, but this is a generalization. To understand why your German Shepherd may be hyperactive and what you can do about this, keep reading:
When Will Your German Shepherd Calm Down?
A German Shepherd’s hyperactivity is often linked to the dog’s maturity level. The less mature a pup is, the more wired it may be.
It is important to understand that physical and mental maturity don’t always go hand in hand with German Shepherds. Although your dog may look like an adult, it may not have matured mentally.
Your German Shepherd may display the most amount of energy and hyperactivity during the age of 4 to 12 months. At this point, your pup has a lot of energy to burn and is interested in exploring everything around them. They now also have the physical capability to carry out these desires.
When your German Shepherd is between a year and two years old, its hyperactivity will decrease. They will still have a lot of energy, but they may appear to be more manageable to you. You will have to wait until your dog is around two and a half to three years old before they are calm.
At about 3 years old, your German Shepherd is considered a mature, adult dog. They will retain some of their energy, but be considerably calmer than before.
As this is a high-energy breed, a German Shepherd’s activity level won’t drop until they are senior dogs. Once your dog is around eight or so years old, you will find a marked drop in physical activity. It is only at this point that they become more relaxed.
Do All German Shepherds Calm Down Around the Same Age?
Many German Shepherds mature at around three years old, but there is no guarantee. Some dogs, especially females may mature at a faster rate. Others, however, may take a longer time. Due to this, they may calm down only around 3 years old or perhaps even later on.
Will All German Shepherds Calm Down?
Each German Shepherd is different – even dogs from the same litter can differ. Training can mold your dog to a certain extent, but there are intrinsic factors that can limit this impact.
This means that there is no way to know when a German Shepherd will calm down at any point, even as an adult dog. Your dog may be a senior pooch and could still have lots of energy. Only time will tell if your dog will ever calm down.
What are Some Other Reasons Your Dog May Be Hyper?
Maturity is one of the main reasons that your dog may be extra active, but it isn’t the only one. Here are some other factors that may impact your German Shepherd’s behavior:
Is Your Dog Getting Enough Exercise?
As you know, German Shepherds need a lot of exercise. Most experts agree that this breed needs 90 minutes to 2 hours of physical activity each day. At the very least, they should be getting a solid hour of brisk exercise daily.
When your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, it will naturally have a lot of pent-up energy. This can often manifest by them jumping up on you and other people. They may rush through your house and even exhibit destructive tendencies.
Does Your German Shepherd Have Appropriate Mental Stimulation?
As working dogs, German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent. More than this, they have been bred to work. These dogs are used to herding sheep and handling other tasks by themselves.
They have been bred to maintain attention and focus on tasks for hours on end. A lack of mental stimulation may cause your dog to appear to be hyperactive.
Have You Trained Your German Shepherd Well?
Training can have a significant impact on your German Shepherd’s behavior. If you don’t socialize your dog or train them from a young age, hyperactivity will ensue. To add to this, your dog will also not listen to you when you ask them to sit or calm down.
The training process also acts as a form of mental stimulation. A lack of training can mean that your German Shepherd is not utilizing their full mental capacity, which will have repercussions.
Are You Paying Enough of Attention to Your Dog?
German Shepherds are loving and loyal dogs. They can get highly attached to their family members and want to spend a lot of time with them. These dogs also require much of your attention.
If you have been busy or are unable to spend quality time with your dog, they may begin to act out. Being hyperactive and destructive could be how your dog tries to get your attention.
This behavior may continue if you react to how they are behaving.
Can Your Dog Be Suffering from Hyperkinesis?
Hyperkinesis is a condition that is similar to human ADHD. Dogs with this medical issue will be hyperactive, have short attention spans, and exhibit impulsive behavior.
It should be noted that this condition is quite rare. Your vet may consider it if you can rule out any other causes for your dog’s hyperactivity, including their age.
How Do I Get My German Shepherd to Calm Down?
There are several tactics that you can try to help your dog calm down a little before they reach maturity. Here are some of the most effective techniques:
How Should You Exercise Your German Shepherd?
The first thing you should do is to break up your German Shepherd’s workout into two or three segments, depending on how much time you have each day. This way, they will stay adequately active throughout the day and get tired out.
Although your dog’s workout should include a fast-paced walk, this isn’t enough. Also, think about playing fetch and Frisbee with your dog to work their muscles. Taking them to a dog park and playing with other dogs can also be a great way for them to work off their energy.
On the weekends, you can try to take them hiking or swimming. The more physical activity you can offer your German Shepherd, the better. This will prevent them from getting bored.
If it is possible, let your German Shepherd run outside in your yard every few hours. This way, they won’t just be cooped up in the house. In case you are at work, you can try hiring a dog walker to give your dog the exercise they need.
How Can You Keep Your German Shepherd Mentally Stimulated?
You can find several activities that combine both physical and mental elements. This includes herding, dog sports, dock diving, and agility training. Engaging your German Shepherd in any one of these or even all of them is a great way to keep your dog mentally occupied.
Teaching your German Shepherd new tricks and commands works just as well here. In particular, try to focus on commands that require your dog to carry out different tasks. At home, this could include picking up laundry, turning light switches on and off, and more. This gives your dog a sense of accomplishment as well.
What Training Techniques Will Keep Your Dog Calm?
It is best to begin training your dog from the moment you bring him or her home. This establishes a pattern that your German Shepherd will get used to. Even if you haven’t managed to do this, make training a daily part of your dog’s life.
To start with, focus on commands surrounding obedience. Since your dog is hyperactive, you can start by teaching them commands such as to stop barking, sit still, or lie down.
German Shepherds are incredibly intelligent and will learn a wide variety of commands quite quickly. The more you can teach your dog to do, the better. Make sure to come back to the basic commands now and then and reiterate them so that your pup can keep them in mind.
When training your German Shepherd, always use positive reinforcement. This is what they will respond to best of all. Avoid using any kind of punishment or negative reinforcement.
If you are having trouble training your dog, especially if they are older, it may be worth it to hire a dog trainer. They may have more luck getting through to your dog and may be able to teach you some valuable training tips as well.
In case your dog is younger, enrolling them in puppy classes may be quite helpful as well. Not only will this make it easier for you to train your pup, but it will have the bonus of socializing your dog as well.
How Should You React When Your German Shepherd Becomes Hyper?
When your German Shepherd does become hyperactive, try not to react to them. Use commands to try and calm them down, but don’t give them any more attention than necessary. You should certainly avoid playing with them or offering them treats.
Remember to always wait until your German Shepherd is calm before trying to engage with them, or play with them. This will show your dog that they get positive attention for being calm and quiet and ignored when they behave badly.
If you do this enough times, your German Shepherd will create this connection. They will then begin to model the desired behavior more often. This will naturally result in them becoming calmer.
In most instances, a German Shepherd may calm down when they reach emotional maturity at around three years old. There is no guarantee of this transformation, however. Dogs can mature at a slower or faster rate, depending on their independent nature. Only you know your dog, so follow these tips accordingly.